Tag Archives: Contemporary Christian Romance

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

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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

Speak Now by Chautona Havig on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Speak Now

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Fiction / Christian / Romance

Release date: May 30, 2013

Speak Now REVISED COVER -sm

Some say you only love once. They’re wrong.

Ask Jonathan Lyman. Still grieving for his wife, he walks into that wedding with no idea his entire life is about to change. It was just supposed to be a simple—oh, who am I kidding? It was supposed to be a typical, lavish, family wedding.

But there’s nothing typical about falling in love with a woman walking down the aisle. So to speak.

Cara Laas is falling hard and fast for a man whose heart doesn’t want to let go of the past and is rushing to meet her in the present. At the same time. That she’s half in love with his children doesn’t help, either.

Their attraction may be their undoing, but is either ready for “till death do us part?”

She’s a master at making others comfortable. He’s never comfortable talking, but if he wants her heart, he’s going to have to speak—now sooner than later, if you don’t mind.

Click here to get your copy!

I’m at a loss for words when it comes to writing this review. Chautona Havig’s books are fantastic. They’re always faith-based, wonderfully written and contain humorous and light-hearted moments. Speak Now contains those characteristics as well. Havig, however, appears to be endeavoring too hard to get her points across. Other than the significance of avoiding intimacy before marriage, which she emphasized, I’m not sure what Havig was trying to establish.

The main characters in Speak Now were well developed. Cara Laas’ persona drew me in, especially because of her compassion and love for children. Jonathan Lyman was likable, and his children, Bryson and especially Riley, were adorable.

The plot was credible, but there were certain details that I had a tough time believing. The capacity of Jonathan and Cara to express questions and answers, especially deep ones, only through their eyes was the most problematic thing for me. I couldn’t envision their abilities when they had only known each other for such a brief time. There were other things I struggled with, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

I still enjoy Havig’s stories, but this one didn’t appeal to me.

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

About the Author

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Author of the bestselling 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

All New Cover, All New Edits, Same Great Story?

The article condemned the overuse of dialogue. I did a bit of research, and my heart sank. It seemed dialogue was out. Lyrical prose was in. Great. Just what I needed.

I write a decidedly dialogue-driven story. Always have.

Every time I tried to shift character discussions into narrative, my prose took a nose-dive into a tank of boring info-dumping. Blech. Those characters wanted to talk. They didn’t want me to tell readers what they wanted to say. They wanted me to let them tell their story as they lived it.

Characters can be pretty demanding.

Then Jonathan stepped up. He didn’t talk—didn’t want to talk. In fact, he didn’t like it. Refused to do it. And yet… how could he hope to get to know a woman who fascinated him if he didn’t at least ask questions to get her to carry most of the conversation.

Research says that if you gaze into someone’s eyes for four minutes, you’ll develop a strong bond with that person. I suspect that’s what “love at first sight” is. Two people who foolishly keep gazing into a stranger’s eyes long enough to form that bond. Or something.

I also suspect that’s what happened to Jonathan that night.

So here I had a character who did not like to talk. And aside from self-absorbed people, most of us don’t like to carry an entire conversation alone, so the woman he met that night, Cara, wouldn’t enjoy chatting all by herself all night.

Look, I tried to make it less dialogue-driven and not all info-dumpy. I tried to keep it an engaging read without so much discussion. But the dialogue refused to go away. It wanted its place. It needed to be there.

So I caved, certain I was going to be a mediocre writer for the rest of my life.

I hated that book for so long. In fact, I never intended to publish it. Why would I put something out there so very bad? The articles, books, videos—all the things I’d read said I was doing something wrong.

Except one friend. Michele loved the story—begged for new installments. Pleaded with me to finish it. So, I did. For her. I published it, even. Only for her. And you know what? I still hated it.

Despite that book having the best scene I’ve ever written in it.

No joke. There’s a scene in there that I’m always amazed to realize that I wrote. It’s powerful and raw and oh, so poignant. And yes, there are words in it—spoken words by my characters.

A few years passed. I still didn’t like the book. In my mind, it was a failure.

Then someone said something to me one day. “You are so good at dialogue.”

