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Twice Sold Tales by Chautona Havig Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Twice Sold Tales

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian / Romantic Women’s Fiction

Release date: November 2, 2022

If only owning a bookstore didn’t mean dealing with people.

No one was more surprised than Harper Brevig when Great Aunt Lorene (not “Lori,” thank-you-very-much) died and left her least favorite niece her bookstore–including a prime piece of real estate in downtown Red Wing, Minnesota.

Making a go of the place shouldn’t be too hard. With her library science degree, she should be set. Then again, the website describing library degrees had said it would teach her excellent communication skills. It had not. Could she get a partial refund?

Still, owning the building should mean crazy-low overhead to offset her less than optimal “book-side” manner.  Ahem. So when yet another huge bill arrives, and she starts getting twitchy about the low bank balance, Harper does the only thing she can think of.

Enter Milton Coleridge. He’d been excited about the possibilities of the store last year, but Harper had sent him packing before he could talk to her about them.  Now he has a chance to make a difference. But she’s right. She’s bleeding money, and it doesn’t make sense!

Milton’s job is to figure out what’s going on, plug the financial leak, and maybe… do a little matchmaking. That dad with the adorable little boy would be good for her… and she’d be good for him. Probably.

Twice Sold Tales: the first full-length novel in the Bookstrings series releasing with The Mosaic Collection

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author 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

“What kind of research does a contemporary book need? I mean, she’s a bookstore owner in a town you’ve been to several times. What’s there to research?”

I can’t be the only author to get questions like this. And I certainly can’t be the only one who has to fight the urge to laugh. Folks, authors research everything. In Twice Sold Tales, I think I looked up almost as much as I did in my Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries!

Because here’s the deal. What I didn’t know about Red Wing, Minnesota wouldn’t have hurt the story most of the time. Who cares that Bev’s Café has amazing creamy cucumbers? It doesn’t technically matter. Well, except to my character who hates veggies but will eat those. They make her feel virtuous. And you get to know about it.

But… what you discover about a place or a time or an occupation or whatever can totally change the course of your story. Case in point? I went to a website about River City Days because my niece suggested it might be a good thing for Noah to do with his son. That led me to the Farmer’s Markets and to other things. How I got to the first Ghost Walk in Red Wing taking place this year? I don’t even know. What I do know is that the moment I read about it, I knew Harper had to go. And if she did, and if Milton were the instigator, Noah had to go. #BecauseMatchmaker.

And this is where it got really cool. To make the walk as authentic as I could, I read everything I could find about it. And I discovered something super cool. Like… blow you out of the water cool.

Red Wing, Minnesota sits near the shore of Lake Pepin. Little House on the Prairie lovers will remember this as the lake that Laura Ingalls crossed in the wagon as they left the Big Woods of Wisconsin (you know, right across the river/lake from Red Wing???) Well… Lake Pepin has a monster—the Nessie of the Mississippi. Yes, you read that right… a monster! I went looking and guess what? The “monster” has a name. Pepie! Needless to say, Pepie became a an important part of my story. Because how could he not?

And… I happened to find a stuffed Pepie at Treats & Treasures in Lake City, just south of Red Wing, so I ordered a couple for giveaways—including the one with this blog tour. Happy reading, and what do you think? Shouldn’t someone write Pepie’s story?

My Impressions

“While our book friends feed our minds, the Lord uses His people to feed our hearts and souls. Don’t let any of your person starve.”

Ugh, Chautona Havig got me this time! In Twice Told Tales, I saw places in my life I need to improve. I identified way too easily with Harper Brevig, the main character. Harper is a booktrovert. “Harper, most people are interesting and even more multi-layered than the best-crafted character. Some you just have to get a little further into the pages of their stories before they show it.” It is way easier to read than to make friends! (Not that reading is wrong, but see the quote at the beginning of my review!) But the snark! (Chautona’s characters always have plenty of snark, but that makes them so fun!!) I love her collection of bookish T-shirts, and if you’re a book lover, you will, too. Harper has good qualities, too. She deeply loves those she takes into her small circle. Compassion and caring are part of her nature.

Milton is fun as he comes in and match-makes along with urging bookstore growth and changes. Anybody who has such a unique pet as a parrotlet has got to be worth getting to know. I hope one of these stories will eventually be his.

My heart goes out to Noah Lampe. He is so focused on being the perfect parent that he can’t see that he is enough for his newly discovered son, Bennie. Then he makes some discoveries about God as our Father.

If you love children at all, you will fall for Bennie hook, line, and sinker. The instability of his former life has branded him, and he needs both Noah and Harper to build into his life. The question is, can Harper be counted on?

Havig loves literature of all kinds. Since the story takes place in a bookstore, there are plugs for every from the classics to contemporary Christian novels. This book is almost a novel suggestion resource in and of itself !

“Harper, most people are interesting and even more multi-layered than the best-crafted character. Some you just have to get a little further into the pages of their stories before they show it.”

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit, plus I bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent! You haven’t read until you’ve read a Havig book!!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 21

Vicky Sluiter, January 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 22

Mary Hake, January 22

Texas Book-aholic, January 23

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, January 23

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, January 24

deb’s Book Review, January 24

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 25

Lots of Helpers, January 25

Cover Lover Book Review, January 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 26

Splashes of Joy, January 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 27

She Lives To Read, January 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 29

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 30

For Him and My Family, January 30

Divine Perspective, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 31

Aryn the Libraryan, February 1

Books I’ve Read, February 1

Blogging With Carol, February 2

Back Porch Reads, February 2

Pause for Tales, February 3

Spoken from the Heart, February 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback of the book, a stuffed “Pepie” and a few other bookish goodies!!

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/23bc5/twice-sold-tales-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Purchase

Keeping Christmas II by Havig, Bouldin, Beatty, Siennes, Wardwell, and Simmons; Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Keeping Christmas Volume II

Authors: Chautona Havig, Tabitha Bouldin, Susan K. Beatty, Jennifer Sienes, Melissa Wardwell, and Stacy T. Simmons.

Genre: Christian Christmas Romance

Release date: October 18, 2022

In castles far and near, long ago and yesterday, find happily-ever-afters wrapped in love and tied with Christmas joy.

Escape to Greenaway (by Chautona Havig): She just wanted to escape another holly, jolly family holiday. Because snowbound in a castle B&B with one of Santa’s elves (or as good as) is so much better. With the help of the castle’s owner, Tonya plays matchmaker in a bid to get that Christmas-loving girl out of her hair.

The King’s Promise (by Tabitha Bouldin): In a world of airships and kings, a prince makes a promise that tears him away from his love. An ordinary baker’s daughter finds herself caught in the middle of a game where the winner earns the queen’s crown. They both want what they can’t have as they struggle toward a seemingly impossible happily ever after.

A Castle for Christmas (by Susan K. Beatty): Sadie Foster abhors wealth. Will Randolph, on the other hand, works for the uber-wealthy owner of an over-the-top castle on the California coast–Sadie’s father. When Christopher Foster leaves the castle to her, Sadie doesn’t want anything to do with it or his money. But what if Sadie and Will use the castle and her inheritance for the good of others—together?

An Irish Christmas Heart (by Jennifer Sienes): Will she choose love or an arranged marriage? In the midst of post-famine unrest, Eleanor Blake, daughter of an English nobleman, is thrown into a maelstrom of emotions. How will she escape the duty for which she was born and the confines of the ill-fated Menlo Castle of Galway, Ireland to find her true love?

