Sunday, December 24, 2017

Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!!!

Luke 2:1-20 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Birth of Jesus Christ

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Rebecca Reviews ~ Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings

 Published December 5th 2017

When dance hall singer Louisa Bell visits Fort Reno to see her brother, she is mistaken for the governess that the harried Major Daniel Adams is waiting for. Between his rowdy troops and his two daughters, he has more responsibility than he can handle alone. Eager for the opportunity, Louisa sets out to show the widower that she is a perfect fit.

 About the Author 

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.

Rebecca's Review
4 STARS!!!

"I am Lovely Lola Bell. He will be enchanted with my performance and will love my show." . . . . . .

Except that Louisa Bell has landed the job of a governess, albeit by mistake, for Major Daniel Adams' precocious girls on remote Fort Reno in Indian Territory. Escaping her life as a dance hall singer after being replaced by a younger, more promiscuous talent; Louisa heads towards her unruly brother's last known residence as a cavalry soldier. She never expected her ruse to last more than a few days, especially following her unbelievable introduction to the handsome fort commander.

Major Daniel Adams was expecting a more severe rendition of a governess than Miss Louisa Bell. How can he possibly endure the lovely creature that is stumbling through his girls' lessons, privately rendezvousing with one of his most annoying soldiers, and appearing in his dreams as an angel in blue satin? She is hiding something, he is sure of it.

Join Regina Jennings as she expertly captures your sympathy, empathy and undivided attention while Louisa and Daniel march their way towards the future with more than one unexpected, and often comedic, turnabout. Checkmate!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated are entirely my own.  

Rebecca is a graduate of Bryan College with a degree in Christian Education, and is currently serving at the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina as the Director of Children's Ministry. With nearly 28 years of experience in her field, she has had many opportunities to use her love of reading and writing in creative ways across the generations. A wife, mother of four "nearly" grown children, and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, Rebecca has been able to return to her love of reading and more recently reviewing, with a renewed passion for the "beauty of story".

~Merry Christmas~

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Mother for His Family by Susanne Dietze

Coming January 2, 2018

 A Convenient Arrangement

Lady Helena Stanhope’s reputation is in tatters…and she’s lost any hope for a “respectable” ton marriage. An arranged union is the only solution. But once Helena weds formidable Scottish widower John Gordon, Lord Ardoch, and encounters his four mischievous children, she’s determined to help her new, ever-surprising family. Even if she’s sure love is too much to ask for.

All John needs is someone to mother his admittedly unruly brood. He never imagined that beautiful Lady Helena would be a woman of irresistible spirit, caring and warmth. Or that facing down their pasts would give them so much in common. Now, as danger threatens, John will do whatever it takes to convince Helena their future together—and his love—are for always.

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the author of several historical romances who's seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher's Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her on her website,

: : :

Purchase Link

My Review
5 STARS!!!

Lady Helena Stanhope is victim of a horrific crime and receives not a stitch of emotional support from her family. In fact, they have convinced her she is at fault. In order to avoid any hint of scandal amid the ton, her parents arrange for a hurried marriage to the imposing John Gordon, aka Lord Ardoch, a Scottish widower with four rascally children, ages 13 to 5.

For such a small book it sure packs a punch. Dietze has cultivated an enchanting tale of love between Helena and John and the children. It does not so astonish what kindness, gentleness, and perseverance can accomplish over time. Restoration is a prevalent theme in this story, brought about in a tender way.

I recommend this book to fans of historical Inspirational romance because there is much more to the story that will bring warmth to your heart and leave you with a pleasant sense of satisfaction in this well-written narrative. And it never hurts that the hero is Scottish! :-)

The author provided a complimentary copy of the book. I was not required to write a review. All opinions are my own. No compensation has been received.

 ~Happy Reading~

Monday, December 11, 2017

Review ~ The Christmas Admirer by Laura V Hilton

Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but when his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, he was now the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters. What woman would want to put up with that? Still, against his better judgment, he can’t help leaving her a gift now and then, anonymously addressing her name in big block print, just to catch a smile. Roses one month, maple syrup candy another; and maybe this time, something special for Christmas.

Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, but now the clock is ticking. Her father is selling his glass-blowing business, remarrying in January, and moving to Iowa with his bossy wife-to-be. Angry and frustrated, Susanna realizes she’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah?

: : :

My Review
4 STARS!!!

Poor Susannah! Her one true love seems lost to her and now her father announces he is marrying a woman who obviously has no room for a step daughter. Her future is quite the dilemma.
Benaiah loves Susannah with a full heart and desires to marry her but has little by way of provision. How will he figure it all out? Will he be able to come up with a viable plan before he loses Susannah forever?