Later, someone else said it again. And later, I heard it again. Here I’d spent all this time and frustration fighting against one of my biggest writing strengths. Because some article made me question the best way to write. When I did searches on writing good dialogue, guess what? I found rebuttal arguments that included references to books I loved. Oops.

To say my eyes opened, and I saw something new in that story might be overkill. If anything, I assumed that meant it was as bad as I thought.

I felt certain that was why I didn’t like that book. It didn’t have “my” dialogue. So I reread it, determined to figure out if I should rewrite the whole thing with more.

Know what I discovered? I like the book.

Okay, Speak Now may never make my top-ten favorites of the books I’ve written. In fact, I guarantee it won’t.

But it won’t make the bottom ten anymore, either. In fact, it’s closer to top than bottom these days. And now it has a new cover, which I’m sure my daughter is pleased about. As the photographer for my original cover, she hated how I blew out the highlights on it. I loved the effect for that book, but with new editing, a few dialogue changes, and of course, that scene I love so much (and one tiny subplot that I never explored well changed for something else), it needed a new cover. And so I have it now. Introducing Speak Now 2.0. I’m so excited to share this book with the world.

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, November 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6

Simple Harvest Reads, November 6 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

deb’s Book Review, November 7

Elly Gilbert, November 7

Texas Book-aholic, November 8

Cultivating Us, November 8

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 9

Lots of Helpers, November 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 10

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 12

Blogging With Carol, November 12

She Lives To Read, November 13

Kayem Reads, November 14

For Him and My Family, November 14

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 16

Spoken from the Heart, November 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 18

Giveaway

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

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/12f85/speak-now-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Amish Outcast’s Holiday Return by Lacy Williams on Tour with Celebrate Lit

Amish Outcast

About the Book

Book: The Amish Outcast’s Holiday Return

Author: Lacy Williams

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance / Amish Romance

Release date: November 1, 2021

The Amish Outcast's Holiday Return COver

Torn between family loyalty

and her dreams for the future…

Grace Beiler’s shocked when Zach Miller arrives at her family’s farmhouse seeking forgiveness for his teenage mistake that cost her sister’s fiancé his life. But when her father gives Zach a job, Grace gets to know the man he’s become…and starts to want more than friendship. Can love bloom amid hidden secrets and family grief, and give them a fresh start at Christmas?

Click here to get your copy!

Lacy Williams’ books have all been enjoyable for me to read. I think my favorite, however, is The Amish Outcast’s Holiday Return.

Zach Miller and Grace Beiler are the major characters in Williams’ story. In a reckless, tragic moment, Zach had plunged the life of Grace’s sister Sarah into sorrow. Sarah could not forgive him, now would most people. Grace was willing to forgive Zach, but not at the cost of estrangement from her sister.

Williams’ story is well-written and believable. Each character’s emotions were palpable, as if they were my own. Grace’s attraction toward Zach’s tender and fragile emotions, Sarah’s rage, bitterness, and unforgiving heart and Zach’s trepidation at returning to Walnut Cove all seemed credible.

The Amish Outcast’s Holiday Return does not teach forgiveness, compassion or mercy; rather, it brilliantly and succinctly illustrates them.

I appreciated the story and frequently felt as if I were watching a movie because it was so realistic. I was honored to be able to accompany each person on their journey to ultimate acceptance of God’s will.

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

About the Author

lacy-williams-author-headshot

Lacy Williams wishes her writing career was more like what you see on Hallmark movies: dreamy brainstorming from a French chateau or a few minutes at the computer in a million-dollar New York City penthouse. In reality, she’s up before the sun, putting words on the page before her kids wake up for the day. Those early-morning and late-night writing sessions add up, and Lacy has published fifty books in almost a decade, first with a big five publisher and then as an indie author. When she needs to refill the well, you can find Lacy birdwatching, gardening, biking with the kiddos, or walking the dog. Find tons of bonus scenes and reader extras by becoming a VIP reader at www.lacywilliams.net/vip .

More from Lacy

The Best Part of a Barn Raising

Have you ever had your community rally around you? Maybe some of your friends threw you a baby shower. Maybe your church helped with a meal train when you were ill for a time. Maybe you played sports and raised money together as a team.

Has your community ever built you a house?

