Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, New-to-Me Author

A Giant Murder, #2 Ever After Mysteries by Marji Laine Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  A Giant Murder

Author: Marji Laine

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: August 3, 2021

Would you like a shot of… death with that, sir?

Josephine Jacobs was just doing her job, serving at an exclusive party, so why is she now being accused of shooting TG Taggert?

At a party full of suspects in the murder of Taggert, Josie served the food giant everything but an eternally “parting shot.” Who really killed TG Taggert?  His wife?  His son, Jack?  What about Harper Davis?  Rumor has it, she was having an affair with him—motive for her or Taggert’s wife! The list of those who seemed to hate him keeps growing, including a chemist and a chef!

With her long-time friend, Office Porter O’Brien, Josie sets out to find out who really killed “the giant,” and clear her name.

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. A Giant Murder offers a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” with enough clues and suspects to keep you looking over your shoulder. We’d recommend Kevlar… but it hasn’t been invented yet!

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Like a father who is loving and teaching his toddler to walk, that’s how God sees you when you ask to become His.” My fave line of the book, one I want to remember! I love this word picture! Our Father is indeed loving, but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard it explained in such a heart-warming way.

It’s 1926 in Dallas,Texas. A power couple hosts a gala party at their fancy hotel. By the end of the night, the millionaire host has been murdered, and poor waitress Josephine “Josie” Jacobs has been fingered for the crime.

Imaginative fairy-tale retellings with mysteries woven in. This is the premise of the Ever After series. Marji Laine turns Jack & the Beanstalk into quite the high society-gone-amuck-tale in #2, A Giant Murder. I enjoyed the trope of friendship to lovers between Porter and Josie. I could actually see a young, naive woman acting as Josie did. I found Porter very endearing and would hope a similar young officer would be in my neighborhood, if needed. I was pulled into the story more than I expected, since I am not typically a fan of 1920ish books. Surprisingly enough, this mystery is one I pegged- but only very partially! Good twist there!

A positive is that there is a strong, clear salvation message early in the book. This also could be a negative, as it seemed a little clunky and like the author wanted to insert the whole message early on. I would have liked for the message to be given out in small, more natural conversation.

There was enough mayhem to keep me reading quickly to find out who dunnit. The ending fell flat for me when one character suddenly changes his stripes. This is only my opinion, and I would urge you to read A Giant Murder for yourself.
I received a copy of the book from the author through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Where goes suspicion seldom goes grace,”

“The only people who didn’t hate TG were those who didn’t know him.”

“Arriving as a police car pulled into her lot, she was beginning to get used to seeing them there. A habit to which she didn’t want to become accustomed.”

“I keep thinking the next thing will set everything perfect, but it doesn’t. And accomplishments, finished products start to crumble. People. Only out for themselves.”

“We do the best we can with what we have, our very best, and then we let God be God to make it work the way He wants it.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great! Overall a fun mystery, one that makes me want to read the whole series! Thank you, Ms. Laine, for my great first taste!

About the Author

Marji Laine is a graduated home-schooling mom of four with two college students staying in the nest for a little longer. She and her hubby of 34 years also share their North Texas home with a rescue pup named Rosie. When Marji isn’t editing or publishing the books for her authors at Write Integrity Press, she indulges in penning her own mystery, suspense, and romance novels. She loves acting in musical comedy, has directed many stage productions, leads a high school Bible study and sings in her church choir. She prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, NASCAR to football, Magnolia pie, white roses, green, and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. You can find her at her website: MarjiLaine.com

More from Marji

I so enjoyed researching the history of downtown Dallas as I crafted my story, A GIANT MURDER. The house that I chose for Josie and her mom is actually still there on Haskell Avenue. The photo with the wrought iron is about twenty years old, but the house was built circa 1914. The photo with the wooden fence is from last year, after a big remodel. This house was also the setting of another of my books. It and the field that used to be next to it was an after-school child care center in AIN’T MISBEHAVING.

Thinking about what life might have been like in this house in the twenties, I can’t help but think about my grandparents. They were teenagers at the time of my story – 1926 – and while my grandfather grew up in, what was then, a little farming town called Paris, Texas, my grandmother grew up in Oak Cliff, just across the bridge over the Trinity River from this house in downtown Dallas.

Makes the research that I did on this era even that much more special. Having come through COVID, I realize that my great-grandparents had to nurture their preteens and teenagers through the Spanish Flu that devastated whole communities. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

All of this reminiscing sent me to an old recipe book that had been a wedding present for me from my mom almost thirty-five years ago. In the dessert section near the back, I found a precious recipe for Date Candy that had come by way of my great-grandmother, Carrie Ethel Leatherwood Morin. I never met her, but I do remember hearing from my mom that she was a woman of faith, and I have a poem she wrote late in life, about growing up in the country.

