Author Chat with Laura Thomas on Romantic Suspense and Her Heart for Readers

Laura Thomas is one of my new favorite romantic suspense authors, and once you get to know her, you’ll see why that’s no surprise! She is not only a gifted writer, but also someone whose desire to provide heart-warming encouragement to her readers shines through the pages.

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did! Also, Laura has graciously offered to give away one e-book copy of her latest release, The Orphan Beach.  To enter, simply leave a comment below or share this post on social media.

Q: How did you first discover your writing ability, and how have you seen God use it in unexpected ways?

I really didn’t know I was a writer until I was in my late-thirties, when my husband discovered I had been harboring a secret writing dream for twenty-five years! He encouraged me to begin by taking some courses with The Institute of Children’s Literature, and I fell in love with writing and realized I needed to pursue the author life.

Of course, it didn’t go the way I expected, with me being content to write stories for young children. No, it seems God had other plans—better plans. He has given me the opportunity to write for children, teens, and adults in multiple genres and continues to open surprise doors along the way! It’s never, ever boring…

Q: What prompted you to first write Christian romantic suspense?

Although I started my writing journey with children’s books and stories, I always enjoyed being able to share non-fiction words with women readers via my blog. It was almost like when you have little kids at home all day and then go for coffee and conversation with adult friends! The initial idea for my first Christian romantic suspense novel, The Glass Bottom Boat, was inspired after a trip to Jamaica where my imagination ran amuck and I had the sudden urge to share a faith-based, nail-biting story for women. I adore reading this genre and was up for the challenge of blending faith, romance, and some page-turning suspense into a novel for grown-ups… even though that “sudden urge” took six long years to come to fruition!

Q: You also write Christian teen fiction and non-fiction as well. Tell us about your other books.

The Tears Trilogy comprises of three Christian teen fiction books for girls: Tears to Dancing, Tears of a Princess, and Tears, Fears, and Fame. Each story of hope delves into relatable issues including friendship, forgiveness, family, and faith—with ample drama, of course!

The Candle Maker is a short middle-grade novel set in Victorian England, where a ten-year-old ragamuffin boy learns to face his fears in order to discover the truth and save a life.

Pearls for the Bride is a non-fiction marriage books for newlyweds and brides-to-be, packed with humorous anecdotes, practical tips, and Biblical principles from the mother-of-the-bride’s point of view.

Q: As writers, we often don’t get to see how our writing influences others. However, sometimes readers do reach out and share with us. What has been the most encouraging feedback you’ve received?

I love hearing from readers! All feedback is encouraging and incredibly useful, but I think one of the most precious emails I received was from a newsletter subscriber who won a copy of Tears of a Princess, one of my teen fiction novels in my monthly giveaway. She offered to forgo her prize as I had to ship it overseas but I was more than happy to pay a little extra. When I heard from her a few weeks later, she had read the book and then passed it on to her pre-teen granddaughter who was battling an eating disorder—the exact topic this book covered. We both agreed it was God’s providence and timing and I’m humbled and excited to think my words might bring hope and healing in some small way to readers anywhere in the world.

Q: Your blog talks about your desire to provide heartwarming encouragement through your writing. How might readers be encouraged through your books? 

“Heartwarming encouragement for your soul” is the lens through which I attempt to write all my books, stories, articles, and devotionals. Even though most of my books are fiction, I believe people ultimately crave hope not only in a good storyline but in real life. As a Christian author, I love to be able to weave faith through my words and particularly in my romantic suspense novels, it’s my desire that readers will find the flawed characters relatable and see how God can work in them and through them in the most breathtaking ways.

Q: Can you hint about what next project you have in the works?

Absolutely. I’m thrilled to be writing the manuscript for my next Christian romantic suspense novel. I can share that it’s a brand-new series and is set in the idyllic English countryside… I’m going back to my roots with this one!

Also, my literary agent is currently working on my picture book, Bonbon the Frenchie: Lost in Paris, and my middle-grade novel, Black Diamonds.

Meet Author Laura Thomas whose Romantic Suspense novels not only entertain, but also provide heartwarming encouragement. @Laura_Thomas_ with @khogrefeparnell

About the Author

A published Christian author, Laura writes heartwarming encouragement for your soul—especially in her romantic suspense, teen fiction, marriage, and children’s books. Laura is a chocoholic mom of three, married to her high school sweetheart. Originally from the UK, they live in Kelowna, B.C. as audacious empty-nesters.