Christmas at Curwood’s Castle (by Melissa Wardwell): A Christmas party at Curwood Castle should have been Angel Davis’ Cinderella moment. Especially when her dear friend Jimmy arrives. Instead, one obstacle after another threatens to break any chance at a happily-ever-after.

Christmas in the Cotswolds (by Stacy T. Simmons): She’s a paleontologist and ardent Jane Austen fan. He’s enmeshed in the exactitude of mathematics, can they find common ground? Do opposites attract, will the romantic castle, and dashing duke be the undoing of Victoria’s plans?

Grab a mug of something hot and delicious and curl up somewhere comfy. Your literary chariots await to take you on a journey from an early twentieth-century castle in the San Gabriel Mountains of California all the way across the pond to the beautiful Cotswolds of England. These six novellas, all set in castles real and fictional, celebrate the heart and joy of Christmas in this second volume of castle Christmas novellas.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Authors

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.

Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing—and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies including several in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

Tabitha Bouldin is a student at Southern New Hampshire University, where she is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she works with critique groups and provides endorsements for other authors. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart. Tabitha spent ten years working as a Medical Assistant before God opened the door which allowed her to become a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom and author.

Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband and three teen-aged children.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

Who says you can’t begin a new career after middle age? Certainly not Susan K. Beatty. She is passionate about writing about finding courage through faith and grit, particularly through the trials of breast cancer and other life trials. Her daughter is a metastatic breast cancer “thriver” and has been an inspiration for her writing. Susan’s first novel, Faces of Courage, debuted May 2021, as part of the Faces of Courage series, including several novelettes. She is also the author of An Introduction to Home Education (AKA California Homeschool Manual). Susan is a professional writer/journalist and is active in the writer community. She is proof you can begin a fiction writing career at any age.

Stacy T. Simmons writes uplifting fiction that delights the reader’s romantic sensibilities. Thirty-four years of marital bliss is a great contributor. She is a mom of two grown children, and she and her family have a menagerie of pets she likes to call “Noah’s Ark.” You can find her working on her next manuscript with a piece of dark chocolate and a cup of coffee nearby. Connect with Stacy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Fueled by Faith and Caffeine.

More from Tabitha

Castles near and far. Over time and across worlds both real and fictional. When it came time to write for Keeping Christmas, the world opened up to offer each of us a jewel for our stories. While I chose to base my castle off of a real castle in Romania, others chose a different route. Yet we all came together with a singular mission to write stories about Christmas and to bring the joy of Christ into each and every book. Keeping Christmas is about more than overseeing a holiday. It is looking back through the years of Christmases far and wide, from our real world through fantasy lands some of us dreamed up, and keeping the spirit of the season alive.

Come and keep Christmas with us as we journey across land and sea, through the skies on an airship, and deep into the contemporary halls and towering turrets. Here you’ll meet characters to fall in love with and read stories that span the ages, from a scribe in King Herod’s castle to a paleontologist in the Cotswolds.

My Impressions

Wow! Please don’t ask me which of the six novellas in Keeping Christmas II by Celebrate Lit authors is my fave. I may tell you, “all of them!”

I love Chautona Havig’s story, Escape to Greenaway, because Havig had me laughing within minutes of starting the novella. Snarky, unlikable characters transform into caring friends when trapped in a castle during a snowstorm.

From there, I entered a totally different world, Tabitha Bouldin’s historical steampunk tale, The King’s Promise. Yet, it was so much fun to read about a forbidden match, and a competition to find the new queen of the realm. I love the direction Bouldin takes the novella.

Susan K Beatty’s contribution, A Castle for Christmas, is enjoyable as we see two people of opposite thinking start to work together for a common goal. I appreciated the emphasis on prayers by the two main characters. They both took their problems and worries to God, as we should.

An Irish Christmas Heart by Jennifer Siennes shows the historical conflict between the English and the Irish. Mrs. Doyle wins my vote for best supporting character of the book. She is a spiritual mentor, wise, loving, and able to get involved in others’ lives without being a busybody.

In Melissa Wardwell’s story, Christmas at Curwood’s Castle, a party at a local castle is the backdrop for the reunion of two lifelong friends. This one had a few unexpected twists and played out differently than I had imagined.

One of the most romantic was penned by the late Stacy T Simmons. A paleontologist falls for a Duke she meets while on holiday in the Cotswolds. I loved seeing Victoria able to mix business and pleasure, and do her job well. The dreaminess evoked by this couple make the novella a fave.

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit. I also bought a copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Just a great, feel-good, faith-filled Christmas read!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 16

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 18

By the Book, November 18

Inklings and notions, November 19

deb’s Book Review, November 20

Blogging With Carol, November 20

Texas Book-aholic, November 21

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 22

For Him and My Family, November 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 23

Older & Smarter?, November 24

Mary Hake, November 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 25

She Lives To Read, November 26

Holly’s Book Corner, November 26

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

Splashes of Joy, November 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 28

Writing From the Heart Land, November 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 29

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Celebrate Lit Authors are 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/22acd/keeping-christmas-volume-two-by-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Purchase

Keeping Christmas Vol. I by Celebrate Lit Authors Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Keeping Christmas Volume 1

Authors: Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig, Olivia Talbott, Kathleen J. Robison, Denise L. Barela, Marguerite Martin Gray, and Naomi Craig.

Genre: Christian Christmas Romance

Release date: October 4, 2022

In castles far and near, long ago and yesterday, find happily-ever-afters wrapped in love and tied with Christmas joy.

The Lights of Castlebourne (by Cathe Swanson and Chautona Havig): He bowled her over at first sight–his dog, that is. Sydney just wanted a chance to do the landscape design at Castlebourne. She never dreamed the owner’s electrician would light up her heart at Christmas.

The Girl From Dalarna (by Olivia Talbott):She’s the most beautiful woman in Sweden, but she doesn’t want to be. A simple life among milk cows is all she desires. Will a scandal upend her plans and ruin her chances for love?

The Cross at Morioka Castle (by Kathleen J. Robison): In the ancient land of shoji screens and tatami mats, Ariko finds the stone ruins of Morioka Castle, and the mysterious cross that holds the secret of a Christian faith extending far deeper than Ariko ever imagined.

The Ghost of Christmas… (by Denise L. Barela):Abbigayl needs to get away for Christmas this year. No family, no questions about why she’s still single, no suggestion about being set up with someone’s friend. What will happen when Neuschwanstein Castle’s past converges with Abbigayl’s future?

Crystal Clear (by Marguerite Martin Gray):Rosalind’s muddied past and foggy future crystalize in Château Chenonceau, a refuge from gossip and more. Watch as the château and Christmas work their magic and break the bonds of propriety, and rejoice as Rosalind experiences the crystal-clear hints of peace, joy, and hope all around her.

The Weary World Rejoices (by Naomi Craig):Behind the elaborate furnishings of Herod the Great’s palace, conspiracy and distrust run rampant. Mysterious visitors from the east challenge everything Amal thinks he knows as palace scribe. Will his quest to uncover the Truth free him from the ornate shackles of palace life, or will he be the next victim of King Herod’s maniacal jealousy?

Grab a mug of something hot and delicious and curl up somewhere comfy. Your literary chariots await to take you on a journey from an early twentieth-century castle overlooking the Mississippi all the way back to the Holy Land at the time of Jesus’ birth. These six novellas, all set in castles real and fictional, celebrate the heart and joy of Christmas.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Authors

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.

