“A Change in Tune” ~ A Just Read Blog Tour & Giveaway (ends 9/28/21)

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A Change in Tune JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for A Change in Tune by Ashley Rescot, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Change in TuneTitle: A Change in Tune Series: The Strings of Sisterhood #1 Author: Ashley Rescot Publisher: Rescot Creative Release Date: September 15, 2021 Genre: Christian Romance, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult, Music Fiction

Violinist Victoria Pearson dreams of attending Johann Conservatory of Music in New York City for graduate school. As the oldest of five sisters, she hopes to escape her Midwestern college town and hectic family situation to fulfill her passion in life—music. But when she decides to participate in Belton University’s Concerto competition to bolster her chances of acceptance, Victoria finds herself competing against her sister Adrienne and lifelong cellist friend Jerry Chang. This sets in motion a rivalry that questions the roles of sisterhood, friendship, and maybe love.

Victoria wants to maintain the rigors required of a professional classical musician without losing her family and friends, not to mention her sanity, in the process. The demands of her large family might hinder her ability to achieve her dreams. What sacrifices will she make to reach her goals, and are they worth the cost? A new, twenty-first-century generation of little women takes the stage in A Change in Tune.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Rescot

Ashley Rescot is a professional violinist, educator, writer, and Fulbright Scholar. An aficionado of music, pedagogy, family, faith, and language, she writes about her life as a musician. With degrees in both music and literature, she hopes her stories will inspire the next generation of musicians, encourage music professionals, and educate others about the exciting world of music.

CONNECT WITH ASHLEY: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(4) winners will receive a print copy of A Change in Tune plus ONE of the following stories featuring a violin: The Main Dish by Victoria Kimble, A Note Yet Unsung by Tamara Alexander, A Song Unheard by Roseanna White, or Night Song by Tricia Goyer.

A Change in Tune JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight September 21, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 28, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

About A Change in Tune

In A Change in Tune, we meet Victoria Pearson, one of 5 children in a musical family. She is the violinist; her sisters play piano, other stringed instruments, and sing. Victoria is a senior and her plans are already made; to study at a renowned musical conservatory in Manhattan. Of course, to win a place to study there, she has to keep her first chair standing in the college’s orchestra. And ace the audition.

She’s working hard on all these things. But it’s hard living in a loud home where someone is always practicing or getting into her business. Her next younger sister, Adrienne, is many things that Victoria is not (all the annoying things, anyway), yet Victoria finds herself inadvertently in competition with her sister both inside the orchestra and out. It doesn’t help that their good friend, cellist Jerry Chang, is being romantically targeted by Adrienne, just as Victoria thinks that she might have feelings for him.

Ahead of the sisters are arguments, duets, difficult decisions, and events that might just bring heartbreak. How on earth will Victoria be able to achieve her goals with her sister seemingly undermining her at every turn?

My thoughts

I was drawn to this book when I saw it was described as “a modern-day Little Women.” And indeed, it does resemble that beloved book of my childhood (and even adulthood!). Although sometimes it’s more like the sisters in Pride and Prejudice in their frequent disagreements. Anyway, it was a fun book to move into. I definitely found myself identifying with a character or two!

I enjoyed a foray into a book where most of the characters were musicians. I never played a string instrument but was fascinated by Ashley Rescot’s descriptions of the joys and challenges the protagonists experienced both with their instruments, individual performances, and playing in an orchestra. I could imagine and visualize the scenes quite easily. As a musician herself, Rescot understood and described the great pressure that a top musician faces, and the various ways they might deal with that pressure.

The characters’ faith was definitely present, although at first, it didn’t seem to inform or direct the siblings’ squabbles (all quite normal) or relationships much of the time. Yet Victoria definitely thaws a bit and allows God to heal and help the relational challenges that many face in families. She’s fortunate that they do all have their faith in common. Also, while there is a good bit of smooching in the book, the author keeps it on the G-rated side.

If you: are interested in music or a musician yourself; if you have sisters or a large family; if you’d like to see a modern Little Women-esque novel in the Christian fiction category, this book is for you! It’s also good news to hear that Rescot’s book is the first of several about the musical Pearson sisters!

