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Messy Beautiful Love – Darlene Schacht (And a GIVEAWAY!!!)

Messy Beautiful Love is published by Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson.

Messy Beautiful Love is published by Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson.

About the Book
About the Author
Author Website

Summary: Love and marriage aren’t always easy. Darlene Schacht (from The Time-Warp Wife) shares with wives the importance of giving your marriage up to God. We’re all imperfect beings so we really can’t fix things ourselves. More than likely, we’ll just make them worse! But God is perfect, and marriage was His design, so who better to turn to? Drawing from personal experience and Scripture, Darlene shines the light on hope and where to turn when it gets messy.

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Review: My husband and I have been married for 9 1/2 years. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been worth it. We’re not exceptionally wonderful at it, but when we’re following God’s design for marriage things just go better. That’s the basic premise of Darlene’s newest book Messy Beautiful Love. I love how open and honest she writes, it’s like you’re sitting down across the table from each other talking. Personal experience that’s got Scriptural backing is always a plus! I know it’s discouraging to hear how God wants your marriage to work but then you don’t see any real evidence of it. If you haven’t seen it in your life and know what I mean, you’ll be happy to know that Darlene doesn’t just tell you about God’s design and then not give you real-life examples.

The book is divided into 15 chapters that break your marriage down into several parts. Rather than telling you how to do it all at once, which is overwhelming, Darlene does a great job breaking it up into smaller pieces that make it feel a lot more do-able! Each chapter has a little challenge at the end so that you can put what you’ve just read into practice. At the end of the book she includes her “31 Prayers for My Marriage”, which you download from her website and then print out to keep with your Bible or on the nightstand.

My favorite part of the book was the paragraph in chapter nine about the difference between “submission” and “equality” on page 120.  “Submission is yielding your will for the good of another. . . . Equality of people refers to our value.” Yes! This is something I get into discussions about often and Darlene’s explanation is a good way to explain it.

This would make a GREAT book to go through as a small group. I’d love to get a group of ladies together, either online or in person, and then go through it. I loved it and once I started reading I didn’t stop (which means another read through would be a good idea!).

If you’d like to WIN a copy of Darlene Schacht’s book Messy Beautiful Love, enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway! Thank you to the author and publisher for providing a copy to giveaway. US & Canada only. Giveaway ends Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Edited to add the winning entry: winner

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. As part of the launch team I also received the order bonus items. All thoughts are my own, no other compensation was received.

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Tosca Lee Q&A Continued

Before we continue with the Q&A, here’s a little bit about Tosca Lee.

tosca lee

“One of the most gifted novelists writing today.”—Steven James, best-selling author.

Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of Iscariot; Demon: A Memoir; Havah: The Story of Eve, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times best-seller Ted Dekker (Forbidden, Mortal and Sovereign). Her highly anticipated seventh novel, The Legend of Sheba, releases September 9, 2014.

Tosca received her B.A. in English and International Relations from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts with studies at Oxford University. She is a lifelong world adventure traveler and makes her home in the Midwest. To learn more about Tosca, visit www.toscalee.com.

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  • I understand you created a special bonus for your readers with Legend of Sheba. Can you tell us more about that?

Ismeni—a free eBook short story prequel to The Legend of Sheba—will be available August 26. This is the story of Sheba’s mother, and sheds some light on the man who would become the queen of Sheba’s right-hand councilor. It’s about 34 pages long, and also includes a preview of the Prologue and first chapter of The Legend of Sheba.

Links to Download FREE:
Amazon: http://bit.ly/IsmeniPrelude
Simon & Schuster: http://bit.ly/LegendofShebaPrequel

  • You recently won the 2014 Gold Medallion for fiction—what people may not know is this is the only award given each year by the ECPA for Christian fiction across all genres. And yet you’re known for your controversial points of view and pushing limits of the category. What is it about your books that you believe resonates so much with Christian readers?

I think it’s that I’m willing to go there and get gritty. To admit that halfway through the writing of Iscariot, I realized I was no longer writing his story… but my own. Havah is also my story. They all are. And we’re not that different, you and I. I like writing about these maligned characters because even though we may not want to, we can often identify with them far more readily than the good guys, who seem so untouchable. We all feel let down at some point by the way God fails to adhere to our agendas for Him. We all have moments when we think, “if you knew me—really knew me—you would not love me.” We all fail with the best of intentions, and we all want to be embraced exactly as we are. We are all as capable of darkness as we are of light—and often the darkness is far more tangible. The stuff in the Bible isn’t sterile—far from it. It’s gory, violent, sexual, and messy. But so is life. I want to be honest about fear and compromise as I am about hope, beauty and redemption.

  • You’ve also co-authored the Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker. Aside from the obvious, how does co-writing differ from writing solo?

It takes twice as much time. You have to spend a lot of time talking, planning, plotting, and going over what you’ve done. When you write solo, there is no need for consensus, and for making sure you are sharing the same vision of character, plot, and resolution. But writing solo is also scarier; you don’t have the safety net of a partner to catch your writing foibles, pick up the slack where you are not as strong, and to get you out of bed and into the chair each day. They both have their pros and cons.