Cathe Swanson writes books with creative plots and engaging characters of all ages, to glorify God and entertain and bless readers. Her heartwarming stories will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.

Olivia Talbott grew up in Montana, but currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and two daughters, a few sheep and a border collie. She loves words, traveling, pickles and having deep conversations about how Jesus changes everything. Visit her at oliviatalbott.com.

Kathleen J. Robison is an Okinawan-American, born in Okinawa, and raised in California, Florida, Mississippi, and Singapore. Her travels and her family are the sources of her inspiration for her books. Kathleen and her Pastor husband have eight adult children. Seven are married, blessing them with eighteen grandchildren and counting. Her ethnically diverse background extends to her family of currently thirty-five personalities which provide many opportunities to share God’s amazing love amidst the challenges of real life.

Denise L. Barela is a twenty-something-year-old writer with a passion for fiction, her faith, and just being creative in general. When she’s not working away at her desk, you might find her reading a good book or following Alice down the rabbit hole…

Marguerite Gray enjoys the study of history, especially when combined with fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and Spanish and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She has two grown children and currently lives with her husband in north Louisiana. She writes historical fiction.

Author of Biblical fiction, avid reader, pastor’s wife, Naomi Craig loves reading the Bible and imagining how things were at the time. When she’s not serving in various areas at church, trying to stay on top of mountains of dishes or convincing her rescue dog, Freeway, to be cute on command for Instagram reels, you’ll most likely find her enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee. Naomi co-hosts #BehindTheStory with Naomi and Lisa, an author interview show on YouTube and your podcast platform of choice.

More from Denise

Hello everyone!

I’m excited to share this set of stories with you! All the authors have worked hard to bring you some Christmas joy and magic. We’ve each picked a castle to center our stories around. I mean, Christmas and castles go well together, don’t you think? You’ll get to explore different castles in different time periods while also getting to know all the characters in each story. That’s a lot of new friends to make!

For my story, I jumped on the chance to write about a castle that inspired the castle that always brought me joy growing up (if I’m being honest, it still brings me joy). I’ve always been a huge Disney nerd, and Princess Aurora has always been my favorite Disney princess. Growing up, I was blessed to be able to visit Disneyland for most of my life, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle was my favorite thing (I was so sad when they closed the walk-through part for several years). Even without the attraction part of it, I loved walking into the park and seeing it stand at the end of Main Street. I actually teared up seeing it for the first time after Covid.

What does all this have to do with my castle story? Well, in 1869, King Ludwig II of Bavaria began construction on Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Let me tell you, if you thought Disneyland’s castle was beautiful, it’s got nothing on Neuschwanstein. If I were to pick a castle to live in, it’d be this one.

Setting aside the Disney connection, I was even more intrigued when I learned more about the king who commissioned it. The king was not very popular towards the end of his reign, and the day after he was sent to Berg Castle, he and a doctor were found dead in Lake Starnberg. The weird part? They ruled it a drowning, but there was no water in their lungs and clear signs of foul play.

Oh, but that’s not the only interesting fact this castle houses. This castle became a hiding place for some of the art the Nazi’s stole during World War II. Part of me wonders if any pieces are still hidden there. The Monuments Men group actually cataloged art found there, and it’s been preserved. Here’s a fun article from The Met all about it!

I hope you enjoyed learning about the castle that inspired my story!

My Impressions

Not sure what to read for Christmas? May I suggest Keeping Christmas, Vol I, is a good place to start? You’ll get castles, dogs, soba, laughter, tears, intrigue, and faith all in one book!

Chautona Havig’s name drew me in. Anything she writes is truly fun, attention-grabbing, and truth-filled. In The Lights of Castleberry, Havig and Cathe Swanson team up to produce a young landscaper who tries to convince a modern castle owner to let her beautify the grounds. Sydney and Philip fall in love, but miscommunication and Sydney’s failure to stand up for herself threaten their happiness. Meanwhile, Sydney’s cousin Arielle pushes Mark into sharing more than his curmudgeon spirit is willing. This is a story to come, hopefully!

Another of the novellas that intrigued me was The Cross at Morioko Castle by Kathleen J Robison. Set in Japan and containing several Japanese words, I didn’t connect with the characters at first, but kept reading. Soon, I found myself ensnared in the saga of a young Japanese Christian girl, whose rich great-grandmother wants to make amends before dying. Can Ariko stay true to the faith and follow Obaachan’s demands? What about the mysterious Kai? Is he all he claims to be? I loved the legend, the samurai, and even the business dealings. And God’s placement of people at just the right time and place!

The last novella that I want to highlight closes the book, and how fitting! You may think you’ve heard the Christmas story a million times, but until you see it through Amal’s eyes, you are missing something! My heart rejoiced along with Amal’s by the conclusion of this novella. The Weary World Rejoices by Naomi Craig is Biblical fiction that will make you shiver, review Scripture, cry, cheer, evaluate how you treat Scripture (all while being an unputdownable story)!

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit. I also bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I have found at least one story I want to read multiple times before Christmas, plus several new-to-me authors to add to my staggering TBR!!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 20

Through the Lens of Scripture, October 20

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 21

Texas Book-aholic, October 22

For Him and My Family, October 22

deb’s Book Review, October 23

Inklings and notions, October 24

Holly’s Book Corner, October 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 25

Lots of Helpers, October 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 27

By the Book, October 28

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

She Lives To Read, October 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 30

Mary Hake, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 31

Simple Harvest Reads, November 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Literature Approved, November 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 2

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Celebrate Lit Authors are 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/2224d/keeping-christmas-volume-one-by-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Purchase

Book, Chapters, Vows by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book: Book, Chapter, & Vows

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: July 26, 2022

Falling in love with Benjamin wasn’t in the plan, but Mallory finds she’s all but lost her head and her heart after two and a half years of banter, memories, and now shared books.

But when her ex-fiance (does it count if it was just for a few hours?) shows up right in the middle of a writing project with Benjamin, the guy manages to ruin her happiness… again.

Benjamin has been keeping one tiny part of him back from Mallory–just the one thing that’ll repel her for good.
So when the ex-boyfriend-slash-fiance shows up, and things look serious again, he takes a giant step back and prays he can keep his heart intact in the process.

They’re clearly meant for each other. God obviously has a plan. So what’s it going to take for Mallory and Benjamin to work things out and get those vows made?

This Breakers Head novel is Chautona Havig’s final book in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Say the hard things. Admit the faults, choose to make the sacrifices, step out in faith.”

A lady after my own heart, who loves books, coffee,( and other hot drinks) and loves to sell them together! Mallory Barrows is struggling to make her dream of a small bookmobile/ hot drink shop on the islands a reality. Now she has finally fallen for islander Benjamin Hornigold, a young friend of her beloved uncle Bud. Benjamin loves Mallory enough to do almost anything for her- except bare his soul of the secret that could separate them.

Chautona Havig invites us to slow down and return to life on Independence Islands, where Mallory Barrows is hoping for that big question from her true love, Benjamin. But deep-seated fears in both Mallory and Benjamin could overpower their love as a new threat or two lingers on the horizon. Will a joint project of love and some negative examples from the past be enough combined with faith and prayer to see these lovers united, or are they destined to a repeat their loved ones’ examples?

