Tag Archives: Contemporary Christian Novel

Corner Booth by Chautona Havig on Tour with Celebrate Lit with Giveaway

Corner Booth

About the Book

Book: Corner Booth

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release date: March 17, 2015

Corner Booth Cover

A daring move forges the love of a lifetime

A rushed lunch and a bold move introduce Carlie to a stranger—one who hardly acknowledges her existence as he sits across from her, sharing his booth to save her a wait in a long line.
What began as a random encounter becomes a weekly date in which Carlie chatters about her life to a silent lunchmate. Much about him interests her–his slightly Euro fashion sense, his commitment to the work he does as he eats his lunch week after week, and his evident attention to the running monologue she shares between bites of meals that he inevitably pays for.
Dean gets to know the woman across from him–looks forward to their lunches each week, learns valuable lessons about himself—but when the café is threatened, and then when she doesn’t show up one day, he suspects their unusual friendship means more to him than he imagined.

Settle into the booth with Carlie and Dean and learn just how eloquent silence really is.

Click here to get your copy!

A Very Unusual book with a very unusual premise.

Expect the unexpected, as I’ve learned from reading many Chautona Havig books, and Corner Booth fulfills that expectation munificently. I thoroughly enjoy her books.

Having said that, Corner Booth and I were somehow at odds. It wasn’t because the book was long, even though it was, nor was it that the main characters were not likeable, because they were. I can’t even claim it was because the “villain,” as it were, wasn’t evil enough; he certainly was. So, what exactly was it? It’s almost too unbelievable to be true! Of course, I know it’s fiction—in case anyone thought I missed that little tidbit.

Havig tackles several hot-button issues, for example, abusive, borderline violent relationships, low self-esteem and unemployment.

The story held my attention and had a few surprises. Sadly, the epilogue was overly brief. However, if you want a book to read, savor and spend some time with, then Corner Booth is the one.

I received a review copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

About the Author

Chautona

USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

You know, originally, I had Dean as a guy who was too wrapped up in his own little world to care about anyone else—the stereotypical academic. I pictured him buried deep in original Biblical manuscripts, annoyed that anyone would dare to invade his study time.

But you know what? That’s the easy character.

When I went back to edit the book, I had this thought. What if Dean weren’t reclusive at all? What if he were kind of a know-it-all who couldn’t keep his thoughts to himself. Maybe a child prodigy who was used to people thinking him rather brilliant and looking for his insights.

Yeah… I could get into that.

There was just one small problem. I’d written the entire book without him talking much at all on those Wednesdays. Now what?

After much deliberation, even more prayer, and a bit of fudging, I came up with the solution. What if he just challenged himself for “one lunch?” Just one hour or so of not talking to prove to himself (and his peers) that he could do it.

How could he possibly know he’d set things up for months of wordless lunches—on his part? And what would a person learn in a situation like that?

I’ve never admitted this before, but I tested it a bit. At situations where I could, I forced myself to listen to people’s stories, their questions, their opinions. The hard part was not spending my listening time formulating my response (how rude anyway!). I really had to focus on exactly what they said, how their voice altered based on their emotions, and what others around us had to say to encourage (or not—too often not, I’ll admit).

I learned a lot with the experiment, and I’ll be honest. I still catch myself listening with an ear to how I’ll respond instead of really listening. No, I don’t expect to find some café romance for myself. My guy is amazing, and he’s probably the only person on the planet who could put up with me, so… I think I’ll keep him. But I do expect to keep learning how to really hear people. You know… kind of like Jesus did. Imagine that.

Blog Stops

Pause for Tales, May 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 10

Lots of Helpers, May 11

Miriam Jacob, May 11

Texas Book-aholic, May 12

By the Book, May 13

Inklings and notions, May 14

Spoken from the Heart, May 15

For Him and My Family, May 15

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 16

deb’s Book Review, May 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 18

Mary Hake, May 18

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 19

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 20

Blogging With Carol, May 21

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, May 21

Simple Harvest Reads, May 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1d735/corner-booth-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher’s Summary

On sale May 3rd

Dawn Dixon can hardly believe she’s on a groomless honeymoon on beautiful Cape Cod . . . with her mother. Sure, Marnie Dixon is good company, but Dawn was supposed to be here with Kevin, the love of her life (or so she thought).

Marnie Dixon needs some time away from the absolute realness of life as much as her jilted daughter does, and she’s not about to let her only child suffer alone–even if Marnie herself had been doing precisely that for the past month.

Given the circumstances, maybe it was inevitable that Marnie would do something as rash as buy a run-down ice-cream shop in the town’s tightly regulated historic district. After all, everything’s better with ice cream.

Her exasperated daughter knows that she’s the one who will have to clean up this mess. Even when her mother’s impulsive real estate purchase brings Kevin back into her life, Dawn doesn’t get her hopes up. Everyone knows that broken romances stay broken . . . don’t they?