  • You get approached by a lot of writers early in the process of trying to get published. What is your best advice for writers and for those hoping to pursue a career in writing?

Finish the work first. Far too many people write to me asking how to get an agent/editor/publishing deal and they haven’t even finished a novel or built up a body of work to sell. Finish the novel, and start another. And another, even after you approach agents or start to self-publish. Agents, in particular, want to know what else you have to offer and if you can produce on schedule. If you haven’t completed at least one sellable book, you are not ready to approach the industry. Finish the work. And please don’t send files to an author you don’t know personally to ask for his/her opinion of your writing. Many authors teach, edit or offer critiques as a business to support themselves. Sending them something out of the blue for their opinion presumptuously asks them to work for free.

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Legend of Sheba Intro

Did you hear?! Tosca Lee has a new book out today! Click here to watch a trailer and then come back here to read a Q&A provided by the author and her crew.

The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee is published by Howard Books.

The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee is published by Howard Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

The Legend of Sheba comes out TODAY (9/9/14) and is available from the following retailers or wherever books are sold:
Simon & Schuster
Amazon
ChristianBook.com

  • You are known for your meticulous research. How did researching Legend of Sheba differ from your other books?

After a year and a half of hard research for Iscariot, I thought research for Sheba would be much easier. Not so! It is much harder to fill in the historical record of 1000 years earlier than the time of Christ due to the dearth of archaeological progress in history-rich and troubled Yemen, natural phenomena such as the encroaching sands of the desert, and a lack of historical records recording any queen in the Southern Arabian region.

  • What do we actually know about the Queen of Sheba?

We know something about the Sabaean (the Israelite Sheba = ancient Arabian Saba) people: that they had a capital in Marib, a sovereign “federator” who united the kingdoms of Saba, an elegant and evolving script, a sophisticated dam near the capital that turned Marib’s dusty fields into oases, and that there is great evidence of Sabaean settlement in the area of Ethiopia near what would become Aksum. We know the Sabaeans of the 10th Century BC worshipped the moon god, Almaqah, though experts do not agree whether this was a male or female deity. We know that in terms of the ancient world, they were quite rich due in large part to their cultivation of frankincense in the southeastern region, and that they had an extensive and evolving trade network that extended as far north as Damascus, as far east as India, and as far west across the Red Sea as Ethiopia and the continent beyond.

  • The queen is a very minor character in the scope of the biblical narrative, but you assert that her famous visit to King Solomon is vitally important in the scope of Old Testament history. Why?

For two reasons. If the story of the United Monarchy (the kingdom of David and his son/successor, Solomon) is not true, then the bedrock of three major world religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) collapses into fiction, and the claim of Jews to the land of Israel with it. Perhaps the authors of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles knew that, because they took the opportunity to basically say, “Hey, this queen from the ends of the earth, that famous Queen of Sheba, came and brought tribute to our king, and blessed him and our god and said ‘All that I heard was true, and I never even heard the half of it!’” This is fascinating. It begs the question: what was it that was so great about this female sovereign—in a time when the world was ruled by men—and a pagan, no less… what was it about her that was so outstanding that her endorsement of Solomon, his riches, wisdom, and god, held so much weight as to be included in the Old Testament narrative? Who was this woman who matched wits with the wisest man in the world—whose throne was so secure that she could leave it and make the 1400 mile journey of half a year to visit this king… before making the long trek back? Well, this must be a woman worth knowing something about.

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To find Tosca Lee online you can hop over to any of these sites:

Website: http://www.toscalee.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorToscaLee
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ToscaLee
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/427839.Tosca_Lee
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/toscalee/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/toscalee

Upcoming this later this week: More Q&A with Tosca Lee and most importantly a review of The Legend of Sheba!

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“Moment Maker” Winner!

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May 24, 2014 · 12:17 AM

Reviews Coming Soon!

Sorry I’ve been a little scarce these days. Lots going on at home! Homeschool, hubby finishing college and applying for jobs, sickness… But things are back up and running and I have several reviews in the works!

If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath

Merlin’s Shadow by Robert Treskillard

Moment Maker by Carlos Whittaker 

The Holy Land Key by Ray Bentley

I’m also planning to run a giveaway when I review Moment Maker so keep your eyes open for that one! 

Until I post again, I bid you all a fond farewell. 🙂

 

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Guest Post Series

The new few posts published are going to be from Sheri Rose Shepherd, author of Your Heart’s Desire. Sheri has written a series of posts and has given me permission to look through them and pick the ones I’d like to feature here. After reading through them, I have made my choices and will be posting one a week for the next month or so. I hope you enjoy them and I pray that they bless you in some way.

If you would like more information about the author, click over here to her website and look around. I will post a review for the book mentioned above when I finish reading it. It just came in the mail today and I have a couple other books up for review first so it’ll probably be after the series of guest posts. 🙂

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MOMumental Review and Giveaway!