Hilton knows how to write about young love full of angst and trial. Her knowledge of the Amish community is clear and vast but the best part is the Cinderella-esque nature of the story.
Fans of Amish fiction with twists and turns will enjoy this yuletide tale. I was provided a copy from the author and publisher with no expectation of a review. No compensation has been received.

Have you read any book/s recently that reminded you of a fairy-tale? 

Friday, December 8, 2017

2018 Book Club Reading List

Conundrum of a Book Club Leader; So Many Books, Only So Many Months in a Year!
By: Rebecca Maney

What a privilege it has been to facilitate one of my church’s book clubs over the past several years. Like any other group, our club has developed a personality all its own, thus recommending titles distinctive to our members’ reading tastes and preferences is a challenge that I usually welcome.

This year however, I struggled a bit, unsure of  exactly how to choose among myriads of good books, until I read a post by author Sondra Kraak, titled “Reading Fiction in Him” featured on the blog “Reading is my Superpower”, hosted by Carrie Booth Schmidt. Sondra concludes by saying, “You can glean spiritual truth from any story, because the communicator of truth is not the story itself but the Holy Spirit, and He speaks through stories of all kinds . . . . . the key is to read with an openness and expectancy that God wants to speak to you. “

From that point on, the choices became much clearer. We are reading books that God, the Holy Spirit, used to speak to my own heart, which you can see, are very different in topic and style!

Join us, as we read with expectancy in 2018! 

January – Centralia – Mike Dellosso

February – The Lady and the Lionheart – Joann Bischof

March – Cup of Dust – Susie Finkbeiner

April – Time to Stand – Robert Whitlow

May – For Such a Time – Kate Breslin

Summer Author- Sarah Loudin Thomas

September – The Conspiracy of Silence – Ronie Kendig

October – The Space Between Words – Michele Phoenix

November – The Mark of the King – Jocelyn Green

December – Restoring Christmas – Cynthia Ruchti

Rebecca is a graduate of Bryan College with a degree in Christian Education, and is currently serving at the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina as the Director of Children's Ministry. With nearly 28 years of experience in her field, she has had many opportunities to use her love of reading and writing in creative ways across the generations. A wife, mother of four "nearly" grown children, and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, Rebecca has been able to return to her love of reading and more recently reviewing, with a renewed passion for the "beauty of story".

Wow! Sounds like 2018 is going to be a great year for Rebecca's book club.

Do you belong to a book club? If so, what books will you be reading? Or what books would you like to read? Please share in the comments below. We love talking books! 

~Happy Reading~

Thursday, December 7, 2017


You won Colors of Christmas by Olivia Newport!

Thanks again to all who took time to leave a comment. I loved hearing about your favorite decorations! 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Review ~ Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano

When shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair's mother catches Gertrude Cadwalader, paid companion to the light-fingered Mrs. Davenport, returning a pilfered item, she comes to the wrong conclusion. However, Harrison is eager to mend fences once he realizes the error. After a real thief starts preying on society, can Gertrude and Harrison catch the culprit?

About the Author

Jen Turano is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. She pursued a career in management for nine years before switching to full-time motherhood after the birth of her son. When she's not writing, Jen can be found watching her teenage son participate in various activities, taking long walks with her husband and dog, socializing with friends, or delving into a good book. She lives in suburban Denver, Colorado. Learn more at

My Review
5 STARS!!!

I have long been a fan of Turano’s books and Out of the Ordinary is definitely one of the best yet! Gertrude and Harrison settled down deep in my heart. They are dear friends and have this quiet yet obvious attraction between them. Watching their ambrosial friendship develop into something more was pure delight.

Out of the Ordinary has an astonishing cast of supporting characters. Agent McParland and Edwina are two of my favorites. Surely they need a novella at the very least. J It’s hard to read one of Turano’s stories without smiling often and letting out a few hardy chuckles. I was wholeheartedly captured by the witticism and nutty antics but you know there has to be more than just good humor to round out the plot and make it complete. It has to go deeper.  And it does in several ways but the character arc that touched me the most was Mrs. Davenport, Gertrude’s employer. She is a might unconventional with a slightly shifty side but there is more to her story. I was utterly caught off guard by the turn it took near the end and thought it was one of the best moments when Mrs. Davenport is found in the church. I know that is cryptic but I don’t want to give anything away. I definitely recommend this book to fans of Inspirational historical fiction.

