Tag Archives: Contemporary Christian Romance

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

Sweet Rivals by Kari Trumbo on Tour with Celebrate Lit

Sweet Rivals

About the Book

Book: Sweet Rivals

Author: Kari Trumbo

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: March 29, 2022

Sweet Rivals Cover

Fay is about to lose her business…

…to the only guy she’s ever thought might be good for her.

Fay Ravven has spent years building a floral business on Mimosa Island. Too bad a chain florist has moved in right down the street. As her business wanes, she realizes her rival is none other than Corbin Lowel, the very man who swept her heart away at her friend’s wedding.

Corbin knows he’s not good enough for Fay. His friends remind him all the time that, as a florist, he’s not really man enough for anyone. That doesn’t stop him from stepping out of his comfort zone and going to Fay’s store to see if she remembers him. That’s when he discovers that his business is killing hers.

What are rivals to do when they can’t stop thinking about each other? Plan the flowers for someone else’s wedding, of course.

When Corbin and Fay must see each other and work together, will they dive through their pain and reach for the stars? Or will the roses be too prickly for two hurt hearts?

Read the next Sparrow Island novel in 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!

Sweet Rivals, by Kari Trumbo, is part of the “Independence Island” series’ “Sparrow Island” stories. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the Independence series and the many authors who have written the various stories.

In Sweet Rivals, Trumbo addresses a number of issues. Bullies and apparent friends, I believe, was one of the most difficult topics she addressed, especially from a male standpoint. Corbin Lowel is a newcomer to the islands who is attempting to integrate and make friends. During this time, he meets three women who become friends with him. Now, Corbin isn’t your standard masculine hero as depicted in novels. He’s not a big guy with a lot of muscle, his interests involve a floral business, he’s very observant and he likes to dress nicely all the time. As a result, these women, one in particular, relentlessly tease and bully him.

I enjoyed how the narrative depicted the challenges and the difficulty inherent in finding new acquaintances, as well as how desperation or near-desperation may lead anyone, especially adults, to settle for less than their best.

Fay Ravven is a genuine friend. Many individuals would be hesitant or back away from communicating truth in love, as the Bible instructs. However, Fay believes that she should follow this rule.

Fay and Corbin are set on a journey of truth, friendship, advocacy and love. They encounter many hardships and hurdles conspiring against them, but they persevere.

Bertha, a surly, set-in-her-ways curmudgeon, I think was my favorite character in the book. She, too, needed a true friend and found one in Fay.

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

About the Author

kari

Kari writes swoony heroes and places that become characters with detail and heart.
Her favorite place to write about is the place her heart lives, (even if she doesn’t) South Dakota.

Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota, land of frigid toes and mosquitoes the size of compact cars, with her husband of over twenty years. They have two daughters, two sons, one cat, and one hungry wood stove.

More from Kari

Nudge from the Almighty or personal desire?

Sometimes what we should do is as clear as mud. When I first felt the call to write, I worried that it was a “me” thing. I worried that the nudge that I felt was for my own glory. It didn’t matter that I felt the desire to write Christian fiction. We can do all the things we think are right and still be in the wrong place according to God’s will.

When I literally felt captive to the idea of writing—like, I couldn’t move forward without doing something about it—then I finally considered that perhaps this was God’s will and not just me wanting something. But it took years of the Holy Spirit prodding me before I ever acted.

Fay is like that. She starts her flower business certain she is doing the will of God and it helps that she really wants it too. But she works so hard, putting in so many hours, that she forgets about why she started it and it becomes all work for her own glory. Her business.

Enter Corbin, a really sweet guy who is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is used by God to nudge Fay away from her idol and into a deeper relationship. He’s a rival flower shop owner, and the only guy she’s ever felt a connection to. Which makes for some pretty interesting dialogue for the two of them.

Fact is, none of us likes to hear that our desire—especially when we think we’re doing the right thing—is wrong. No one ever wants loving correction by a Heavenly Father who cares about us deeply. We’re supposed to get it right.

Fay has to find out if it’s her business that’s getting in the way of her relationship or if it’s really a heart issue. I hope you’ll enjoy finding out along with her.