About the Author: Jennifer Grant is mother to four children and author of Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter (2011). For more than a decade she wrote for papers in the Sun-Times newsgroup. Currently she freelances for the Chicago Tribune and is a regular contributor to hermeneutics, Christianity Today magazine’s blog for women. Grant is a Wheaton College graduate who received her master’s in English and Creative Writing from Southern Methodist University. She lives outside of Chicago, IL.

Sample Chapter (opens as a PDF)

MOMumental is a parenting book like no other. Instead of telling you all about what you’re doing wrong, Jennifer Grant identifies with you. She meets you at your mom level and writes about being a mom. From parenting mistakes to parenting successes, Jennifer Grant makes sure to point out that in raising children, one of the most important things parents need to remember is to be intentional. She shares stories from her life to show the reader that parenting is never as perfect as we want it to be. She’s been there, she knows, and she wants to share with other parents, specifically moms, that we can do it. That even if we mess up sometimes, it’s probably not the end of the world, even if we feel like it!

I really liked this book. Being a mom I could identify with so much of what she wrote it wasn’t even funny! Mommy burnout, so been there. Learning how to be present, working on it. It’s going to sound so cliche but I laughed, I cried… I really did. Right now my kids are all small so when she wrote about the times her kids were younger and she had less than stellar moments, I understood completely. And it made me feel so much better knowing that I’m not the only one who has freaked out over something and then regretted it later. If you’re a mom and you need a little bit of encouragement, read MOMumental. I know, I know, “When?”. I totally get that, I read most of the book in the bathroom (hiding from kids, not actually using it!) or late at night. But seriously, get it, take your time reading it, it’ll be a blessing in some way, I’m sure. 🙂

And here’s the good part!! One lucky reader will win a copy of MOMumental!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a mommy moment you’re not too embarrassed to share. (When I post the winner, I’ll share one of mine!) This giveaway is open until June 3rd at midnight and the winner will be picked via random.org. For extra entries, share on Facebook and/or Twitter and leave another comment if you do (one for each).

Disclaimer: Handlebar Marketing gave me one book to review and one to give away in exchange for an honest review.

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The Funny, Broken, Love of Parenting: A Guest Post by Jennifer Grant

I click open a Facebook message. A friend has sent me a word search and tells me to let my eyes fall onto the image and take note of the first three words that I see. These are the words that best describe me, she promises.

I shrug, take a sip of coffee, and glance at it. “Funny,” “broken,” and “love” are my words.

When I close the message, I’m tempted for a moment to try again. What other words are hidden in that tangle of letters? Maybe on my second try, my eyes will land on a combination such as “smart,” “attractive,” and “successful.” (That would be nice.)

I don’t give it another try, though. The words I read the first time are just right considering how I’ve been spending my days for the past several months, thinking and writing about the family in which I am the wife and the mother and about my family of origin, where my story began.

Funny, broken, love – sounds like family.

MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family is about my own missteps and small victories as a mother. Over the years, after beginning my parenting journey – as so many of us do – staggering under the weight of the expectations I had for myself, I’ve loosened up. I’ve come to learn that none of us is perfect. We all fail, misunderstand our kids sometimes, and mess up in countless ways. In MOMumental, I share stories of some of my “epic fails” as a mom.

The dire messages that flash on the computer or television screen that warn what a mother absolutely must or must not do no longer hold me tightly in their grasp. I now look at myself – and at other mothers – with less judgment, knowing that we all work it out, there is no manual for motherhood, and that the most important thing in raising kids is to be authentically connected with them.

(And a person can do that whether she serves microwaved macaroni and cheese to her kids for lunch every day or gives them homemade bread and a sampling of organic greens from her vegetable garden. Whether or not she homeschools them, uses “the family bed,” or exposes them to Mozart by the time they are six days old.)

I hope in sharing my own personal – and often quite cringe-worthy – story in MOMumental, other parents will show themselves, and other parents, more grace as we raise our children.

To me, those three words – funny, broken, and love – are great ones to reflect on when I think about the gift of family. To be able to enjoy our kids, repair our relationships with them when needed, and most of to love our children like crazy covers a multitude of parental crimes and misdemeanors.

Wishing you all the best in your own messy family-making adventures!


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Look for my review of Jennifer Grant’s book MOMumental later this weekend! There may even be a giveaway involved… 

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Fundraising for Adoption

Today I’m posting a special post. This has nothing to do with books, except that once the family gets this little guy home I’m sure they’ll read to him.

I have a dear friend who is helping a family raise funds for their adoption. This post here is to let you know that there is a Thirty-One sale going on that will benefit the family! Thirty-One Event  I believe this event ends on the 30th so hurry on over and maybe contribute to the cause. :)

If you’d like to know more about the family who is adopting, you can visit their blog. This is the place to donate directly if you’d rather not buy something. The sweet little boy is named Malcolm and he’s as cute as can be! I will get a photo up here soon so you can see for yourself!

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Upcoming Reviews

Just writing a little post to tell you I have been reading some really good books lately and I am trying to finish them all so I can put up reviews. Currently on the list: Beyond Bath Time (Erin Davis), The Lordship of Christ (John MacArthur), and Days with Jesus (currently reading, written by Jim Jackson).

There may even be a giveaway going on in the coming week so keep your eyes open for more information on that!

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