Welcome to a summer of sweet surprises on Cape Cod–a place where dreams just might come true.

Dawn Dixon and her mother, Marnie Dixon, couldn’t be more disparate. Dawn is an obsessive goal-oriented planner, whereas Marnie is a go-with-the-flow, Que será, será type, and therein lays the dilemma. However, they both discover through tough situations that neither has a right or wrong style—just their own style.

The Sweet Life is primarily about Marnie and Dawn as they learn to navigate their new life and being with each other on a full-time basis. Because the components of faith are vital and integral to the plot, I applaud Fisher’s ability to integrate faith and religious beliefs gently and consistently into the novel without browbeating or badgering.

I was captivated by the people of Chatham and how they contributed to the larger picture. Some I adored, while others I found difficult to like. They were all, however, well-developed and kept the tale moving forward.

Of course, I can’t fail to mention their ice cream’s incredible evolution. I had no idea how much time and effort could go into making or breaking ice cream. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter, as well as the definitions at the beginning of the book, helped tremendously in the overall understanding and pleasure of the novel.

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s story of the halcyon city of Chatham, a seaside village on Cape Cod, makes you want to pack your bags and move there.

I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

#TheSweetLife #NetGalley

Invisible (A Mendocino Village Novel Book 1) by Ginny L. Yttrup

This extraordinary book is currently free on Amazon. (I don’t know for how long, so be sure to check before buying.) Be sure to put the entire title in or you will not find the book.

About the Book

When an overweight woman who’s hidden from romance discovers a handsome doctor is in love with her, will she finally risk her heart?

Ellyn–chef, café owner, and lover of butter–is hiding something behind her extra weight. While she sees the good in others, she has only condemnation for herself. So when a handsome widower claims he’s attracted to Ellyn, she’s certain there’s something wrong with him.

Sabina–tall, slender, and exotic–left her husband, young adult daughters, and a thriving counseling practice to spend a year in Northern California where she says she’s come to heal. But it seems to Ellyn that Sabina’s doing more hiding than healing. Why?

Twila has come out of hiding and is working to gain back the pounds she lost when her only goal was to disappear. When her eating disorder is triggered again, she’s tempted to go back into hiding.

As these women’s lives intertwine, will they dare to come out of hiding?

Ginny L. Yttrup is an award-winning author whose novels explore the issues everyday women face.

My Review

Invisible, by Ginny L. Yttrup,  is set in Mendocino, California and written in the four voices of the main characters.  Each person is hurting and hiding from life.

Ellyn, the chef and owner of a restaurant named Ellyn’s, is a lover of butter and slightly overweight.  She fights the battle of the bulge constantly but to no avail. Ellyn’s inner voice, whom she has named Earl, is persistently belittling her and causes her to second guess everything.  When one of the town’s doctors shows an interest in her, she is sure that something must be wrong with him.  She regularly struggles with her relationship with God and where she stands with Him.

Sabina, an exotically beautiful African-American, is on sabbatical from her job as counselor and from her family.   She came to Mendocino to heal.  Life hurts too much to face, recover and heal from, so she let depression take hold and is hiding instead.

Miles, a doctor, is recovering from the death of Sarah, his wife of twenty eight years, who lost her battle with cancer two years earlier. He’s always enjoyed Ellyn’s company when at her restaurant or treating her as a patient.  Sarah had noticed his interest and suggested that after she died, he should pursue a friendship with Ellyn.

Twila is the fourth voice.  She is a young woman recovering from anorexia and helping her Mom manage a health food store.  Twila has two tattoos, one very obvious on her face, and another not so obvious on her wrist. The tattoo on her face is a branch of thorns, chosen as a sign of solidarity with people who suffer. The one on her wrist says “Imago Dei” the image of God.  She chose both tattoos to remind her that others suffer and are also made in God’s image.

As they embark on journeys of friendship, each person’s life becomes interwoven with the other, in unexpected and helpful ways.

I really enjoyed reading Invisible. It was well-written, both accurate and true to life in its portrayal of the characters. The inspirational aspect is handled beautifully with prayer and Godly council throughout. I could easily empathize with the main characters, and in fact, have faced some of the challenges and problems they faced. Invisible is a book to savor and will linger in your mind long after you finish reading it. I know it has in mine.

Searching for Home by Jill Weatherholt on Tour with Celebrate Lit

Searching for Home

About the Book

Book: Searching for Home

Author: Jill Weatherholt

Genre: Inspirational Romance

Release date: December 28, 2021

9781335759016

Can three little matchmakers lasso a cowboy father?
When injured professional bull rider Luke Beckett returns to his hometown to recover, he doesn’t expect his B and B host and physical therapist to be his first and only love, Meg Brennan. He’s also unprepared for Meg’s adorable triplets to steal his heart. Luke’s past has him doubting he’s good enough for Meg and the children, but they might be just what the doctor ordered to help him heal…

Click here to get your copy!

