Blog Tour : A Firm Place to Stand

A FIRM PLACE TO STAND
by
LORI ALTEBAUMER
Genre: Christian / Romantic Suspense
Independently published
Date of Publication: January 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 321

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Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished pdf copy from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Has there ever been a moment in your life where you’ve felt like you can’t catch a break? Have you ever felt as though you were a burden to everyone you encounter? The main character Maribel has nothing but shortcomings her entire life but a job opportunity at Summer Camp in the middle has become available. She hasn’t had the best of luck with jobs or relationships but this may be her chance for a fresh start. That is until her car malfunctions and catches ablaze as she nears her new town. Within the first twenty-four hours of her arrival to her new town she finds a corpse in the river on her morning job, her car catches fire, and she has unexpectedly become involved in the secrets of her new town. Will she be able to uncover the secrets behind the dead body and the potential missing person? Can she keep her current role? How long can she keep her past hidden and stay hidden?

This book starts at a steady pace with the introduction of the main character and the author does a great job of capturing your attention in the beginning. We watch as Maribel’s character develops more as the storyline begins to unfold. The book begins with us seeing a glimpse into the past of Maribel and the preconceived notions she has about the people in her new town. She must learn to keep her guard up but also work to remove the walls she placed around herself to allow people a chance to get to know her. I enjoyed the development of each character and the realistic emotions tied to each character. Of course, as the story moved on I felt remorse for Maribel as she struggled to forgive herself for her past and move forward with the opportunity she was given. The author does a wonderful job of being descriptive when it came to explaining each character’s emotions, actions, and interactions. The writing style was intriguing where the author took the approach to alter between perspectives. There was no one true narrator in my opinion. The story was being told by each character and enjoyed getting the chance to be inside the mind of each character which aided in understanding the character development fully. I spent a great deal of time being both shocked and on the brink of tears while reading this book as it hit close to home to watch the main character try so hard. You can watch as the town’s secrets begin to unfold and Maribel sees who she can trust. With the journalist’s background in tow, she can observe her surroundings and get to the bottom of the town’s biggest secrets while simultaneously not realizing how sinister the villain in this novel is. I was thoroughly surprised and gasped out loud as finally came to the end of this book. All I can say is well done what a remarkable tale.

The author takes an interesting approach to the Christian based thriller. As the story continues to unfold you feel involved in the development of each character and invested in the outcome of the story. However, I did feel it was a little dry in some areas and wanted a bit more action. I felt there were high points in the story and a few low points in the story where I felt could have been developed a bit more. However, overall this was a well written Christian thriller. You can tell the author worked hard to have the biblical aspects of the story to fit well within the chapter. I enjoyed the fact that the author inserted a practical biblical tip of forgiveness and the importance of forgiveness. It is inspirational to see that focus inside this specific text that contains aspects of betrayal, loss, grief, and victimization. The author showcases the challenges of forgiveness from both parties. She sheds light on the perspective of forgiveness from the accuser and the person who has experienced the loss. the Bible discusses the importance of forgiveness throughout and the importance of relying on God to provide peace in the middle of a storm or turmoil. Special thanks to the author for doing a phenomenal job at incorporating the biblical aspect and the ability to have it flow so well.

 

I highly recommend this book for any who is interested in reading a thrilling christian mystery novel. This book is appropriate for young adults and higher as there isn’t any foul or rude content.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!



 

A life-long Texan, Lori lives in a small community not far from the rugged West Texas landscape she loves to write about. The mother of now-grown twins, she has learned that the secret to survival is a well-developed sense of humor and an active prayer life. After years spent working in the insurance business, Lori now uses her time to educate, inspire, encourage, and entertain through the written word.

———————–

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Signed Copy of A Firm Place to Stand + $25 Gift Card to the Texas Indie Bookstore of Choice
2ND PRIZE:Signed Copy of A Firm Place to Stand
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APRIL 30-MAY 10, 2020
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Blog Tour: Out of the Embers

OUT OF THE EMBERS
MESQUITE SPRINGS, BOOK ONE
by
Amanda Cabot
Historical Fiction / Christian Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020
Number of Pages: 336

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Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.



PRAISE FOR OUT OF THE EMBERS:

Out of the Embers is part prairie romance, part romantic suspense. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a book more. Amanda Cabot has written an intriguing, chilling mystery and she winds it through the pages of a sweet romance in a way that made me keep turning the pages fast to see what was going to happen next. An absolutely excellent read. And now I’m hungry for oatmeal pecan pie!” 

Mary Connealy, author of Aiming for Love, book #1 in the Brides of Hope Mountain series
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Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

 

What lengths would you go to protect someone you loved? Evelyn Radcliffe’s life was forever changed ten years prior after her parents’ were murdered in their restaurant. She has spent the last ten years in an orphanage that she has now called home. Although the sheriff said her parent’s murderer was captured and hung, she still feels as though she is being watched. Her suspicions have become more evident after she and Polly narrowly miss being killed in a fire that took the lives of those in the orphanage. Evelyn must step up as guardian for Polly and work to protect them from the person who appears to want them both dead. After the orphanage burns down Evelyn decides to take Polly and leave the town she has called home for far too long. After a harsh storm, Eveyln and Polly take shelter in the home of Wyatt Clark in the town of Mesquite. Soon she will realize there is more to the new town that a kind stranger. Will they both survive? Will Evelyn let go of the guilt that she carries and move forward with her new life?

