Thursday, August 15, 2019

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Full Circle by Athena Dean Holtz

Welcome to Celebrate Lit’s tour of Full Circle, a personal testimony of God’s faith by Athena Dean Holtz.

About the Book

Book: Full Circle
Author: Athena Dean Holtz
Genre: Memoir
Release Date: February 11, 2017

Athena’s driving desire for affirmation and attention pulled her away from her family, husband, and children into what she thought would bring happiness. Deceived by Scientology, forays into mysticism, and twelve years in a restrictive and legalistic cult, she lost everything—her marriage, relationships, home, business, money, and reputation.

This is the candid and inspirational story of how her eyes were opened, how God restored what had been lost, and gave her the desires of her heart, including a new love.

Click here to get your copy.

About the Authors

Athena Dean Holtz has been at the forefront of Christian custom publishing for the last 30 years. The co-founder of WinePress Publishing, she now leads Redemption Press. Author of three previous books, and a highly-rated personal blog, she serves as president of the Northwest Christian Writer’s Association, is a president’s club member of the Christian Women in Media Association, and a member of Advanced Writer & Speaker Association. She recently retired as host and interviewer on “Always Faithful Radio,” KCIS, Seattle. Married to Ross Holtz, pastor of The Summit, Athena enjoys her grandchildren and time spent sailing. The couple makes their home in Enumclaw, Wash.

Inger J. Logelin is a freelance writer, author, and senior editor of Redemption Press. Ministry experience includes pioneer church planting among the Inuit, and a wilderness camp for First Nations youth of Canada, as well as short-term missions around the world. She and her husband make their home on Whidbey Island, Wash.


More from Athena

When people hear about my Job-like experience with the modern-day Cinderella story ending, I often hear remarks like “WOW, that should be a movie!” It has been six and a half years of full-on redemption and restoration and, honestly, I still pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming this! 

After 12 years of spiritual abuse that left me a shell of a person, devastated and distraught, I began a breathtaking journey of healing for all the loss I’d endured. The loss of my 18 year marriage, destroyed relationships with my adult children, the death of my well known publishing company and destruction of my career, along with the fatality of my credit score as I lost my home, my income, and all material things that meant anything to me. Those 12 years of deception cost me big time, but we serve a Romans 8:28 God who uses all things, even that, for good. 

I’m on the other side now, healed and restored, proclaiming the faithfulness of a God who used what the enemy meant for evil … for good! I love the creativity He uses in the redemption process … to think He would allow me to be a pastor’s wife now … hand-picked by my pastor-hubby’s late wife of 49 years … with restored relationships with my adult children and grandchildren … to be a radio show host interviewing authors whose stories ring of the faithfulness of God … to steward well another publishing endeavor called Redemption Press … so many full circles where God’s sovereignly connects the dots and brings insight that mends my soul. 

I’m excited to share my story with you, to be authentic and transparent, and to reflect the glory of God. I pray that you’re encouraged by all that God has done, and that you’re left with a healthy dose of hope in His faithfulness and His ability to bring good out of bad, every time. 

And now, I’ll leave you with an inviting peek into some trivia about my life… 

My Uncle Skeeter is a famous actor, James B. Sikking. Known for his part as Howard Hunter on Hill Street Blues and Doogie Howser’s Dad. 

When I was 14 years old, I owned 7 horses and showed most of them in horse shows across the country, with my last official show being Madison Square Gardens. 

I absolutely LOVE Vizslas…also known as Hungarian Pointers…I’ve had 2 of them over the last 14 years and am addicted. They are THE COOLEST dogs! 

I used to work for Helen Reddy, as an administrative assistant to her manager/husband, and before that, for the manager of Rufus & Chaka Khan when they recorded their first hit, Tell Me Somethin’ Good

My Grandma’s house overlooked the Santa Monica beach and originally belonged to the silent movie star, Mary Pickford. 