The quote at the top expresses one of the basic truths of the novel. So many to be gleaned from a Havig book. Another truth Havig’s characters are confronted with, one it took me years to learn, is this one:

“the Lord blesses our service however we offer it, but that doesn’t mean that every job is ours to do. He said sometimes we need to step aside because that frees up the work for the person the Lord has planned for it, and it frees us to do the work He has planned for us. I never saw it that way.” So happy Mallory and Benjamin could learn this early in life! It will save them a lot of frustration, thinking they are serving the Lord, when He may have other people better equipped for the job.

And Havig always makes me smile! “Is that what you get with a degree and success? A masters in rudeness?” This is especially potent as it applies to the characters’ situations.

Bottom line: if it’s a Havig novel you’re considering, buy it!! One read won’t do it justice. Considering the spiritual and wisdom value of this book, coupled with the entertainment value, I give it five stars!

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“I plan to live the story in my heart. That’s how I best tell a story, lovey.”

“If the primary love of your life isn’t Jesus, you’ll fail the one you vow to love until death.”

‘…the lessons you learned don’t change based on the number of years you’ve been married. Truth is truth.’”

“But if you go through life as if everything you say and do is part of some checklist to godliness and marital bliss, you’ll miss out on the bold, daring life God has given us.”

“But I don’t think we should treat people like only their mistakes define them.”

“It will hurt. Change is just hard and it stinks. But sometimes we have to do the hard things.”

“Then a new character arrived on the scene. It walked over to guilt and elbowed guilt out of the way as if to say, “I’m determination, and I outrank you.’

“…every time you give in to those impulses, they become more frequent and more intense than the last. It’s harder to break the habit than it is to fight the temptation to let it form.’”

“You can’t fix it.”

… “But you can start fresh—like Anne Shirley—a new day with no mistakes in it.”

“His mercies,” Benjamin began. “‘They are new every morning.’”

About the Author

“Say the hard things. Admit the faults, choose to make the sacrifices, step out in faith.”

A lady after my own heart, who loves books, coffee,( and other hot drinks) and loves to sell them together! Mallory Barrows is struggling to make her dream of a small bookmobile/ hot drink shop on the islands a reality. Now she has finally fallen for islander Benjamin Hornigold, a young friend of her beloved uncle Bud. Benjamin loves Mallory enough to do almost anything for her- except bare his soul of the secret that could separate them.

Chautona Havig invites us to slow down and return to life on Independence Islands, where Mallory Barrows is hoping for that big question from her true love, Benjamin. But deep-seated fears in both Mallory and Benjamin could overpower their love as a new threat or two lingers on the horizon. Will a joint project of love and some negative examples from the past be enough combined with faith and prayer to see these lovers united, or are they destined to a repeat their loved ones’ examples?

The quote at the top expresses one of the basic truths of the novel. So many to be gleaned from a Havig book. Another truth Havig’s characters are confronted with, one it took me years to learn, is this one:

“the Lord blesses our service however we offer it, but that doesn’t mean that every job is ours to do. He said sometimes we need to step aside because that frees up the work for the person the Lord has planned for it, and it frees us to do the work He has planned for us. I never saw it that way.” So happy Mallory and Benjamin could learn this early in life! It will save them a lot of frustration, thinking they are serving the Lord, when He may have other people better equipped for the job.

And Havig always makes me smile! “Is that what you get with a degree and success? A masters in rudeness?” This is especially potent as it applies to the characters’ situations.

Bottom line: if it’s a Havig novel you’re considering, buy it!! One read won’t do it justice. Considering the spiritual and wisdom value of this book, coupled with the entertainment value, I give it five stars!

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“I plan to live the story in my heart. That’s how I best tell a story, lovey.”

“If the primary love of your life isn’t Jesus, you’ll fail the one you vow to love until death.”

‘…the lessons you learned don’t change based on the number of years you’ve been married. Truth is truth.’”

“But if you go through life as if everything you say and do is part of some checklist to godliness and marital bliss, you’ll miss out on the bold, daring life God has given us.”

“But I don’t think we should treat people like only their mistakes define them.”

“It will hurt. Change is just hard and it stinks. But sometimes we have to do the hard things.”

“Then a new character arrived on the scene. It walked over to guilt and elbowed guilt out of the way as if to say, “I’m determination, and I outrank you.’

“…every time you give in to those impulses, they become more frequent and more intense than the last. It’s harder to break the habit than it is to fight the temptation to let it form.’”

“You can’t fix it.”

… “But you can start fresh—like Anne Shirley—a new day with no mistakes in it.”

“His mercies,” Benjamin began. “‘They are new every morning.’”

More from Chautona

It Happened AGAIN!

I remember the first book I had trouble finishing. Beneath the Cloak. It was the last book of the Wynnewood series, and I was dying to reveal the big secret that had been a big part of the story line. I spent hours writing very few words. Someone asked if I had writer’s block, but I didn’t. I knew every word I wanted to put on that page, but I kept procrastinating.

For weeks. We’re talking long, agonizing weeks.

Finally, I realized a significant part of why I hadn’t finished was because I didn’t want to. I didn’t want the series to end. Say goodbye to beloved characters? Agony, okay? I wanted to spend the rest of my life in Wynnewood seeing what happened with all the characters and all the things that would happen.

I just wanted to write a bunch of other books, too. What can I say? It’s a thing.

So, as I dove into writing the book I’ve been dying to write since I penned the opening scene of Christmas on Breakers Point, you’d think I’d have been prepared for the inevitable. I mean, it’s happened with several other series since that first time, so… yeah. All ready to combat the problem, right? Not hardly.

To be fair, I was also coming off being very sick, my mother being even sicker, so being crazy behind on everything. I mean, that had a lot to do with it taking so long to get going on it. But once I did, I’d type like crazy and then ignore it for a day or two before the story demanded more telling.

Then, just as I neared the big scene of Book, Chapter, & Vows… I went nuts on doing everything but finishing that book. No joke. I did. Sigh. Again, you think I’d learn.

After much soul searching and even more wailing at God about the cruelty of it all (I was in a dramatic mood, okay?), the solution came to me. Okay, God smacked me upside the head with a 2×4 of memories on how I solved every other, “don’t wanna finish this series” crisis.

See, way back with Wynnewood, the only thing that got me to the finish line was a promise I made to myself. “It doesn’t have to end here. You can write more if you want to. There’s nothing to say you can do ‘Wynnewood, the Later Years’ or something like that.”

Just that one promise to myself that I didn’t have to say goodbye was all it took for me to get back on that trusty old Toshiba laptop and pound out those last few chapters.

And here I was again, not ready to say goodbye to a series—to these islands that feel so crazy real to me. I didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters and their quirky ways. Would you?

Now… you’re going to laugh at me. Go ahead. I mean, I did. See here’s the deal. I didn’t have to make that promise to myself again. “What?” you say? “What do you mean?”

Yeah. I don’t have to say goodbye to the characters or the islands. Why? Because we have another island series coming, the Suamalie Islands, and Mallory is going to visit those islands.

If that isn’t enough for me, I have another series all planned for the Independence Islands, too! Yeah. That. I mean, what was I not thinking?

As soon as I thought of that, I was able to get in there, get the last few scenes written and pass it off to the fabulous Christy for her editorial magic. As for me, I think I’m going to go play around just a little bit with one of the Josie Parker Mysteries. I mean, why not?

It Happened AGAIN!

I remember the first book I had trouble finishing. Beneath the Cloak. It was the last book of the Wynnewood series, and I was dying to reveal the big secret that had been a big part of the story line. I spent hours writing very few words. Someone asked if I had writer’s block, but I didn’t. I knew every word I wanted to put on that page, but I kept procrastinating.

