Book Giveaway: HIS STEADFAST LOVE by Julie Lessman




Series: Isle of Hope
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Christian
Publisher: Indie
Publication date: August 1. 2017
She’s bent on fun.
He’s bent on faith.
Till true love bridges the gap.
Cat O’Bryen is the prodigal daughter unhappy with God. First, the father with whom she reconciled dies of cancer and now her twin sister and best friend marries, leaving Cat at home with a newlywed mother, her new husband, and a little brother. But when Cat moves in with a roommate of questionable morals, her family is worried, certain she’s on a path that could damage her faith forever.

Reluctant to get involved with a woman like the one who destroyed his life, ex-Navy SEAL Pastor Chase Griffin steers clear of the attraction he feels for Cat O’Bryen. Until her family begs him to take her under his wing, hoping he can draw her back into the fold. But when the draw she has on him proves too strong to resist, he must rely on the strength of God to offer a friendship as steady and strong as the God whose love is wooing her home. ​


The Books in the Series







Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.
Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series, Julie was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered 18 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also named on Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction list.
Julie’s most recent novel, Isle of Hope was voted on Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, and Surprised by Love appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2014. Her independent novel A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers’ Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. You can contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at




She cried her heart out for a solid ten minutes until her heaves thickened and slowed, the front of his shirt near sopping. He rubbed her arms. “Feel better?” His lips tipped when she allowed a few jerky nods against his chest, and fishing out a wad of tissues, he nudged them into her hands. “Here. My shirt is soaking wet, kiddo, and I’m a little worried it’s not all saltwater.”
“It’s not,” she said with a soggy smile, promptly blowing her nose several times. She blotted a handful of fresh tissues against the wet spot on his shirt. “One of the pitfalls of being a pastor, I suppose.”
“Or a good friend,” he said softly, wondering if she had any inkling how attracted he was to her. He hoped not because Cat was the type of woman who would use that to her advantage, and he couldn’t afford that. He’d worked too hard at keeping his distance.
A lesson learned the hard way.
“Hey,” he said with a duck of his head, compassion warm in his eyes, “wanna talk about it?”
With a soft moan, she flopped back against the console seat like a ragdoll. Resting her head, she stared up at a section of the headliner that was just beginning to buckle on the roof of his car, arms limp at her sides. “What’s there to talk about? My lifeline is gone, so I have to learn to go it alone, I guess, without Shannon there every minute of every day.”
“Hey, you still have Davey and your mom and Ben, with Jack and Lacey right next door,” he said, hoping to remind her how lucky she was to have the family she had.
A groan ground from her lips. “Oh, super. A twenty-six-year-old spinster in the same house with mommy, daddy, and little brother. One, I might add, who has to wear earplugs at night so she can’t hear what’s going on in her newlywed mother’s room.” A shiver rumbled her shoulders. “No, thanks. And Jack and Lacey are just as bad when they come over, always playing kissy-face.” Her nose lifted in a scrunch. “Face it, Rev, I might as well be alone.”
“Not alone,” he said carefully, pausing long enough to make a point. “There is another lifeline, you know.”
A low groan slipped past her lips as one eyelid edged up. “You’re not going to start talking to me about God, are you?”
He grinned as he reached toward the cup holders beneath the dash, handing her coffee over before he took a sip of his own. “I’m a pastor, Catfish, what do you think?”
She sat up and snatched the cup with a stubborn bent to her chin. “Well, I’m not on speaking terms with God right now, so you can just shelve the sermon till Sunday.”
His smile faded as he studied a profile that could have been etched in stone. “How ’bout shouting terms then? He’ll take whatever He can get, Catherine,” he said quietly, “because His love for you never changes no matter what you say or how you say it.”
“Ha! Sure not willing to test a lightning bolt on that one, Rev, not with a God who’s burned me before.” She took a quick glug of her coffee, gaze hard and fixed straight ahead.
She swiveled to face him, mouth gaping. “How? A God who allows my father—a man devoted to Him, no less—to abandon his family, then turns right around and does it all over again with cancer?” She issued a grunt. “Sorry, but that doesn’t inspire a whole lot of trust in me.”
“The affair was your father’s choice, Cat, not God’s,” he said quietly.
She scorched him with a glare. “But He didn’t stop him!” she screamed, the cup quivering in her hand. “Anymore than He stopped Lacey from stabbing me in the back when she’d been my best friend, or Kyle from dumping me in college because I was too blinkin’ pure. I did nothing wrong!” she shouted, “and He’s supposed to be God, all powerful, all loving! He could have stopped Dad, but He didn’t! Yes, the burden of sin was on Dad’s shoulders, but tell me, Chase, what did Mom, Jack, Shan, and I do to deserve having our hearts and lives ripped apart at the seams? All we ever did was honor God, loving Him and trusting Him like Dad always taught us to do.” 
She straightened slowly, shoulders squaring almost imperceptibly while that formidable chin rose, as defiant as the gleam of anger in her eyes. “But your so-called loving God did nothing, so tell me, Chase, please, because I really want to know. What good is a God who hangs His own out to dry?” Turning away, she held the cup with both hands, body trembling while rivulets of tears slithered her face.
So that was the crux of her pain, then. Chase exhaled a quiet sigh. He thought so. It had been Jack’s beef with God when Chase had confronted him last year and now apparently Cat’s too. The root of rebellion shackled to their greatest fear.
That God didn’t really love them at all.



