Monday, January 26, 2015

Celebrating the Release Day for Alicia A. Willis' RISING TO THE CHALLENGE! :-)


I'm so happy to celebrate the release day for fellow author Alicia A. Willis {Yep, we've got the same first name!} for her new book Rising to the Challenge. This is the final installment for the Comrades of Honor series, a historical fiction trilogy.

{Cover design by Rossano Designs}

From what the early reviews are saying, there are plenty of fair maidens, honorable knights, and naughty squires for all you fans of historically-accurate medieval fiction. {This seems like it would make a great supplementary read for homeschooling, as well.}

You can find Rising to the Challenge both in e-book and paperback form on CLICK HERE ... If you want to read the trilogy in order, be sure to start with To Birmingham Castle: A Tale of Friendship and Devotion before reading In Search of Adventure: A Tale of Courage and Devotion and then finishing up with this third book Rising to the Challenge.

To whet your appetite, here's the exciting description for the final installment:
New difficulties arise for Sir Kenneth Dale in the exciting final installment in The Comrades of Honor Series. As a favorite of the Earl of Birmingham, his life appears tranquil – until the both beautiful Lady Clarissa and a headstrong orphan named Brion arrive in the castle. It is not long before Sir Kenneth finds himself not only in love, but also the master of the most difficult squire Birmingham has ever harbored.
Brion de Lantenac is nothing short of rebellious. Hatred for Sir Kenneth’s strict rules vents itself in constant disobedience, triggering continual clashes between himself and his new lord. But there is a reason behind his self-centered character. The murder of his family has caused heartbreak he may never recover from. Will he ever reveal his true identity to Sir Kenneth? And what about Guthrie, the man who sullied his father’s shire with treacherous hands and now seeks his demise?

Caught between a hopeless romance, a rebellious squire, and the enemies on all sides, Sir Kenneth finds himself challenged. Amidst battles, heartache, and dark mystery, he must somehow rise to meet the difficulties of his life with honor. Will he ever win his squire’s heart? Will he and Clarissa be forever separated? 
Join Sir Kenneth, Brion, and all the comrades of honor in a tale of perseverance, chivalry, and unconditional love. Treachery abounds and evil seems insurmountable. Will rising to the challenge preserve honor and win the day?
I don't know about you, but I've found a new book to add to my to-be-read list on Goodreads!

Grace and peace,
Alicia G. Ruggieri

Friday, January 23, 2015

What I'm Looking Forward to in 2015: Scripture Memorization Goals

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you my reading goals for 2015. I'm slowly but surely making my way through that list, as well as through my Goodreads reading challenge. :-) So far this year, I've read a couple of books for research {sorry, but I can't tell you anymore about that... yet!}, Where Can I Flee? by A.M. Heath, and She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell {Yes, it takes its title from that gorgeous Lord Byron poem.}. I'm currently reading Crooked Lines by Holly Michael and Unplanned by Abby Johnson. {I'm also reading a couple of research books again, but, again, I can't tell you anymore about that yet! :-)}

This week, I thought I'd share with you something that God has convicted my husband and me to make as a "goal" in our lives. So this is not a "Resolution for 2015." It's more of something that we are striving toward making a regular, consistent part of our lives, both this year and also next year... and the year after that... and so on, for as long as God gives us before He calls us to our heavenly Home with Him.

Basically, we're continuing to work on consistently memorizing Scripture, knowing that work in this area will give us a rich harvest in prayer, in spiritual battles, in our day-to-day lives, and so forth. We've been {very imperfectly!} working on this kind of regular memorization for the past year or so... and I'm thankful for it.

Thankful when the Holy Spirit brings a verse to my mind just when I need it.

Thankful to have Scripture rolling around in my head as I go to sleep sometimes.

Thankful to have the accountability of a memorization "partner."

Even thankful when I'm writing a story and God brings Scripture to my mind to include in it.

We don't do very much - only 1-2 verses a week. My husband chooses the verse{s} at the beginning of the week, and then we work on memorizing it separately over the next seven days, asking the Lord to impress it on our hearts, not just our minds. We "test" each other at the end of the week before starting a new verse.

A verse a week doesn't seem like much, does it? It isn't much, but it's 52 more verses in our minds and hearts and souls than we would have had if we'd not committed to this.

Anyway, I just thought that I'd share that it's worth it if you and/or your spouse are thinking about Scripture memorization.

