“Just 18 Summers” Giveaway

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Just18Summers / WordSmith


I just finished reading Just 18 Summers, and due to an ever-shrinking amount of space on my bookshelves, I’d like to give away my copy! The book is still in good condition, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great mix of funny and tear-inducing scenes. (Full review coming in May.)

The Book:

With just eighteen summers . . . don’t forget to make some memories. 

After the tragic death of Butch Browning’s wife, Jenny, four families begin to realize how precious–and fleeting–their time together is. Each is at a different stage in life: Butch if facing single parenthood. The O’Reillys are expecting their first child. The Andersons are approaching an empty next, and the Buckleys are so focused on providing their children with everything that they’ve forgotten what they truly need. With just eighteen summers before their children are grown, how do they make the most of that time when life so often gets in the way?

As summer flies by, each of these parents must learn about guilt and grace . . . and when to hold on to their kids and when to let go.

If you’re interested in being entered in the giveaway, just answer one of the following questions in the comments:

1. For those whose kids are grown: What would you do differently if you could go back and raise your kids all over again?

2. For those who currently have kids at home: What are some things you are doing to make the best of your time with your kids?

3. For those with no kids: What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

Don’t forget to leave your email address!
(If you use this format–name(at)email(dot)com–I won’t have to approve your comment.)

Drawing will be April 27th.
Open to readers with US mailing addresses.

5 Fun Wedding Ideas

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I’m blogging at Dainty Jewell’s today! Stop by and check out my post: 5 Fun Wedding Ideas

5 Fun Wedding Ideas: WordSmith blog

Image courtesy of once like a spark photography


I had SO much fun writing this post. Where was Pinterest when I was getting married?

Have you seen any unique wedding ideas you just loved? Let me know in the comments!

CrossReads Book Blast with Lillian Duncan

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By Lillian Duncan

About the Book

The Witness Protection Program claims they can keep anyone safe if only they follow the rules, so Maria follows the rules–every rule. She’s given up everything–her friends, her family, her past–even her name–to ensure her daughter has a future.

Reborn as Veronica Minor in the sleepy little town of Sunberry, Ohio, she struggles to rebuild their life amid the beauty of her flower shop.

A life where her daughter can have a happy normal childhood.

A life where her daughter will never know that her father was a monster.

When a child disappears, Veronica prays it has nothing to do with her past. But what if she’s wrong? Not knowing who to trust, she trusts no one…and that’s her first mistake


lil2011dLillian Duncan

Stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published writer who writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com as well as her personal blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com

Follow Lillian Duncan

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Lillian Duncan!

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This book blast is hosted by Crossreads.

We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

My Special Kiss!

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Tricia Goyer is doing a blog link-up/giveaway on her blog right now, and I thought I’d join in the fun!

These are the instructions:

“I’m thrilled to announce the latest release in my Amish series Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors. The Kissing Bridge is the story of a young woman caught between a stifling Amish community and the unnerving outside world and the daredevil bachelor determined to find an Amish woman who can quench his thirst for adventure.

Find out more here.

I’m celebrating by hosting a ‘Beautiful Bridges and Special Kisses’ giveaway. I want to hear about your favorite bridge or your most special kiss!”


I’m sure few want to hear the details of my romantic life, so I’ve decided to share this very special kiss instead: the first time I kissed my newborn son!


I love the little smile on his face in this picture!

I love the little smile on his face in this picture!

Axton, my son, is almost two years old now, but I remember the years leading up to his birth like they were yesterday. My husband and I thought we were ready for kids soon after we were married, but it would be nearly five years before we would hold our baby in our arms.

Once, probably within months of us finding out we were expecting, my husband told me, “I want a baby more than anything.” I felt so helpless and sad because there was nothing I could do to make his desire a reality.

Thankfully, our son’s arrival into this world was orchestrated by God with impeccable timing. At a doctors visit on October 25, 2011, I got the shock of my life when the doctor informed me I was expecting. I was afraid to believe it could really be true.

But apparently, it was. :)

Less than eight months later when the same doctor handed me my red little wrinkled son, I kissed his perfect, tiny forehead.

As long as I may live, I think that will be one of my most special kisses ever. :-)

Interested in sharing your story for a chance to win great Amish fiction? Check out Tricia’s blog!


First Blog Post for Dainty Jewell’s

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My first blog post for Dainty Jewell’s is up!

"A Night in Paris" - Photo Courtesy of KB Photography

“A Night in Paris” – Photo Courtesy of KB Photography

I’m excited to be part of a team that works so hard to make gorgeous, modest dresses available to women of all sizes and ages. I’ll be blogging over there weekly on Thursdays, and I’m looking forward to covering many fun topics.

If you’ve never stopped by Dainty Jewell’s website, go over and look around!

"A Night in Paris" Dress - Photo Courtesy of KB Photography

“A Night in Paris” Dress – Photo Courtesy of KB Photography

If you’re looking for inspiring reading, new blog posts by different writers will be posted each day of the week–all on topics relevant to today’s Christian woman.

Book Review & Giveaway: “Claiming Mariah” by Pam Hillman

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WordSmith Book Review: Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman

The Book

After her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.