Jill Weatherholt’s book Searching for Home will tug at your heartstrings while also reinforcing your faith in second chances.

Gina Petrino, Meg Brennan’s sister, turns over custody to Meg after her husband abandons her and their triplets, Tucker, Tia, and Tilly. Then she, too, abandons them, leaving Meg to look after the triplets and her run-down B&B. In order to care for the kids, Meg has to leave her physical therapy career to relocate. To make matters even worse, Luke Bennett, Meg’s ex-boyfriend and professional bull rider, arrives at the B&B while Meg is trying to renovate.

The triplets almost steal the stage with their adorable antics and sweet ways. They dub Luke “Cowboy Luke,” which is an apt moniker for him.

Jill Weatherholt’s works, including Searching for Home, are among my all-time favorites. A recurring story feature concerning a letter appears to slow things down and adds to the tension between the two major characters.

The mischievous planning of the triplets, the friendliness of the community, and the happily ever after will keep you smiling long after you’ve finished reading the book, not to mention wising to reside in this great town!

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. However, my review is voluntary, and all opinions are my own.

About the Author

jill-weatherholt-sw_orig

By day, Jill Weatherholt works for the City of Charlotte. At night, and on the weekend, she writes contemporary stories about love, faith and forgiveness for Harlequin Love Inspired.

Raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., she now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, but her heart belongs to Virginia.

She holds a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and Paralegal Studies Certification from Duke University.

She shares her life with her real-life hero and number one supporter. Their relationship grew on the golf course, and now they have one in their backyard.

Jill believes in enjoying every moment of this journey because God has everything under control.

More from Jill

It happened in slow motion.

I was traveling on the interstate at 65 mph, in the far-left lane. The traffic was heavy but moving.

Then the unthinkable happened. A wheelbarrow fell off the back of a pickup truck in front of my car.

Swerving to my right lane wasn’t an option, it was full of cars. The left shoulder was narrow and led to a steep drop off.

I gripped the wheel and had a split second to weigh my options. If I maintained my course, the wheelbarrow would burst through my windshield. If I went to the right, I could cause a multi-car pileup. There was a tractor trailer close behind me, so I couldn’t hit my brakes.

I prepared myself for the worst. Then I prayed to God to help me.

Moments later, when I was safely off the interstate, I burst into tears. I was still alive. No one was injured. But how? I couldn’t recall how I got to the exit ramp. How was I able to guide my car around the wheelbarrow?

Later, I realized that God was truly in control of my life. Growing up in the church and listening to my grandmother, I had always known God loved me. But that day, I felt His love more than I ever had my life. He wanted me to live. But why?

I’d like to think that He wasn’t quite finished with me. That maybe He had better things in store for me. Perhaps He blessed me with a gift to weave together a story that can give a person hope. A story that can bring a little light into what is sometimes a dark and scary world. After all, I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. Like that day on the interstate, it’s all God’s goodness.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 20

Labor Not in Vain, January 20

Texas Book-aholic, January 21

By the Book, January 21

Inklings and notions, January 22

For Him and My Family, January 23

Splashes of Joy, January 23

deb’s Book Review, January 24

Lighthouse Academy Blog, January 24 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 25

Through the Fire Blogs, January 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 26

Kayem Reads, January 26

Older & Smarter?, January 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 27

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 29 (Spotlight)

SusanLovesBooks, January 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 30

Blossoms and Blessings, January 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 31

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 1

Pause for Tales, February 1

She Lives To Read, February 2

Vicky Sluiter, February 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jill is giving away the 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 link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/186b9/searching-for-home-celebration-tour-giveaway

Holiday Hopes (Starlight Inn Series) by Jessica Anne Renwick

ABOUT the BOOK

She’s tethered to her past until he rescues the horse of her dreams . . .

Kelsey Simone can’t wait to have a tradition-filled family Christmas. When the vet school dropout’s sister invites her and their mom to stay at the idyllic Starlight Inn, Kelsey plans a holiday just like Grandma used to create in hopes of bringing their family together again. But she didn’t have a handsome stable manager with a Grinchy attitude on her Christmas list—nor the sick mare who reminds her of a past she’d rather forget.

Dane Clark has no time for seasonal frivolity. He has a stable to run, a lame horse to look after, and more than enough family drama to deal with. But the more the chatty guest with the pretty brown eyes and a way with horses gets under his skin, the harder it is to remember why he put himself out to pasture in the first place.

While helping the mare together, they start tearing down the fences of their pasts—until a storm hits and the Simone Family Christmas plans go awry. With the mare’s future in jeopardy, will Kelsey’s and Dane’s old wounds rear their heads, or can the warmth of Christmas melt their frosty hearts?