In this first installment of a new Christian Historical Fiction series, Cabot dives into the realm of historical fiction. The author does a phenomenal job with the telling of. the story of Evelyn and Polly. The storyline flows seamlessly with twists and turns on every corner. I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional connection the author enabled with her writing style. I was able to fully connect with each character and truly feel transported into this time period. Each supporting character played a major role in the overall plot and the author even provided a teaser at the end of the book. I enjoyed how Eveyln’s character is developed as a strong female protagonist with a compassionate heart to serve others. I also enjoyed the Christian based aspect of this novel and the influence of the scriptures. There is one part of the story where Wyatt looks at Evelyn and tells her that the truth will set her free. Evelyn has been carrying the weight of her parent’s death and the weight of the burning down of the orphanage on her shoulders far too long. At that moment she feels as though God has saved her for a reason. Which we will later find out towards the end of the story and we come to find out more about Polly and why she won’t share her last name.

I felt a strong connection to this novel. Often times we don’t fully understand how God truly intervenes in our lives to save us because our saving is tied to saving someone else. I would implore the readers to really consider this as they dive into this book. Think a moment where you know that God has saved you to only use you to provide a blessing to someone else or use you to save someone else.

Overall this is truly a remarkably written Christian historical fiction novel that allowed the reader to be transported into the story. The author spent time developing every supporting character, the description of the setting, and the plot. This all combined created a well-rounded novel with a heartbreaking beginning and a happy ending. I highly recommend this novel for anyone looking for a Christian based novel as such that focuses on fear, grief, strength, and love.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.
 

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Copy of Out of the Embers + Special Hill Country Sweets Cookbook
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March 10-March 20, 2020
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Summer Reading Challenge Recap 2019

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The Summer Reading Challenge, “A Universe of Stories,”  has come to an end. The programs I coordinated were geared toward grades 6th-8th. This was my first summer in my current position and at my current library. I was able to interact with middle schoolers and have provided a recap below.

Henna Program

Local Paid Performer who will show the youth how to create henna designs and each child will go home with their own cone of henna.

Final Thoughts:  This program went well the participants were able to take home a cone of henna to practice their designs at home. The performer was able do a small design on each participants hand.

Galaxy Solar Lights

Youth will be able to create a solar powered light jar by using a mason jar and yard lights. Each youth participant will take home a light jar and an additional galaxy sensory jar. I found information on how to do this online and adapted to my library.

Final Thoughts:  I wrote a full blog post that discussed everything I did for this program.  The participants enjoyed this program and were able to successfully complete the task. This program was easy to create and wasn’t costly.

Life Size Retro Gaming-

We will be doing life size pac-man. I am using painters tape on the floor, ping pong balls will be the points, and each child will wear the responding colors. This program was super cheap to come up with and complete.

Final Thoughts: It took about an hour to set up the pac-man on the floor of the meeting room. The participants enjoyed the game. I set up a table with crafts and additional board games.

A Magic Workshop

Local Paid Performer will show the youth how to do simple magic card trips. Each child will leave with a deck of card and new tricks to use on others.

Final Thoughts:  The performer brought decks of cards and a book of magic card tricks. Each participant took home a deck of cards and a book with magic tricks. The performer taught the participants three tricks during the hour performance. The performer went through the history of each trick.

Science Explosion

Local Paid Performer will do slime and explosion demonstrations for the middle schoolers.

Final Thoughts:  This performer went over pulleys and polymers with the participants. This was my highest attendance program with a total number of thirty attendees. The participants enjoyed the enthusiasm of the performer.

DIY Projector Box

Youth will create their own projector box to use at home. The program description asks the youth to come to the program with a smart phone to practice.

Final Thoughts:  I collected shoe boxes from the staff members two months prior to the program. I then purchased magnifying glass from party city to use in the projector box. I went over the instructions with the participants then let them create the box with the 5 easy steps.

Monster Movie and Slime Activity

The plan is to have them watch a alien movie and make slime to take home. This is the final program for the summer!

Final Thoughts:  The movie was only thirty minutes so I waited until fifteen minutes after the program start time to begin the movie. The participants also were able to make slime using glue, shaving cream, contact solution and baking soda.


Comment below your ideas or any feedback about this list. You can use the “Contact Me” link at the top of the page to reach me or you can email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com. Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

Galaxy Solar Lights Program

The theme this summer at the library is A Universe of Stories. This a recap post from the program I did on June 13th. Here is a break down of the program including items used:

Program Description:

Join us with this out of this world mason jar activity. Create a solar powdered galaxy themed mason jar light that glows in the dark. Each participant will go home with one solar powered jar and a glow in the dark galaxy jar.

Plan/ Prep Time:

It took about an hour total to set up for the program and that was with the help of another staff member. We had to set up enough tables and chairs for 20 tweens.