For weeks. We’re talking long, agonizing weeks.

Finally, I realized a significant part of why I hadn’t finished was because I didn’t want to. I didn’t want the series to end. Say goodbye to beloved characters? Agony, okay? I wanted to spend the rest of my life in Wynnewood seeing what happened with all the characters and all the things that would happen.

I just wanted to write a bunch of other books, too. What can I say? It’s a thing.

So, as I dove into writing the book I’ve been dying to write since I penned the opening scene of Christmas on Breakers Point, you’d think I’d have been prepared for the inevitable. I mean, it’s happened with several other series since that first time, so… yeah. All ready to combat the problem, right? Not hardly.

To be fair, I was also coming off being very sick, my mother being even sicker, so being crazy behind on everything. I mean, that had a lot to do with it taking so long to get going on it. But once I did, I’d type like crazy and then ignore it for a day or two before the story demanded more telling.

Then, just as I neared the big scene of Book, Chapter, & Vows… I went nuts on doing everything but finishing that book. No joke. I did. Sigh. Again, you think I’d learn.

After much soul searching and even more wailing at God about the cruelty of it all (I was in a dramatic mood, okay?), the solution came to me. Okay, God smacked me upside the head with a 2×4 of memories on how I solved every other, “don’t wanna finish this series” crisis.

See, way back with Wynnewood, the only thing that got me to the finish line was a promise I made to myself. “It doesn’t have to end here. You can write more if you want to. There’s nothing to say you can do ‘Wynnewood, the Later Years’ or something like that.”

Just that one promise to myself that I didn’t have to say goodbye was all it took for me to get back on that trusty old Toshiba laptop and pound out those last few chapters.

And here I was again, not ready to say goodbye to a series—to these islands that feel so crazy real to me. I didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters and their quirky ways. Would you?

Now… you’re going to laugh at me. Go ahead. I mean, I did. See here’s the deal. I didn’t have to make that promise to myself again. “What?” you say? “What do you mean?”

Yeah. I don’t have to say goodbye to the characters or the islands. Why? Because we have another island series coming, the Suamalie Islands, and Mallory is going to visit those islands.

If that isn’t enough for me, I have another series all planned for the Independence Islands, too! Yeah. That. I mean, what was I not thinking?

As soon as I thought of that, I was able to get in there, get the last few scenes written and pass it off to the fabulous Christy for her editorial magic. As for me, I think I’m going to go play around just a little bit with one of the Josie Parker Mysteries. I mean, why not?

Blog Stops

An Author’s Take, August 9

Lots of Helpers, August 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 11

The Sacred Line, August 11

She Lives To Read, August 12

Texas Book-aholic, August 13

Splashes of Joy, August 13

Inklings and notions, August 14

lakesidelivingsite, August 15

For Him and My Family, August 15

LIbrary Lady’s Kid Lit, August 16

deb’s Book Review, August 17

Blogging With Carol, August 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 18

Sodbuster Living, August 18

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 19

Simple Harvest Reads, August 19 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 21

Sylvan Musings, August 21

Blossoms and Blessings, August 22

Miriam Jacob, August 22

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/20712/book-chapter-vows-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Favorite, Kindle, Purchase

Madness in Wonderland by Tabitha Bouldin Review

About the Book

Title: Madness in Wonderland

Series: #1 Beyond Wonderland

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Publisher: Celebrate Lit

Released: March 2022

Wonderland is in trouble. 

Under the rule of the Red Queen, Wonderland is under constant threat. In fear for her throne, children are taken into the queen’s army and only the strongest survive.

Alice is nothing but a pirate, but with the help of Hatter, they hatch a plan to sneak into the Red Queen’s palace to free Hatter’s sister. After all, Alice has always wanted to fly an airship.

Dr. Frank N. Stein has created an army of automatons to serve their queen. Of particular note: a prototype soldier. Part man. Part machine. The best of both worlds.

Doc’s monster is a threat to everything they know, but Alice sees something in the man that begs she look beyond what he’s done and search out the heart of the beast for the better of the realm.

He’s their only hope of survival, but how can a monster learn to love when all he’s known is hate?

My Impressions

“I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,”- Alice in Alice in Wonderland

Wow, was I in awe of Tabitha Bouldin’s steampunk retelling of Alice in Wonderland by the time I finished! I started the novel with trepidation. I didn’t remember the original making a lot of sense, and I wondered what I was in for with Bouldin’s Madness in Wonderland. Madness is a gem!!

Why do I love this book? For the first time in my life, the pieces of Alice in Wonderland fit together like a puzzle. Bouldin clearly delineates narrator/subject by rotating chapters. Alpha, Alice, and Hatter are all featured. Bouldin allows characters to retain much of the personality that Carroll gave them, but adds depth and emotion to each. It was easy to follow the great action, which is plentiful and compelling. Apropos quotes from the original Alice in Wonderland are worked in so beautifully to the new story. There are a few nods to Star Wars, the sci-fi scenery is easy to imagine, and faith plays a major, natural role. God is referred to as the Master. Each character must decide what he will do once confronted with knowledge of the Master.

Themes include the existence of a Master who created their world and loves individuals. Judgment, hope, and forgiveness follow close behind.

Those who love the original Alice in Wonderland, fairytale retellings, sci-fi, or Kara Swanson’s author voice will love this novel. I am excited that it is the first in its series!

I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Family means different things to different people.

“Everyone needs a name. Names have power. They tell us who we are, where we’ve come from. -Alice

“If the Maker can forgive one like me, He can forgive anyone.” -Cook

“Soldiers don’t have the lux’ry of a clean soul. Took a long time for me to accept my past and let Someone help with the pain.”Cook (Chess)

“You believe you don’t deserve forgiveness, so you condemn others to the same fate.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Reminds me of Kara Swanson’s Dust and Shadow!!

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.

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Purchase

Slashed Canvas by Liz Tolsma Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Slashed Canvas

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale

Release date: February 1, 2022

7-Slashed-Canvas-663x1024

Held prisoner by all she’s lost, Katarina’s about to lose all she has.

Grand Duchess Katarina Volstova barely escaped the Russian revolution, arriving in Paris just before the birth of her twin daughters. With her heart still captive in her homeland, she haunts the Louvre each day, spending hours gazing at one painting, lost in her pain.

Not the man he once was, Timothy Smythe never returned home to England after the Great War. Instead, he hides himself away doing maintenance in the Louvre and watching the beautiful woman whose pain seems riveted on one painting.

When Katarina returns home to find her daughters and their nanny missing, the loss opens her eyes to all she has to lose now.

Frantic to find her girls, her distress causes Timothy to offer his assistance. Together they put together clues to a puzzle they must complete before the kidnapper ensures Katarina and her daughters are never reunited.

Slashed Canvas offers a retelling of The Lost Princess that mingles self-centered grief, spoiled little girls, and proof that nothing will stop a mother from saving her children.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Slashed Canvas by Liz Tolsma is a fairytale retelling of a tale that I am frankly, unfamiliar with. But very timely, since it involves Russian refugees, fleeing the Bolshevik revolution, who are in exile, and desiring to go return to the homeland.

The character development of Princess Katerina Volstova is a joy to see, as she evolves from a totally self-absorbed, vain, woe-is-me-persona. Only the presence of God, whose name is often called upon for help, and that of a good friend, perhaps “God with skin on” can help. We meet two very dissimilar people, who discover that they can help each other if they can put aside society’s expectations and view each other through the Father’s eyes.