I’ve written lots of historical books. I’ve written a barn-raising or two into my books. Until I started researching for THE AMISH OUTCAST’S HOLIDAY RETURN, I didn’t realize that community “raising” events still happened in 2021. They do!

In some Amish communities, builders will gather all the materials for the house or barn and on (usually) a Saturday, the entire community will gather to build the whole structure. There’s a really cool timelapse of a barn raising on YouTube that you can check out.

I’ve always loved writing about these events because of the community aspect. We need human connection and there’s something special about having your community surround you and show their love in a tangible way. Imagine walking into your home that your friends built for you. Every time you walked over the threshold you could remember the friend who built the door frame. When it storms, you could appreciate the roof over your head that many friends helped stretch the frame for. What an amazing feeling of belonging.

Of course, barn raisings and house raisings wouldn’t be complete without the food. Typically, the women and girls put together a giant potluck for the men and boys who are doing the physical work of building the structure. Brainstorming for this always makes me remember church potlucks when I was a child. Our church met at the local 4-H building. We would stretch out folding tables and chairs in long rows. And the food. Pasta salad. Fried chicken. Chocolate cake!

(I also remember roller skating in the back of the massive building with my friends, but that is a whole other story…).

Memories and friendships are forged at church potlucks and barn raisings. And when you are on the inside, it creates a lovely sense of belonging. But the hero in THE AMISH OUTCAST’S HOLIDAY RETURN, Zach, is not on the inside. He’s an outsider who has come home and is searching for a place to belong. The barn raising/potluck is the moment when heroine Grace sees a hint of vulnerability in Zach—because he wants to belong. It changes everything in their new acquaintanceship.

Want to know more about this book? Check out the “read inside” feature and try Chapter One on your favorite retailer.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 3

The Avid Reader, November 3

Texas Book-aholic, November 4

Maureen’s Musings, November 4

Lighthouse Academy Blog , November 5 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Inklings and notions, November 5

lakesidelivingsite, November 6

Bigreadersite, November 6

For Him and My Family, November 7

Mary Hake, November 7

deb’s Book Review, November 8

SusanLovesBooks, November 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 9

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 10

Simple Harvest Reads, November 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

She Lives To Read, November 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 12

Labor Not in Vain, November 12

Older & Smarter?, November 13

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 13

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 14

Splashes of Joy, November 14

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 16

Vicky Sluiter, November 16

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Lacy is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card & 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/12f81/the-amish-outcast-s-holiday-return-celebration-tour-giveaway

Seasoned Grace by Melissa Wardwell on Tour with Celebrate Lit

Seasoned Grace copy

About the Book

Book:  Seasoned Grace

Author: Melissa Wardwell

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: August 31, 2021

Wardwell_Seasoned_Grace

You can run from your past, but you can’t escape it.

Though he disappeared that day, Raylin McReynolds never believed her father died at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

So, when a mysterious letter arrives from Breakers Head, informing her that she would find him on the Independence Islands off the coast of Georgia, she has no choice but to find a job, get there, find her father.

As mainland troubles encroach on Hooper Island, Sean Anderson devises a plan and presents it to the island pastors and his cousin, Scott. The result: Grace Mission—a place where those struggling can find the help they need.

What he didn’t need was a distraction in the form of a newcomer to the islands—a mission volunteer, no less.

Others at the mission, Beth and Scott, see more than just frustration brew between Raylin and Sean. What will it take to convince Sean and Raylin to stop bickering long enough to see what’s obvious to everyone else?

Raylin’s on a mission to find her father and protect her heart, but neither seem willing to cooperate.

Seasoned Grace 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!

Melissa Wardwell’s Seasoned Grace, the 14th novella in the Independence Island series, features an intriguing premise that sets the tone for her tale.

Wardwell’s works are thought-provoking and realistic, which adds to the endearing and charming quality of each one she writes.

I appreciated how seemingly diverse persons and life stories are tethered and bolt-roped together, resulting in a whole that is far more powerful than the sum of its parts. Seasoned Grace is full of grace, forgiveness and life, as its name suggests.