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER:

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

New kids’ devotional: “Roar Like a Lion” (and giveaway too! Ends 9/29/21)

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Hi everyone! I have a fantastic kids’ devotional giveaway for you today: Levi Lusko’s Roar Like a Lion. I received a copy of this book from Momentum Influencer Network; and they’re going to give away a copy to one reader as well!

About Roar Like a Lion

This devotional is written for kids aged 6-10 from a Christian perspective. Co-written by pastor Levi Lusko and Tama Fortner, it encourages kids to embrace courage, remain hopeful, build their own faith, and, as the book says so beautifully on the back cover, “Understand how you are a part of God’s great story.” There are 90 devotional readings contained in a 192-page hardcover book, sized just right for kid hands (6 1/2″ x 8 1/4″). It’s illustrated by Catherine Pearson.

Each devotional starts with a title. Then, the Bible verse is listed. Next, the authors share how the verse could apply to kid life (in situations with siblings, parents, peers, friends, the world at large, or in their own choices). The devotional ends with simple prayers. Also, there are sidebars on the right which tell an anecdote or story, or summarize events from the Bible which relate to what kids have just read. These are entitled “Get Ready to Roar!” or “Did You Know?”

What you’ll read inside

You’ll find thoughtful, gently and kindly-written words that are just right for kids to read to themselves. (Of course, this could also be read by kids and parents together, in the morning or just before bed.) The authors know what it’s like to be kids, and to face issues that they face, because (of course) they were kids once themselves! Levi Lusko also is the parent of several children. So armed with day-to-day life experience, years of pastoring, and the Bible, they offer clear explanations of Bible verses and how they really do apply to kids’ daily experiences.

The writing is warm and clearly written in a caring manner, so that kids and readers know the authors understand what it’s like to face a world and situations that are beyond kids’ experiences; and that the Bible have loving and helpful words to apply. Verses that kids will remember or can memorize.

And, I have to mention the artwork! As you saw above, the cover art is breathtaking. I thought of stained-glass windows, while my son thought of origami-type paper art. (I think we’re both right!) Inside the book, under each title, you’ll find art that illustrates each particular devotional. Those echo again the collage/paper feeling of the cover art. They’re cheerful and wonderful. I even was reminded of one of my own favorite illustrators of children’s books and her work, Lois Lenski. Kids and parents will love the art, which takes each topic and brings it to life vividly.

So what are some kid life challenges that readers will discover here? Here are some of the topics:

  • Even kids can be leaders
  • God loves us and speaks to us
  • School days that are tough
  • What to do when you don’t know how to proceed
  • Fears
  • How God sees us
  • And one of my own cherished phrases: “But God…”
  • and more!

I particularly loved how Lusko wove the story of Jesus and Jairus and the woman who touched Jesus’s robe so she could be healed, into an illustration of how we might feel when we are interrupted…and how Jesus dealt with the same thing. Or about our habits, and Jesus’s habits! Or, how seemingly impossible situations were worked out by our “But God…” God. Over and over, devotionals are presented that will help kids know that God loves them and holds them close, and is so ready to lead and guide them always.

I had many favorite passages in this book. But I wanted to show you one of my top faves:

God never will leave us. And He will NEVER break His promises.

That’s an exceptional word for all of us, whether we’re kids or adults!

Where to purchase Roar Like a Lion

Just click on the Buy Link below!

Buy Links

Best of all, I have a copy of Roar Like a Lion to give away!

One FINCHNWREN reader will receive a copy of Roar Like a Lion! To enter, simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools page where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. US only. Giveaway closes on 9/29/21. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing this product/product information for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive the product in exchange for this review and post.

“Courageous Legacy” in theaters 9/24! Enter to win 2 tix via Fandango (ends 9/26/21)

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Recently, I watched the Kendricks brothers’ film Courageous Legacy. Here’s what’s amazing: it premieres in theaters this Friday, on September 24, 2021. Let me tell you more about this moving film…and keep reading to enter to win two tickets to see it yourself!

What is Courageous Legacy?

Ten years ago (after their films Facing the Giants and Fireproof, but before War Room, Overcomer, and Show Me the Father), Alex and Stephen Kendrick made their film about fathers and families called Courageous. My family actually saw it all those years ago (we were and still are huge Kendricks fans), and were incredibly moved by it then.

