5 Books I’m Thankful For + An Awesome Sale!

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Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my “things I’m thankful for” list every year. It’s hard to choose favorites, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2015 and am thankful for.

  1. The Word Unleashed, by Steve Rzasa: This book really encouraged me in my faith and helped me through a period of change in my life. I deeply believe that quality fiction is one of the most powerful ways to communicate truth and inspiration. This book was proof of that to me.
  2. The King’s Scrolls, by Jaye L. Knight: Like Rzasa’s The Word Unleashed, my brother read this first and insisted that I needed to prioritize it on my to-read list. He has good tastes! I adore Jaye’s characters.
  3. When Sorry Isn’t Enough, by Gary D. Chapman: This is the non-fiction book that impacted me most this year. It’s due for a re-read since I can’t remember all of the concepts very well at this point.
  4. Priscilla & Aquila, by Lois T. Henderson: This is the last book I read, and I’m thankful for it because it bumped me out of the dystopian reading rut I’ve been in. Don’t get me wrong. I still adore dystopian and gravitate to it, but it’s always good to get a change of scenery. I’m currently working on Ruth by the same author.
  5. The Maze, by Will Hobs: I’m grateful for this book because it was really fun and relaxing to read it while I was traveling through the very place the story was set in. It was a great, surprisingly good find in a Grand Canyon visitor’s center.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to another great year of reading! Speaking of more reading, here’s one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 27-30. There’s literally something for everyone.

Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books (Including my two books, Counted Worthy and Stories for God’s Glory) is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you.

Don’t know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!

Book Quiz

What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good for her work organizing this sale, Gloria Repp for completing the time consuming job of uploading book info to the sale website, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Book Review: The Small One

The Small OnePicture books are one of the rarer categories to appear here on Leah’s Bookshelf. Since I have a predominately mid to late teen audience, they don’t really fit. But every once in a while, even teens and adults can enjoy a good picture book. Plus I know a lot of you have younger siblings who probably like being read to and receiving books for birthdays.

The Small One is about a boy and his beloved donkey. Unfortunately, the donkey has become to old and weak to pull his weight in the family business. The boy’s father says Small One must be sold. The boy is devastated, but asks his father for permission to bring Small One into town himself in order to make sure he finds a good home. The father agrees. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any kind people in need of a donkey. And then, just when all hope seems lost, someone shows up who needs a donkey to bring his wife to Bethlehem.

Yes, Christmas is over. And this is most definitely a Christmas story. But the story is just as fun and touching after Christmas as before. I pulled it out on New Year’s Eve and enjoyed spending about five minutes reading it (it’s a short picture book). Apparently it’s based on a Disney movie. Has anyone seen it?

What’s your favorite fictional Christmas story?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! Hope both days were wonderful for you. 🙂

10 Bookish Things I Am Thankful For

Australian1. The Bible. The most powerful book of all.

2. All of the wonderful people who have been reading my book, leaving reviews, and even emailing me to share their thoughts about Counted Worthy. So grateful for all of you!

3. These eyes the Lord blessed us with that we can use to read.

4. The power of fiction. It’s been used to tell some bad stories. I’m not thankful for that. But I am incredibly thankful for fiction’s ability to package truth in such a unique, heart-touching way when handled properly.

5. Writer friends. Creative, crazy, and attached to our fictional people. We have a lot of fun together.

6. Books that have inspired me. Right now I’m thinking especially of Do Hard ThingsSafely Home, and Secret Believers.

7. My Kindle! As much as I love the feel and smell and lesser eye strain of “real” books, the cost efficiency of Kindle books is hard to beat.

8. Book editors. Writers come up with the stories, but editors make them readable. Can you image how much less enjoyable our books would be if an editor hadn’t polished them up?

9. Memories that allow us to remember the stories we read and even retain our favorite phrases to quote at opportune moments.

10. Other readers to share stories with and rehash favorite details after we’ve read them.

What bookish things are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Visit the Grave (an Easter poem)

The story of Mary Magdalene visiting the tomb of Jesus early on the morning of His resurrection has always intrigued me. Of all the people involved in the discovery of his empty tomb and victory over death, Mary Magdalene stands out. Jesus had impacted her life in such a huge way, casting seven devils out of her (Mark 16:9). He had given her hope. How she must have grieved his death. She must have questioned everything, searching for something to cling to. And yet something drew her back to his grave. She couldn’t even wait till dawn. She went to the tomb while it was still dark (John 20:1) and was the very first person Jesus revealed himself to. I wrote this poem about her several months ago but saved it to share now. I figure you all will have more time to read it today, though, so hear you are. 😉 And while you’re at it, you might want to read Dawn for My Soul, last year’s Easter poem (also written from Mary Magdalene’s perspective).

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How can I ever sleep again?
My hope, my light, my Lord is dead.
My cheeks are wet, my words unsaid,
I cannot stay upon this bed.