Holiday Hopes is the third title in the clean and wholesome Starlight Inn series. If you like flawed but hopeful heroes, charming small-town romance, Christmas cheer, and family ties that sometimes bind, this is the book for you.

With Holiday Hopes, the third book in the Starlight Inn series, Jessica Anne Renwick takes us back to Cedar Lake and Starlight Inn. I’ve read the second and third books in the series (review here), but I haven’t read the first. However, both sequels work well as standalones.

After losing her grandma and dropping out of veterinary school, Kelsey Simone feels bereft and inadequate this Christmas season. All she really wants is to recreate her grandmother’s peaceful and charming Christmas. Despite her best efforts, nothing seems to be working as it should.

The only redeeming grace for Kelsey is being able to help Dane Clark (the stable manager at Starlight Inn) with a gorgeous, abandoned and hurt Arabian mare that reminds her of her childhood horse.

Renwick does a fantastic job of immersing you in the story and making you feel like you’re a part of it. Her descriptions of Cedar Lake and the Starlight Inn make you wish you could live there. Furthermore, the compassion, caring and concern shown by the locals melts your heart, warms your soul and makes you wish for the same type of neighbor.

I received an advance review copy for free from BookSirens, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Hooper Safe Haven by Rachel Skatvold on Tour with Celebrate Lit

Hooper Safe Haven

About the Book

Book: Hooper Safe Haven

Author: Rachel Skatvold

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: October 26, 2021

Hooper Safe HavenCover

Harbors should be safe havens, but what if you’re harboring secrets?

When Alicia Roberts accepts a job with mobile veterinarian, Kendall Mulligan, she hopes the Independence Islands will give her a safe place to start over. And as much as she appreciates the Mulligan girls’ offer to stay with them while she gets settled, Alicia knows she needs her own place. ASAP.

Hooper Ear Cove Apartments on Hooper Island offers a beautiful ocean view as well as one of the landlord’s hunky son—all at an affordable price. Just what she needs to start a new life. Isn’t it?

When life knocked Jace Young in the head with a literal curveball that ruined his major league chances, he was forced to return to Hooper Island and a job as the maintenance guy at his father’s apartment complex. On the side, he leads the contemporary song service at church as his heart heals.

When Alicia moves to Hooper Island, Jace is drawn in by her sweet personality. However, something hides deep beneath the surface, and Alicia resists any discussion of God. What will it take to convince her to anchor her heart to God and to confide the secrets she harbors?

Hooper Safe Haven continues the Hooper Island stories of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

Hooper Safe Haven, by Rachel Skatvold, is the sixteenth novel in the Hooper Island/Independence Island novels series. It may be read on its own, but it is more enjoyable if you read the other books in the series first.

Alicia Roberts arrives on Hooper (Hopper to the locals) Island in search of a safe haven. She conceals a lot of things, including herself.

Jace Young lives and works on Hopper Island. Due to an injury that causes him to have seizures, he has numerous problems and obstacles to overcome. Cooper, his dog, assists him in identifying the onset of a seizure.

Cooper was a fascinating character to read about. One of my daughters works as an animal behaviorist who specializes in dogs. She’s trained a variety of canines for service, search and rescue, narcotics detection, behavioral difficulties and a variety of other purposes. It was fascinating to read about a dog who was trained to detect seizures.

I enjoyed reading Hooper Safe Haven. The author deftly incorporates teachings on faith and trusting in God no matter what your circumstances are.

I also appreciated how seamlessly the tale flows with the rest of the series.

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. However, my review is voluntary, and all opinions are my own.

About the Author

Author-Photo-2019-225x300

Rachel Skatvold is a Christian author and stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. She enjoys writing inspirational romance and encouraging blogs. Rachel completed her first series, the Riley Family Legacy Novellas in 2014 and is now working on the Hart Ranch Series, set in the Montana wilderness and the Ladies of Ardena Series, set in medieval times. She is also a contributing author in the Whispers in Wyoming, Brides of Pelican Rapids and Independence Island Series. Other than writing, some of her hobbies include singing, reading and camping in the great outdoors with her husband and two young sons. You can find more information about Rachel and her books on her website: www.rachelskatvold.com.

Read an Excerpt

Alicia Roberts leaned against the railing, watching the seagulls hovering above the ferry as it prepared to dock at the Merriweather slip. They were always waiting for something—tiny fish in the surf or tiny scraps the passengers left behind. In a way, she knew how they felt. Until now, she’d been waiting, too—although it was for something entirely different. She closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling of the wind whipping through her long brown hair. In deciding to work on the Independence Islands, had she finally found what she was waiting for? A new purpose? There was no turning back now. After graduating and moving out of her college dorm she had nowhere else to go.

The sound of the apron dropping to allow the cars and people off the ferry drew Alicia out of her ponderings. She approached her blue compact car, packed to the gills with all the belongings she owned and slipped into the driver’s seat as quickly as possible to avoid holding up the other passengers parked behind her. Within a few minutes, she drove up Captains Walk, spying a large RV parked in one of the lots. Kendall Mulligan greeted her the moment she parked and stepped out.