Now, they’ve remastered the film, added some scenes, and created a whole new ending for a new generation! And, you can see it in theaters this weekend!

Watch the trailer (and other goodies) here!

If you’d like to see a little more about this amazing film, click Courageous Legacy trailer to watch the preview!

You can also click The Heart of Courageous Legacy to learn more about why the Kendricks set out on a new Courageous journey–10 years after it was first released. (I love this video!) You get to hear from Alex and Stephen Kendrick, plus actors Kevin Downes, Ken Bevel, Ben Davies, and the very funny Robert Amaya as they share their experiences about the film’s legacy process.

Part of the original film’s components was a “Resolution” for dads to sign and agree to. I won’t tell you more about that (because spoilers!) but you can download a copy for yourself. Just click on Tools for more.

And last but definitely not least, here is another fun Kendricks Brothers video!

My thoughts

This is a movie that is DEFINITELY worth families’ seeing; and, seeing it together. Life can get both busy and crazy…and our focus can stray from our families and the love we have for each other, to “what’s the next thing on the calendar.” We have a calling and a responsibility to treasure our moments as a family; to love each other and value and treasure each other. Courageous Legacy has that process in mind. It is so worth your time; you’ll be enriched, encouraged, and blessed as you watch this. It was already a high-quality movie with a great story. Now, the enhanced video with awesome extras is even more thrilling. Especially the new BONUS ENDING!!

Just bring tissues. You’re going to need them. 😉

Where can you purchase tickets?

Just in case you’re not selected as the FINCHNWREN ticket giveaway winner, I want to let you know where you can purchase tickets for yourself! This would be a great family movie night out event…or you could take your best friends…or even let your church or small group know, so you could attend together!

Buy Tickets Here
Official Website

Enter to win here!

I have two Fandango tickets to give away to one FINCHNWREN reader! To enter, simply click on the “Enter here!” pink link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter to win in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes September 26, 2021. One winner will receive two tickets. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure:
Many thanks to Sony Pictures for providing this product/product information for
review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I
did receive the product in exchange for this review and post.

“Vindication” Season 2 – And Your Chance to win Pure Flix (ends 9/29/21)

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Hello there!

Last week, I told you about an exceptional new crime drama, Vindication, that I was able to enjoy via Pure Flix. (All 10 episodes of season 1!) Now, Vindication‘s Season 2 is dropping…and I have a 6-months Pure Flix subscription to give away!

About Vindication Season 2

Vindication is a crime drama, or police procedural, from Pure Flix. (You can also read my review of Vindication season 1 by clicking here.) We watched Season 1 and were truly captivated by the storylines and the characters, and their journeys. Detective Gary Travis serves with a Dallas suburb’s police station. The crimes they seek to solve cover everything from stalking, human trafficking, domestic abuse, drug addiction, murder, the dark web, and more. Travis is mentoring a younger female officer, Kris, who’s much tougher than he thinks; and here and there faith enters the picture in various characters’ lives.

In season 2 of Vindication, we see Travis, who’s had a promotion, heading up a smaller police station. Things don’t seem to be running that smoothly and his detectives and officers don’t seem to be actually doing their jobs. Kris is still over at the East Bank station, with other staff we met in season 1. Family issues, staff problems, crime investigations, and Travis’s growth in his faith form the basis of the episodes (we’ve seen the first four thus far).

About “Suspicion Comes Home,” Episode 3

Although Travis no longer works at Precinct 1, his new position at Precinct 2 came with a promotion. As sergeant of his new station, he faces employees who seem to just be there to garner a paycheck. So, Travis is interviewing potentials for his police force. A number of hopefuls come in, but Travis is thrilled to meet Dallas detective Tre, played by Courageous and War Room star T.C. Stallings, who’s looking for something new.

Meanwhile, in Precinct 1, Kris (who’s also been promoted, to detective) investigates a home assault crime, called in by the victim’s teen daughter. The dad was mildly injured, but Kris is very apprehensive; she’s very concerned that she might personally know the perpetrator. And there are stirrings of romance in the workplace.