Kari

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 19

lakesidelivingsite, April 20

Texas Book-aholic, April 20

Inklings and notions, April 21

For Him and My Family, April 22

By the Book, April 22

deb’s Book Review, April 23

Blossoms and Blessings, April 23

The Christian Fiction Girl, April 24

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 25

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 26

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 26

She Lives To Read, April 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 28 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 29

Miriam Jacob, April 29

CarpeDiem, April 30

Connect in Fiction, April 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 1

Simple Harvest Reads, May 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Splashes of Joy, May 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kari is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 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/1cc84/sweet-rivals-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

In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh

Publisher’s Summary

It seems like a dream come true . . . until it forces her to question everything.

Brielle Adebayo is fully content teaching at a New York City public school and taking annual summer vacations with her mother to Martha’s Vineyard. But everything changes when her mom drops a bombshell–Brielle is really a princess in the island kingdom of Ọlọrọ Ilé, off the coast of Africa, and she must immediately assume her royal position, since the health of her grandfather, the king, is failing.

Distraught by all the secrets her mother kept, Brielle is further left spinning when the Ọlọrọ Ilé Royal Council brings up an old edict that states she must marry before her coronation, or the crown will pass to another. Brielle is uncertain if she even wants the throne, and with her world totally shaken, where will she find the courage to take a chance on love and brave the perils a wrong decision may bring?

Clipart Library

OK, before I start—can I just swoon (and maybe drool a little) over this cover and the dress, oh my, how beautiful!!

Brielle Adebayo is shocked and taken aback when her mother reveals to her that she is really a princess of the island kingdom of Ọlọrọ Ilé, off the coast of Africa. Not only that, but her grandfather is gravely ill, and she has to immediately assume the duties of her position, despite the fact that she has neither been to nor heard of the island before.

It’s simple to empathize with her and put oneself in her place. Realistically, anyone would be nonplussed and unnerved if they were asked to do what Brielle was asked to do. Yet, Brielle leaps in with both feet, eager to take on the challenge, but only after spending time in prayer.

As Brielle’s best friend, accountability partner and prayer buddy, Iris is the ideal confidante and ally. It was deeply moving to observe their mutual kindness, love and mercy toward each other. I loved reading about their interactions, chiding and teasing.

Shiloh crafts an extraordinary novel with brilliant plot and character development, as well as a powerful topic of faith and the perfect blend of obscuration and intrigue. She has created an island that is chimerically too good to be true, and the plot fits the backdrop. Ọlọrọ Ilé is a beautifully transcendent, magical island with a lot to offer.

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

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.

Blended Lives by Melissa Wardwell, with Giveaway, on Tour with Celebrate Lit

blended lives

About the Book

Book: Blended Lives

Author: Melissa Wardwell

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: February 22, 2022

Sparrow-2-WARDWELL-Blended-lives-663x1024

Wedding bells are ringing on the islands, but more than romance is in the air.

Seth Mikels experienced a fulfilling marriage with his wife until her sudden death left him alone to raise their two daughters. As they approach their teens, it’s obvious that they need a woman’s influence. He’s not looking for love, but he could use the partnership of a wife. Between his handyman business and playing Mr. Mom, time is fading fast.

Sarah Reid has spent the last four years caught in the middle of one island drama after another. Following the most recent fiasco, she hopes to find refuge on Sparrow Island with her two little boys. Climbing bills and a dwindling bank account leaves her no choice but to sell out and move to the mainland. Enter Seth’s handyman skills and an unexpected romance.

With Beth and Scott planning their own Merriweather wedding (complete with a Momzilla), will wedding bells ring out on Sparrow, too?

Read the next Sparrow Island novel in 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!

Blended Lives, by Melissa Wardwell, is a sweet, wonderful story primarily focused on an older couple who fall in love. There are, however, two couples featured. Scott and Beth, whom everyone who’s read the “Independence Islands” series have been rooting for, and Seth and Sarah, who are older single parents entangled in all that implies.

For the couples, the story is not without challenges. Wardwell adroitly and skillfully weaves faith, resilience, compromise and optimism throughout the story.

The plot is well developed and enlightens the reader to the problems and difficulties inherent in dating and romance between single parents.

I appreciated learning about Seth, Sarah and their kids, as well as learning more about Scott and Beth. All the books in the “Independence Island” series have indeed been enjoyable for me, and this one is no exception.

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

About the Author

Melissa-Wardwell-768x768

Melissa Wardwell doesn’t mind alternating between the world of writing and the reality of being a mother, but she would rather sit with a good book or a good friend and a cup of coffee.