With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he unearths more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal, and murder threatens the well-being of the ranch, endangering those who hold it dear. As the days dwindle until the rest of the Donovan clan arrives at the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed changes their futures forever.

My Thoughts

I love books where I know from page one that I’m in for a great read. This was one of those! I read Claiming Mariah while suffering with a major case of allergies. Even though I spent the majority of my reading time wanting to claw my face off, I loved the story. That’s saying a lot!  :)

From the start, Claiming Mariah made me wish I had a few uninterrupted hours to curl away somewhere and just read. I liked the characters and thought they were easy to sympathize with. For some reason, I enjoyed Mariah’s grandma in particular. The familial structure in this novel–Mariah, her grandma, and her sister who spends the book away in Philadelphia–was a little different, and I thought it provided nice variety.

There was one surprise toward the end, around page 300 or so, that I thought I probably should have seen coming, but didn’t. I think Pam Hillman is an excellent writer. If you like Old West romances, you’ll love this book.

What I Thought Could Have Been Better

At the beginning of the book, Mariah feels obligated to hand her land over to Slade, the male lead in this story. Though I understood why she did it, I felt like she handed over the only place she’d ever known as home too easily. She was upset that she was forced out of her home, but wasn’t quite as freaked out about it as I would have been.

I give this book 4.5 stars.

One star – No comment!
Two stars – Couldn’t get into it.
Three stars – Pretty good.
Four stars – Great read!
Five stars – Worth reading more than once.

In compliance with FTC regulations: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publicist on behalf of the author and publisher in exchange for this honest review. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Visit Pam’s website.
Visit the Blog Tour Page.
Follow Pam on Facebook and Twitter.
Purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author

Pam Hillman was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that’s the kind of life every girl should dream of!



Pam Hillman is giving away a Kindle Fire!
Find details here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below!

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Book Review: “KnowOrphans” by Rick Morton

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KnowOrphans Book Review

The Book

The global orphan crisis is complex. The church’s response should be comprehensive, but is it? In this provocative follow-up to Orphanology, author Rick Morton provides the framework for families and churches to have a gospel-centered response to the growing global issue of orphan care.

KnowOrphans addresses three distinct areas associated with global orphanology. Delving deeper into the criticisms of the movement, the need for reform, and what families can expect, author Rick Morton helps shape realistic perceptions of the challenges and rewards adoptive parents face in transnational adoptions. Through illuminating the work internationally adoptive families can expect, KnowOrphans offers solutions for the church in remedying the ills and deficiencies surrounding the church’s role in equipping and supporting families before, during, and after the adoption process. Knowing that the church’s response and attitude should be one that goes beyond adoption, KnowOrphans also addresses the complexities of how Christians are to respond ethically, compassionately, and comprehensively to the biblical call to care for orphans.

KnowOrphans is the next step in conversation as this evangelically based movement of orphan care matures and begins to live out James 1:27 globally.

My Thoughts

I love reading material that forces me to remember that life exists outside my own sphere of family and friends. This book did that for me. KnowOrphans is a great guide and information source for those thinking of adopting–especially transnationally–or getting involved in orphan care in any way.

I expected two things of this book before reading it: that it would be full of stories that tugged at my heartstrings and that it would amount to a 188-page persuasion essay on the subject of adoption. I was wrong on both counts. Instead, KnowOrphans is a how-to and informational handbook for the church and for potentially adoptive families on the subject of God’s call for us to take care of the fatherless.

This is a great resource for those thinking of adopting or in the process of adopting. It’s also great for those who want to get involved in orphan care without adopting–a concept mentioned in this book several times. Rick Morton makes it clear that many people are not called to adopt, but we are all called to care for the fatherless. I love his examples of churches with strong orphan care programs.

This passage from page 38 stood out to me, and I thought I would share:

“Repeatedly throughout the Old Testament narrative, we find a consistent association among widows, orphans, and sojourners . . . God associates caring for these three groups as evidence of His people’s obedience and righteousness (Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:28-29). God even says abuse of vulnerable groups, such as widows, the fatherless, and the sojourner, sometimes identified as poor or oppressed, is among the most glaring evidence of the disobedience of His people” (Isaiah 1:17; 10:2; Jeremiah 5).

What I Thought Could Have Been Better

This isn’t something that could have been “better,” because I believe the book fulfilled the purpose the author intended; however, many organizations were mentioned, and it was hard to keep them straight. This is definitely a book you read with purpose, not for leisure.

I give this book 4 stars.

One star – No comment.
Two stars – Couldn’t get into it.
Three stars – Pretty good.
Four stars – Great read!
Five stars – Worth reading more than once.

In compliance with FTC regulations: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publicist on behalf of the author and publisher in exchange for this honest review. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Visit Rick’s website.
Visit the Blog Tour Page.
Follow Rick on Twitter.
Purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author

KnowOrphans Book Review

Rick Morton is the father of three transnational adopted children and coauthor of the popular book Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care. His dedication to the plight of orphans extends beyond his own family. The Mortons were cofounders of Promise 139, an international orphan-hosting ministry based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. An inspiring speaker for the gospel to be expressed by the church living out God’s heart for the fatherless, Rick presents at adoption and orphan-care conferences and pastor’s conferences. Rick and his family live in the Greater Memphis area.