Grace and peace,
Alicia :-)

You might find this post linked up at these blogs, too:
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, The Modest Mom, What Joy is Mine, Yes They Are All Ours, Missional Call, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, So Much at Home, Raising Homemakers, Hope in Every Season, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, A Soft Gentle Voice, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Messy Marriage, My Teacher's Name is Mama, The Charm of Home, Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Mittenstate Sheep and Wool, Imparting Grace, Preparedness Mama, A Look at the Book, Essential Thing Devotions, Count My Blessings, Beauty Observed, Christian Mommy Blogger, Renewed Daily, Soul Survival, Good Morning Mondays, The HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link Up, Grace and Truth Linkup

Friday, January 16, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Mr. Portly the Pug Finds His Purpose

I'm so glad to reveal the cover for the new book {That makes me smile!} which my dear husband and I have been working on. Inspired by our own darling ;-) and often malfunctioning puglet, this story chronicles what happens when The Next-Door-Cat informs Mr. Portly that he is "useless." What follows is the tale of how everyone - everyone - everyone has a unique purpose - the trick is, finding out what that is. :-)

So, without further ado, I present to you the cover for Mr. Portly the Pug Finds His Purpose: A Read-Aloud Story about Embracing Individuality

Release Date: February 2015, Lord willin' and the crick don't rise! :-)

I'd love to hear what you think of the cover!

Grace and peace,

Friday, January 9, 2015

Book Review: Where Can I Flee?

Just popping in today to let you know about a Civil War historical novel that I finished reading this week!

A sweet author friend named A.M. Heath talked to me about her debut novel last summer, and {at long last!} I have read it and loved it.

There are deaths; there is bloodshed; there are Confederate and Union flags aflyin'. There are fair southern maidens who say "y'all" and handsome men in uniform. There is great historical research {complete with a fact-or-fiction section at the end}, and there is a beautiful story of Jesus Christ's redemption through it all.

And this is my official reader-review of the novel {I don't review as a writer; only as a reader}: Click here to read

If you'd like to find out more about A.M. Heath, you can find her at her website:

She is extremely friendly and would love to get to know you, I'm sure!

What are you reading right now?

Grace and peace,

Friday, January 2, 2015

What I'm Looking Forward to in 2015: Reading Goals

I'm going to go ahead and say it with everyone else: "Where did 2014 go?!"

My husband, Mr. P, and I on Christmas Day 2014 ~ We had a wonderful day celebrating the Lord's birth with our families.

The older I get, the more I realize that time is a gift - a great gift - from the Father of Lights... and I also begin to understand how much more important my final destination - my Heavenly Home - is when compared with "these light and momentary afflictions" during my earthly journey. :-) For that, I'm thankful, and I pray that God would continue to impress His place as the "home of my heart" on my soul.

Have you been prayerfully considering what God would have you do or plan to do, in what areas He would have you grow (not self-improvement, but self-abandonment), what things and events He would have you excited about? :-) I have. While I'm continuing to add to this list of "Looking-forward-to"s and "Goals" for 2015, here's the first selection from my list(s!): Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading - Goal of 45 Books Read (abandoned books don't count!) :-)

Books that I'm Looking Forward to Reading:

  • Lessons from a Sheepdog by Phillip Keller - My mom gave this one to me for Christmas. She didn't know that I've been contemplating purchasing it for a while! :-) I love animal stories, especially dog ones and those that relate to the spiritual life. 
  • In the Shadow of Thy Wings by A.M. Heath - I'm reading the first one in this "Ancient Words" series (Where Can I Flee?) and am really enjoying it thus far. The second book is planned for a 2015 release, so I'm anticipating that joyfully!
  • My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers - Some of Chambers' other books have really blessed me tremendously, so I'm including this one as part of my morning devotions this year.
  • The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser - Yes, I know; this was on my 2014 summer reading list. I ran out of time and didn't finish it. :-( But that means that I get to read it this year, Lord willing! And I'm so looking forward to it.
  • George MacDonald: Scotland's Beloved Storyteller by Michael Phillips - This one has sat on my shelf for far, far too long! I'm excited to learn more about the man who has written some of my favorite novels and who is called the father of children's fantasy writing.
  • Unmasking the Antichrist by Ron Rhodes - This came highly recommended from someone whose opinion I trust, and I'm interested in hearing Rhodes' perspective.
  • Crooked Lines by Holly Michael - This debut novel has received such high praise... it's about India, the longtime home of one of my missionary heroes Amy Carmichael... and it has a compelling backcover blurb... I'm excited! :-)
  • Mercy Springs by Jennifer Osufsen - Another debut novel that has sparked my interest. This Christian dystopian is on my short-list right now.
  • A few others that I'm looking forward to: Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman; The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas; God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew; Anna Karenina by Tolstoy; Unplanned by Abby Johnson; The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim; The Chosen by Chaim Potok; For Such a Time by Kate Breslin; God's Will by Meghan M. Gorecki; The Shadow Miner by Katie Beitz; Resistance by Jaye L. Knight; To Comfort a King by Debbie Gilliland; The Fall of Arthur by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Do you have any books that you're looking forward to reading this year? Feel free to share what they are - I might want to add them to my list! :-)
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