I really enjoyed “Suspicion Comes Home.” Vindication does a spectacular job of keeping viewers engaged. There’s always something going on behind the scenes that isn’t visible immediately, or sometimes, even til the very end of the episodes. The faith references are both genuine and impactful without being too heavy-handed. Those elements were true in this episode as well. In life, interpersonal issues are often the most difficult we face as humans, and viewers will relate as Travis, Kris, and their family members struggle both at home and at work.

The cast continues to be outstanding, and work so well together. T.C. Stallings is a fantastic addition to the crew and he and Todd Terry, who plays Travis, interact so well together. Venus Monique (Kris), Peggy Schott (Becky), and Matt Holmes (Kevin) continue to bring their A-game. All the actors play so well together. With each episode, we really want to see more of them and hope for their success.

Where to find Vindication

If you’re a fan of crime dramas, I so highly recommend Vindication! You can stream it on Pure Flix. In fact, you can even sign up for a free trial of this streaming service! Just click on the Pure Flix link below. That will take you to the Vindication page, where you’ll be able to sign up and watch!

Pure Flix

Even better, you can enter to win a Pure Flix subscription!

The FINCHNWREN blog has a Pure Flix subscription to give away! One entrant will receive a 6-months’ subscription to Pure Flix streaming service, where viewers can watch everything from classic film, to Christian-themed entertainment, to kids/family/teen films and series.

To enter, simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter to win in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes 9/29/21. One winner will be selected to win. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Win a Prayer Journal Duo in the Falling Into Leaves Giveaway Hop (ends 9/30/21)

Hello there, everyone!

To celebrate our moving into the fall season (pumpkin spice is everywhere!), I’m participating in the Falling Into Leaves Giveaway Hop, hosted by MamatheFox and including tons of fun bloggers. Keep reading for ways you can enter all the giveaways, and to hear more about my prize!

First, you’ll want to check out the Falling Into Leaves Giveaway Hop page, where you’ll be able to see all the participating blogs and click thru to visit their giveaways. (Such cool prizes!) To get to that page, just click on the InLinkz button below (the one with the frog on it). That’s all you have to do, and that will take you to the hop page!

And now, for the FINCHNWREN giveaway!

I don’t know about y’all, but I am always looking for ways to organize my lists of the people I’m praying for. I vary what I use, just because sometimes it’s hard to keep my lists going! A few years ago, I was introduced to Kelly O’Dell Stanley when I reviewed her wonderful Designed to Pray a few years ago. She is an artist and she loves combining fun, artsy stuff with prayer. Now, she has designed this neat Prayer Prompt Journal, and I’m giving a copy away to one FINCHNWREN reader!

The Prayer Prompt Journal is a spiral-bound, slim book that’s about 5″ x 7″ in size. Inside, Kelly has placed different categories on each set of facing pages, like “personal identity,” “Lord, teach me…,” “beauty & growth,” and more. Then, on each page, there are 3 squares with ideas for prayer that include praying for others, thanking God, different words that are prompts for praying, and more, plus some blank lined pages at the end for notes.

In addition, I’m including a felt-tipped calligraphy pen!

So, one reader will be selected to win both:

  • the Prayer Prompt Journal
  • and a blue Elegant Writer 2.5mm felt-tipped calligraphy pen

How to enter the FINCHNWREN giveaway

To enter to win the prayer journal and the pen, simply click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter to win in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes on 9/30/21, and one winner will be selected to win both items. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLOSURE:

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Lynette Eason’s “Hostile Intent” ~ a Revell Reads review

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I always enjoy Lynette Eason’s suspense thrillers, and I was so excited to get to read her newest in the “Danger Never Sleeps” series, Hostile Intent. I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads, and it was a wild ride of a read. Let me tell you more!

About the book

A horrible crime has just been committed; sadly, against an entire family. FBI agents Caden Denning and Zane Pierce are called to the scene. There don’t seem to be any obvious suspects, but there is a security camera recording that shows evidence (except the perpetrator, of course). Caden and Zane discover, however, that there is a similarity between these murders and a number of others that have been committed across the U.S. What is the connection between the families, and who could have committed such terrible acts?

Ava Jackson enlisted in the Navy and loved her time there. However, when her mother was hospitalized due to dementia, she left the military to be with her mom in her final days. But an attempted kidnapping of Ava in the hospital parking lot is prevented by her skills and Caden’s being there at just the right moment. Who would try to kidnap Ava; and what does that have to do with the other killings? There is a connection, but it just isn’t visible yet.