About The Orphan Beach

Life is spiraling out of control for pediatric nurse, Juliet Farr. Heart-broken, grief-stricken, and experiencing a crisis of faith—now she is the prime target for a crazed killer. When her ex-boyfriend, detective Max Bennett, returns to work the case in the Oregon Coast, he knows sharing the truth behind their break-up will destroy any possibility of a second chance together.

A manuscript, a maniac, and a mother’s love propel Juliet’s flight to a beach in Mexico as she desperately pursues hope and healing. Will she ever find freedom from the ache of abandonment? And when a troubled soul chooses Juliet as his perfect victim, can Max prove his love for her by risking his own life? Or will Orphan Beach be the end of their story?

To enter for a chance to win an e-book copy of The Orphan Beach, simply leave a comment on this post. You may also retweet my post on Twitter or Facebook. Just be sure to tag me!

Renovating Our Homes and Hearts, Part 3

If you’ve been following along with our kitchen remodel story (now on day four), you can only imagine how eager we were for Monday to come. Having already waited an extra two days to use our kitchen, I silenced my alarm when it went off and ignored the snooze button. “Hurry up and get over!” I told the day. Yet once it started, the day dragged by.

Pound. Whack. Thud. Pound. Pound. All. Day. Long.

We started to get nervous when the crew wasn’t done by dinner time. Then the project manager arrived, and James and I offered Gatorade and snacks to the workers. Finally, they reached the last part of the project, spackling the drywall. And then their spackle machine broke, and they had to find an alternate solution. It must have been 9:30 at night when they finished and left.

With the house finally silent, James and I soaked in the finished product. The cave with its Neanderthal fluorescent lighting was gone. In its place was a more open, well-lit space. We still had to put in new top cabinets, but at the moment, I could have hugged the kitchen.

Before/After

Rebuilding is messy, time-consuming, and loud; but it is so worthwhile.

Before we accept God’s gift of salvation, we are spiritually dead. The only future we have is eternal destruction (with no demo option). But look what Christ did! “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

Don’t miss this part, because it is incredible. In and of ourselves, we have nothing to offer God, for it is only by grace we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8). But when we become God’s children, we also become His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), and as His workmanship, He gives us everything we need to build effectively. Essentially, we become “God’s fellow workers” (I Corinthians 3:9). 

In I Corinthians, Paul compares believers to builders who are building on Jesus Christ’s foundation. The only way that’s possible is because God first laid the foundation (I Corinthians 3:11), with Jesus Christ being “the chief cornerstone” (Matthew 21:42). In other words, we are not only God’s work, but He also allows us to be part of His work (I Peter 2:4-5).

When we allow God’s spiritual reconstruction in our lives, we can then help spread His Word so more people can know Him and join His “household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). What a privilege that is!

In our home, James is the outgoing one. I’ll be working at my desk and all of a sudden hear him talking with neighbors in the backyard or starting a conversation with the couple across the pond. His friendliness paves the way to relationships that might one day let us share the Gospel with others.

Although I truly believe my writing is a ministry, God has also challenged me to get out of my introverted comfort zone and start up conversations with people I meet while jogging in the neighborhood. You never know how one conversation might open doors later.

The bottom line is that as God’s children, He can use us wherever we are to share the Good News with others. Let’s not take that responsibility lightly.

A Prayer for Willing Hearts

Our kitchen renovations aren’t finished, although I’m proud that we were able to install all the top cabinets by ourselves. You can check out the video, and you’re welcome that it’s sped up, or you’d be watching for hours.

Wa-la! We make a good team. And yes, when James didn’t need me, I was editing my manuscript. 🙂

The bottom line is that we’re on this adventure together, and along the way, we’re learning and growing so much. May that also be our mindset as God continues His renovating work in our lives.

Dear Lord, thank you for sending your Son Jesus to die for and redeem a sinner like me. I confess that I am very much in need of your saving grace and sanctifying work in my life. Thank you for your patience with me even when I complain about the refining process. I trust that you can use me where I am right now to share your Word with others and be a light for you in this hurting world. Amen.

~ Kristen

Giveaway Opportunity!

I’ve been reading Victoria Duerstock’s devotional called Heart & Home: Design Basics for Your Soul and Living Space as a supplement to my daily quiet time. In it, she draws spiritual parallels to design principles that make our homes inviting places for our families and guests.