Enter the giveaway HERE.


July 23–Singing Librarian Books
July 24–Faithfully Bookish
July 25–Remembrancy | Reading Is My SuperPower
July 26–Paulette’s Papers | Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
July 27–Flowers of Quiet Happiness | Faery Tales Are Real
July 28–The Green Mockingbird
July 29–Radiant Light | Cafinated Reads


Excerpt: Sun at Midnight by Rosie Thomas

Sun at Midnight_HC_CVR


After a devastating break-up, scientist Alice journeys to the end of the earth to live on a research base in Antarctica, where she meets James Rooker, a man who, like her, has nowhere further to run, and discovers something that will change her life forever . . . if she survives.

Buy links

Barnes & Noble, Amazon, IndieBound


Alice stood at the ship’s rail with her kitbags at her feet.
She had spotted the station in the distance – it was nothing
more than a pair of reddish specks marooned against a vast
expanse of hostile emptiness. Then the clouds of snow and
fog closed in again to obliterate even that much.

The breadth of the land’s desolation made her feel afraid,
even though she had been longing for this moment ever since
the ship had left Chile. She had been abjectly seasick for
three days. The only glimpse she had caught of the Antarctic
coast, when it finally appeared out of seas as high as mountains,
had been through her cabin porthole. Yet now the
moment had come to leave the little ship and the friendly
Spanish crew, she was full of misgivings. She clamped her
hands on the icy rail. The base looked so tiny and she knew
just how remote it was. More than three days’ sailing to
reach the southernmost tip of a distant continent again, then
twenty-four hours of flying to reach home.

Two sailors lowered the flight of metal steps at the ship’s
side. As the ship rolled, the platform at the bottom plunged
under several feet of glassy water, then it rocked up again
with spray cascading off it. One of the sailors drew a finger
across his throat and winked at her. Weakly, Alice smiled

Over the drumming of the ship’s engines, she caught the
higher-pitched note of another engine. At the same moment
a nimbus of light formed in the white murk. The sailors ran
down the heaving steps as confidently as if they had been
a set of stairs in Benidorm. On the platform they unhitched
ropes and waited. A black dinghy, pitched at a threatening
angle, materialised behind the smear of light. A big man in
orange waterproofs swept the tiller in an arc, the boat
crested a wave and landed neatly at the foot of the steps.