The question is, can the crimes be solved before a vital witness–and Ava–are attacked as well? And will the sparks that fly between Ava and Caden develop into anything?

My thoughts

I love suspense and thriller novels. Especially when they involve secrety-agent stuff between nations and individuals. Hostile Intent totally fits into those categories, and I couldn’t put it down! Lynette Eason understands how to pace a story; how to create characters and situations that hold the reader spellbound; and how to weave in a little romance to brighten everything up. I found Ava’s character to be fascinating and sympathetic. She’s a tough woman, and that strength not only came from her Navy career but her unusual family life. It also helped that she’d had almost a lifelong crush on Caden, all-around great guy and FBI agent. Special agent, that is. Their mutual attraction is appealing (will Ava FINALLY get the guy??) and their faithful fight against cruelty and evil is something the reader can totally get on board with.

The crimes, results of years of global and national politics (and poor decisions here and there), are horrible but also understandable (from the villains’ points of view, anyway). And they certainly remind us that the pursuit of revenge because of personal pain doesn’t really go well for anyone. Eason’s gradual unfolding of the secrets from the past that are still affecting the present not only kept my attention but kept me racing to the finish.

Hostile Intent is another fantastic addition to Eason’s “Danger Never Sleeps” collection. Appealing characters, fun love story, and fantastic suspense will please readers both old and new.

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions are honest and my own.

Sally Clarkson’s new book, “Help, I’m Drowning” ~ A JustRead Blog Tour & Giveaway (ends 9/20/21)

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Help, I'm Drowning JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for Help, I’m Drowning by Sally Clarkson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Help Im DrowningTitle: Help, I’m Drowning Author: Sally Clarkson Publisher: Bethany House Publishers Release Date: September 14, 2021 Genre: Christian Women’s Spiritual Growth

Life is filled with unexpected storms that take you by surprise.

In these storms of life, it’s easy to feel helpless, exhausted, afraid . . . and alone. We can feel like victims to circumstances out of our control. Beloved author Sally Clarkson understands deeply. Through almost seven decades of life, she has found herself tossed about in overwhelming life storms through many different seasons. In Help, I’m Drowning, Sally identifies the challenges that took her by surprise and then leads you to the wisdom she gathered from her experiences. Finding grace to walk through the darkness and hope to make it through will give you the comfort and encouragement you need in knowing you are not alone. Though there are no easy, formulaic answers that apply to every situation, Sally leads us to the One who is with us and will see us through. Sally found the anchors that held her steady in the midst of every storm, and she wants to help you find your anchors too. She invites you into her own personal story of anchoring well, and then–with honesty, grit, and her trademark wisdom–she will help you heal and move forward with courage and strength.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

ALSO AVAILABLE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sally Clarkson

Photo Credit: © Steve Hixon

Sally Clarkson is the beloved author of many bestselling books, including Awaking Wonder, Own Your Life, The Lifegiving Home with her daughter Sarah, Desperate with Sarah Mae, and Different with her son Nathan. As a mother of four, she has inspired thousands of women through Whole Heart Ministries. She advocates relentlessly for the power of motherhood, the foundational importance of family, and the influence of home through her Mom Heart conferences, speaking to audiences on several continents. Mentoring women to understand how to love God in a more personal way and how to live a satisfying Christian life are threaded through her messages. Sally’s podcast, At Home with Sally Clarkson and Friends, has more than 14 million downloads.

CONNECT WITH SALLY: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a four-book prize including Awaking Wonder by Sally Clarkson, The Happy Crab by Layla & Kevin Palmer, Make Their Day by Karen Ehman, and Prevail by Susie Larson!

Help, I'm Drowning JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight September 13, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 20, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My thoughts

Oh, I have so many! (Thoughts, I mean.) Help, I’m Drowning: Weathering the Storms of Life with Grace and Hope was yet another book that I didn’t know I *needed* but which poured out comfort, wisdom, strength, and important points to reflect upon as I: remember my past, walk through my present, and also look toward my future; all those years as a woman, a wife, and a mom. I have to admit that there were a few moments in which I wished this book had been written about 10 years ago, as there were storms my family and I were buffeted by then, and I was completely unprepared for the difficulties I was about to walk through. (You know! As if I had that time machine that I could use to take a copy of this book back to 2011 me!)