Oh how I miss Him, gone three days,
Without Him life is but a haze.
My purpose buried in His grave,
His presence now is all I crave.

The darkness heavy on this morn,
It matches well my soul forlorn.
While others sleep I slip away,
My vigil keeping where He lays.

My soul, oh, must you break again?
My journey to his grave in vain.
The stone rolled back, my Savior gone.
They took Him by the break of dawn.

The others come and see this thing,
We mourn together our lost King.
The others leave, but still I stay,
I look into his burial cave.

The empty grave now fills with light,
Two angels stand before my sight.
They ask me why I shed these tears,
I tell them He’s no longer here.

And then the gardener speaks my name
My heart will never be the same.
My ears can hear, my heart now knows,
That Jesus vanquished all his foes!

My hope, my light, my Lord is back,
My heart no more shall ever lack.
My Christ arose, and so shall I,
Be ever with Him in the sky.

(Copyright 2014 by Leah E. Good)

Book Review: Fly Away Home

Fly Away HomeHappy Valentines Day everyone! In honor of the day, here’s a review of a sweet, newly released love story. Yes. It is a love story and I am reviewing it. Miracles do happen. And, as I said, it’s very sweet. And clean. The giveaway is open to residents of the continental USA. To enter just leave a comment explaining why you’d like to read the book. The winner will be announced on Thursday (or as close to Thursday as my schedule permits).

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Calida Harper has big dreams, a depressing reality, and a pain ridden past. When she’s offered a position as assistant to one of the countries most famous and successful reporters, she knows she’s just had the biggest break of her career. But one false step and she’s out of a job. Matters get further confused as Callie’s emotions begin tying themselves in knots. Her boss, Mr. Burnett, is infuriating and “a darling” all at the same time. His down to earth boyishness and Christian faith remind Callie of things she’s sworn to leave in the past. But when a jealous co-worker presents her with a dreadful either or, Callie must face both her traitorous emotions and her past.

When Rachel Heffington contacted me to ask if I’d like to review her soon-to-be-released book, I was a little skeptical. After all, she presented it as a “christian/historical romance” and I don’t read those! She assured me the romance was clean, and I agreed to give it a try. I’m glad I did. This is as much a story about friendship, trust, and forgiveness as a romance. And the romance aspect is my kind of love story too. Both characters fall for each other’s character and heart instead of lusting over physical characteristics. This isn’t a story I’d hesitate to recommend because of blush factors.

Knowing it was self-published also made me a little wary at first. At the beginning of the book, I occasionally felt the description and historical detail was a bit heavy handed, but I suspect that might have been a result of hyper-awareness more than anything else. Over all the book was well written and well told. Thumbs up.

Note: I received a review copy of this book from the author. I was under no obligation to give a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Happy (Belated) Birthday!

Happy belated birthday, Jesus, and Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope you had a wonderful day yesterday.
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What Christmas traditions do you enjoy? Or did you do something nontraditional that was really special to you this year?

Book Review: The Bird’s Christmas Carol

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“Mama, dear, I do think that we have kept Christ’s birthday this time just as He would like it. Don’t you?”

The whole Bird family (with the exception of the displaced baby of the family) knows something is special when the latest addition to the family (and the first girl) comes into the world on Christmas day. Mrs. Bird names the child Carol. Carol grows to become the angel of the Bird household, but she’s a frail angel. The day finally comes when Mrs. Bird must accept that summers in the country and expensive doctors cannot cure her little girl. But despite her illness, Carol enjoys life. And she takes special joy in her plans to give her Christmas away to the poor children who live next door.

This is a really short book, easily read in an hour or less. Carol, the main character, reminded me a lot of Little Lord Fauntleroy. She’s one of those flawless embodiments of virtue sometimes favored by old-fashioned writers. If that sort of thing turns you off, you probably won’t enjoy The Bird’s Christmas Carol. Personally, I felt the narrative was a bit boring in parts, but the story is so short it didn’t really matter. And the ending was poignant. One of those bitter sweet, glad but sad endings. If your a fan of classics this would be a perfect Christmas read. And it’s in public domain, so you can easily find it for free. Bonus!

I’m trying to do a Christmas theme for this month. I did it last year for December, though, so finding books is that much more challenging. Any suggestions?!

Dawn for My Soul

LilyLord, I know You’re dead and buried,
For I saw You wrapped and carried.
Of these tears I’m growing wearied,
But my hope with You was buried.

So on this morn I make my way,
My final homage now to pay,
And find the stone now rolled away,
The body there no longer lays.

And then I see a ray of light,
A man in garments radiant, bright.
He tells me death has turned to life,
And brings the dawn to soul’s dark night.

The tears again flow down my face,
They’re streaming as I homeward race.
The tears of joy for endless grace,
The goodness of my God I taste.

My Savior lives, so join in song,
For death is weak and God is strong.
All pow’r and praise to Him belong,
His vict’ry is the angels’ song.

(Copyright 2013 by Leah E. Good)