Bethany House Publishers provided a complimentary copy of the book. I was not required to write a review. All opinions are my own. No compensation has been received.

~Happy Reading~

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas Angel, and a Book Giveaway

I decorated our tree already. Usually I like to wait until around the 10th of December but my husband and son talked me into it early this year. I kept things rather simple and uncluttered, mostly because I don't have the gift of decorating. :-)

And it's a sad time of year for me. I miss my daughter Amy, and my mom whose birthday was Christmas Eve. Momma loved to craft and just about every ornament I unwrapped reminded me of her in some way. I treasure the memories but anyone who has lost someone will admit the holidays are difficult. Most of the time we just don't say anything. 

 The first Christmas without our daughter, I took our Angel topper out of the box and plugged her in but she didn't light up. New bulbs did not fix her. I searched every store in our area for a new one but no one carried the same kind anymore. She had been purchased the year our daughter was born so she was 28 years old. I was heart broken. 

So, that first Christmas after Amy's death, we didn't have a topper. Frankly, I didn't want another one but my family asked me to put something on top of the tree the next year so I bought a pretty dark haired angel that reminded me of Amy. 

This past summer I was at an estate sale and saw an angel topper with two lights. She was almost identical to the one we had before! I picked her up and asked the owner, an elderly lady, if I could plug the angel in to see if she worked and she did! I know it sounds ridiculous but I started to cry. The lady said, "Obviously there is a memory attached to an angel in your past." I shared with her the story I just told y'all and she started crying, enveloped me in a big hug and told me to take the angel. It was her gift to me. 

Isn't she lovely? I suppose I'm a sentimental old fool. I know it doesn't really matter which angel is on top of the tree or even if it is a bow, but every time I see this lighted Angel, I smile. And I think about the blessing that lady's gift continues to be which in turn causes me to think of the real gift of Christmas, Christ Jesus. ;-)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Do you have any ornaments or decorations that you're 'attached' to?
A special memory you would like to share?
If so, I would love to chat with you in the comments.

I'm giving away my copy of Colors of Christmas by Olivia Newport .
My gift to you for taking time to visit me here at Stuff & Nonsense. :-)
Be sure and leave an email address in a non-spam format so I can contact you if you win.
I have to limit the giveaway to US participants only, due to postage costs.

~Blessings, my Friends~

U.S. Air Force Band - 2017 Holiday Flash Mob

I love watching the flash mob videos each year and always think how awesome it would be to witness one in person, especially a military band.

Go USAF!!!


Friday, December 1, 2017


Melissa Oldaker 
won the e-copy of Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham!

Thanks to each of you who stopped by to read the interview and enter the giveaway. 
And we especially appreciate Pepper Basham taking time to chat with us and offer a book to one of our readers!!!

~Happy Reading, Y'all~

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Short Review ~ Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham

About the Book

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looked as good as it did on Rainey Mitchell.

Rainey Mitchell does not need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptation wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne. When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again?

My Review
5 STARS!!!

What can I say?! I love, Love, LOVE this story!!! It was such fun to read. Pepper always writes stories with a deep thread of faith woven into the plot but it's her absolutely solid and over-the-top characters that hold my attention. She is a master in the drama department and CTT has no shortage to keep a reader glued to the pages. I can't wait until the next book in 2018! The author gave me an e-copy of this book but did not require a review. No compensation has been received.

Enter to win an e-book of Charming the Troublemaker here.

~Happy Thanksgiving~

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Interview with Pepper Basham + Giveaway ~ Charming the Troublemaker (e-book)

Hey Y’all! I am delighted to share my most recent interview with Pepper Basham, author of ‘Britallachian romance peppered with grace and humor.’ Pepper has a new book out, Charming the Troublemaker. It’s another sigh worthy winner with a swoony hero! AND….if you read to the end and leave a comment, you might win an e-book!
Welcome back to Stuff & Nonsense, Pepper!
Anne, as always, it’s such a pleasure to spend time with you today. Thank you for the opportunity to share about stories and favorites and all those sorts of things.
Tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey.
Well, I’ve been writing ever since I learned how. In fact, I still have my first ‘chapter book’ I wrote (and POORLY illustrated) when I was 10 years old and my first mystery book I wrote when I was 12. Words, writing, and storytelling have been a constant part of my life, as present as faith and family. I suppose that’s why they always seem to go together in my story-creating process 😊
After YEARS of pursing publication, my first novel was published with Vinspire Publishing in May 2015. From that point on, I’ve had opportunity to publish 5 more full-length novels and one novella. It’s been a VERY busy journey!!
Wow!!! That’s a lot of books in just two years. I’m so glad you’re on a roll! And here is Pepper's youngest holding a story Pepper wrote when she was a youngster. 