Part of my own struggles was the pair of rose-colored glasses I was wearing (I was comforted to read that Sally had begun her marriage with a similar pair). Apparently when I read the Bible’s verses on suffering, I studied them but then was SHOCKED when the pains of life showed up on my doorstep. (I know! Also as Sally says about herself and us, I was totally a toddler myself in some ways!) As we all do, I muddled through. But reading Help, I’m Drowning today provides a different pair of glasses for me to view my life with; one that says that storms will come, but I have the hand of my loving Father God who will walk me through them; and that I can begin to trust Him even more with those storms as well as life’s joys and blessings. So as we know, if we live in the world today, there are all sorts of difficulties that life can bring. Sally chooses some to speak about here that I know have affected me and many of my friends and family. She speaks, not in a “one-size-fits-all” manner, but as a loving older mentor sharing what she has learned that might help others. Here are some of the ideas that meant most to me:

  • Does God not care about me as I am going through this suffering?
  • Fear desires to intimidate and even stop us in our tracks
  • It really is okay to feel sadness
  • Some of our storms are created by difficult people
  • We can be tender and gentle with ourselves (!)
  • We really can grow and mature as we walk through the storms

There is a lot there, right? More really, than I can unpack for you here in one post. I can say, overall, that Sally’s book was a breath of not only fresh air, but of loving and kind support and encouragement. Sally’s words and the way she shared her own life experiences told me that what I had lived and struggled with was normal for this life, and this world that we live in. That the Bible even left us examples of similar struggles faced by the early church (or, of course, by the Hebrews and Israelites in the Old Testament). The author’s personal, honest stories meant so much to me as a Christian and as a mom myself.

Perhaps even more helpful to me than the “Yes, this is what life can contain and you’re not a weirdo for going through this,” were the insights Sally included about how we can walk through these troubles (as Jane Bennet calls them in Pride and Prejudice). We can know, as we live through our days, that we are not unnoticed by the God who loves us; that He promises to work things out for our good; that He is not embarrassed or ashamed of us when we struggle. All of those things that, in my deepest valley of suffering, I forgot as if I’d never learned them in the first place! We can have a disconnect when trouble comes; but both Sally and Scripture remind us of the truth of the God who’s standing with us in all things.

This is such a beautiful, instructive, and helpful book for women and for moms. I believe I’m going to be garnering riches from it for a long time.

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Pure Flix’s “Vindication” ~ A Police Procedural with a Twist

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Earlier in the summer, I had the privilege of sharing Pure Flix’s streaming service with you all. Did you know that Pure Flix not only offers movies of all types (current, classic, kids, family, teens and more) but also, a number of tv series? One of those is one I’ve taken to in a big way. It’s called Vindication, and it’s a police procedural, with a twist. Momentum Influencer Network provided the way for me to watch this series on Pure Flix and my husband and I are TOTALLY engaged with it and its characters! Let me tell you more…and keep an eye out for a giveaway I may or may not have for you, not today but very soon!

So. You may not know this about me, but I am a HUGE fan of police procedurals. I love the suspense, the drama, the unfolding of an investigation, and, I hope, the solving of the crime. It isn’t the crime that I’m interested in as much as it is seeing good people working to bring justice and bring help to the victims. That is so satisfying to me. I’ve been thrilled to add Vindication to my lists of faves in this category. It’s wonderful…while providing viewers with a little something extra.

About Vindication

With each episode about 23 minutes long, in a 10-episode first season, Vindication introduces viewers to Detective Gary Travis. He’s served for 15 years in the police force of a Dallas suburb. He lives with his wife Becky in town. When we meet Det. Travis, he’s interviewing a suspect in a crime. We find out over the course of the episode that the interviewee is being questioned because of a serious crime committed against one of his coworkers; a woman that he’d been jeopardizing his marriage over as he flirted with her and met with her outside of work. I’d LOVE to tell you the spoiler of the episode (but I won’t!), but the reveal is just astonishing.

