Saturday, December 29, 2018

Rebecca's Top Ten Reads in 2018

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 over 30 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".

Top Ten Reads of 2018 – Rebecca Maney

Selecting ten stories, out of over two hundred, was a daunting task; there were things that I liked about all of them. Eventually, the books that rose to the top of the list shared several distinct characteristics; unique story lines and/or settings, outstanding characters, and deep revelations of grace, mercy, and truth. There were many books that had one or even two of these elements, but it was rather rare to experience all three. And in the end, these were the stories that came to my remembrance over and over and over again. 
So, in no particular order:

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

A Song Unheard by Roseanna White

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynn Gentry

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Politano

Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Mark of the Raven by Morgan Busse

The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Younts

Honorable Mention:
Three Words and a Kiss by Sondra Kraak

Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

Liar’s Winter by Cindy Sproles

Are any of these books on your Top Ten in 2018 list?
Please share in the comments!

If you would like to see ALL of Rebecca's books she read and reviewed in 2018, just click on the graphic below and it will take you to Goodreads. You can also follow Rebecca's reviews from her profile.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Top Ten Reads in a few more ;-)
My Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2018 was 30 books. I know how life so often interrupts when I announce lofty goals so I purposefully kept this one lower. I surpassed my goal by 26 books, totaling 56 books I actually kept track of. 
That isn't too bad in my book. ;-)

 Top Ten Reads in 2018, in no particular order are:

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Things I Never Told You by Beth Vogt

Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig

Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

Stratagem by Robin Caroll

A Song Unheard by Roseanna White

Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky

Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano

His Risk by Shelley Shepard Gray

A Caffeine Conundrum by Angela Ruth Strong

Honorable Mentions:

The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer

NOVELLAS worth checking out:

Jane by the Book by Pepper Basham

Up on the Housetop by Liz Isaccson

Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall

Mistletoe Kiss by Andrea Boyd

Hmmm..only choosing 10 books is not easy. Maybe impossible. Obviously.
In all seriousness, and who isn't serious about books, right??? 
 Each of these Christian fiction stories were among my favorites for different reasons. Some are humorous, some are tearjerkers, some are nail-biting suspense, but most have a combination of all these elements.

Have you read any of these books? If so, which ones? Please share your thoughts or recommendations in the comment section below. 

There are two giveaways going on right now here at Stuff & Nonsense.

Review ~ The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz + Kindle E-book Giveaway

Leave a comment along with your email on either or both of those posts to be entered to win a book. Comments left here pertaining to the giveaways will not count. Both giveaways end Jan 2nd.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Glory to God in the Highest

and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!
Luke 2:14

Isaiah 9:6-7 

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
 Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Author Interview w/ Jen Turano + Giveaway

UPDATE: Giveaway has ended!!!

Hi Jen, I am delighted to have you back on the blog. I know this is a busy time of year so let’s get right to it and chat Christmas favorites!

What was your favorite gift as a child?

 I always loved the dolls I received – my favorite being Velvet – my sister got the Chrissie doll that year, and what was fun is that Chrissie had reddish hair, Velvet had blonde – and I had red hair and my sister was blond –We always thought Santa had made a mistake, but nope – Chrissie was Velvet’s older sister, Gretchen was my older sister – which is exactly why Santa dispensed the dolls as he did – or at least that’s what happened according to my mom back in the day….

What is your favorite Christmas song?

My favorite song seems to change year to year – this year it’s ‘Cantique De Noel’ sung by Andrea Bocelli – such a beautiful rendition.

What part of the Christmas meal is your favorite?

We always have a turkey for the Christmas meal, which is odd because no one in my family is overly fond of turkey – however, my favorite of that meal is the stuffing – but I only like stuffing that’s cooked in a turkey – hence the reason for insisting turkey is served 😊 

What is your favorite Christmas book or movie?

My favorite Christmas book of all times is “Why the Chimes Rang and Other Stories” by Raymond Macdonald Alden. It’s old (first released in 1906) but it’s the perfect story to read about the true meaning of Christmas.

If you would like to share about what is coming up next for you that would be great! 
So next is the start of a new series – The American Heiress Series. Book one is “Flights of Fancy” releasing Jan. 1 with the second book in the series, “Diamond in the Rough” releasing Fall 2019. I’ll also be in a novella collection with three fabulous authors this fall as well, and then, after I finish writing the last book in this series, I’ll be diving into a new series – details to follow in a month or so.

About Flights of Fancy (from Goodreads):
Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she's always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he's unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora's secret threaten those they love, they'll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

Thanks for sharing some of your Christmas favorites with us, Jen!

What would you like to ask my readers?

Because it is the Christmas season, I enjoy hearing about amusing gifts people have received throughout the years. The one to spring to mind for me was a pair of slippers – pink pig slippers to be exact, but here’s the thing – they were so big it was like sticking your feet into two stuffed animals. After I finally admitted defeat, realizing I couldn’t even walk up the stairs with them on without fearing for my very life, I turned them into golf club covers for Al – and get this – someone stole them when he parked his bag outside this club to grab a bite to eat – that was the end of the very amusing pink pigs. Now it’s your turn – 

What was the most amusing gift you’ve received???? 

Jen can be found on Facebook -
But all of her books are featured on her website –

Mandatory Entries: Leave a comment answering Jen's question — What was the most amusing gift you’ve received????along with your email address in a non-spammy format (jane at doe dot com) to be entered in the giveaway for an autographed copy of Flights of Fancy, releasing Jan 2019! US ONLY!!! Giveaway ends Jan 2.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Review ~ The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz + Kindle E-book Giveaway

UPDATE: Giveaway has ended!!!