Through July 25, you can enter to win an autographed copy of Heart & Home, special thanks to Victoria herself! I’ll announce the winner (must have US address) the week of July 26. You can enter several ways for more than one entry.

Click here or the image below to enter.

Stay Connected for Future Giveaways

Subscribe to Kristen’s newsletter for monthly book buzz about Christian fiction for adults and teens, plus be the first to learn about giveaways and personal takeaways for your everyday adventures. 

When you join, you’ll receive a free copy of Kristen’s novella, A Cord of Three Strands, the prequel to her award-winning novel, The Revisionary. 

Renovating Our Homes and Hearts, Part 2

Day one of kitchen renovations went so quickly that we had high hopes day two would complete the job and let us get our home back to normal. Seriously, have you tried not using the kitchen sink for a full day? Go to your kitchen right now and thank God for your sink.

Okay, back to the story.

Around noon on the second day, we started getting worried. “He is coming, right?” I asked James. Although the AC duct guy was almost done, the electrician had just arrived, and we hadn’t heard a word from the project manager.

“He’s supposed to,” James said and shot off a text. By two o’clock, the electrician was almost done but still no word from the manager.

At four o’clock, James received a text to this effect: We’ll finish on Monday. Have a nice weekend.

This was the state of our kitchen.

Long story short, there was a miscommunication. When the project manager told us two days, he meant two days for his crew plus another day for the electrician and AC guy. Since the project began on a Friday, that translated into four days.

Need I mention that Sunday was Mother’s Day, and James’ mom was coming over? Even though our kitchen wasn’t functional, we made the best of it. James grilled, and we ordered take-out Pizookies from BJs for dessert. Thankful for our screen porch, we celebrated outdoors and truly enjoyed our time together.

Celebrating James’ beautiful Mom on Mother’s Day

God’s Sanctifying Work

The kitchen situation reminded me a little of God’s sanctifying work in our lives. We want fast results. We tell God, “Okay, hurry up and get this painful process over so I can move on with my life.”

But that’s not how God works. His molding process is part of His purpose for our lifetime, not a “quick fix.” It began before we were born when He formed us in our mother’s wombs and “skillfully wrought” our frames (Psalm 139:13,15). It continues throughout our lives as He “mars” and remakes us as He sees “good” (Jeremiah 18:4). Ultimately, God designs us to be “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

He refines our rough edges to make us more like Him. For me, one area the Lord continues to shape me is in the area of patience. Some people have told me I seem patient, but they don’t have any idea how much I agonize over waiting. For over a decade, I prayed God would send me a godly spouse before He answered my prayer with James. Then, we had to wait over a year before we found our new home. I could go on with personal examples, but the point is that waiting is part of the refining. God teaches me things in those “waiting room” days (and years!) that I might not otherwise learn.

How might God be refining you today? Let’s not resist His work but trust He knows best.

God’s molding process is part of His purpose for our lifetime, not a “quick fix.” @khogrefeparnell

Giveaway Opportunity

I’ve been reading Victoria Duerstock’s devotional called Heart & Home: Design Basics for Your Soul and Living Space as a supplement to my daily quiet time. In it, she draws spiritual parallels to design principles that make our homes inviting places for our families and guests.

Through July 25, you can enter to win an autographed copy of Heart & Home, special thanks to Victoria herself! I’ll announce the winner (must have US address) the week of July 26. You can enter several ways for more than one entry.

Click here or the image below to enter.

Learn about Revived and Renovated, Victoria’s Upcoming Project!

Victoria Duerstock, along with her friend Paige Rein, are launching a new video series soon! They’ll be sharing honest conversations on the intersection of faith and design in our spaces.

You can sign up to hear all the good news and updates at revivedandrenovated.com.

Renovating Our Homes and Hearts, Part 1

My kitchen is currently two different colors: blue and chestnut. From an outside perspective, it looks ridiculous. From where I’m standing, it’s a huge win.

Last March, my husband and I bought our first home together. Cosmetically, it was a real fixer-upper. Both bathrooms were pink, the kind of pink that only belongs in Pepto-Bismol bottles. The kitchen sported a cave-like drop-down ceiling and baby blue cabinets. Dear 90s, if only you knew the pain you’ve caused.

I’m incredibly blessed that God gave my husband the ability to watch almost any YouTube video and figure out renovations himself. I don’t possess that gift but am more than happy to embrace my helpmate status. I can identify most of his tools and am talented enough to hold almost anything under thirty pounds.

