Book Review: A Family Shaped by Grace

By Gary Morland, “A Family Shaped by Grace” is one of those books that intersperses wisdom with anecdotes. There’s a lot to absorb here, but it is worth it. The author bares his soul on the pages. He shares his hard-won lessons, and the readers can profit from his mistakes.

It seems as though he spoiled his family relationships, but with God’s help, and because God changed him by the Holy Spirit, Gary was able to mend the rifts and set his family upon a better path.

He uses the metaphor of “river” in his sections titled: Your River, The Momentum-Gathering River, and, Your Family River. He speaks to the importance of family, goals, rocky moments, tactics, tools, peace, acceptance, roles, being a gracious model, releasing things into God’s almighty hand, grace, and legacy.

Much food for thought! Thanks, Gary! This couldn’t have been an easy journey.

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The Gracious woman blog is written by me, Susan Karsten. I am happy to announce that my first novel, “A Match for Melissa”, has been published! It was released to the public on July 7, and is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or on my publisher’s website: Pelicanbookgroup.com

Here’s an excerpt from a recent review:

“A Match for Melissa” is a Regency romance. My acquaintance with this genre is limited so I looked it up. To be a real Regency the novel must be set in early 19th century Britain and have a very defined style. A Regency novel will transport the reader back two hundred years so we know how the characters dressed, what their homes looked like and how they socialized. We see a world with clearly defined social classes, morality, manners and conversation.

The author did her homework. “A Match for Melissa” is chockfull of details on life in rural England and upper class London. The characters are delightful. Unless they are bad. (The bad ones are really wonderfully bad.) Melissa is an intelligent woman with an independent bent to her nature who still functions inside the strict rules of protocol for her class. Her father, also independent, but with greater latitude and freedom than a woman, is in charge not only of the family fortune but also the choice of Melissa’s future husband. Much of the tension comes from wondering when Melissa will be able to be matched with the man she really loves.

Plenty of minor characters add flavor and fun and dimension—the English dressmaker who affects (badly) a French accent, an ancient butler, and a competing suitor. The author has a gentle wit and a passionate, unashamed faith. “A Match for Melissa” is my first Regency from this author but Lord willing it won’t be my last!

So, please give my book a look! Thanks, Susan Karsten

Thrifty Tip: Accent Plants for your Pots

Susan here. Okay, this is a good one, folks! Most of you probably plant at least one pot in the summer — right? One by the front door, a few on the deck, or maybe you go nutty and have about twenty?! To make a pot of flowers really pop, you need an accent plant or two.

Popular ones are dracaena (spikey), licorice plant, and asparagus fern, to name a few. These come at about $4 a pop around here, and maybe more elsewhere. I have a wonderful tip/source for free accent plants. See the pic below:

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The spikey guys are “baby” spider plants. You know those little thingies that sprout on the ends of your houseplant. Snip them off, stuff them in a water-holding device (I used a cottage cheese container), let them grow roots, and then plant them with your annuals in pots.

The Gracious woman blog is written by me, Susan Karsten. I am happy to announce that my first novel, “A Match for Melissa”, has been published! It released on July 7, and is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or on my publisher’s website: Pelicanbookgroup.com

Here’s an excerpt from a recent review:

“A Match for Melissa” is a Regency romance. My acquaintance with this genre is limited so I looked it up. To be a real Regency the novel must be set in early 19th century Britain (don’t quote me on that last) and have a very defined style. A Regency novel will transport the reader back two hundred years so we know how the characters dressed, what their homes looked like and how they socialized. We see a world with clearly defined social classes, morality, manners and conversation.

The author did her homework. “A Match for Melissa” is chock full of details on life in rural England and upper class London. The characters are delightful. Unless they are bad. (The bad ones are really wonderfully bad.) Melissa is an intelligent woman with an independent bent to her nature who still functions inside the strict rules of protocol for her class. Her father, also independent, but with greater latitude and freedom than a woman, is in charge not only of the family fortune but also the choice of Melissa’s future husband. Much of the tension comes from wondering when Melissa will be able to be matched with the man she really loves.

Plenty of minor characters add flavor and fun and dimension—the English dressmaker who affects (badly) a French accent, an ancient butler, and a cad of a suitor. The author has a gentle wit and a passionate, unashamed faith. “A Match for Melissa” is my first Regency from this author but Lord willing it won’t be my last!