However, Tolsma has twists up her sleeve. Several, that she tosses out like red steaks to a chasing dog, making it difficult to ferret out the evil from the good. I wasn’t sure of the true culprit until almost the last page.

A romance, a happily-ever-after, a tragedy, a fairytale, an inspiration. Like swirls of a paintbrush on a canvas, the elements are so well plotted that they combine to create a picture that I will be musing in my mind for some time to come.

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Magnificent!! A Fairytale, HEA, Tragedy All in One

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at http://www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

More from Liz

How Slashed Canvas Came to Be

It was the last evening of the SoCal Christian Writer’s Conference three years ago. A group of us decided that frozen yogurt sounded good, so we walked the few blocks from the university where the conference was being held to the local fro-yo shop.

On the way back, I was walking alongside fellow author Chautona Havig. We were chatting about various projects we had underway, and she mentioned that she and Sandy Barela from Celebrate Lit had come up with an idea for a boxed set. This involved taking a fairy-tale and turning it into a 1920s mystery. Would I be interested?

You don’t have to ask me twice if I’d like to be in a set with Chautona that’s put out by Sandy. Before I knew what was happening, I was agreeing to it. Then we got talking about what fairy tales I might use. As soon as she said The Lost Princess, an idea sparked in my brain. It really was that instant. 1920s. Princess. Russia. Exile.

This might come as a surprise to both Chautona and Sandy, but I really didn’t know the story of The Lost Princess. Not at all. When I was working up the idea, I had to read the story and figure out how to make my idea mesh with the fairy tale. Thankfully, the story did work well with what I intended to do with Slashed Canvas.

And that title? Well, that was quite difficult. At the time, my niece was staying with us and interning for me. One night, we sat and ran through idea after idea until we came up with “Something” Canvas. I wanted a strong adjective and we offered and rejected many until we came up with Slashed Canvas. I hadn’t written a word of the book, but I managed to work a slashed canvas into the story.

And what about the painting in Slashed Canvas? I knew I wanted it to be by a Russian artist and hang in the Louvre, but there weren’t (and aren’t) many paintings like that in the Louvre. Russia has been loath to allow any of its art to leave the country. So what was I going to do? I really was going crazy.

Then I spoke on the phone to Kristy Cambron. Not only is she a fabulous author, but she also has a degree in art history. It was her idea to make up my own painting. That way, I could make it work however I needed it to for the story. What a relief. I did just that, and the story flowed from there.

And the clues to the mystery? Those were my dad’s ideas. I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil anything!

So that’s how Slashed Canvas came to be. It was the work of so many different people. Authors, much as we hide behind our computers, never work in a vacuum. Very often, there are many fingers in the pie to make the finished product.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 7

Texas Book-aholic, March 8

For the Love of Literature, March 8

Inklings and notions, March 9

Christian Bookaholic, March 9

For Him and My Family, March 10

Elly Gilbert, March 10

deb’s Book Review, March 11

By the Book, March 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 12

Blossoms and Blessings, March 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 13

Paula’s Persuasion, March 13

Connie’s History Classroom, March 14

Genesis 5020, March 14

Babbling Becky L’ s Book Impressions, March 15

Older & Smarter?, March 15

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 16 (Spotlight)

Blogging With Carol, March 16

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

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 17

Maureen’s Musings, March 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 18

Connect in Fiction, March 18

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

Back Porch Reads, March 19

Mary Hake, March 19

Through the Fire Blogs, March 20

The Book Club Network, March 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and 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/1b4c3/slashed-canvas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Purchase

Finding a Memory by Chautona Havig Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Finding a Memory

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: January 25, 2022

Sparrow-HAVIG-Finding-a-Memory-663x1024

He loved her then. Will she love him now?

When Mallory Barrows finds an old diary in a box of books, the story she finds within sends her on the hunt for the owner–and maybe more.

Theirs is a story ripped from a country song. A wedding, a former love presumed dead, her new love stepping aside. And over forty years later, their story is one few remember.

With Mallory determined to find the people in the pages of that diary, one couple is offered the second chance of a lifetime.

This “second-chance / seasoned romance” novel introduces the next island 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!

About the Author

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

I was a weird child. While my friends were listening to… whatever 80s kids listened to, the enormous console in my bedroom played The Brothers Four, The Kingston Trio, Roger Miller, Billy Vaughn, Patsy Cline, and Patti Paige.  One minute I was a “Rovin’ Gambler” and the next I was “Chug-a-lugging.”  Hmmm… In hindsight, one could say I listened to some dubious music. Drinking, gambling… Oh, that reminds me of another one. The Sons of the Pioneers.  “Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild, Wild Women. (Hint: they’ll drive you crazy. They’ll drive you insane.  The song says so).

But there were other songs—beautiful ones.  “Greenfields.” “Little Green Apples.” “You Belong to Me.”  And of course… “Go on with the Wedding.”

If you’ve never heard it, you should listen. HERE.

That one used to tear me apart.  I never could decide which man she should have chosen.  I’m a sucker for the underdog—for a hero.  So, I always said Fred.  And I meant it. Right up to the moment I thought about Jim being away, fighting, finally making it home to his girl only to see her marry someone else.  How horrible is that?

Well, one of the tropes I chose for my books in the Independence Islands was going to be a “second chance romance.” I also wanted a “seasoned romance,” so this song came to mind. And then I had my story.  It’s not the one my twelve-year-old self would have wanted.  Truthfully, it’s not the story I wanted to write today, but it’s the right one. It’s probably my favorite of all of the ones I’ve done in this series.  I hope you’ll love Frank and Patti as much as I do.

All that’s left now is for me to write one more story—the one that has been forming through each book. It’s time for Mallory and Benjamin to both learn and write their story’s end (which of course, is only a beginning).

My Impressions

Chautona Havig has gotten me loving contemporary romance (not my fave genre), loving a song too old for me to like, and one I don’t even know! Oh, wait! I do remember looking it up and listening to it. The things a great author can do to you against your will!!

Finding a Memory by Chautona Havig first appealed to me because it was clear it featured older characters in a second-chance relationship. Part of the Independence Islands series, I enjoyed the book more because I was familiar with the other main couple who have been mentioned in past books.

Much of the book is presented as a mystery, as Mallory Barrows, owner of The Book Barrow, reads an old diary she finds. If you like The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, you will enjoy this novel. As the diary progresses, Mallory gets very emotionally involved in the lives of the people described. I couldn’t help myself. I was just as emotionally involved, but also in the lives of Mallory and her slow-moving boyfriend, Benjamin.

Ms. Havig always finds a way and the perfect time to insert truth. One time when the diarist was at her lowest, she writes, “This is what I learned. * God knows everything. * I don’t know everything. * I can trust God. * I have to seek Him first. * People will fail me. * God never will. * My job is to love God and others. * I must teach my child about God. * Jesus is my rock. Not …”
Another favorite quote, so appropriate for what the character was going through: “The Lord had other plans that I don’t understand, but I do trust Him.”

One last (but these are not all) reason why I love this novel and all of Ms. Havig’s books- her sense of humor and ability to turn a phrase that never fails to make me smile. Which she does often! My fave example here? “That machine makes enough noise to make mummies in sarcophaguses plead for earplugs.”