When I was five years old, my grandma, Dr. Sue Sikking, was the honored guest on the popular TV show “This is Your Life” with host Ralph Edwards. I was part of the cast when our family surprised her with our attendance, and fervently tugged on Mr. Edwards suit jacket to try to get his attention!


To celebrate her tour, Athena is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card and  signed copy of her book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Jewel's Gold by Caryl McAdoo

About the Book

Book: Jewel’s Gold
Author: Caryl McAdoo
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: July 20, 2019

Can a tangled web snare two hearts and point them true north? 

A Papa’s girl from the start, Jewel Jones remembers all the things he told her. Wealthy, but far from being a snob, she finds Boaz Branson both irritating and intriguing. How can she know if the handsome confidence man truly turns from his wicked ways, or if his interest only in her gold? Papa said let God’s peace lead her. 

Only by God’s grace can Boaz escape the deceptions he plans to perpetrate on the beautiful heiress. While his head wants to flee the entanglement, his heart bids him stay. 

Are Jewel and Boaz building on sinking sand, or have they found the golden nugget they seek?

Click here to grab your copy.

About the Author

      Award-winning, hybrid author Caryl McAdoo prays her story gives God glory! That is why she writes, why she breathes. Her forty-fourth novel has just launched, joining her best-selling title list! 
      Besides writing, she loves singing the new songs the Lord gives her. (Listen to a few at YouTube.) Ron, her husband of 50+ years shares four children and eighteen grandsugars—life’s best blessings, Caryl says. 
      The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

More from Caryl

Jewel’s Gold, my July release and book four in the Gold Diggers Collection, begins in San Francisco in 1895 and moves quickly north to Alaska on Troublesome Creek where Jewel’s papa has a gold mine. My husband Ron was on Troublesome Creek in 1993 seeking the Lord. While there, he also did a little prospecting. 

To mention gold is to speak of wealth as gold is the most sought-after metal in the world. It’s found on every continent, and I’ve discovered it can be located our bodies as well! Mostly in our blood! Small traces have also been extracted from eucalyptus leaves, a favorite snack of Koala bears! 

Jewel Jones is the daughter of Joshua Jones, son of Moses and Lanell introduced in SINS OF THE MOTHERS, book three in the Texas Romance Family Saga. Truth be known, little Joshua was in fact a Wheeler, not as Jones, though Moses reared him as his own son. 

His real father was Caleb who married Mary Rachael Buckmeyer and talked her into running off to California. So, this book may also be classified as a ‘Companion Book’ to that highly acclaimed historical romance series. 

Ron has always wanted to go back and show me Alaska, and one day we most likely will go north . . . but only in the summer! Who doesn’t love leaving Texas for northern, cooler temperatures in the summer? This story has a little mystery along with the romance and history. When we drove the Oregon/California Trail last December, we visited the site of Sutter’s Mill where the gold rush of 1849 was born. That last place we went before turning south and east back to Texas was an unexpected stop. 

On the American River, the park and museum offered an amazing place to visit, and knowing this book was on the schedule made it all the more interesting! I also believe that place will add to the genuine feel of Jewel’s Gold.


To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter the giveaway.

Blog Stops

Power of Words, August 14 (Spotlight)
Emily Yager, August 16
Simple Harvest Reads, August 20 (Spotlight)
Texas Book-aholic, August 22
janicesbookreviews, August 23
Artistic Nobody, August 24 (Spotlight)
A Reader’s Brain, August 25

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Book Spotlight: Apples and Alibis by Gayle Leeson

Welcome to the release day celebration for Apples & Alibis by Gayle Leeson. I enjoy this cozy mystery series and am more than ready for this newest story.