April’s Pick-a-Book Game & Giveaway

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Time for another giveaway! April 1 – 15, you can enter to win any book from the list I’ve reviewed in 2014. For fun, I’ve decided to include a game for those who want a chance to win an extra book:

1. Leave a comment on this post. Make sure you leave your email address!
(If you leave it like this–name(at)whatever(dot)com–your comment will not need approval.)

2. One random commenter will win any book of his or her choice. Drawing is noon April 15.

3. If you want a chance to win an extra surprise book, here’s the game!

Five strangers–a youth pastor, a banker, a cheerleader, a Target store manager, and an English teacher–are stranded for three hours in a broken elevator. When the elevator starts back up, two are in love and two can’t stand each other. Which two are in love, which two can’t stand each other, and why?

The person with my favorite response will win a surprise book. Give it a try, even if you think your scenario is silly. You never know what might strike my fancy. (Just ask those who’ve played Apples to Apples with me!)

 A few sentences is sufficient–unless a full-blown plot pops into your head and you’re willing to share. :)

US mailing addresses only, please. Winner(s) will have 3 days to respond to my email to claim prize.
Winner of game and winner of random drawing may be the same person.

For more Christian book giveaways, check out Christian Bookshelf Reviews’ weekly giveaway link-up!

UPDATE: Congrats to Michelle for winning the drawing and to Hannah Peasha for winning the game!
More giveaways to come…

Book Review & Giveaway: “The Devil Walks in Mattingly” by Billy Coffey

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The Devil Walks in Mattingly Book Review & Giveaway

The Book

For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man’s untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . . and the last thing they expect to receive.

It has been twenty years since Philip McBride’s body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since—Philip didn’t kill himself that day. He was murdered.

Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly’s sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.

Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake’s dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . Between truth and lies.

My Thoughts

I finished this book with burning eyes and a mild throb forming behind my forehead–because I was so into the story, I couldn’t put the book down to go to sleep! The Devil Walks in Mattingly is an intriguing (and somewhat creepy) story that will keep you guessing and turning pages until the end. I love a book where I’m never once restless to skip ahead. This book was one of those. At almost 400 pages long, the story and action never once sagged.

Billy Coffey’s writing has been compared to Mark Twain’s and has been said to follow the vein of The Shack. I honestly didn’t care for The Shack that much, but I can see where the comparison stems from. To me, the writing was like Frank Peretti crossed with Ted Dekker–yet distinctly Billy Coffey! That being said, it’s not for everyone. I started reading this book not realizing it is a tale of the supernatural (ghosts included), which I’m not usually big on. There is also some blood and gore involved. I would not recommend this book to younger readers.

Billy Coffey’s writing is superb; the characters in this book are very real, very easy to imagine, very distinct. The whole book is full of strong scenes and vivid imagery. I’ve grabbed a sentence from the book to use as an example. Don’t you love how the author says, “Lucy was hungry”?:

Lucy inhaled and the scent traveled well south of her nose and settled into the roomy part of her stomach, where it came to life in a series of hungry rumbles.

What I Thought Could Have Been Better

It seems like a book like this would have done well to emphasize a relationship with Jesus Christ at the end. Instead, the humans are kind of left to fight their demons on their own . . . Though God is mentioned and somewhat given credit for the resolution of their angst, it’s only in a roundabout way. Some Christian authors prefer to write to where non-Christians are likely to enjoy their work, and admittedly, The Devil Walks in Mattingly is a book non-Christians can enjoy. Still, I feel the strong spiritual overtones of this book call for more involvement from the only One who can truly help the characters.

The only other thing I saw was that there were so many questions that went unanswered until the book was almost finished that sometimes I got a little confused trying to follow what was going on. Even so, the mystery of the tale was one of its strong points. After finishing the book, even with stinging eyeballs, I went back and reread chapter one–which was titled “The End” because it then made so much more sense.

I’ve never read Billy Coffey’s books, but apparently there are several others. The Devil Walks in Mattingly takes place four years before When Mockingbirds Sing. 

I give this book 5 stars.

One star – No comment.
Two stars – Couldn’t get into it.
Three stars – Pretty good.
Four stars – Great read!
Five stars – Worth reading more than once.

In compliance with FTC regulations: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publicist on behalf of the author and publisher in exchange for this honest review. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Visit Billy’s website.
Visit the Blog Tour Page.
Follow Billy on Twitter.
Purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author

Billy Coffey, Author The Devil Walks in Mattingly

Billy Coffey’s critically-acclaimed books combine rural Southern charm with a vision far beyond the ordinary. He is a regular contributor to several publications, where he writes about faith and life. Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.




Billy Coffey is celebrating his new book, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway.


One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 5th. Winner will be announced April  7th on Billy’s blog. Watch Billy give the backstory of the book here.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Billy’s blog on April 7th to see if you won.