Review of the Baggage Handler

Excellent! The quality of writing is excellent, drawing me in from the first page. The tone of this contemporary allegory somehow reminded me of the Shack, but, thankfully, without the violent images left stamped upon my very impressionable imagination. The Baggage Handler was handled much better (pun obviously intended).

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Review of A Very Austen Valentine

As an Austen junkie, I really enjoyed this collection of novellas overall. I took the average of all 6 novellas and rated it a 4-star. On the whole, I enjoyed them, though I did find it a little confusing to go back and forth between timelines in the same Austen world.

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Review of An Unpresentable Glory

An Unpresentable Glory, a contemporary Christian fiction, somewhat literary in flavor, is definitely not a book for those of us who just want a light romance to escape with. This book is for those who want to think hard, to be challenged in their beliefs, and to not escape from our current world but be confronted with several of its gritty issues.

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God is the Ultimate Example of Parenting

Now that we've seen we need to balance between the two extremes of permissive friends and restrictive authority figures with our children and how and when to say “yes” to our children, now we move on to the ultimate example of good parenting – God Himself. Both God the Father and Jesus the Son show us traits we need to be observing and replicating in our own Christian parenting.

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Christian Parenting with Generosity: Should we Say "Yes" or "No" More to our Kids?

In case you missed it, this is part two of my March Parenting series, a more practical continuation of my blog post last week, balancing permissive friendship with restrictive authority. Please read part one first if you haven't already. Do you want to know what a balanced Christian parenting style looks like? Taken from Jesus' parable in Matthew 7, here's a way to weigh our parenting, using the scale of giving, whether we answer with “yes” or “no” more.

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Christian Parenting: What Should our Relationship be with Our Children as Christian Parents?

The phrase “friend of God” has been so overused. I identify more with “beloved child.” But then I realized something. I am both. It's not an either/or question. It's a both/and. You are, too. You are God's child. You are God's friend. And, ding, ding, ding! The light bulb came on! I can be both to my children, too. I can be their parents while I'm their friend. You can, too. Here’s how:

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A Happy Marriage is Possible: You Just Need a Positive Sentiment

I'm not going to lie. Since I value honesty, I'm going to admit right here and now that a positive attitude is hard for me. It's not my natural reaction. Once reality hit after the honeymoon, and the rose-colored glasses fell off, my survival technique has been to expect the worst to avoid disappointment over and over again. If negativity is natural for you, too, I understand. I get how hard it can be to stop thinking about all your husband's faults and mistakes and what he needs to work on. I will give you a few positive attitude motivations to change your mindset so that you can enjoy a happier marriage.

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5 Encouraging Christmas Songs after Forgiveness from Sin

When you know God has forgiven you, but you don't feel forgiveness for yourself, these songs will encourage you. Here are 5 Christmas songs that helped encourage me to move forward, learning my lesson from my sin, but not wallowing in it:

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Review of Finding Amor by Allison K. Garcia

Allison is a Latin author I had the privilege to meet at FAB’s Fall FB Party! I was intrigued by the idea of her story and knew I needed—though not necessarily wanted—to apply it to my life. It’s not the romance I thought it was, though. Rather, it’s more about finding the love between estranged mother and son and ultimately between God and His children.

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Is it Worth Going Marie Kondo on our Christian Fiction Books?

We can learn from this debate about Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up tactics. We can take the principles of decluttering and use them in our spiritual walks. We need to be careful of practices stemming from unbiblical philosophies, but that doesn't mean we need to throw out every kernel of truth. We need to be discerning in this messy middle, knowing when to keep things and ideas and when to discard them. Our guide is the Word of God, the only Truth.

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Review of the Essence of Humility

This is an unusual book. I call it creative nonfiction, elements of fiction mixed with nonfiction. I see it mostly as a devotional especially for those who are into holistic health or sell essential oils. It would also be for those who like to read something different, off the beaten path of a strict genre, which I admit is not me.

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Review of the Lost Art of Relationship

I really pulled some great nuggets of wisdom and was motivated to work on several areas in my existing relationships. But I was disappointed in two big ways…

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4 Ways to Be a Best Friend to Your Husband

Proverbs 27 gives four actions we should take in all friendships, but especially in our marriages. Because our husbands should be our best friends, we should help them become the best they can be, sharpening each other by giving heartfelt counsel, persevering through the hard times, and lovingly rebuking our husbands.