“Welcome back!” her auburn-haired friend exclaimed, pulling her into a tight embrace. “I’m so glad you decided to take the job.”

Alicia pulled back and offered a shy smile. “Me too. How could I turn down such a great opportunity right out of vet school?”

Kendall took her hand, pulling her along. “Here, come inside. There are breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and coffee from Granny’s inside. If we hurry, we’ll have a few minutes to enjoy them before patients start arriving.”

Her stomach rumbled as she followed Kendall up the steps to the mobile clinic. “That sounds wonderful. I forgot to eat this morning.”

“Now you sound like Carly. I always have to remind her to eat breakfast. She calls me a nag, but she’s hypoglycemic, so if I don’t keep on her, she can’t function very well in the morning.”

Alicia chuckled. “No one usually has to remind me. I can’t function without a bowl of oatmeal or some kind of protein first thing in the morning. I think my routine is just off with this new job and all, but I’ll adjust soon enough.” She paused, remembering something. “Speaking of Carly, I heard about her engagement to that billionaire. When’s the big day?”

Kendall shook her head with a slight roll of her blue eyes. “Next month, believe it or not.”

“Well, that was quick!”

“Yeah, tell me about it.” Her redheaded friend shrugged with a sigh. “I suppose when money is no object, a wedding can be whipped up pretty quickly, though. I never thought my little sister would get married before me. She’s always been so opposed to that kind of thing, but I guess when you meet the right one, why wait? I’m happy for them.”

“Me too. So, is that why she’s gone today? Wedding planning stuff?”

“Yeah, it’s going to be pretty crazy around here for the next month. She’ll be in and out of here a lot, but after the wedding she’s going to launch her new mobile art business with Luc. That’s why I’m so glad you could come and work with us.”

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 12

Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Inklings and notions, November 13

lakesidelivingsite, November 14

She Lives To Read, November 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 15

Connect in Fiction, November 15

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 16

Blossoms and Blessings, November 16

Aryn the Libraryan, November 17

Daysong Reflections, November 17

For Him and My Family, November 18

Blogging With Carol, November 18

deb’s Book Review, November 19

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 19 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, November 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 22

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 23

Kayem Reads, November 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 24

Splashes of Joy, November 24

Simple Harvest Reads, November 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/133ba/hooper-safe-haven-celebration-tour-giveaway

Unpacking Christmas by Beth K. Vogt on Tour with Celebrate Lit

Unpacking Christmas

About the Book

Book: Unpacking Christmas

Author: Beth K. Vogt

Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction

Release date: November, 2021

Unpacking Christmas - Final internet

Johanna, Jillian, and Payton’s excitement about the Christmas holidays is upset when their parents announce they’re selling their long-time family home. Soon the sisters find themselves facing a variety of unexpected changes, including a serious health scare for their dad. Instead of putting up holiday lights and decorating the family Christmas tree, the Thatcher sisters are helping pack up their childhood home. Along the way, they share treasured memories as they try to hold onto valued traditions, discovering the struggles they’ve endured pale in comparison to the love they share with each other.

Click here to get your copy!

Unpacking Christmas, a novella by Beth Vogt, is the concluding installment in the Thatcher Sisters series. Unpacking Christmas, despite being part of a series, can be read on its own. I did and didn’t have any problems with not having read the previous books. However, it did make me want to read the three previous novels.

The story focuses mainly on three sisters’ (Johanna, Jillian, and Payton) parents as they navigate getting older and making the decision to sell their home. Naturally, having grown up there and having created many memories, the daughters are understandably upset.

Vogt writes in a manner that is both authentic and plausible. I could empathize with the daughters after their parents dropped the surprise. It’s difficult to imagine your parents becoming older and dealing with the adjustments that entails.

Each daughter had individual and distinct memories related to the house that she treasured. Some were good recollections, and some weren’t.

The Thatcher family is going through a lot of changes, and while everyone is struggling, they still want to celebrate a traditional Christmas. Many sacrifices and painful changes must be made, and they must all cope with it in their own unique ways.

The story was enjoyable to read. It was true-to-life and engrossing, and despite the fact that I had not read the previous novels in the series, it felt like a proper conclusion.

If you are looking for a Christmas story that is both a heart-warming story of love and family and a fairly quick read, Unpacking Christmas fits the bill.

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. However, my review is voluntary, and all opinions are my own.

About the Author

Beth-Vogt-Favorites-0001

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored ten contemporary romance novels and novellas, The Best We’ve Been, the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters Series with Tyndale House Publishers, released May 2020. Other books in the women’s fiction series include Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers groups and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at bethvogt.com.

More from Beth

What’s going on with the Thatcher sisters?