Every new book set in the fictional Independence Islands, which are located near Savannah, Georgia, delights me. Because the stories are connected but stand-alone, each one is engaging and entertaining. Melissa Wardwell enjoys the preceding books’ casts of characters and finds inventive ways to include them in her stories. As a result, you might feel compelled to read the prior books.

When you only have a short amount of time to read, Wardwell’s novella is a terrific choice. It’s a narrative that will linger in your mind long after you’ve finished reading it.

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

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell

She 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

Here we are, in the middle of the collection. The third island—Hooper Island. Have you enjoyed the journey so far? I hope you have, I’m sure you have 😉

Seasoned Grace quickly became my favorite addition to the Independence Islands Collection. It is a little more serious on a few of the topics than my first two contributions. Now that a foundation has been set, I felt like I could get a little deeper into my character’s emotions and pasts. People are complex so writing two-dimensional characters are not something I like doing. I want readers to see the secret hurts that mold them into the person they are, and how God can heal those painful areas.

Grace is the running theme throughout this book. Grace enough to let things go, the Father’s grace, showing grace to those around us, and any other form of grace that might come up. Grace is like salt and pepper. It gives the right kind of flavor to our lives. At least I think that is a life quote Gram would tell Beth.

There is one chapter that you will see one of the new characters lay out their painful past in a rather quick way in a conversation with another character. This character suffered much in their life that some will struggle with understanding how they could talk about it so freely (which is why I am shining a light on it now).

When a person has found healing in life by following Christ and has allowed Him to take away the sting of what others have done to them, those moments become easy to talk about with others. Especially if it means that the one listening will seek healing for themselves.

This conversation in the book is intense and thought-provoking. It also displays the level of grace required to see people the way God might see them instead of through our tainted lenses. I found myself crying as I wrote it because I know how freeing it is to forgive and let the Father heal a wounded heart.

Seasoned Grace also has several returning characters—Beth and Scott, Thaddeus, Amara and Dante, Sarah Reid, and her boys. There are also two new faces, Raylin and Sean, as well as a couple of other mobile business owners who come together to help Elnora Island bounce back from a hurricane.

All my contributions to the collection flow from one book to the next like a television series. While the other writers may have written their stories to be independently read from the others, that is not something I have done. Trust me when I say that it wasn’t my original intent. As I saw my five stories develop, there was a constant feeling of community and character interaction throughout the books. I couldn’t just leave some characters behind, never to be heard from again, while I bring in new faces. It just wouldn’t be right. They have developed friendships and that cannot be overlooked. That said, when they come together at the end for Thanksgiving diner, they, and you the reader, will have a pleasant surprise.

So, stay with me, push through, read on—it will all be worth it in the end.

P.S. I realize that I gave a recipe for Scrumptious Independence, but not Heart Pressed. I apologize for that one.

I hope this one makes up for it. Scott’s favorite

Fish Tacos

Oil

If you don’t have a deep fryer (like me), get a thick bottom, deep pan

Use natural oil, like corn or canola oil

Gauge the temperature with a candy or deep fry thermometer

Fill your pan no more than 2/3 of the way

Heat the oil slowly to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit

too low of heat, you will get greasy fish

too high of heat, you will burn the fish

Fish

Cod works the best, but Salmon is pretty interesting option as well.

Rinse it off after thawing if you use frozen fish, excess water will make your oil spatter

Pat it dry with paper towel – I use a lot of paper towel, but I feed five adults

If fish pieces are thick, cut into 1 inch-ish strips.

I use Panko fish batter for my batter. I don’t make it from scratch

Slowly place coated pieces of fish into the hot oil and let it cook until golden brown.

While that cooks, prepare your toppings.