Even so, when we stared at the cave that was our kitchen, we decided to bring in the experts: demo and drywall team, electrician, and AC duct guy (because the original home designer thought it would be fun to place the air return in the drop-down ceiling).

The two-day job turned into four and caused more stress than I’m proud to admit. Yet looking back, I’m grateful we went through the mess.

What if we could have that same perspective with God’s renovating work in our own lives? Walk (and laugh) with me through this ordeal and see if we can find some wisdom for our Christian journey.

Stage 1: Demolition

Demolition is easy, right? All you do is knock everything down?

Not quite. I think we often confuse demolition with destruction. As I watched the crew on demolition day, I realized the opposite is true. Demolition is intentional. These hard-working men carefully taped a giant tarp around the entire kitchen space to keep debris isolated. They then went about the removal in stages, careful to secure AC duct work and raise support beams.

On a spiritual level, the distinction is even greater. Scripture makes clear that God tears down to rebuild, but man tears down to destroy. In John 10, Jesus uses the metaphor of a door to describe His relationship to His children or “sheep.” He contrasts Himself with impostors or anyone who seeks to injure or harm.

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:7-10 NKJV)

Thieves destroy. They demolish not to improve but to hurt. On the other hand, Jesus tears down to make peace and reconcile (Ephesians 2:14-18), prunes His children to produce fruit (John 15:2), and casts down strongholds to help us submit our thoughts in obedience to Him (2 Corinthians 10:5). He does all of this for the purpose of giving us the most abundant life possible.

Next time, we’ll look at Stage 2: Refining. Until then, let’s prayerfully consider what constructive demolition God might need to make in our lives to pave the way for what is better.

Home and heart renovations have more in common than you might expect! Learn more and take advantage of a special giveaway of Heart & Home by @vduerstock. Hosted by @khogrefeparnell.

Giveaway Opportunity!

Recently, I started reading Victoria Duerstock’s devotional called Heart & Home: Design Basics for Your Soul and Living Space. In it, she draws spiritual parallels to design principles that make our homes inviting places for our families and guests. I enjoy using it as a supplement to my daily quiet time.

For the next three weeks, you can enter to win an autographed copy of Heart & Home, special thanks to Victoria herself! I’ll announce the winner (must have US address) the week of July 26. You can enter several ways for more than one entry.

Click here or the image below to enter.

About Victoria

A multi-passionate creative and entrepreneur fueled mostly by coffee, Victoria Duerstock pursues her dreams with verve and intensity. Wife and mom of three, Victoria divides and conquers the never ending to-do list while working to maintain her sanity and pleasant demeanor.

She is currently on a fascinating writing journey which has plunged her deep in the social media landscape and she enjoys sharing her tips and tricks for growth and engagement with others through coaching and teaching online courses. You can read more on her websites www.victoriaduerstock.com and www.heartandhomebooks.com.

She is excited about two new releases for the Fall of 2020 with Skyhorse publishing titled Christmas Crafts and Advent Devotions for Kids and Biblical Hospitality. She also authored Heart & Home: Design Basics for Your Soul and Your Living Space and Heart & Home for Christmas: Celebrating Joy in our Living Space combining short devotionals with home design tips and full color pictures with Abingdon Press last year.

Peace Pirates: Review & Giveaway!

You might be surprised to see this book on my blog. I’m kind of surprised myself. After all, this is not a mom blog. (Hello, I’m not a mom yet!) However, this blog is all about thinking truthfully and living daringly in everyday life, and when I reviewed the book concept for Peace Pirates, I realized it fit our theme here perfectly.

Ashley Willis’ premise with this book is to fight the “pirates,” or anything that steals the peace from motherhood, by using biblical truth. It’s such a simple concept but so powerful, because every day, all of us (mothers or not) face choices, confront thought patterns, and deal with situations that can potentially rob the peace of God from our hearts.

So if you’re one of my friends who is a young mother (or like me, have so many friends who are in this season of life), please keep reading. I’d love for you to enter the giveaway and use this resource for yourself or share it with someone who would be blessed by it.

What are Peace Pirates?

After her confessions of a pirate mom (which are both hilarious and more than likely common misadventures shared by many moms), Ashley identifies four peace pirates that often plague mothers: mommy martyrdom, comparison chaos, clenching control, and excessive expectations. She breaks down each one by showing how these pitfalls can steal joy and then provides practical teaching from the Bible to combat each one.