Apples and Alibis
By Gayle Leeson
A Down South Café Mystery #4
Grace Abraham Publishing, 2019


That’s the last time Amy agrees to do a favor for a stranger…

Down South Cafe owner, Amy Flowers is in over her head. Operating a cafe while hosting the first Farmers’ Market in Winter Garden has her swimming in apples. And when an elderly woman calls the cafe, pleading for a delivery for her upcoming party, Amy relents, feeling compelled to help the desperate customer.

But when she arrives, the woman is slumped over her kitchen table, and Amy is catapulted into the middle of a small town crime. Guilt-ridden for not arriving earlier to save the woman, she sets out to unravel the mystery surrounding the woman. Now, between running the cafe and dealing with the chaos of the farmers’ market, Amy is squeezing in a murder investigation, a run-in with her boyfriend’s mom, and her own mother’s quirky life decisions. Life can’t get any worse…or can it? This cafe owner needs a break–in the case.

Amazon    B&N  Kobo


Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee. She is currently writing the Kinsey Falls chick-lit/women’s fiction series, the Down South Cafe cozy mystery series, and the Ghostly Fashionista cozy mystery series. Her book KILLER WEDDING CAKE won the Bronze Medal in the 20th Anniversary IPPY Awards. Gayle lives in Southwest Virginia with her family and enjoys hearing from readers.

Says Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author, “One day I found myself happily reading . . . mysteries by Gayle Trent. If she can win me over . . . she’s got a great future.”

Friday, August 9, 2019

Review: The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden


Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Title: The Enlightenment of Bees 
Author: Rachel Linden  
Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
Release Date: July 9, 2019  
Genre: Women's Fiction

Sometimes a shattered dream leads to an amazing journey.

At twenty-six, apprentice baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, a job baking at The Butter Emporium, and her first love—her boyfriend, Ethan—by her side. But when Ethan declares he “needs some space,” Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles.

Feeling adrift, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on a humanitarian trip around the world funded by a reclusive billionaire. Along with a famous grunge rock star, a Rwandan immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s heart is challenged and changed in astonishing ways—ways she never could have imagined. As she grapples with how to make a difference in a complicated world, Mia realizes she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the life unfolding before her.

In a romantic adventure across the globe, The Enlightenment of Bees beautifully explores what it means to find the sweet spot in life where our greatest passions meet the world’s greatest need.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Christianbook


The Enlightenment of Bees is different from anything I’ve ever read and I enjoyed it. I loved seeing various parts of the world through Rachel Linden’s eyes and journeying along with Mia in her search for purpose in life. It's not all light and fluffy, however, as Linden delves into some serious and relevant issues. The writing flows easily across the page and a whimsical touch adds enchantment.

Many readers will be able to connect with a character who thinks she has a comfortable life planned out and slowly unfolding for her, when suddenly the very framework of that life is torn away – from future marriage to career, and even complications from an illness affecting her beloved Nana Alice. These drastic changes allow Mia’s dreams to resurface and when an opportunity to join a humanitarian team opens up, she jumps at the chance.

Some very interesting characters populate this story. The team itself is an eclectic mixture of nationalities and purposes for joining. I was intrigued by the mission’s wealthy and reclusive benefactor, Lars … “Another man with baggage, a man who looks good on the surface but is hiding some flaw beneath” according to Mia. Jazz singer Rosie, Mia’s housemate, and the Hawaiian Kai, with a passion for sustainable urban farming, are appealing characters. I also loved Mia’s relationship with Nana Alice.

From the beautiful lavender farms of Washington State, to the slums of Mumbai and a Hungarian refugee camp, the scenes are so vivid that they can almost literally be experienced with the senses. I wished for more character depth from some of the team members, but the refugee stories were very well done and heart stirring.

Mia’s emotional coming-of-age journey is eye opening, giving much cause for personal reflection. The Enlightenment of Bees feels more like a general market story rather than Christian fiction, but it helps if you imagine that God is behind Mia’s desire to change people’s lives, guiding and orchestrating the events in her life. That is never explicitly stated, however, and a spiritual connection would have made Mia’s quest much more meaningful and enjoyable for me personally. Still, if you take the book for what it is, The Enlightenment of Bees is a moving, entertaining story. I look forward to more of Rachel Linden’s writing.