Cole Slaw

8oz. bag of pre-shredded Cole slaw mix

1 1/2 tsp Apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsp of sugar

1 cup of mayo or Miracle Whip

1/4 cup of mustard or 1/2 tsp of mustard powder

Avocado

Make sure it is ripe—soft, not hard

Mash it with a fork

Cut a lime in 1/2 and squeeze the juice over the mashed avocado

Sprinkle salt and pepper on it

Stir together

Layering the taco

Spread some of the Avocado mixture on a tortilla

Place a strip or two of fried fish on top

Finish with Cole slaw mix

Enjoy!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 24

Texas Book-aholic, September 25

Blossoms and Blessings, September 25

Inklings and notions, September 26

HappyWhenReading, September 26

For Him and My Family, September 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 27 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 28

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 28

Aryn the Libraryan, September 29

The Sacred Line, September 29

She Lives To Read, September 30

Connect in Fiction, October 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 1

Reviewingbooksplusmore, October 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 3

Life, love, writing, October 3

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 4

Simple Harvest Reads, October 4 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 5

Splashes of Joy, October 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 6

Blogging With Carol, October 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 7

Mary Hake, October 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package 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/11b5d/seasoned-grace-celebration-tour-giveaway

Save the Date by Multiple Authors on Tour with Celebrate Lit

Save the Date

About the Book

Book: Save the Date

Author: Hallee Bridgeman  (Author), Kari Trumbo  (Author), T.K. Chapin  (Author), Chautona Havig  (Author), Shoshanna Gabriel  (Author), Dori Harrell (Author), Liwen Y. Ho  (Author), Lisa M. Prysock (Author), Camy Tang  (Author), Jan Thompson  (Author), Marion Ueckermann  (Author), Jaycee Weaver  (Author)

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release date: June 2021

Save the Date cover

Weddings for every season and occasion. Adventures, mishaps, and dream destinations—this collection has it all!
As our guest of honor, you’re cordially invited on a journey through twelve heartwarming and inspirational novellas that will take you from small-town America to romantic Paris, from the sunny shores of Hawaii to New Zealand. Office romances, friends-to-lovers, second chances, and more await you in these stories full of forgiveness, redemption, laughter, and love.
Say “I do” and claim your copy of this limited-time anthology by your favorite USA Today and bestselling Christian romance authors!

January Hope by Kari Trumbo

Clothing historian Cleo goes on the hunt for an 1880s fashion magazine wedding dress. Discovering it’s part of a museum collection, her biggest obstacle is handsome curator Lowel. Unfortunately, his no-touch policy just might put a stop to her hunt and her heart.

A Valentine for Veronica by Lisa Prysock

Veronica purchased her dream wedding dress though she’s single. When an encounter with a former peer—now a wedding magazine photojournalist—entices her into doing a special feature, the pressure is on to find a husband. Will Veronica’s pride be her downfall, or will her faith lead to love?

I Take You by Marion Ueckermann

Since childhood, Kaia has dreamed about her fairy-tale wedding. But when her father’s choices crush Kaia’s dreams, her fiancé is left scrambling for a solution to their dilemma. Kaia doesn’t want to delay their wedding, and neither does Leo. He’s waited a lifetime to make Kaia his wife.

Adoring April by Chautona Havig

Whoever heard of a church expecting an incoming minister to marry their only single member as a condition for employment? Legality aside, what kind of woman would possibly agree to such a crazy idea? What’ll it take for Jesse to go from avoiding April to adoring April?

A Change of a Dress by Hallee Bridgeman

Belle struggles to bury the past and grasp her elusive future. Scarred by an incredible act of heroism, combat veteran Vince longs to courageously walk the road less traveled as an army chaplain. The two unknowingly cross paths time and again until meeting changes everything.

Time for Me by Jan Thompson

When Sheryl tries to get a world-famous sculptor to display his artwork in her gallery, she doesn’t expect him to fall in love with her in this friends-to-more romance.

The Wedding Dress by T. K. Chapin

Alexa Anderson doesn’t want to wear her mother’s wedding dress when it’s time to marry the love of her life, Brad Jackson. Little does she know, the wedding dress has a story of its own to tell…

The Wedding Kimono by Camy Tang

A tomboy massage therapist and her boss discover a mysterious message hidden in her grandmother’s wedding kimono. Can her family legacy help her to see her inner beauty and open herself up to love?

One Vow for September by Liwen Ho

She’s a writer with an unconventional assignment, he’s the jaded coworker playing her husband; together they’re one odd couple about to find out how real love is.

Braver with You by Jaycee Weaver

She’d follow her childhood sweetheart anywhere, but first they’ll need all her courage and all his support to make it through the wedding their mothers have planned.