One of my favorite points that she makes is that there are no perfect parents. This is such a liberating thought, right? She uses the example of Mary and Joseph in the Bible. The mother of Jesus and His earthly father actually lost Jesus for three days (Luke 2:43-47). Although I’ve read this story many times, I’d never considered it in terms of parenting. If the parents of the Son of God made mistakes, then parents today need to give themselves some grace, too, when best-laid plans turn into pure chaos.

As someone who isn’t a mother yet, I really appreciated this perspective. Not only are there no perfect parents, but they also can’t control everything their child does. Instead of judging parents in public when we have little-to-no knowledge of the situation’s background, Willis offers this suggestion: “When we see a stressed-out mom at her wit’s end, why can’t our first inclination be to offer her some help or an encouraging word?”

I love that. Assume the best, not the worst. Offer an encouraging word or to get more napkins from the dispenser. Willis’ practical, biblical style will bless and encourage the young mommas who read this book.

My Takeaway

Again, I’m not a mother yet, but as I read this book, I realized that the “peace pirates” Willis identifies can steal our peace, not matter what our life stage.

My personal takeaway is to not make excuses for issues like pride, comparison, and unrealistic expectations but deal with them now. Don’t wait until you’re a mother and feeling “less than” other mothers because your child isn’t perfect. Don’t wait for your child to graduate to realize that you “missed out” on priceless moments because you were so concerned with looking the part.

Wherever we are in our journeys (single adults, young marrieds, young mothers, empty nesters, etc.), let’s ask God to show us what “pirates” are trying to steal our peace. Then, let’s make it a matter of prayer to defeat them and pursue joy right where we are.

Enter the Giveaway

I wish I had a dozen copies of this book to give each of the young mommas I know. Since I don’t, I’m still excited to give away the one autographed copy I have.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment. You can share why you think this book would be an encouragement to you or a young mother you know. Or, if you’re a young momma barely holding it together, you could just say something like, “I want to fight the peace pirates!” I’ll announce the winner on the blog next week.

~ Kristen

Special thanks to the Blog About Blogger Network for hosting this giveaway.

Peace Pirates by Ashley Willis: Book Review & Giveaway by @kjhogrefe

Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Bethany on winning the hard copy of Peace Pirates by Ashley Willis! Thank you to everyone who participated.

The Marriage Ark: Review & Giveaway!

Are you single seeking a relationship, dating, engaged, or married? If you fall into any of those categories, The Marriage Ark is relevant for you. Author Margaret Phillips, a licensed marriage and family therapist, uses Noah’s ark as a metaphor for building a marriage that will last.

The preparation, choosing a foundation to build, applies to any reader, single or someone with a significant other. She makes the case that before we can do anything else to ensure a strong, healthy relationship, we must first examine ourselves. She says, “When I think of preparing the ground for marriage-the building site-I find the site is YOU. Yes, you and the heart you bring. You, consisting of body, soul, and spirit. Marriage starts where YOU are.”

I couldn’t agree more. When I was single, I had a Sunday school class teacher once tell me, “In order to find the right person, you have to BE the right person.” In other words, are you personally ready for a relationship? For example, have you forgiven anyone who has wronged you, dealt with any “secrets” in your past, and addressed any sins or addictions in your life that could damage a relationship? Phillips includes a personal inventory checklist to help readers survey the “land” where they plan to build a relationship. These questions are poignant and so very important to ask BEFORE the ceremony.

As with a relationship, there are stages. Preparation is the first, and then Phillips extends the metaphor to the other phases of building the ark. She talks about the “Pitch” or the covenants, vows, and commitments that will hold a marriage together. From there, she discusses the building tools or your family background, the nuts and bolts of communication and conflict, an honest look at intimacy, differences between the sexes, and more.

The length of the book is also achievable for those who love reading and those who don’t. Something my Sunday school class laughs about is that, more often than not, one partner loves reading resources to help their marriage while the other views reading as torture. At just over 100 pages, broken down into nine chapters, this book won’t overwhelm the partner who doesn’t find reading enjoyable so both partners can appreciate it.

Enter to Win Your Copy

I’m grateful to the Blog About Blogger Network for hosting this giveaway and providing the opportunity for me to give away one hardback copy of The Marriage Ark.