Readers have asked me this question so often since The Best We’ve Been, the third and what I considered final book in the Thatcher Sisters Series, which released in May 2020. In the series, Payton, Jillian, and Johanna each had their moment center stage. Some readers told me they’d come to understand and, yes, even like older sister Johanna. Quite a feat, considering how she annoyed readers in book one, Things I Never Told You.

I ended the series with the trio of sisters in a good place – the best they’d ever been.        The circumstances of their lives weren’t all tied off in nice, neat bows, but then real life isn’t like that, is it? And as the author, I was content to leave the sisters there and let readers imagine what happened next.

And then 2020 disrupted life for all of us. For me? Writing didn’t happen. I promised myself I would dive back into the story in 2021. What better way than with a Christmas novella? So many readers love Christmas stories. And what better time to revisit Payton, Jillian, and Johanna and answer readers’ question: What’s going on with the Thatcher sisters?

I wasn’t sure myself. Part of the fun of writing is rediscovering well-known characters as you discover a new story. Set against the backdrop of Christmas? That was just an added blessing.

It’s been Christmas time for me throughout 2021 – a time to enjoy family traditions and face some unexpected changes. Welcome back to the Thatcher family!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 9

Texas Book-aholic, November 10

Livin’ Lit, November 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 11

Splashes of Joy, November 11

Inklings and notions, November 12

lakesidelivingsite, November 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 14

Simple Harvest Reads, November 14 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Where Faith and Books Meet, November 15

Genesis 5020, November 15

For Him and My Family, November 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 16

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 17

SusanLovesBooks, November 17

deb’s Book Review, November 18

Spoken from the Heart, November 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 19

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 20

Through the fire blogs, November 20

She Lives To Read, November 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Beth is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card, a copy of Unpacking Christmas: A Thatcher Sisters Christmas Novella, and a set of the Thatcher Sisters Series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/12f8b/unpacking-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Aspen Crossroads by Janine Rosche-Available August 24th

About The Book

aspen-crossroads-book-1

Contemporary romance author Janine Rosche delivers an inspirational tale about overcoming strife and opening your heart to love with ASPEN CROSSROADS (Berkley Mass Market; August 24, 2021).

Haven Haviland has made it her life’s mission to help the people of her small community, until one mistakes costs her the beloved counseling practice that was once a haven for her patients. Trusting men has gotten her into trouble before, but in order to gain the forgiveness she so desperately craves, she must trust her heart—and her regrets—to a mysterious newcomer with his own rocky past.

Few in the community of Whisper Canyon have actually met Jace Daring, a handsome recluse who lives at Aspen Crossroads, the farm at the edge of town. But that doesn’t stop the rumors about the multiple women who live with him. He must protect the truth–that his farm-to-table restaurant will provide new livelihoods for women rescued from human trafficking–or he risks the safety and futures of those relying on him. But he can’t do it alone.

Haven Haviland has always been everyone’s safe place to fall until one mistake closes her counseling practice and leaves her open to the town’s gossip. Trusting men has gotten her in trouble before. However, accepting Jace’s job offer to mentor the rescued women seems like the perfect way to right her wrongs.

When the mayor’s campaign to clean up Whisper Canyon targets Aspen Crossroads, the restaurant comes under fire, dangers from the women’s pasts are awakened, and Haven’s sins are exposed for all to see. Jace would sacrifice himself to save Haven and the women under his care, but his efforts might not be enough. And in the end, it might not be the women most in need of saving after all.

Janine Rosche, a new author to me, writes about her characters with empathy, consideration and kindheartedness. Her talent and aptitude for addressing sensitive issues of great importance, seldom seen in Inspirational and Christian fiction, is a rare gift.

Due to a nefarious, lying character, Haven Haviland, who has lived in Whisper Canyon her entire life, becomes the target of a smear campaign. Jace Daring, who works for a company that rescues women from human trafficking and homelessness, becomes caught in the crosshairs of the smear campaign.

Aspen Crossroads highlights a bittersweet story with many aspects of the rescued women’s lives recounted, making it difficult to read. Your heart aches for the women.  The story line is complex, cutting-edge and unconventional-reminiscent of Ginny Yttrup and Francine Rivers- difficult to read and challenging those who do.

***The details recounted may be triggering for those who have suffered abuse.***

Aspen Crossroads features faith and faithlessness, hope and despair, vision and shortsightedness, all tied up in a tale of deliverance and redemption. There is also a thread of a tender romance interwoven softly through the book.

I received this book from Penguin Random House through  NetGalley. However, my review is voluntary, and all opinions are my own.

About The Author

Prone to wander, Janine RoscheJanine Aspen Crossroads finds as much comfort on the open road as she does at home. This longing to chase adventure, behold splendor, and experience redemption is woven into her Madison River Romance and Whisper Canyon Romance series. When she isn’t writing or traveling, she teaches family life education courses to college students, takes too many pictures of her sleeping dogs, and embarrasses her four children and husband with boy band serenades.