When she isn’t penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books for her blog, Back Porch Reads.

To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com

More from Melissa

I want to thank you for taking the time to follow this tour. This book was written during one of the most difficult times in my life but, as Beth said, God has turned the mourning into gladness. We are never promised the next breath we breathe or the freedoms that we enjoy, but He does promise that will be with us through every change in our lives.

Sarah and Seth’s stories are tragic and unimaginable for many. They have been brought to the lowest points in their lives but must continue to move on for their children.

Writing this story helped me work through some of my own struggles. Some areas of my life were burning to the ground and I found myself looking for answers as to how to pick up the pieces. Instead, God taught me some pretty important lessons.

I learned to be a woman who spoke clear and true. I learned to show the people around me how much I love them and appreciate them. I learned that only God could fix those broken pieces of our lives and stitch them back together. And lastly, I learned of the beauty of friendship and how important it is in our daily lives. Even though I am glad that journey is over, I will forever cherish the lessons.

I think Gram summed it up nicely for me though.

“When we blend our lives with others, whether in marriage or friendships, we open the door to carry each other’s burdens in life. God gives us certain friendships to help us through tough times to teach us how to be a shoulder for others.”

Fiction is a reflection of reality, so expect some  of the lessons I learned to be reflected in Blended Lives as Sarah and Seth figure out how to navigate the changes I put them through.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 11

Texas Book-aholic, March 12

Simple Harvest Reads, March 12 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Inklings and notions, March 13

For Him and My Family, March 14

Library Lady’s Kids Lit, March 15

deb’s Book Review, March 16

Connect in Fiction, March 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 17

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 19

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 20 (Spotlight)

Blogging With Carol, March 20

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 21

Blossoms and Blessings, March 22

Aryn the Libraryan, March 23

lakesidelivingsite, March 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 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/1b8b7/blended-lives-celebration-tour-giveaway

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.

Friday Flashback: Charisse by Fay Lamb

My Review

I started reading Fay Lamb’s books in The Tie that Binds series, and was unable to put them down!! I read Charisse, and immediately went to Libby, then Hope.

Charisse is recently widowed and trying to stay above water not only for her sake but also for her young son, Vance, Jr. (V. J.) Her only hope is to go to work as the clerk for Judge Gideon Tabor, the man that releases the monster who killed her husband.

I ran the gamut of emotions reading Charisse’s story. I could understand her anger and feelings of wanting to avenge her husband’s death by remaining cold and distant toward Gideon, even though she had a crush on him in high school. I could also understand how his kindness could throw her off and make her vulnerable. I fell in love with her son, V. J., and wished I could take on his pain. I alternated between righteous indignation and cheering for Gideon. I also wanted to shake some sense into another judge, Delilah James, more than a few times!

Fay Lamb has a real, rare gift for placing you right smack in the middle of the action and making you feel as if you, too, are one of the key players.

Her portrayal of the Christian faith displayed by the characters in the book is authentic and uplifting. It is written in a natural, relatable way, woven expertly and seamlessly throughout, giving us a feeling of optimism and promise.

I honestly would love to have Charisse and V. J. as neighbors and friends. I’m also very excited that there are two more stories!! I am dreading the end of the series, as I love the characters.

Fay Lamb’s story Charisse is well-written, relatable and endearing.

I received Charisse from the author. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

Publisher’s Review

******The author is donating 100% of her royalties from this book to hurricane relief through Samaritan’s Purse.********This author donates 100% of her royalties to Christian charities.********

Charisse Wellman’s husband has been gone a year, and she’s about to lose the only home her son, V.J., has ever known. She’s quit law school, but the money just isn’t there. Her only option is to work as a law clerk for her ex-friend, Gideon Tabor. The only problem: Gideon is the judge who let her husband’s killer go free, and Gideon doesn’t know the connection.

Gideon Tabor can’t believe that the woman interviewing for the job is the girl he loved in high school. Charisse is hesitant about accepting his job offer, and when she does, Gideon makes every attempt to apologize for his relationship-ending blunder in high school. Charisse accepts his apology, but she keeps him at a distance. When Gideon learns that Charisse’s anger actually stems from his release of the man who ran down her husband, he tries to explain, but Charisse doesn’t want Gideon’s excuses or the love he has to offer. She wants her husband’s killer to pay.

(Previously published in 2017)

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