Grateful for You by Dori Harrell

Jeans-only Libby hasn’t spoken to lawman Jamie since she turned down his proposal. But when she sees a frothy gown in a store window, she knows he’s the guy for her. But winning him back might mean landing herself in jail.

Countdown to Her Cowboy’s Christmas Wedding by Shoshanna Gabriel

A handsome rancher. The girl next door. A childhood promise comes due that could change their lives… for better or worse. When their Christmas wedding preparations bring out painful memories of heartbreak, will Kate be able to forgive Jay—and herself—so they can finally be together?

Click here to get your copy!

Save the Date is a set of twelve different authors featuring a story for every month of the year.

I enjoyed the individuality of the stories and the unique perspectives of each of the authors. Plus, they took me on a trip around the world, too!

I appreciate the faith element in each story. How interesting to see how each author approaches it and gives their own inimitable viewpoint.

Save the Date is perfect for reading a quick story or for binge reading.

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

About the Authors

The authors of Save the Date joined together for this limited-time collection as an opportunity to bring their readers an excellent reading experience. From California to Kentucky, South Africa to Idaho and everywhere in between, these authors live and write the stories on their hearts to touch the hearts of their readers.

More from Chautona

Why One Epic Wedding Set Is about More Than “Just” Romance

“Oh, they say when you marry in June… you’re a bride all your life…”

When my kids were little, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was a favorite movie, although they used to call it “Dah-dah-dump-dum.” If you’ve never heard “Goin’ Courtin’” then that won’t make sense, but what can I say? Kids. Considering I had seven daughters, it’s no wonder that my kids loved that song sung by girls wearing pantaloons and camisoles the most. My boys never seemed to get that they were watching girls dancing around in their underwear. Much to my relief.

But you know, I’m a desert rat and not a fan of June weddings. Summer weddings are… HOT. I love outdoor weddings and receptions, and they’re miserable here in June, July, August, May… September… To be fair, there are maybe six whole weeks of the entire year that wouldn’t be—too hot, too cold, or just blasting with wind.

The authors of Save the Date all chose their months for different reasons. December, June, and February were obvious favorite choices, but I had three options that called to me. Either April, May, or June. Why? Well, my book title. I needed a woman’s name!

In this collection, you’ll find a couple of marriages of convenience, a friends-to-more, a destination wedding… you name it, we’ve got it. Each author has a meaningful story around the wedding dress, and through the course of each one, we have something especially beautiful.

Love.

I’m not speaking just of love between two characters. In sets like this, beautiful friendships are forged as we write, share, and celebrate. There’s a camaraderie that fills the group with every idea, every milestone, and every frustration.

You’ll also witness one more kind of love—love of craft. See, authors do the long, hard, sometimes tedious work of writing for a reason. We love the creation of characters, settings, and stories that weave all three into a picture that stirs the heart and feeds the soul. You could argue that they are a cheap imitation of the stories God writes on our lives, but because they are an offering to the Lord, they are also beautiful, rich, and a “sweet savor,” or so we hope.

We pray you’ll enjoy your time among the brides of Save the Date. We hope you’ll be blessed.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Texas Book-aholic, September 5

Inklings and notions, September 6

By the Book, September 6

For Him and My Family, September 7

deb’s Book Review, September 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 9

Back Porch Reads, September 9

Connect in Fiction, September 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 11

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 11

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 14

CarpeDiem, September 14

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 15

She Lives To Read, September 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 16

Simple Harvest Reads, September 16 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 17

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Save the Date authors are 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/11816/save-the-date-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.


A Dream of Family by Jill Weatherholt on Tour with Celebrate Lit

A Dream of Family

About the Book

Book:  A Dream of Family

Author: Jill Weatherholt

Genre: Inspirational Romance

Release date: June 29, 2021

A Dream of Family - cover

To give a little girl a home…

she must take a chance on forgiveness.

From the minute Molly Morgan saw sad-eyed little Grace, she longed to give her a happy home. But Molly’s struggling bookstore is endangering her adoption chances. Outgoing entrepreneur Derek McKinney has a puppy Grace adores—and a plan to save Molly’s business. But can he and Molly put their troubled past behind them in time to make a family for a lifetime?

Click here to get your copy!