One sailor made it fast to the steps, so that ship and
Zodiac rolled in unison. Waves swept over the dinghy and
the platform, and ice-clogged water cascaded everywhere.
The other sailor ran nimbly up the steps again, grabbed
Alice’s luggage and yelled ‘Vamos!’ at her. She let go of the

The metal treads were steep and slippery. With Spanish
instructions and the boatman’s terse commands both unintelligible through the din of engines and surf, she half
scrambled and half slithered down to the platform. Water
immediately submerged it. The man’s orange arm grabbed
her and hoisted as the dinghy flew upwards like a fairground
ride. On the downwards plunge Alice launched herself with
a sob of panic on to the dinghy’s floor. Her bags tumbled
in after her and some nets of more-or-less-fresh vegetables.
The ropes snaked away and the Zodiac roared free from
the ship’s flank.

With his eyes on the white wave caps, the boatman kicked
a red life-vest towards where Alice was cowering amongst
the bags of onions and peppers. The water’s cold sucked all
the breath out of her. ‘Put that on,’ he shouted without
taking his eyes off the sea.

She struggled to get her arms through the holes and fasten
the clasps across her chest. A rogue wave broke amidships
and icy spray stung her face. Even though she was wearing
weatherproofs she felt she was soaked to the skin. Her teeth
chattered uncontrollably.

Behind her there were two long blasts on the ship’s hooter.
Up on the bridge the captain and the mate were wishing the
English scientist bon voyage.

The dinghy man loomed above her with his feet braced,
one hand on the tiller, the other clasping a radio. He shouted
again and Alice thought she caught the words five minutes.
She huddled on the floor of the dinghy and prayed that they
would either be ashore or dead within that time. She didn’t
even care which, so long as it was fast.

The Zodiac and the waves raced each other to the shore.
She had never been so far from home or felt the effects of
distance so acutely. Nor had she ever been so apprehensive
of what lay ahead of her.

It had happened with bewildering speed. It was barely a
month since she had arrived at Lewis Sullavan’s London
headquarters to be interviewed by Dr Richard Shoesmith.
The walls of the Sullavanco foyer were hung with representations
of Sullavan newspaper front pages cast in bronze
and television screens showed Sullavan TV programmes from
around the world. There were three receptionists with identical
smiles behind a long curved reception desk made of polished
‘The Polar Office? You’ll find it on the fifth floor, if you’ll
take the lift behind you.’

The lift was one of the kind that slides up a glass tube
mounted on the outside of the building and which always
tended to give her vertigo. The carpet of the fifth-floor corridor
seemed to rise up to meet her as she stepped out and
she steadied herself with one hand against the inner wall.

Rosie Thomas is the author of Sun at Midnight, from which this text was excerpted. Copyright © 2004 by Rosie Thomas. Published in 2017 by The Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers Inc. All rights reserved.

Author Bio

RosieThomas author photo

Rosie Thomas is the author of numerous critically acclaimed, bestselling novels, and has twice won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Born in a small village in northern Wales, Thomas discovered a love of traveling and mountaineering when her children were grown. In the years since, she has climbed in the Alps and the Himalayas, competed in the Peking to Paris car rally, and trekked in the footsteps of Shackleton on South Georgia Island.

Rosie Thomas is on Facebook here and her personal site is here.

My Weekly Bible Journaling #26– 2nd Samuel


This has been a tiring week. Sick kids, more doctor appointments and getting kids ready for our last week of camp. Next week I am hoping for a quieter week. I will only have three kids at home because the rest of them will be either working at a camp or going to a camp.

Now I am off to take a short nap…

I didn’t get a lot or reading or journaling done in my Beautiful Word Coloring Bible this week:

convertedimage (2)

Starting the book of 2 Samuel this week. I remember reading this book for the first time when I was in high school. There are so many lesson to be learned in these pages…

“How the mighty have fallen!
The weapons of war have perished!”
2 Samuel 1:27


This week I have not had a lot of time to study God’s Word. I miss it so much! The good thing is I have studied 2 Samuel before so when I pick it up it is easy to read. Praying for what the Lord can teach me in these pages…

Saul and Jonathan— in life they were loved and admired, and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. -2 Samuel 1:23



In between cleaning house and taking care of the kids, I sat down for a moment and colored this page in my @themessagebible . Then I got these free bookmarks in the mail to color from In Touch Ministries.