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Lila's Top Christian Books of 2018 Awards

Out of the 125 books I read in 2018, these are the ones I rated 5 stars. Check out the honorable mentions and then walk the red carpet to see who won the awards for the best in each category: Favorite Old West Historical Fiction, Favorite Contemporary Novella, Favorite Christian Allegory, Favorite Christian Nonfiction, and more!

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Review of This Homeward Journey by Misty M. Beller

This Homeward Journey by Misty Beller cover.  Buy on Amazon .

This Homeward Journey by Misty Beller cover. Buy on Amazon.

Title: This Homeward Journey

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian historical romance

Release date: January 1, 2019

After her husband’s death, Rachel Gray is finally free from the turmoil his addictions caused. She wants nothing more than a new life with her twelve-year-old son. If she can reach her brother in the wilderness of the Canadian territories, they’ll have help to start over in peace. She knows better than to put her life in the hands of another man, but she never expected the Montana mountains to be so treacherous. When two brothers invite her to join their small group traveling to the same area, she refuses. After she and her son narrowly escape a bear attack, she’s forced to admit they need the safety of numbers in this untamed land. If the men prove dangerous, she can always leave with her son and strike out alone again.

Seth Grant has made some bad choices in his life, but God healed him from the addiction that mired him in his sins. Now, he’s determined to live the life God called him to, starting with a journey northward to see the Canadian mountain both his brother and sister have fallen in love with. When he discovers the woman and boy who plan to travel the same mountain trail, he can’t fathom why she refuses to join in the safety of their larger group. Though her decision seems unwise, he has no other choice but to pray God provides her protection.

Despite Rachel’s best efforts, she can’t seem to fight her attraction to the Seth—until a secret from his past proves he’s not at all the man she thought. When a new peril threatens her son’s life, she must choose between trusting in what she can control, or the man who her heart says is trustworthy, no matter his previous sins. The path she chooses just may determine whether she can step into the new life God has in store for them all.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Misty Beller, author, and her horse.

Misty Beller, author, and her horse.

Misty M. Beller writes romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Guest Post from Misty

Why Christian Historical Romance?

I don’t know about you, but my life can get crazy…busy…chaotic. Historical fiction gives me a haven, allowing me to immerse in a simpler time and place. Add in remote mountain settings—log cabins and horses and snow…what could be better? Sometimes I wish God had let me live a couple centuries ago, but then I remind myself He knew exactly what He was doing. I don’t do well without a shower every day.  And He even lets me go back to that simpler time through stories!

If you’re reading this, you probably enjoy immersing yourself in a good book, too. Story can be such a powerful thing! Becoming an intimate part of the characters’ lives, feeling their struggles—the desperation, the elation, the emotions, the love.

I enjoy reading and writing Christian fiction because it provides a place where I don’t always have to be concerned about inappropriate language or too-graphic love scenes. It’s a “safe zone” where my imagination can escape, living out exciting times and experiencing God-orchestrated happily-ever-afters—without having to clean-up at the end of the day. Can you relate?

I’m excited to share my latest Christian Historical Romance story with you, and hope you enjoy it as much as I loved writing it!

This Homeward Journey tour banner by  Celebrate Lit .

This Homeward Journey tour banner by Celebrate Lit.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, December 29

Through the Fire Blogs, December 29

Carpe Diem, December 30

Splashes of Joy, December 30

A Baker’s Perspective, December 31

Mary Hake, December 31

Pause for Tales, January 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 1

Simple Harvest Reads, January 2 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Connie’s History Classroom, January 2

Among the Reads, January 3

For The Love of Books, January 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 4

Connect in Fiction, January 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 5

Christian Author, J.E. Grace. January 6

Bibliophile Reviews, January 6

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 7

Inspiration Clothesline, January 7

Creating Romance, January 8

Texas Book-aholic, January 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9

Janices book reviews, January 9

Wishful Endings, January 10

Cafinated Reads, January 10

Bigreadersite, January 11

Blossoms and Blessings, January 11


To celebrate her tour, Misty 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 or link below to enter. 

Enter to win a  $50 Amazon gift card !

Enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

Lila’s Thoughts:

What I loved about This Homeward Journey:

I don't know why it took me so long to actually start it, and why the first couple of times I couldn't focus on the first page. It wasn't the author's fault. It was mine. I was still in a “book hangover” from the last great book I read. However, as soon as I finished the first chapter, I was hooked.

At 3% of the ebook, in the first chapter, I already saw the first mention of God. That warmed my heart. I didn’t have to wonder if it was going to be a truly Christian novel or just a clean one with a mention of “religion” thrown in to market it as a “Christian fiction.” I wasn't disappointed. There were personal prayers to God all throughout, in almost every chapter.

From the very first page when we’re introduced to the main male character, Seth, I liked him. He loved being outdoors, he had come to loath his former vices, and he already wanted to protect an innocent woman. Now there’s a good guy I can have a book crush on! I’m so tired of these romances (usually secular, but I’ve seen them even in Christian fiction) where the love interest is a bad boy, or he’s a flirt, or the woman hates the man for the majority of the book. That drives me insane!

I also enjoyed the way that the setting was unobtrusive yet played such a big part in their journey up to Canada. The climbing of the mountains, the camping details, the use of a simple act like swimming to demonstrate Andy's character growth—they all showed a mastery of setting without pounding it into the reader's brain that this was a trip from this place to that place. The physical journey was just the backdrop to the real journey, the spiritual journey of healing for Rachel and Andy. Very well done.

What I Didn't Love:

There were only a couple. The first is a minor thing. I'm not sure that the thought from either Rachel or Seth at the beginning of each chapter added anything. In fact, several times I felt that the thought was something Rachel wouldn't have admitted even to herself yet. And who were these thoughts directed to? A journal? To God? Neither option really fits, as they were too personal for a journal that might be read by posterity, neither were they in second person as speaking directly to the Lord. Several times I didn't see what the thought even had to do with that particular chapter. I personally think the book would be better without these. Just a chapter heading is fine.

The second is more important. Though it took so long to build Rachel's trust, and I loved the believable length of time for the romance to unfold (unlike so many romances where a woman who had hated the man through the entire book suddenly capitulates and falls madly in love with him because of one incident), there was one point that didn't seem very realistic to me at all. The climax. And that was what brought it down from 5-stars for me.

Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that the tension and stakes had been gradually building, and then from out of nowhere comes a truly evil villain without a single redeeming quality, shooting the stakes sky-high. And there was no real motive for the villain, no obvious rewards for the risk, no demand for his supply. I think there could have been a much less dramatic—and more realistic—conflict, and we still would have been satisfied with the character growth and the happily ever after resolution for the romance.

All in all, though, This Homeward Journey was a very enjoyable read with deep characters, masterful use of setting, and a journey that I won't soon forget.

Introduction to a Business for Authors, Reveries Co. + a Giveaway!

Today I’m sharing a post written by Miss Kellyn Roth to introduce her new business, Reveries Co., with services of all kinds for authors.

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Include Jesus in Your New Year's Resolutions

But in my personal goals, how can I measure freedom? I really can’t. That’s where trust comes in for this goal-oriented, detailed person. I have to leave that up to God. I will explore the Bible to learn more about freedom and slavery, and I will listen to Him.

I need to continually remind myself of James 4:13-17 (ESV)…

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Merry Christmas!

There will be no blog post this week. I want to focus on spending time with my family, and I want you to focus on spending time with your family.

May God bless you with joy and peace as you remember why the Prince of Peace “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8, ESV).

Merry Christmas from Lila Diller

Definition of Christian Romance

Next week, we’ll be focusing on Jesus’ birth. Last week, we focused on Jesus’ reason for being born, His death as the perfect sacrifice. (If you missed it, you can read about the Beauty of the Church here.) This week, I want to focus on one aspect of Jesus’ life: the Bridegroom, the object of our spiritual romance as the “Lover of our Souls.” ;)

What is Christian Romance and is it beneficial or harmful to Christians?

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Time-Traveling in the Bible?

The term salvation has several different meanings,which makes it easy to misunderstand each other. The Bible uses this important concept in three main ways. God has saved us in the past (justification); God is saving us in the present (sanctification); and God will save us in the future (glorification).

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