In the remainder of the episodes, we meet Kris, the younger female officer he’s been assigned to mentor; his daughter Katie, who’d been struggling with addiction and out of their home for quite awhile; and other officers from the force. In each episode, viewers learn more about the characters and become intrigued with each one and their relationships, as secrets are brought to light. We begin to see their weaknesses or struggles, as well as their strength. For some, we even learn about their faith.

So police procedurals are about…crime

Yes. Each episode of Vindication is focused on two things: first, the crime that Travis, Kris, and their fellow officers are seeking to solve; and second, what’s happening in each character’s life or relationships. The crimes do include mature themes, like:

  • Stalking
  • Human trafficking
  • Sexting
  • Domestic abuse
  • Murder
  • Addiction
  • The dark web
  • Suspected kidnapping

And while these are occurring or being investigated, there is also the human element of each characters. They’re not presented as perfect people who have it all together; they have failings and struggles just like (to be honest here) every human has! Many of these struggles are some that could honestly wreck a life, or a relationship. But that is where the “twist” that I mentioned in the title comes in.

Vindication is just a little different

…and that’s one of the things that makes it so appealing to me. In this series, that little “twist” seemed to me not like a bad turn. Instead, it’s a little something that brings LIFE, like a lime wedge squeezed into a glass of water. It’s something that just almost made me catch my breath in some episodes; in others, I might have teared up. Or almost flat-out ugly-cried.

It is the redeeming inclusion of faith and the amazing difference it can make when lives are going so badly, or wrong decisions have been made by characters. And just like that twist of lime, it’s never heavy-handed or overly done. The faith of some of the characters (because only of few of them would classify themselves as followers of Christ) brings something special to each episode. And I was never quite expecting it; rather, it sneaked up on me and brought surprising resolutions or “wow!” moments in the different episodes. It is, frankly, sometimes breathtaking and beautiful. (And really, as we all probably know, those are not adjectives we can generally use about many police procedurals.)

So who is the intended audience?

Even though there are beautiful moments of faith and resolution, there are also awful, awful examples of the harm one human can do to another. That means, to me, that Vindication is a series that I’d recommend not for children at all, but for teens and adults. It’s still something families with older kids could watch together. And in truth, these are episodes that could provoke powerful conversations between parents and their teens.

As I mentioned, my husband and I streamed Vindication together. We cannot wait for season 2 (hint: it’s already begun to drop!) and continuing to follow the stories of Detective Travis, Kris, Becky, and their families. There is so much we’ve covered in season 1, but so much to come in season 2!

Where to watch Vindication

You can find Vindication on Pure Flix streaming service. Here are some links:

The Vindication series

You can also find out more about the series and check out trailers on the Vindication series website

Also, you can subscribe to Pure Flix by clicking on the highlighted link. You can even start a free trial to check out all the amazing offerings you’ll find there, including Vindication!

Enjoy…and keep an eye out on the FINCHNWREN blog for more about Vindication soon! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I received this product via Momentum Influencer Network. All opinions are honest and my own.

“Blue Man” ~ John L. Moore’s engaging new thriller (a review)

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How would you like to read a fast-paced, suspenseful thriller that contains elements that include the political, the supernatural, and the Western? If that sounds interesting, I recommend John L. Moore’s new Blue Man. I received a copy of this book from Jones Literary, and when I began to read it I finished it in less than 5 hours. I love thrillers, and while this book definitely fits into that category I must say that it’s unlike any other of its genre that I’ve ever read. This is a book that will not only engage readers, but it will likely increase their faith in an amazing way.

About Blue Man

Ezra Riley is a longtime Montana cowboy. He and his wife Anne run a ranch with a large herd of cattle. They are empty-nesters (in fact, Anne has just left Montana to visit the new grandbaby at her son’s home in Brazil). Ezra loves the land, his horses, and caring for the cattle, daily riding out among hills and plains to search out calves or wandering cows. There’s a wilder cow, Wildebeest, who’s calved and is hiding out with her calf, that Ezra needs to find. His good friend, Barney, checks in on Ezra daily.

Then, of all things, Ezra receives a summons. The President of the United States has had a recurring dream. It’s alarming him. And they’ve heard that Ezra, a Christian man, is skilled in dream interpretation. So “civilian consultant” Davis Browne flies to Montana in a Gulfstream to meet Ezra, telling him that the president needs his particular skills–immediately. The two fly back to Washington, D.C., and Ezra meets with the leader of the free world. Briefly. And then he returns home.