What do you think makes a good story?
Oh goodness! There are various ways to make a good story, but I think the BEST is through memorable characters. I know there’s this fun writing dialogue going on about which is more important, plot or characters, in creating good stories, and though they are BOTH powerful tools for storytelling, I think characters are USUALLY the best option for story-strength. If you can have BOTH, then that’s even better.
I have to agree on that one. I recently read a story that had a good plot but the characters…dull and boring. :(
Do you have a favorite book? What about it makes it stand out from others?
Actually, I DO have a favorite (but I’m also editing another one that might become a favorite too), but the hero in my just-released novel, Charming the Troublemaker, might be one of my favorite heroes I’ve ever written!! As far as STORY, my contemporary romcom, Just the Way You Are, is one I love to go back and reread. I love the humor, the romance, the setting, the mystery…yep! Everything I enjoy best in a book I tossed into that one! British hero, clumsy American single-mom, Scooby-Doo references, 500-year old towers, a sweet and crazy family, adorable kids…yep!! FAV!!
Oh yes!!!  Just the Way You Are is de-lish! As my momma used to say. :-)
What’s the one food item you can’t live without?
ACK! Only one??? That’s like asking me who my favorite child is!?! 😉 Chicken! I love chicken. And chocolate (not together, btw).
Two of my favorites! Especially chocolate. :)
Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and just have to get up and write down a thought? If so, do you keep a tablet on your bedside table or go to the computer?
I keep a tablet by the bed but RARELY (read really NEVER) use it in the middle of the night. Sleep is WAAAYYYY too important to me 😉
Haha! I like sleep but at my age, I do wake up a lot in the middle of the night.
Do you talk to your characters? Keep story boards? Pictures? 
I definitely talk to them and have pictures of the characters, setting, buildings. I don’t really keep a storyboard but I do map out my towns. I do a whole lot of daydreaming.
Um. Your stories cause all of us to do a whole lot of daydreaming. 😉
Can you give us a glimpse into your next book or story idea?
Let me tease you with two!
I have an upcoming historical and an upcoming contemporary.
The historical romance set in WW1 Appalachia. It has a Christy spin but is actually based on some of my own personal family history. City boy teacher comes to Appalachia and lives change 😊
I plan to have the second Pleasant Gap novel arrive in 2018 too. It’s about two introverts, which is a new thing for me, but there’s humor, heart, family, and a historical mystery thread like its predecessor.
I also have two novellas coming out in 2018 as part of compilations – one historical and one contemporary, so you can keep your eyes open for those too 😊
2018 is looking better already!
Have you traveled to locations that your books are set in? Where is the one place you would love to set a book but know you cannot possibly go there? Would you write it anyway?
I have been to England – where my Penned in Time series and Just the Way You Are are partially set. I’d gladly go back ANY time. LOVE Britain. I’m not really sure of a place I wouldn’t write about just because I haven’t visited there. I have a few fantasy book ideas and the only way to get there is in my mind 😉
Point taken!
Since you write swoon-worthy romance, what is the most romantic thing your husband has done for you? Only if you can share ;)
Hee hee, well, on a little scale…I’m a BIG fan of hugs. He’s not a hugger, but he works REALLY hard to give me hugs on a regular basis because he knows I’m super-affectionate (and love hugs…kisses too). As far as grander things, sacrificing time and money to take me on my first trip to England 10 years ago was pretty romantic (as in REALLY romantic).
That is so sweet! Sounds like you found a keeper. 
Where can you be found on the internet?
I LOVE interacting with my readers!! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on my website.
Thanks again, Pepper, for indulging my curiosity about the writer life.

GIVEAWAY INFO - Pay attention!!! :-)
You’ll need to be a GFC follower in order to be entered for the giveaway because I am ditching the email sign up through Feedburner. Technical difficulties with the backend of the program are causing hundreds of spammy email followers. Until I find another way to have email sign ups, PLEASE follow thru GFC. I've announced this a couple of times. If you want to continue to get updates about giveaways etc, you'll have to switch. Sorry! 
Pepper is offering an e-book copy of Charming the Troublemaker to one of my followers. Since Pepper writes both contemporary and historical, leave a comment letting us know which genre you enjoy best, along with your email address in a non-spam format like this -- jane(at)doe(dot)net -- in order to be entered. Giveaway ends Nov 27th