Sneak Peek

“Excuse me, miss. I have a question for you. Are you planning to buy that Ameraucana?”

Instinctively, Haven drew the chick close, holding her against her chest. The other chicks now peeked out of a cardboard box, their heads bopping about in time with their chirps. Beyond the box, a pair of legs donning work boots and jeans rose vertically until the light over the baby pool washed out the rest.

“Because if you aren’t, I’d like to.” The voice was masculine enough to stir up a few flutters in her belly. Then the owner of the voice bent down into a crouch. The light caught the striking lines of his face. A strong jaw and straight nose played against the tuft of sandy hair peeking out from his backward baseball cap, creating a playful combo of boyish and manly. He wasn’t from around here. Haven would remember him.

“I . . .” Haven started, peering down at the chick in her hands. “I hadn’t thought about it.” She had no coop. She had no house, either. At least not one of her own. With all Dad had going on, the last thing he needed to worry about was a pet chicken. “I guess not.”

The cute guy watched her for a long moment. If he was in a rush, he wasn’t showing it. The chick wiggled against her palms.

“She has an injured foot.”

His brow furrowed, and his lips dipped into a frown. He rose, then stepped around the pool to join Haven. When she stood, the man towered a good half foot above her. For some reason, she thought of the hickory armoire in her childhood bedroom at her dad’s house. “It’s sturdy,” Dad had said the day he gifted it to her. Now as she stood in a darkened tent with this handsome stranger, all she could think about was that dumb piece of furniture.

“Sturdy.”

“What?” he asked.

“Um, the chick. I don’t know how sturdy she’ll be as she grows.” Haven opened her hands to give him a view of the animal.

Yet the man waited two feet away. “May I?”

It took a second for Haven to realize what he wanted permission for. A gentleman? Now she was sure he wasn’t from Whisper Canyon. Haven gave a quick nod, and he moved in to inspect the chick. He allowed the warped toes to wrap his fingertip. He was gentle as he thumbed the tiny bones and talons. With his other hand, he stroked the chick’s head. With each movement, he brushed Haven’s hand, forcing her to train her thoughts on the animal— not the man whose ocean- clean scent threatened to buckle her knees.

No wedding ring. So much for training those thoughts. But she’d learned that was the most attractive trait a man could exhibit. Well, that and a habit of honesty, which was rare these days.

“I can try to splint those.” His voice dove to a deep, lulling timbre. Was he trying to soothe the bird? Or her? “Hopefully, it’s only cosmetic. If so, she’ll still be plenty useful to me.” Haven closed her hands and twisted away from him.

“Are you planning to eat her?” His smile cracked. “Ameraucanas aren’t meat birds. But I do plan to eat her eggs. Is that all right with you?”

The panic eased out on a breath. “I suppose.”

He held out his hands. They were calloused but clean, and Haven liked the look of them. Sturdy. Again, with that word. Haven placed the chick in his hands, his rough skin catching slightly on hers. Following her father’s advice, she looked the man straight in the eye to let him know she could hold her own. Not that the guidance had worked for her so far. Here she was, unemployed with no job prospects, covered in salmonella, and debating custody arrangements for a chicken.

“Thanks, miss. I’ll take good care of her.”

“Audrey.”

His forehead wrinkled. “Thanks, Audrey.”

“No, I’m not Audrey. The chick is Audrey. Hepburn.” Confusion turned to amusement. “How about Audrey Henburn?” His eyes pierced hers. She couldn’t tell their color in this light, but they crinkled at the corners and warmed her straight through. An image of the two of them sitting beneath a tree as the chicks hopped around their legs appeared in her head, but she quickly dismissed it. Her judgment, or lack thereof, was troublesome these days. A man, especially one like this, was the last thing she needed.

From ASPEN CROSSROADS published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Janine Rosche.

The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips

Book Description

Can Hanna and Will Find True Love amid the Bright Lights of Reality TV?
Perfect for the fans of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette!

Six months ago, William stole Hanna’s heart and shattered it in front of millions of people on a reality TV dating show. And now the big-wig CEO is back on Hanna’s home turf in Minnesota and wants her to forgive him? Fat chance of that. But life is swirling around faster than snow in a blizzard, and despite her objections, teaming up with William seems like the only option to rescue her reputation.
              
William has never regretted anything more than the day he gave that ill-fated interview for the reality show, The Price of Love. But while he can’t change the past, he’s determined to fix the future. He just needs to convince Hanna to forgive him—and pretend to be engaged with him. Simple, right?

When the media erupts with even worse accusations, teaming up and pretending to be engaged seems to be the only way to salvage their reputations.  Despite the media frenzy that swirls around them, an attraction neither of them can fight off begins to surface. Could this love run deeper than a scandal, or will old wounds tear them apart once and for all?  When all seems lost, it’s only with help from above that Hanna and Will may find their happily-ever-after.