One of my boys took this picture of this white rose for me. I love it and I just had to add this verse to it..


I want to give a special shout out to a special blog:

Create With Joy

On Friendship Friday I was the special friend of the week:

Friendship Friday

And I was featured on Inspire Me Monday :

Inspire Me Monday(Stop by and enter to win a Nichole Nordeman CD: Every Mile Mattered! )


Do you Bible Journaling? If so leave me a link where you have your pages posted and I will be happy to check them out and leave them some love! If you have any questions about supplies or anything please feel free to ask in the comments below.

** This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through one of these links I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I use this commission for the giveaways that I have here on my blog. **

Some of the places I am linked up:

Kids, Crunch, and Christ Journal Through The Bible

Supplies I used this week are listed below:


Kindle Fire Giveaway: My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels




Series: My Heart Belongs
Genre: Adult, Christian, Fiction, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Barbour
Publication date: July 1

Journey now to Mackinac Island where… A Tangled Gilded Age Love Story Unfolds. Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel. 

Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel. While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders—including Maude—and he digs deep for his story. But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?




ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper.” Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at




What Inspired my Story

I lived on Mackinac Island, working at a restaurant there. I loved it! It’s a magical place and I’ve gone back many times since then! I was just there, today, in fact. Also, I have a dear friend, Rosemary Wellington, whose family is from the island and during a visit to the island with her, I got inspired to think about a story set there. Her cousin is mayor of the island and owns the Windermere Hotel. My husband and I stayed there a few years back to research the story and the beautiful hotel did inspire me to use it as a prototype for “Winds of Mackinac” in the novel.
​Also, while working on the core premise for this story, I was praying about the struggle I was having.  I call this book my “Problem Child Manuscript.” But God is good and faithful – while at church after praying, although my pastor (and also a write) Larry was stuck at an airport, trying to return from Haiti but Seth, our college student-age pastor, gave the sermon for Larry. And it was an amazing message inspired by Mark Twain’s The Prince and The Pauper! And that really reinforced what I was already trying to do but was struggling with.  You see, our identity has to stem from what it is in Christ. He calls us to a mission. And He gifts us to enable us and provides when we cannot do. Our King calls us His children. Wow! That makes us princes and princesses of the King.
One of the things I’ve you enjoyed most about writing this book has been getting to hang out in Mackinac Island story world even when I wasn’t there! I had major surgery one year and couldn’t go – but I still got to “visit” by writing about it! We’re here right now and it’s so beautiful in the summer.  The island, itself, is an inspiration for many more stories to come!
***NOTE:  The top two pictures are the Grand Hotel.  And the bottom three are the Windemere Hotel.










Grand Prize Giveaway – Kindle Fire + Mackinac Gift Pack Set: postcards from Mackinac Island, bookmarks, hand-made earrings, winner’s choice of a signed paperback of this novel (or an upcoming release or other book if you already have read My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island), and a Mackinac Island mug. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spotlight: Searching for Irene by Marlene Bateman

Cover--Searching for Irene

Searching for Irene by Marlene Bateman

What happened to Irene?

When Anna Coughlin, a modern 1920’s woman, travels to the secluded hills of Virginia to work for wealthy Lawrence Richardson, she discovers that the previous secretary, Irene, mysteriously disappeared a few weeks ago. Upon arriving at the castle-like mansion to begin working, Anna finds that Lawrence’s handsome, but antagonistic son, Tyler, wants nothing more than to have her gone. And he isn’t the only one—

A series of frightening incidents ensnare Anna in a maze of intrigue as she sets out to find the truth behind Irene’s disappearance. She is helped—and often hindered—by the temperamental Tyler Richardson, who—despite her best intentions—begins to steal her heart.

But even as Anna begins to uncover dark secrets in a troubled household, she must continue to hide a significant one of her own. Then, her life is threatened, leaving Anna to wonder if she’ll be able to unravel the mystery before she disappears as mysteriously as the unfortunate Irene—




Marlene’s website:



Picture--Marlene Bateman

Marlene Bateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner.

