The Dawn of Christmas

When Sadie’s carefully laid plans fell apart, she sought refuge in her mission trips to Peru.  But years later when everything around her begins to crumble again, will she have the strength to go on?  Is Levi a part of her future, or will her bitter past steal him away too?

From the start, Sadie is faced with a difficult choice; one that will change her life forever.  Throughout the book she grows closer in her relationship to God, and it was a joy to see her spiritual journey unfold.  For me, this wasn’t the kind of book you read in one sitting.  Instead, it is more of a chapter-by-chapter process.  I grew fond of Sadie and Levi over time, but it didn’t happen right away.  Instead it took several chapters before their personalities and struggles won me over.  There were a few parts I found hard to get through, but there were also some chapters I didn’t want to end.  It’s a pretty short book to cover the amount of information, but it doesn’t feel rushed due to the length either.

This was an interesting book with a rather distinct premise, although like most romances it was somewhat predictable.  This is not really a fast paced book; it’s more of a slow-but-steady romance.  It was not completely centered on Christmas as the title leads you to believe, but Christmas does factor into the storyline somewhat.  All in all this was a sweet, shorter romance.  It’s a book I would recommend if you like Amish fiction.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

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For more information visit:

http://www.cindywoodsmall.com

http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=226490

http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/files/2013/06/SneakPeek_DawnofChristmas.pdf

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the Foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family. – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/author-spotlight.php?authorid=72213#sthash.ByAp3HWz.dpuf

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Finding Narnia

It all started with a book one dreary, rainy day.  Just a simple story about talking animals and endless winter and witches and kings.  A story about a noble good and a beautiful evil.  A story about a little girl like me.  A story about a lion.  It felt real, and I couldn’t tear myself away.

I held my breath as Lucy opened the door to the wardrobe.

I walked beside her as she entered the wintery wood.

I felt the snow crunch under my feet and saw the powdery white flakes falling down like magic.

I screamed at Edmund to run away from the witch while he still could.

I sat amazed when the children met the lion for the first time.

I feared for Edmund’s life.

I cried when Aslan died.

I laughed with pure joy when he came back.

I smiled when good won the battle and evil fell.

I felt sad for the children when they returned.

And I was crushed when I realized that I could never get to Narnia.

For a long time, a tiny part of me believed that if I just had enough faith, I could open a wardrobe door and find Narnia.  But then suddenly, somehow, that little piece of me died.

I’m not sure how it happened, really.  One day I believed in magic and the next that part of me was missing.

Someone told me it’s called growing up.

And ever since then, I’ve been trying to un-grow myself.  Why?  Because I need that magic back.  I need to believe in a lion bigger than life.  I need to know that good wins in the end. Because if it doesn’t, there’s really nothing left to hold on to.

But as hard as I try to un-grow, I just can’t find that magic.  And now school and work pull me back and forth, and somehow I think I let life get in the way of living.

I spend my days at a desk, trapped inside four grey walls.

Rain is a nuisance instead of a joy.

I have papers to write.

Tests to take.

I don’t have time for dreaming.

Sometimes I forget to live life because I’m so busy surviving life.

But sometimes when the wind is blowing softly I can almost hear the trees calling me…some days I can hear the music of Narnia somewhere deep inside my soul.  Some nights when I close my eyes I can feel the magic just waiting to break through.

I may not be able to find Narnia in real life, but that’s okay.

Because I think it’s inside of me.

Somewhere.

Somehow.

I think finding Narnia starts in my heart.

The Art of Dreaming

Dreaming.

Not everyone can do it.  Some say you’re born with it.  It’s a gift.  And a curse.  Because sometimes you dream so much that you forget to live.  And then you become a shadow, half awake and half asleep, lost in that place that doesn’t quite exist.  Some call it dreamland, but it’s so much more.  So beautiful.  So poisonous.  So peaceful.  So deadly.

Sometimes dreams birth hope, a tiny, feeble flame struggling for survival, burning with a seed of warmth deep in your heart. Sometimes dreams breed despair.  Fear, clutching at your heart with icy tendrils.  You’re too afraid to let go.  You’re too afraid to try.  Regretting both.

But you can be too afraid to dream.  Dreams are wonderful and magical and scary all at the same time, like the feeling you get when you stand at the edge of a cliff and see the beauty around you, knowing all the while that one misstep could mean death.

So you have a choice.

You can let that fear hold you back.

Or you can chase your dreams off that cliff.

Sometimes you fall.

But sometimes you learn to fly.

If you never try, you’ll never know.

And the never knowing might just kill you anyway.

 

So dream big.  Dream deep.  Dream castles in the sky.  But don’t forget to live.

A Jewel of a Story: Harvest of Rubies

She’s a scribe in ancient times. Reading and writing different languages is her gift. But when she does her job too well, the queen’s reward may be her undoing.

Harvest of Rubies is mostly a historical romance with a little bit of suspense and intrigue thrown in for good measure, but it is also a story about the broken finding healing, a story about a woman searching for God.

The character development progresses along nicely, and the plot was pretty original. It’s true, the main character’s lack of femininity was almost laughable, and I really can’t imagine that being tolerated in the time period where this book is set, but for the most part this was an intriguing book. I read it all in one sitting, which means it was good enough to keep my attention for 2+ hours.

If you like historical Christian romance with a little suspense, this book is a good choice.

All in all, this book was good enough that I’ll be getting the next one in the series, and I can’t wait to read more by Tessa Afshar.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Harvest-of-Rubies-by-Tessa-Afshar