Okay, Y'all! I know I said I was finished with posting book reviews. My every intention has been to read a couple of books that have long been on my to-read list but not for review purposes...just pure enjoyment. 

But...The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz is amazing!!! Rebecca kept telling me I needed to read it and I kept saying yeah, yeah, yeah. When I get time. Well, I finally 'got time'. And let me tell you, if you haven't read it, you should. It is unbelievably rich in colonial history. Living in this part of VA where the story is set only made it that much more fascinating for me. Here is my 'official review'.

My Review 

This is my first Laura Frantz book. I now understand what all the buzz is about surrounding her stories. The Lacemaker is an extraordinary narrative with thrilling intrigue and swoon worthy romance but the most fascinating aspect of the story for me is the rich historical detail surrounding a monumental time in our nations history. The imagery is enthralling even when a couple of things seem implausible. I also appreciate the fact the author chose not to portray Liberty (Lady Elisabeth) as mercurial but instead brought forth a strong independent character who rose to the occasion when faced with harrowing and destitute circumstances. Seeing Liberty's growth was a fine addition, increasing my overall enjoyment of the story. When it comes to Liberty and Noble's relationship, Frantz's ability to write a tension-filled romantic scene without any inappropriateness at all is astounding! One of the best authors I've read who writes them with class and sophistication. I highly recommend this book to anyone. I read a library copy and was not required to write a review. 

About the Book
(From Goodreads)

When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth "Liberty" Lawson is abandoned by her fiance and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story.

There you go! If you receive book money, grab a copy. Or check your library. I'm sure they carry her books.


Share in a comment your favorite book of 2018 and you'll be entered to win a Kindle copy of The Lacemaker!!! If you can retrieve it in your country, throw your name in the comments below! Ends Jan 2.

I'll be posting my Top Ten for 2018 soon. Rebecca's too!!! 
So stay tuned for your TBR to grow. :-)

If I don't 'see' y'all before Tuesday, Merry Christmas!!! I love each one of you who takes time to stop by and read our posts and participate in the blog. 

God bless you!!!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Three Quick Reads I Enjoyed

Good day to all!! My husband was out of town last week and I had some extra time on my hands in the evenings. I thought I would share three books I read while he was gone. Two are definitely Christmas themed and any of the three can be read in just a couple of hours or less.

My Thoughts
5 STARS!!!

Up on the Housetop is a fast-paced contemporary novella (or really short novel) that has just the right amount of fun, drama, and romance. I got it free on Kindle and I'm glad I did. It's my first Liz Isaacson book but won't be my last. I like her writing style.

My Thoughts
4.5 STARS!!!
Crandall sure knows how to write a spellbinding romance. I devoured this novella in just a couple of hours. I don't think readers will have trouble sorting out the characters from the previous books. If you haven't read them, I would highly encourage starting with The Hesitant Heiress, which introduces the Everstone family. I read that one when it debuted and really liked it. My only hesitation continuing the series was the fact they are written in first person POV and I struggle with that form. Hence, I now need to go back and read the other books because it didn't take me long to get my bearings with Enchanting Nicholette, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I was gifted a copy of the book from the author and publisher. No review was required. No compensation was received.

My Thoughts
5 STARS!!!

I loved it!!!
 Mistletoe Kiss is a cute and witty Christmas story for under a buck on Kindle!

For Advent, I've been reading a chapter a day from the book of Luke. With 24 chapters, when I finish the book on Christmas Eve, I will have read Jesus' life story. Doing it this way has given me time to meditate on God's Word and I find myself having quite a few ah-ha moments. 
Do you have any recommended reads for Christmas? Or how about for Advent?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Rebecca Reviews ~ Mind Games (Kaely Quinn Profiler #1) by Nancy Mehl

Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 4th 2018 by Bethany House Publishers 
Kaely Quinn's talents as an FBI behavior analyst are impossible to ignore, no matter how unorthodox her methods. But when a reporter outs her as the daughter of an infamous serial killer, she's demoted to field agent and transferred to St. Louis.

When the same reporter who ruined her career claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely's, the reporter's ulterior motives bring his claim into question. But when a body is found that fits the poem's predictions, the threat is undeniable, and the FBI sends Special Agent Noah Hunter to St. Louis.

Initially resentful of the assignment, Noah is surprised at how quickly his respect for Kaely grows, despite her oddities. But with a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else--including Kaely herself--is killed.
Rebecca's Review
5 STARS!!!

"It was time. Let the mind games begin."

Struggling constantly against the misconceptions of others, F. B. I. profile expert Kaely Quinn does use rather unconventional techniques. Being the daughter of a notorious serial killer doesn't endear her to many of her colleagues, but her inclination to have conversations with imaginary suspects might typically place her into the "nutcase" category, except that she is incredibly talented in her field; some would even say brilliant.

When a chilling poem clearly targeting Kaely arrives on the desk of an overzealous newspaper reporter, it becomes up to Special Agent Noah Hunter to take the lead on the case, solve the riddles and keep Kaely Quinn alive. Her reputation and eccentric methodology precedes her, but Noah has been instructed to keep his "mind on the game" and not allow himself to be attracted to the person within; easier said that done, because Kaely's broken spirit is wrapped in a tender and authentic faith, fully clothing her in courage and strength.

An absolutely brilliant thriller!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions stated above 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".