But much more is going on than Ezra realizes, at first. There is an unseen puppet master, who’s been preparing a special kind of operative, Blue Man, for decades. Blue Man can reach beyond the miles, into minds and hearts, to create confusion, cause hallucinations, and even dreams. Or nightmares. William Anderson Hall, who controls Blue Man, potentially has almost unlimited power to influence or injure public or private citizens. His niece, Gray Lady, directs the duo’s physical assignments in the political realm. And suddenly, Ezra’s very life is in danger.

As Ezra returns to Montana, this visit to the president is only the beginning of odd and unsettling events in his life. A battle has begun, and he is standing alone against powerful forces. Will Ezra be able to stand, and is there anyone who can strengthen him so he doesn’t fall?

My thoughts about Blue Man

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I read for two hours straight one evening, then picked the book up the next day and finished it. Author John L. Moore creates a fantastic storyline that keeps the reader engaged from the start to the finish. He doesn’t reveal all of his characters’ inner lives and pasts immediately; instead, the reader learns about their histories and abilities as events progress. Ezra has an unusual spiritual gift, yet he and his wife are isolated from the local church. They confine their worship to televised Christian services, of varying denominations. When perhaps the biggest spiritual showdown of Ezra’s life begins, he is alone. Or is he?

I was reminded, of course, of King Nebuchadnezzar (a great dreamer) and the prophet Daniel from the Bible (although Daniel, of course, wasn’t a cowboy. Other Bible passages are referenced obliquely; yet the tone and truths of Scripture are revealed in hugely encouraging and wonderful ways in the book. Author Moore is able to follow the directions I’ve heard are often given to fiction writers: Show, don’t tell. And readers of this book are given a marvelous tale, as they race through Blue Man to discover what Ezra, and the titular character, will do…and if they will survive!

I’m very happy to recommend Blue Man to anyone who loves a suspenseful novel with spiritual and supernatural elements included. Reading Blue Man was a fun, wild ride that left me uplifted in spirit as well as satisfied in mind and heart.

About the author, John L. Moore

John L. Moore is an award-winning novelist and journalist. He’s published seven novels, several non-fiction books and
over 2,000 articles, poems, short stories, columns and reviews. A third-generation Montana rancher best known for
his western classic, “The Breaking of Ezra Riley” and a pioneer in the Christian fiction genre, he is the winner of
numerous awards, including a 2015 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction for his sixth novel, “Looking for
Lynne”. Active in ministry for over a quarter century, Moore has appeared in four documentaries due to his knowledge
of the history of horses on the Northern Great Plains. He is a member of the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and the
Montana Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. (from Jones Literary)

Find John L. Moore on social media:

Facebook: John Moore Writer
LinkedIn: John Moore
Find the book on Amazon here

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Jones Literary. All opinions are my own.

Win Tarte & Clinique goodies in the #SeptemberToRememberGiveawayHop (ends 9/21/21)

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the September To Remember Giveaway Hop! I’m joining with The Kids Did It and Mommy Island blog hosts and tons of other amazing bloggers to celebrate September! Each blog on the linkup page is hosting a giveaway, and you’ll definitely want to visit them! I’ll be adding the link to the giveaway hop page below. Keep reading for more!

Enter to win beauty goodies from FINCHNWREN

So, the FINCHNWREN blog is giving away two goodies to make your self-care time a little more beautiful! One winner will receive:

  • Tarte’s Sugar Rush Slumber Party Skincare Duo minis: Squeezy Clean Face Wash and Cake Butter Whipped Body Butter
  • And, a Clinique zippered fabric makeup bag to keep them in!

How to enter

To enter, just click on the pink link below that says “Enter here!” That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form where you’ll be able to enter to win in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes September 21, 2021. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Now, head over to the #SeptembertoRemember Giveaway Hop page!

To visit the giveaway page for more giveaways to enter, just click on the blue InLinkz button below (the one with the frog on it). That will take you to the #SeptembertoRememberGiveawayHop page, where you’ll see tons of awesome giveaways to enter!

Thanks so much for visiting, and happy (almost) fall!

Enjoy! –Wren