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I also bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! I Liked This Against My Will!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 26

Blossoms and Blessings, February 26

Texas Book-aholic, February 27

She Lives to Read, February 28

An Author’s Take, February 28

Inklings and notions, March 1

CarpeDiem, March 1

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 2

Lots of Helpers, March 2

For Him and My Family, March 3

Blogging With Carol, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

deb’s Book Review, March 5

Simple Harvest Reads, March 5 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 7

Splashes of Joy, March 7

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 8

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 9 (Spotlight)

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 9

lakesidelivingsite, March 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona 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/1b05c/finding-a-memory-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, New Author, Purchase

Silencing the Siren by Denise L. Barela Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Silencing the Siren

Author: Denise L. Barela

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale

Release date: January 4, 2022

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Andrew Grayson thought he had everything… until he met her.

The indulged son of wealthy parents, Andrew has always gotten whatever he wanted almost before he knew he wanted it—clothes, gadgets… even a car! What more could a young man desire?

Enter Annabel Thompson. Freakshow mermaid extraordinaire… in a wheelchair!

Of course, her beauty attracts him. How could it not? Add to that a kind heart, and Andrew can’t help but fall for her.

Annabel’s connection with the freakshow repels his parents and their society friends. They want him to sever all ties with her and his new friends. Oh, and marry the “right” girl with the “right connections.” But he won’t do it. He’ll defy them and marry his little mermaid.

When Annabel turns up missing, declared dead, things don’t add up, Andrew begins asking some difficult questions, the most important being, “What happened to the little mermaid of the Coney Island freak show?”

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. Silencing the Siren offers a retelling of “The Little Mermaid” that will keep you gripped to the edge of your seat as you watch the story unfold.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

The seventh in the retold fairytales series, The Ever After Mysteries, Silencing the Siren by Denise L Barela takes place in 1920s New York City and Coney Island. Andrew Grayson is a sheltered, young, rich man who lives in a Central Park mansion, but falls in love with Anabelle, a circus performer on Coney Island.

This is an imaginative retelling of the Little Mermaid. I loved seeing the closeness of the circus performers, who though mostly unrelated, form their own tight family. “This family was put together purely by the love and friendship they had for each other. The love they had ran far deeper than the blood Andrew shared with his parents.” I loved the way they care for and protect each other. Acceptance and love are freely given within the circus confines, things that are sadly lacking from the more affluent and “righteous” community without.

I love to zero in on secondary characters that I would enjoy meeting, often because of the way they treat others. William and Amalia are those people in this tale. Discerning, caring, quick to forgive, and to aid others, they almost need their own story!

Great twists to complete this fairytale! Don’t miss your chance to find out whether the Siren is silenced for good!!

Notable Quotables:

“Anger clashed and rolled with the grief inside him. A war of fire and ice with no clear winner.”

“This city cared about no one but themselves. They had no compassion, no love, and no heart. Why couldn’t these people just open their eyes to the struggles of their fellow men? Why couldn’t they see that while they obsessed over societal expectations and positions, others had to exploit their differences just to survive?”

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit. I also bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great! Imaginative Retelling of The Little Mermaid

About the Author

Denise Barela’s passion for fiction, her faith, and general creativity define her life. In all things, she strives to glorify God, though especially in and through her writing. She has spent the past six years working for a publicity company and five years working as the head editor for a publishing company. With an MFA in Creative Writing and a Professional Writing certificate, Denise enjoys using her education and work experiences to help authors achieve their own writing dreams. When she’s not working away at her desk, you might find her reading a good book or following Alice down the rabbit hole…

More from Denise

Hello Readers!

I’m so excited to share Silencing the Siren with you! This book was so much fun to write and research. I learned so many fun facts about old cars, old New York, and even doorbells!

Yes, you read that correctly. Doorbells.

These noisy items were such a novelty in the 1920s that they were often given as Christmas gifts!

Crazy, right?

I wanted both Andrew and Annabel to represent that feeling we have all experienced at least once in our lives. That feeling of not belonging. It looks different for each person, but it’s a uniting feeling.

Annabel will never be accepted by those outside her family, but they more than make up for that. Andrew is popular and well-off in society, but as he comes to know the Lord, he starts to feel that rift with his superficial friends and family. It’s with other believers, Annabel’s family, that he finds that deep relationship he desires. They are more than willing to provide.

This is the beauty of the body of Christ. When we are sick or in need, the body of Christ comes together to support you in that time of need and extend Christ’s love to all corners of the globe.

I hope you enjoy reading Silencing the Siren as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 7

A Baker’s Perspective, February 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 9

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 9 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, February 10

Genesis 5020, February 10

Inklings and notions, February 11

Connect in Fiction, February 11

For Him and My Family, February 12

Blossoms and Blessings, February 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 13

deb’s Book Review, February 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 14

For the Love of Literature, February 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 15

Blogging With Carol, February 15

Connie’s History Classroom, February 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 17 (Spotlight)

Sodbuster Living, February 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 18

Austen’s Angle, February 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 19

Simple Harvest Reads, February 19 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Back Porch Reads, February 20

Through the Fire blogs, February 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Denise 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/19bc6/silencing-the-siren-celebration-tour-giveaway

Audible, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle

Flipping Hearts by Chautona Havig, Narrated by Christa DelSorbo Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Flipping Hearts

Author: Chautona Havig

Narrator: Christa DelSorbo

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction

Flipping Hearts Audio

When a hurricane rips through Hooper Island, a tidal wave of TV crews follows and upsets the locals.

Brooks Crawforth agreed to volunteer crews helping to clean up and repair things on the island, not a whole home and garden series on the total renovation of several houses and a bit of cleanup on the side. He’s furious, and the show host is spitting nails at the person who blew it in the first place.

His and his father’s jobs are in jeopardy, the islanders are about to kill him, and that crazy show host blames him for her assistant’s last-minute, “you’ve-got-to-sign-this-now-or-we-can’t-come” contract.

One more thing. Did she have to be so cute?

He’s got even more trouble, though. Islanders are starting to blame Mallory Barrows for the invasion. Not only that, there are rumors of dismantling the association and allowing tourism on the islands. How’s he supposed to fix this mess?

They can’t stand each other, but if they can manage to flip off the enemy switch and flip on some cooperation, maybe their hearts’ll get flipped, too.

This “enemies to romance” novel introduces the next island 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!

My Impressions

First off, I have to say, I am really beginning to appreciate all the awesomeness that Chautona Havig packs into almost any of her novels. Flipping Hearts is no exception. This novel is chock-full of Havig’s witticisms, humor, and quick and “modernized” Biblical references (ex: “God might as well have boomed out an audible “No!” from the heavens and physically opened the mouth of a random palm tree in a Balaam moment.”) Also, Havig has a knack for explaining Biblical concepts without being preachy, boring, or unnatural to the conversation. So I loved Flipping Hearts!

I started out listening to the audio version, provided by Celebrate Lit. The narrator, Christa DelSorbo, has a pleasing voice that varies according to character, accent, or action. All was good until my personal mental blocks came into play. After four chapters, I had to switch to the written version of the novel which I purchased myself. This is not a knock against DelSorbo. I just couldn’t concentrate on the book as I listened, but was distracted easily and missed many important facts of the story in those chapters. Also, I prefer to draw my own mental pictures of characters, and I had trouble with the “voice” of Brooks. To me, it sounded like an older man, not a young, eligible bachelor. I decided I could read visually and retain much more than I could by continuing to listen. Please, if you are not a strict visual learner as I obviously am, give this audiobook a try. I am certain many will adore the work DelSorbo has done.