Marlene has also written a number of LDS, non-fiction books: Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die.


For Sale By Owner COVER

Blurb for; For Sale by Owner (Published Oct. 2016)

For Sale by Owner; Stressed by a difficult year, McKenzie Forsberg quits her high-powered job to move back to her hometown. Desperate and determined to rebuild her life, Kenzie seeks to buy the home she grew up in. The only problem is that a handsome widower, Jared Rawlins, also wants the house. As a battle of wits ensue, sparks of attraction grow into something more. Then, Kenzie makes a stunning discovery about her past that changes everything. Will the power of love be enough to allow Jared and Kenzie to find their happily ever after?

Excerpt: Your crossroads. Your choice by EJ Apicello


Non Fiction / Self-Help
Date Published: June 2017
Publisher: Page Publishing
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Welcome to my diary, my journey, as I tripped and crawled through the darkest time in my life- when I witnessed  people that I held incredibly close to me shatter my very existence with their words and actions. The things within this book spine are extremely raw and exceptionally real. You and I are going to get very close, the details in this book, although oddly general, are incredibly specific. Yes, I realize what I just said and as you read my words you will see what I mean. As you silently gasp and mentally bitch slap me, please be kind because my story is just that – my story. It is not any more or less special than yours. In fact the only difference between our stories are the choices we made at each of the crossroads in our lives. For most of my life the choices I made were not based on my happiness but on everyone else’s. This book describes what I have experienced in my journey to finding my happiness and hopefully never letting it go. Sadly, it took me thirty six years to find the strength I need to detoxify my life and self-view and find someone who is worthy of my awesomeness. Thirty six years to shatter the negative foundation I had built shatter the ultimate representative I created to hide behind and begin the process of building a new foundation. Only this foundation will be built on strength, confidence and above all, happiness. So take a minute or thirty and sit with my story for a while. You never know what you might find out.

Quasi Logic Behind Totally Illogical Thoughts

I challenge anyone to argue with the following oh so utterly
simplistic, almost ridiculously too easy to be real, truth. Here it is,
people, be ready for your mind to be blown! Every choice has an opposite
choice. And these choices come at a crossroads. A crossroads you
are in control of. So go ahead, try and come up with a reason to
argue that what I speak isn’t the absolute truth. I’ll wait. Come back
when you realize you can’t think of a single one. Please don’t get
me wrong, it’s not that I enjoy being right; I just know it’s hard to
argue with such an insanely logical and straightforward truth. You
see my readers, my new friends, it will hurt less if you accept this to
be so. Everything in our world has two opposing choices, and these
choices sit at our own personal crossroads, forcing us to embrace
either the right or the wrong, the easy or the hard, the light or the
dark. Throughout this book, you will see how I am working through
this arduous journey with you by my side, priding myself on being
a woman of logic and facts, but let’s be clear: I also believe in Santa,
the Tooth Fairy, and unicorns!

About the Author

Welcome to my real, crazy, emotional, probably too honest journey. I am an everyday girl in this everyday world trying to keep my head above water and within the pages of this book you will learn about the things that have broken me down and the steps I am taking to build back up. You will see, my new friends, this story is written in a unique, general, conversational voice, which was my choice. I want you to be able to picture yourself in my shoes, relate my trials and tribulations to yours and see that you too can find your happiness. Even if you don’t realize this yet, every single one of us possesses things inside of ourselves that we didn’t know were there. It took my life taking a crazy right turn and dumping me at the lowest possible point before I could see the strength within myself. We are not defined by what we do, we are defined by the choices we make. I decided when I put pen to paper that I want my choices to start defining me as strong, confident, secure and above all else, happy. So, who am I? How about I tell you who I was. A self-loathing shell of myself who put everyone else’s happiness before my own. Herein lies my story to find that happiness and all of the ups and downs along the way. See who I was and who I am trying to become and maybe, somewhere in there, you will find out a little about yourself too.
Contact Links
Twitter: @ejapicello
Instagram: @ejapicello
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