I received a copy of this book through JustRead Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.



Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures in over fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her writing. She is the author of Ascension of Larks, Becoming the Talbot Sisters, and The Enlightenment of Bees. Currently, Rachel lives with her family in Seattle, Washington, where she enjoys creating stories about hope, courage, and connection with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy.

CONNECT WITH RACHEL: Website | Facebook | Instagram  

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: The David Years by Lillian Duncan

About the Book

Book: The David Years  
Author: Lillian Duncan  
Genre: Woman’s Lit  
Release Date: August 2, 2019

      Nia looked at her aunt and asked, “So what am I ‘spose to do now?” 
      “Have you ever heard of King David from the Bible?” 
      “I guess.” 
      “There were a lot of years between the time David was anointed as the king and he actually became the king. It’s a time for you to grow in your relationship with God.” 
      “And then later I get to be king?” Nia giggled. 
      “I meant that figuratively not literally but these are your learning years–your David Years.”’ 
      “My David Years. I like that.” 

Nia Johnson has spent the past four years developing a closer relationship to God. She wants to believe she’s still anointed to become a healer at Puzzle House but as each year passes, she has more and more doubts. 

Now that she’s graduated from high school and is an adult she is sure it’s time to take the mantle of healing Rachel passed to her so many years before. But the harder she tries, the more it eludes her.

Click here to grab your copy!

About the Author

      Lillian lives in a small town in Ohio with her husband. She writes the types of books she loves to read. Even though her books cross genres, they have one thing in common, faith-based stories that demonstrate God’s love—and lots of action. OK—that’s two things. 
      She was a school speech pathologist for over 30 years but retired in 2012 after being diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors due to Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), a rare genetic disease. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word. 
      To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit:

More from Lillian

The David Years is the second novel in the Puzzle House series. In Puzzle House, Nia was anointed to become a healer. The David Years starts out where Puzzle House stopped. 

      Nia looked at her aunt and asked, “So what am I ‘spose to do now?” 
      “Have you ever heard of King David from the Bible? There were a lot of years between the time David was anointed as the king and he actually became the king. David was tested many times during those years. Those years were very important to David’s growth as a man so that he would be the king God wanted him to be when the time was right.” 
      “So what are you saying, Auntie?” 
      “I’m saying these are your David years.” 

And so the story begins. Most of the book takes place after Nia’s high school graduation during her first year in college. She’s impatient to begin her time as healer and tries to make that happen in her timing—not God’s. 

But God will not be rushed and whether Nia likes it or not, she’s still in her David Years—her learning years. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ‘we learn from our mistakes.’ Well, Nia learns a lot that year. In other words, she makes a lot of mistakes. 

My college years are long, long past so I thought it might be hard to get into the mindset of a college student, but it really wasn’t. I thought back to all the mistakes I made during my college years and the story took off from there! 

Even though Nia is a college student, her story will resonate for anybody who’s facing changes in their life, no matter the age. We all have learning years throughout our lifetime—our very own David Years. 

Life changes whether we want it to or not. A new marriage. A baby. A divorce. A new job. Retirement. No matter what age we are, we all struggle with finding our place in the world, especially when life changes. The good news is that as Christians, we may not have all the answers, but we know where to find them.


To celebrate her tour, Lillian is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and the choice of one of her eBooks!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.

Blog Stops

CarpeDIem, August 3
Book Love, August 4 (guest post from Donna Cline)
Artistic Nobody, August 5 (Spotlight)
Power of Words, August 8 (Spotlight)
Simple Harvest Reads, August 10 (Spotlight)
Texas Book-aholic, August 12
Bigreadersite , August 13
janicesbookreviews, August 14
A Reader’s Brain, August 15

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: Knot on Her Life by Mary Marks

Knot on Her Life
By Mary Marks
A Quilting Mystery #7
Kensington, 2019


While quilter Martha Rose awaits the birth of her granddaughter, a neighborhood girl appears at her door with a mystery that can’t be pinned down . .