I enjoy Jill Weatherholt’s books so much. Her latest novel, A Dream of Family, drew me right in. I empathized with Molly Morgan because there were times growing up when I felt books saved my life too.

Now grown and owner of an independent bookstore, Molly is struggling to stay afloat after a big-name competitor moves in close to her little store. The last thing she needs is Derek McKinney, the person who caused her fiancé to leave her at the altar, walking through the door of her bookstore.

Weatherholt blends together faith, hope, forgiveness and romance into a story of second chances and redemption. Creativity abounds with concepts on how to adopt business ideas for the bookstore to draw in more customers and increase sales.

Navigating her new normal isn’t easy for Molly, and she doesn’t make it easy for Derek, either. However, if they both stay true to their faith things will work out fine.

I received A Dream of Family from Celebrate Lit. However, my review is voluntary.

About the Author

HQ Headshot

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

Working in a library or a bookstore has always been a dream job of mine. As book bloggers and readers, you may have had that same dream.

Sadly, I’ve never made that dream come true. So instead, I created a fictitious character, Molly Morgan.  In A Dream of Family, Molly Morgan owns and operates a bookstore, so by writing her story, I was able to somewhat fulfill my dream of working in a job where I’m surrounded by books all day.

As a child growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., I loved the bookmobile. Twice a month a small library on wheels rolled into the neighborhood and parked in front of our house. There was nothing better than to feel the wallop of arctic air the moment I climbed aboard. It was the perfect escape from the hot and sticky summer months. Like a time machine, the endless rows of books transported me to distant places. It was there I was introduced to The Box Car Children and Nancy Drew Mysteries. One stamp of black ink,and it was mine to devour for two weeks.

I haven’t seen a bookmobile since my childhood, but they still exist today. Thankfully, libraries and bookstores are still in our communities, offering wonderful programs to inspire young readers. But as I watch public libraries reduce their hours and bookstores close their doors, I’m grateful to have grown up in a time where bookmobiles traveled the streets of my neighborhood. Those days, my biggest decision during summer vacation was what book to take to the pool.

Blessings,

Jill Weatherholt

Blog Stops

Pause for Tales, July 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 27

Texas Book-aholic, July 28

She Lives To Read, July 29

Lighthouse Academy Blog, July 29 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Inklings and notions, July 30

Mary Hake, July 30

For Him and My Family, July 31

My Reading Journeys, July 31

deb’s Book Review, August 1

Britt Reads Fiction, August 1

Older & Smarter?, August 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 3

Writing from the Heart Land, August 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 4

Batya’s Bits, August 4

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 5

Remembrancy, August 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 7

Labor Not in Vain, August 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8

Kayem Reads, August 8

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 9

Vicky Sluiter, August 9

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/11034/a-dream-of-family-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon’s newest Hope Harbor story (releasing April 6th) is Blackberry Beach. Even though I didn’t know this was part of a series, it still works well as a standalone.

Hope Harbor “harbors” the picturesque and enchanting Blackberry Beach, home to several idiosyncratic and unconventional people and birds. Needless to say, they were some of my favorite characters!

I would love to stop in at The Perfect Blend coffee shop and talk with the owner, Zach Garrett, and sample his fantastic blends and desserts. And, oh my, Charlie, the owner of the fish taco stand!  Hannon has created a must-visit, perfect friend. Can you guess that I would love to live there?

Kat, the mystery woman, piques everyone’s interest, especially Zach’s, and uses her wonderful culinary skill to create blackberry and blackberry lavender truffles. So, is Kat a chocolatier? Why is she in Hope Harbor, and what is she hiding?

Hannon is amazingly skilled at creating a place you want to visit and characters you would love to have as friends. Not to mention, she leaves you starving for treats from the Perfect Blend, Kat’s chocolates and fish tacos, even though I have never really cared for fish tacos.

As you can see, Blackberry Beach features mystery and intrigue, along with romance and wonderful doses of Biblical insight.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Revell through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews.

Photo of pie by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Publisher’s Summary

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted–fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn’t she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she’ll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss–and he has no plans to change the life he’s created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. He’s had enough drama to last a lifetime. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. And as their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites you to come home to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.