I must say, I am not a big contemporary romance fan. But written by Havig, this story about two different island couples was irresistible to me! I certainly followed the red herrings provided and had the wrong perpetrator fingered most of the book. I felt the conflicts were very believable, not the kind where you say, “They just need to talk!”

Such a great contemporary romance. Don’t miss it, whether on audible or in writing!

Lots of Notable Quotables.

“real allure comes from deep within. It can’t be faked like eyelash thickness or color. It comes out because of who you are.”

“…when you say people are basically good and understanding at their core, you are saying that they don’t need Jesus, then. God says people’s hearts are wicked and sick.”

“So maybe it’s like how God made humans in His image? So, we’re like Him in that way. We can do good stuff because a good God made us, but that doesn’t excuse the bad stuff we think and do?”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About the Author

Using story to connect readers with the Master Storyteller.

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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.

About the Narrator

Speaking Life into Story

Queen of the one-eyebrow quirk, Christa DelSorbo auditioned for the role of Tarzan’s mom and has the photos to prove she ended up as the only cast member in a literal cast. These days, they keep her stuck in a box with a ball on a stick and only feed her when she reads another chapter of another fabulous book. She loves every minute. Or so they tell her. *eyebrow slowly raises *

More from Christa

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 26

Texas Book-aholic, January 27

For Him and My Family, January 28

Inklings and notions, January 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 2 (Spotlight)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 3

The Sacred Line, February 3

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 4

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 6

deb’s Book Review, February 7 (Spotlight)

The Author Reads, February 7

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 8

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Chautona and Christa are giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book in winner’s choice of format!!

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/193c2/flipping-hearts-audiobook-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, New-to-Me Author, Purchase

The Lost Dutchman’s Secret by Rebekah Jones Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Lost Dutchman’s Secret

Author: Rebekah Jones

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: November 2, 2021

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There’s a deadly secret in them thar hills—and gold, or so they say.

Deeply in debt to a wealthy local, Charles Sinclair, Dorothy Hodges’ father finally promises she’ll pay and in gold, no less. If only Dorothy could take to take the promises he spins out of thin air and turn them into that gold, all would be well.

With the help of a strange, rumpled man, Dorothy does manage to bring payment to one of Sinclair’s sons only to discover it won’t pay off the debt. Will the next payment be enough?  The next?

When Charles Sinclair ends up dead, Dorothy is the obvious prime suspect, but Sinclair’s son isn’t so certain. Together they work to clear her name and find the real murderer of the Superstitions, but will they find the answers buried in those hills?

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. The Lost Dutchman’s Secret offers a retelling of “Rumplestilskin” that requires more digging than a miner searching for The Lost Dutchman Mine.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Dorothy took a deep breath. ‘Why should I trust you? I don’t know you.’ The man grinned one more time. ‘Because you know that you can’t trust Charles Sinclair. I’m your only other choice.’“

As others mention, the book starts a little slowly and it took me a while to be enticed deeply into its caverns and canyons. Once intrigued, I was eager to discover who was behind all the evil goings-on in the desert.

It was hard to imagine someone successfully pulling off the life that Charles Sinclair, a wealthy loan shark, does. His children have no idea of what he really does for a living.

I felt so badly for Dorothy. Her father is so selfish and uncaring. He even sets her up for trouble, with no desire or effort on his part to help her. Dorothy herself trusts God, often praying for help. She does have to be reminded, though, that a Christian confesses a wrong and asks forgiveness. Once that is done, we have to accept the forgiveness and move on. “To continue to dwell over and over on what you should or should not have done will change nothing. To continue to wallow in guilt seems to suggest that Christ’s blood is not enough.”

Little Hazel is adorable! I just wanted to squeeze her, and wish her brother Theo would love her as she desired.

The conclusion of the Lost Dutchman’s Secret by Rebekah Jones left me well-satisfied. Many threads come together to make it a complex mystery. The mystery is thoroughly enjoyable by this point, and I was sorry to leave our new friends behind.

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great! Slow Start, but Intriguing Mystery!

About the Author

Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories.
Rebekah is an old soul in a young body (she’s not 12 —honest!) While her exact age is classified, her interests are not. Among them are reading a variety of books, singing, playing, and composing music, studying all manner of subjects, nannying an adventurous group of youngsters, and, of course, writing her books, poems, articles, and short stories. She writes a wide range of books from gentle children’s adventures to family sagas to murder mysteries.

More from Rebekah

“They say that no one had ever seen gold ore like it before, neither have they ever since. Except in the possession of Jacob Waltz. His mine had ore of higher value and higher potency than any other mine found in Arizona…”

What if the Miller’s daughter from the tale of Rumpelstiltskin didn’t have to spin gold, but pay it? And because of an enormous debt – that she had no way of knowing the value? And her father wasn’t a miller, but an old miner with a penchant for carving animals while living in the Arizona desert? And what if, for her pains, she found herself mixed up in a murder?

And what if, somehow intermixed with this poor young woman and her troubles, came the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine?

If you don’t know about the legend of that lost mine, you should. Or I think that you should. It’s a real legend as old as the 1860’s. Except, it wasn’t lost when Jacob Waltz went bragging about it. That came later.

The mountains that house the legend are magnificent. When a friend of mine came to visit me, she and I went to explore the area around the Superstition Mountains, as well as a part of the mountains themselves. Standing in a forest of cacti and brush, the jagged rocks and sharp peaks towered above my head, while a critter skittered unseen. Beautiful isn’t quite a strong enough word to describe it. As we hiked up the mountain, making our way through a myriad of desert plant life, rocks of so many shapes and sizes, and tiny critters, I could picture Dorothy, the miner’s daughter.

The modern structures and buildings in sight, faded in my mind’s eye, and I could imagine the young woman partway up the mountain in 1929, wearing her old, faded dress, and staring out across the valley. We plotted out where her father’s shack would have stood, and I made note of a perfect crevice of rock where she might have sat to think or read. I rather found myself wishing I could live out there myself, even if living in a shack in the heat of the Arizona summer doesn’t wholly appeal to me.

When I finally got in front of my manuscript again, I could see Dorothy’s world so clearly, I can only hope I managed to capture it in the book itself. I doubt if I could have captured the beauty of those mountains in words, the sight of them as they changed colors in the sunset, or the glowing starry sky above them after dark.

As for the Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine, I would be lying if I said I didn’t entertain fantasies about exploring the mountains to discover it, but we certainly did not go that far into the mountains. Besides, it was June in the Arizona desert. One does not blindly venture into the mountains on such an errand in such a time of year unless one has a death wish. It’s rather fun to imagine though. Perhaps one day, I can go on a search – though I confess, I doubt it.

As for the book, I won’t say whether that lost goldmine is discovered or not. I’ll leave that for a reader to discover for themselves.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 17

An Author’s Take, December 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 18

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 20

Genesis 5020, December 20

Inklings and notions, December 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 21

For Him and My Family, December 22

For the Love of Literature, December 22

deb’s Book Review, December 23

Simple Harvest Reads, December 23 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Blogging With Carol, December 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 25 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 26

Vicarious Living, December 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 27

Connect in Fiction, December 27

Connie’s History Classroom, December 28

Mary Hake, December 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 29

Back Porch Reads, December 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 30

Through the Fire blogs, December 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rebekah is giving away the grand prize package of $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/14f1b/the-lost-dutchman-s-secret-celebration-tour-giveaway