Martha’s eager to finish the baby quilt she’s making for her new granddaughter, but she scraps those plans when a young girl rings her doorbell begging for help. Poppy Halaby, the foster child of Martha’s neighbor, is an orphan whose parents were murdered by a killer who was never caught. 

When Poppy’s doting foster mom falls suspiciously ill, Martha is determined to keep the child safe. But she’ll have to unravel more about Poppy’s parents to stitch a broken family back together again—and prevent another crime cut from the same cloth . . .

Amazon – B&N   Google Play     kobo

My thoughts

The Quilting Mysteries by Mary Marks center around the thoroughly likeable quilter Martha Rose, who is much more than a lady who quilts. She’s a thoughtful, intelligent, and talented middle-aged lady who cares about her family and sometimes quirky friends – and when murder touches any of their lives, that protectiveness and intuitiveness kicks into overdrive. The characters are richly developed, there’s lots of family drama, and the mystery is complex. Every book I’ve read in this series is very good, but Knot on Her Life just might be my favorite so far. It can definitely stand alone, but I recommended reading the stories in order for their character development.

The suspense begins when Poppy (Marigold Poppy Sarah Halaby), the foster child of Martha Rose’s neighbor, comes seeking help after finding Sonia in a diabetic coma, which might not be as straightforward as it seems at first. Poppy is the daughter of a Muslim father and Jewish mother, and it is soon discovered that she possibly witnessed her parents’ murder. With Poppy and Sonia whisked off into witness protection, Martha Rose begins to seek answers from relatives on both sides of Poppy’s family, as well as through the law enforcement connections of her fiancĂ©, ATF agent and “gentle giant” Yossi, and son-in-law, Noah. I loved the growing relationship between Martha Rose and Yossi, and am crazy about her half-sister, Giselle, who has no filter when it comes to speaking her mind.

One of my comments about a previous book was that, although Martha Rose was Jewish, nothing was shown of her faith or lifestyle, and I loved how that was fleshed out in this book. We learn a lot about Jewish culture and religious rituals – especially the Shabbat, or Sabbath dinner – and some Muslim traditions also, all seamlessly woven into the texture of the story. The theme of being respectful of other people’s religious beliefs is something I appreciated. The only thing I didn’t understand is, with Martha Rose and Yossi being devout in their faith, why they live together without marriage, but that’s just me.

I also loved how the fellowship of quilting – “Women helping women. A sisterhood as old as the species” – is such an integral part of the story, especially the way Poppy opened up and came to trust Martha Rose through the sharing of this art.

Another strong theme is that of legalism vs. grace, and I loved these words spoken by Martha Rose to Rabbi Katzenozen: “You may be the world’s greatest authority on Jewish law … but from what I’ve seen, you don’t know the first thing about the spirit of the law, which is compassion and the preservation of life. For all living things. Including your own flesh and blood.”

The mystery itself is well crafted, the final revelation logical but unsuspected by me. I welcomed the surprise twists and could never figure out if the murder of Poppy’s parents was religious driven or related to her dad’s undercover work with the FBI. And then there’s the question of Poppy’s future, as adoption is sought by three different families. While the solution might not have been what my heart wanted, it was a wise and legally ethical decision, and she will be loved. I don’t know if we’ll see more of Poppy in future stories, but I certainly hope so. Meanwhile, the ending sets the stage for another child in need to enter the lives of the delightful Sonia and her new intriguing husband, Malo.

I highly recommend Knot on Her Life, as well as the whole Quilting Mysteries series.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


      Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program.
      Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011. She is currently a reviewer of cozy mysteries for The New York Journal of Books at