To enter, you can do several things:

  1. Comment on this post and share why you think this book would be an encouragement to you or someone you know.
  2. Share the tweet below on Twitter.
  3. Share the related Facebook post on my author page. Be sure to tag me!
  4. Subscribe to my newsletter to learn about future giveaways and posts that will encourage you in your daily life.
  5. Do more than one to be entered multiple times. The winner will be announced here on the blog next week.

One of my favorite takeaways from this book (and there are so many good ones) is that we are responsible for our actions. No matter what our family background or “blueprint” looked like, whether it was a broken home or a beautiful one, we get to “create a new ark for ourselves as adults,” as Phillips says. I love that idea, because so often, people make excuses for themselves based on what happened to them. But that’s a wrong perspective. The past may have shaped us, but it doesn’t define us.

Husbands and wives, we get to choose how strong our marriage arks will be. With God’s help, they can withstand any storm that comes our way.

~ Kristen

The Marriage Ark: Giveaway & Review by @kjhogrefe! Learn how to secure your marriage no matter what storms come your way.

And the giveaway winner is …

Congratulations to Linda for winning The Marriage Ark giveaway and thank you to everyone who participated!

Fresh Start Bible: Giveaway and Review

Many people wait until New Year’s for new beginnings, but any time of year is perfect for a fresh start. What better way to grow our relationship with God than learning more about His Word? The Fresh Start Bible is designed to help us do just that.

What’s Unique about the Fresh Start Bible?

The Fresh Start Bible uses the New Living Translation (NLT) for its biblical scholarship as well as easy-to-read, dynamic writing style. A forward by Jimmy Evans includes his personal testimony and 52 lessons he wrote that address fundamental questions, such as:

  • Who made me?
  • Why do people die?
  • How can I be saved?
  • Why should I be baptized?
  • Can I be saved without baptism?
  • How do I deal with anxiety and worry?
  • How do I build godly relationships?

After this foreword are the Old and New Testaments, and sprinkled among the books of the Bible are supplemental articles by church leaders. They are designed to break down practical teachings and inspire spiritual growth.

Following the Scriptures themselves is a section titled “Intersections” that examines major characters in the Bible’s narrative. Their purpose is to show God’s faithfulness and relationship with men and women through history. Finally, there are also full-color maps that show where Scriptural events take place, including:

  • Topography of Palestine
  • World of the Patriarchs
  • Ministry of Jesus
  • Paul’s Missionary Journeys

What Features Make this Bible a Great Gift?

My church has put a real emphasis on finding our “one,” at least one person God has placed in our lives to be a friend who needs Christian encouragement or an unbeliever who needs someone to point him to Christ. This Bible would be a great gift for my “one” or your “one” for a couple reasons:

  • The first page provides a special place to write someone’s name, your name, the occasion, and date.
  • An easy-to-use table of contents outlines the front matter, books of the Bible, and resources at the end of the edition.
  • Welcome letter by Pastor Robert Morris: This conversational letter invites new and seasoned believers alike to be intentional in reading God’s Word and also explains some of the resources.

My Review Summary

The supplemental material provided throughout this Bible makes it highly approachable and helpful, especially for seekers and new believers. However, readers should understand that none of this information adds to God’s inspired Word, nor do I think that to be the intent of the contributors and publisher. While these commentaries and practical insights offer guidance, readers should still exercise discernment and be aware that believers may disagree on certain areas of practice.

For example, one of the lessons by Jimmy Evans asks the question, “Why should I pray in tongues?” This question assumes that readers should pray in tongues, which is a debatable topic among denominations. Personally, I believe tongues was a unique gift fitted for a unique time period (the church in the book of Acts). However, I can respect Jimmy Evans and others who believe it still has a place today. As with any interpretation of Scripture, readers should exercise discernment and prayerfully examine Scripture and its context.

A Giveaway for You

All that said, I’m glad to find this new resource and look forward to sharing it with others, starting with you! This week, you can enter to win a free copy of the Fresh Start Bible here on the blog. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Like this post and add a comment, explaining why you would enjoy this Bible or why you’d like to give it as a gift.
  2. Share any of my related posts on Facebook or Twitter and tag me in them. (You must tag me so I’m aware that you shared the post and can add you to the drawing.)
  3. Do more than one to be entered multiple times!

“No matter who you are or what you have done, Jesus wants to give you a fresh start.” Learn how you could win a copy of the Fresh Start Bible at KristenHogrefe.com.