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Total Number of Staff Used:  2 library staff members including myself and 2 volunteers

Length of Program: 1 hour and 15 minutes. This program can be done in an hour but keep in mind we did two activities in one hour.


How it worked: 

I started the program with the Galaxy Jar that was made using water, water color paint, and cotton balls. I explained to the participants that it was important for them to pay attention. I only placed the materials needed for the first activity on the table so that way they would not get the items confused. (Plus I did not want to have 8 glass mason jars on each table.)

Here are the steps for the Galaxy Jar:

  1. Remove the lid from the mason jar
  2. Fill the mason jar 1/3 of the way with water
  3. Add a large squeeze of paint or about ten-fifteen drops of paint into the jar
    1. I recommend them using colors like pink, red, purple, blue, and green together
    2. Colors like orange, yellow, and green don’t look well together in the jar.
  4. Put the lid back on the jar and shake
  5. Once the paint has mixed, open the jar and add glitter if desired
  6. Stretch out the cotton balls and add them to the water and paint mixture until the cotton balls have fully soaked up the water. We are going to repeat steps 1-3 until the jar is full and we don’t want the paint to mix.

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  1. Repeat steps 1-6 two more times until you are done. Filling the jar another 3rd of the way with water and adding paint.

I had them clean up the table and put the first jar aside. The first activity took about 35 minutes to complete and clean up. Then it took ten minutes to pass out the supplies for the solar light jar. Here are the steps and the supplies used for the Solar Powered Light Jar:

Materials:

  • 12 oz Mason Jars
  • Solar yard lights, just the light part
  • Mounting Tape
  • Cork-board cut into 6.5 in long strips
  • Mod Podge
  • Fine Glitter
  • Glow in the Dark Paint

Steps:

  1. Grab the solar light but do not remove the orange tab that activates the light
  2. Grab the two strips of mounting tape and wrap one strip around the solar light
  3. Then place the second strip on top of the first one and wrap it around the light
  4. Then wrap the cork-board strip around the mounting tape. It should stick.
  5. Remove the center piece from the jar lid, leaving only the part that screws onto the jar. Insert the solar light into the center. There is enough padding where the light should fit into the center without problems.
  6. Now decorate the jar and you’re done.

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Items Used and Cost:

Item Cost QTY Total Vendor
Foam Mounting Tape 5.29 4 21.16 Office Depot
Mod Podge 11.97 1 11.97 Wal-Mart
Jelly Jars Mason Jars 12oz 10.72 2 21.44 Wal-Mart
Canning Jars 12oz 8.78 1 8.78 Wal-Mart
Solar Outdoor Lights 12ct 9.67 2 19.34 Wal-Mart
Glitter 0.38oz- 12ct 6.97 2 13.94 Wal-Mart
Folkart Glow in the Dark Green 8oz Paint 5.44 2 10.88 Wal-Mart

You can just buy four 12ct packs of the 12 oz mason jars but my library had a few on hand so I chose to not buy as many. We also used water color paint and cotton balls for the second activity.


Final Thoughts

Overall, the program was a success and I had about 18 kids show up with a max capacity of 20. The tweens paid attention to the directions and were able to take home two items. I would definitely do this program again in the future but I would try to set up for the program at least two hours before hand and try to have the supplies a little more organized.


Comment below your ideas or any feedback about this list. You can use the “Contact Me” link at the top of the page to reach me or you can email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com. Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

 

 

Being Adventurous with Summer Programming

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It’s that time of year again, the most busiest time of the year. The children’s department has been working hard since January to plan creative programming to offer to the community. I have been in charge of the area displays, pajama night story time, and all middle school programs. Here is what the middle schoolers have to look forward to this summer.

  • Henna Program- Local Paid Performer who will show the youth how to create henna designs and each child will go home with their own cone of henna.
  • Galaxy Solar Lights- Youth will be able to create a solar powered light jar by using a mason jar and yard lights. Each youth participant will take home a light jar and an additional galaxy sensory jar. I found information on how to do this online and adapted to my library.
  • Life Size Retro Gaming- We will be doing life size pac-man. I am using painters tape on the floor, ping pong balls will be the points, and each child will wear the responding colors. This program was super cheap to come up with and complete.
  • A Magic Workshop- Local Paid Performer will show the youth how to do simple magic card trips. Each child will leave with a deck of card and new tricks to use on others.
  • Science Explosion- Local Paid Performer will do slime and explosion demonstrations for the middle schoolers.
  • DIY Projector Box- Youth will create their own projector box to use at home. The program description asks the youth to come to the program with a smart phone to practice.
  • Monster Movie and Slime Activity- The plan is to have them watch a alien movie and make slime to take home. This is the final program for the summer!

I am super excited to run these programs and help with others this summer. The theme is A Universe of Stories. The programs above took a lot of create and this will be my first time doing each program. Months of planning went into devising the schematics for each program above. Please be on the look out for recap posts from these programs.

Comment below your ideas or any feedback about this list. You can use the “Contact Me” link at the top of the page to reach me or you can email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com. Thanks for joining me on this adventure!