I have not seen the shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette that The Engagement Plot references. However, I thought this might be a fun book to read, and I was right.

Hanna Knight, at the instigation of her best friend, entered to be on the show The Price of Love. Though not really excited when she was chosen, Hanna felt it would be a great opportunity for highlighting her faith and beliefs. Little did she know…

William Preston, CEO of a cosmetics company, was the bachelor who at the instigation of his company, went on the show, then decided to choose Hanna.

Krista Phillips does a great job of showing the angst and heartache Hanna suffers because of William’s careless words on national television. She also does a wonderful job of illustrating how to hold onto your faith when things become rocky. When Hanna becomes angry, hurt and frustrated at times, the story shows the human side of Christians as well.

The Engagement Plot has a cute, conceivable ending interspersed with humor, faith and romance.

I had not read any books by Krista Phillips before, but I will be reading more after reading The Engagement Plot.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, my review is voluntary.


Stealing the First Mate by Tabitha Bouldin on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Stealing the First Mate

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: June 29, 2021

Sometimes, happily ever after is as elusive as a pirate’s treasure.

Darcy Riggins dove headfirst into the online dating pool and sank. Every time.

Her lifelong dream of becoming a wife and mother becomes more elusive every year. So, taking the lack of a Mr. Right in her life as a decided “No!” from God, Darcy gives up altogether.

Single and happy is not an oxymoron. Right?

Nigel Jones has loved Darcy for ages, but her father (his boss, of course) ordered him to keep his feelings to himself, thanks to a stupid mistake that Darcy (thankfully) doesn’t know about.  Too bad her dad does.

Being single and content turns out to be tougher than Darcy imagined, and when she begins doubting everything she’s ever known, Nigel decides it’s time to admit his mistakes, tell the truth, and trust God for the outcome.

In this “forbidden-love-meets-friends-to-more” novel, Stealing the First Mate continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

Stealing the First Mate begs the question, can friends become more-especially after Dad has said, “NO!!!”?

I enjoyed the story as Tabitha Bouldin writes about characters in a true-to-life fashion with all their quirks and foibles laid out for everyone to see. The main characters, Darcy Riggins and Nigel Jones, have rough seas to navigate to reach their romance. Nonetheless, they prevail through personal, turbulent waters drawing on their faith to keep them afloat.

Tabitha Bouldin is a new author to me, but this won’t be the last book of hers I read!

Stealing the First Mate, by Tabitha Bouldin, is the 11th story in the Independence Island Series. However, like the others in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone.

A satisfyingly pleasant friend-to-romance story, reading Stealing the First Mate is a grand way to kick back and lounge around the beach or at home while enjoying a novel.

I received Stealing the First Mate from Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Author

Tabitha Bouldin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been writing since 2015. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, you’ll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.

More from Tabitha

I love the friends-to-something-more trope. There’s something invigorating about the challenges of stepping into a different kind of relationship with someone you already know and trust. The risk of losing the friendship if things go badly comes to the forefront and each character has to decide if they’ll take the risk or keep things as they are.

For Nigel and Darcy, there’s the added difficulty of Nigel’s unrequited love. They’ve been best friends forever, and he’s loved Darcy all that time. And she’s clueless! How does that happen?

I wish I could say this story came from my own experience, but that isn’t the case. While my husband and I knew each other for several years before we started dating, we were hardly friends. High school social circles are brutal things. Plus, he had a crush on my cousin, and I was dating someone else.

But it all worked out.

And we’re best friends now.

When it came time to write Stealing the First Mate, I knew Nigel and Darcy were friends. It wasn’t until I worked my way through the first chapter that the depth of their relationship started to emerge, and I realized they were best friends. Darcy runs to Nigel for advise (even dating advise, which became really awkward for Nigel).

Darcy has been looking for Mr. Right so long she can’t see the truth staring back at her in Nigel’s eyes.

Writing their story is one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in writing.

Blog Stops

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 14

Life, Love, Writing, June 14

lakesidelivingsite, June 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, June 15

The Sacred Line, June 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 16

Blossoms and Blessings, June 16

Texas Book-aholic, June 17

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, June 17 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, June 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 18

Cultivating Us, June 18

deb’s Book Review, June 19

Connect in Fiction, June 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 20

Blogging With Carol, June 20

Sodbuster Living, June 20

Remembrancy, June 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 22

For Him and My Family, June 22

Aryn The Libraryan 📚, June 23

Lots of Helpers, June 23

Labor Not in Vain , June 23

She Lives To Read, June 24

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25

Joanne Markey, June 25

Splashes of Joy, June 26

Kayem Reads, June 26

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 27

Simple Harvest Reads, June 27 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tabitha is giving away the grand prize package a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10d56/stealing-the-first-mate-celebration-tour-giveaway