As we close out this year and anticipate the next, may we cherish God’s Word, prayerfully study it, and seek to know our Maker and Savior more.

~ Kristen

I’m grateful to the Blog About Network for hosting this giveaway.

My Gift to You This Thanksgiving Month

November is the month all about giving, and I’m starting it by giving away a Kindle copy of my award-winning novel, The Revisionary. This novel is the first in a futuristic dystopian trilogy where characters rediscover American heritage and find hope for tomorrow. You can learn more on my books page.

Today kicks off Celebrate Lit’s “Thankful for Our Readers” multi-author giveaway. When you enter, you have the chance to win, not just my book, but 40 other books by Christian writers, plus a grand prize of a $100 Amazon gift card.

Click here to enter the giveaway, which runs through November 10.

Wishing you the best November yet!

Kristen

My gift to you this Thanksgiving month is a Kindle copy of my award-winning dystopian novel The Revisionary. Details to enter this giveaway at KristenHogrefe.com.

Back-to-School Multi-Author Giveaway

Students are back in school, and fall is just around the corner. What better time to restock the reading list with books that both students and grown-ups will enjoy?

I’m excited to participate in another of Celebrate Lit’s multi-author giveaways. This huge giveaway includes a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card and over 40+ books, including a Kindle copy of The Reactionary, my latest release.

To enter, click the image below.

The giveaway event is going on now through September 22 .

Happy reading!

~ Kristen

Two YA Authors to Read this Spring PLUS a Giveaway!

Spring weather in Florida is blissful and hints that summer is just around the corner! Maybe you have an official spring break, or maybe, you’re in my camp and don’t technically get one. Regardless, you can still hop in to some spring reading. If you’re a sunshine girl like me, I suggest grabbing a beach towel, some sun protection, and a book you’ve been wanting to read to enjoy the best of both worlds (in my case, Florida and fiction).

Perhaps you’ve finished your current read and are looking for something new. If you enjoy young adult fiction, here are two authors worth adding to your list. Also, be sure to scroll all the way to the end of this post, because there’s a chance to enter a spring giveaway of 30 books (including one of my own) and a grand prize!

Emily Golus

Today, Golus’ sequel to Escape to Vindor releases, and I’m excited to share my review of Mists of Paracosmia with you. When Golus invited me to be an advance reader, I said yes, even though I was in the middle of wedding planning.

Golus spins another page-turning fantasy adventure in this sequel. This time, instead of Megan translating to Vindor, her younger brother finds himself there. Arden has been bullied at school, and when he hears there are Samurai in Vindor, he thinks he’s found his chance to train and teach the bullies a lesson when he returns home. However, though his journey, he learns the qualities that make a real warrior and hero are sacrificial, not selfish. Plus, Vindor’s problems are much larger than his own, and somehow, he must find a way to help.

I loved how Golus developed the sibling relationship between Megan and Arden. While Arden is trapped in Vindor, Megan is desperate to find a way to get him back—and risks everything in the process. We also see a more mature Megan in this story as she is now in college and learning what true friendship, and perhaps romance, looks like.

The ending was well-foreshadowed and still offered a delightful surprise. Why do the mists destroy memories in Vindor, and who controls them? This fantasy, with its well-crafted world building and lovable characters, offers a clean, thought-provoking, and memorable story readers of all ages will enjoy.

Lisa Mayer

Mayer’s first book in the Aletheian Journeys, The Arrow Bringer, released in March, which happened to be my wedding month. I had planned to read the book during my honeymoon travels but finished before I left because I had to find out what happened to the characters!

From the opening sentence, I was invested in Evie’s story. She’s dying of leukemia yet about to embark on the most important quest of her life, one that will decide the fate of her people and her soul.

Mayer’s descriptions are so vivid that the scenes spring to life in my imagination. Her world-building is masterful, and she makes me genuinely care about the characters. This story very much reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia with its redemptive theme. From what I hear, there’s a sequel, and I’ll be watching for it.

Spring Giveaway

Now through May 4, you have the chance to win thirty books and a $100 Amazon gift card! I’ve partnered with other Christian fiction authors in this event, hosted by Celebrate Lit, and am offering one of my own books, a Kindle copy of The Revisionary, as one of the prizes. I’d love for you to take home some good reads and the grand prize!

Click the image below to enter the giveaway or learn more at the Facebook event.

Do you already have books lined up for your spring reading? If so, please share in the comments!

Kristen

 

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