So, please give my book a look! Thanks, Susan Karsten

 

 

Spatzle Speaks: A Match for Melissa (Book Review)

Thanks, Susan Baganz. I am very glad you like it.

Susan Baganz's Silygoos Blog

Mom has been busy writing and editing for others and hasn’t snuggled up with me with a good book for some time. And yes, I write that to make her feel guilty. She’s always had a liking for Regency romances and to find good Christian ones is even harder. She stumbled upon A Match for Melissa by Susan Karsten and loved this sweet story.

Melissa Southwood is the daughter of an ambitious social-climbing father who wants to sell her off in exchange for a title. It’s his fondest dream. Melissa has dreams of her own, triggered even more so by finding a handsome man in a ditch. But before she could get to know him, she’s whisked back to London to be wooed by someone else.

She wants a man who is a believer and she’s not too sure about this one. When Mark, the man she rescued, shows up…

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An Amish Summer, a 4-novella collection including one by author Kelly Irvin

Disclaimer: I don’t normally read Amish fiction. But, a while back, I discovered the writing of Kelly Irvin. I enjoy her books, not because they about the Amish, but they are well-written, and interesting. Irvin does not write about the Amish as if she wears rose-colored glasses. She brings it, warts and all. Also, she includes some fascinating settings and details. Nowhere else have I found a story featuring a drunk man staggering around, blabbing about hunting alligators, then barfing on his boots. Yes, this was in Amish fiction. 🙂

There are four novellas total in this book. I am reviewing it because I like Irvin’s writing — so, if you read it, let me know if you agree.

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I, Graciouswoman, also known as Susan Karsten, have my debut novel being released on July 7, 2017. Published with Pelican/Prism Book Group, A Match for Melissa is the first in a 3-book series. It can be found for purchase on Amazon, and will be available in both print and ebook. Here’s the cover:

AMatchForMelissa_prc5371_120 (1) Thanks for visiting Graciouswoman!

Evidence Not Seen, by Carlene Havel

I recently read this novella and want to give it high praise. Remember this name: CARLENE HAVEL. Why? Because her writing is superior: enjoyable, deeply layered, nuanced, fun, and intersting. Not to mention, well-written.

I enjoyed that the book was set in the 1980s. I was alive then, and she “nailed it” as far as period details. Just the right amount of detail, and it was all interesting. The clothes described, the food eaten, the cars, the jobs, all very realistic.

Havel paints her scenes to the point were I can easily summon up the gut-wrenching scene when the mom of the hero wonders how it will be to re-unite with her husband, and she fears he won’t want her. Then there’s the party scene near the beginning of the novella…I felt like I was there, and the hero gives a ride home to a girl whose date got drunk.

The story holds together very well, and the author keeps you guessing, while you enjoy the journey. Well done. Impressive work.

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Part of a collection (cover seen above), Havel’s novella is a real treat.

Susan Karsten here…I am the writer of this blog. I often review books, but I also write them. My first published work will be releasing on 7-7-17 (a month away). My book, A Match for Melissa, is historical fiction, set in the Regency period (early-1800s England) and written from a Christian perspective. I hope you will consider taking a look at it, and perhaps reading it. See below.

A link to my publisher’s info page about the book: http://prismbookgroup.com/store/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&cPath=37_73&products_id=900

Here’s an image of the cover:Displaying AMatchForMelissa_prc5371_680.jpg

It will be available on Amazon on JULY 7, 2017. Thanks!

Thrifty Tip for gently used Aluminum Foil

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This is just a little tip I picked up somewhere: When you have a nice piece of foil left from something you baked (maybe it covered a casserole and is pretty clean) fold it, clean side out, and use it for a spoon rest. When it has done its duty, dispose of it.

Susan Karsten here…I am the writer of this blog. I often review books, and blog about homemaking, but I also write books. My first published work will be releasing on 7-7-17 (a month away). My book, A Match for Melissa, is historical fiction, set in the Regency period (early-1800s England) and written from a Christian perspective. I hope you will consider taking a look at it, and perhaps reading it. See below.

A link to my publisher’s info page about the book: http://prismbookgroup.com/store/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&cPath=37_73&products_id=900&zenid=13a0036900ed4d8336926359b2634ff7

Here’s an image of the cover:Displaying AMatchForMelissa_prc5371_680.jpg

Thanks!