I would say this is a 1920s recipe, but who could tell? She was a middle-aged mom at that point, so it’s a good bet.

Date Candy

1 box – light brown sugar

4 T – corn syrup

½ pt – whipping cream

1 cup – dates

1 cup – pecans

1 t – vanilla

Mix sugar, syrup, and cream. Cook until almost a hard ball. Just before removing from pan, put in dates and stir until they melt. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until almost hard – then add pecans. Wet a cup towel. Pour mixture onto cup towel and roll into a roll. Let it cool – firm – then slice.

Let me know if you decide to make my great-grandmother’s candy. I’d love to find out how it turned out!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 17

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

For the Love of Literature, September 18

Inklings and notions, September 19

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

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 20

For Him and My Family, September 20

deb’s Book Review, September 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 22

A Reader’s Brain, September 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 23

Connie’s History Classroom, September 24

Simple Harvest Reads, September 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 25

Mary Hake, September 25

Rebecca Tews, September 26

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 27

Connect in Fiction, September 28

Bigreadersite, September 28

Through the fire blogs, September 29

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Back Porch Reads, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Marji 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/119f5/a-giant-murder-celebration-tour-giveaway

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Favorite, NetGalley

Bridge of Gold, #3 Doors to the Past by Kimberley Woodhouse

About the Book

Book:  Bridge of Gold

Author: Kimberley Woodhouse

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: June 2021

Repairs on the Golden Gate Bridge Uncover a Century-Old Murder

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson is called to the Golden Gate Bridge where repairs to one of the towers uncovers two human remains from the late 1800s and the 1930s. The head of the bridge restoration is Steven Michaels, who dives with Kayla, and a friendship develops between them. But as the investigation heats up and gold is found that dates back to the gold rush, more complications come into play that threaten them both. Could clues leading to a Gold Rush era mystery that was first discovered during the building of the bridge still ignite an obsession worth killing for?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“The mystery and legend of the Lucky Martha just got a lot more complicated. Because they weren’t just dealing with an excavation. Now he was pretty certain they were dealing with murder. “ Travel back in time to the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, the years before as San Francisco is being formed, and again forward to present-day San Fran. Bridge of Gold by Kimberley Woodhouse is certainly one of Woodhouse’s best! The third in the Doors of the Past series, each book is a standalone novel, involving a dual timeline. Woodhouse has masterfully built so much suspense into this story of two couples, Luke and Margo, and Kayla and Steven. Generations apart, 3 of the four individuals are divers, working on or around the Golden Gate Bridge.
I love dual timelines, and this one is no exception, extremely well-done. Woodhouse alternately hands us various “jigsaw puzzle pieces” of the story, challenging the reader to put together the mystery (and there are several!) before it(they) are revealed.


Fear, Trust, Letting Go, Greed, Entitlement, and Forgiveness (of the most heinous crimes) are all themes.) I loved being inside so many different characters’ minds. I could feel each person’s need to keep secrets or respond in the way they did (mostly).
Woodhouse pulls out all the stops with some great twisted thinking on the part of her criminals, great story twists, and even the fact that the author’s notes came in the beginning, as opposed to the end of the story. That alone really whetted my appetite for this great historical fiction novel!
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required. My thoughts are voluntarily submitted, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Another Winner for Barbour and Woodhouse!

About the Author

Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she’s shared her theme of “Joy Through Trials” with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim and her incredible husband of twenty-five-plus years have two adult children. She’s passionate about music and Bible study and loves the gift of story.
You can connect with Kimberley at: http://www.kimberleywoodhouse.com and http://www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAuthor

More from Kimberley

BRIDGE OF GOLD was a blast for me to write. Not only do I love writing dual-timeline stories, but the present-day hero and heroine are named after my daughter and her husband. Steven and Kayla in the book are fictitious, but there are a few things in the book that do mimic their real-life namesakes.

One of them is food.

My son-in-law Steven in real life is six-foot-four and active military. The man can eat. It’s amazing to me how many calories it takes just for him to survive! Then there’s my daughter, Kayla. She was an elite swimmer for many years along with her brother. I could never keep them fed when they were at the height of their swimming careers. In fact, I joked that all I did was cook and load the dishwasher during those years.

To celebrate the release of BRIDGE OF GOLD, I’m going to give out a recipe that I created almost thirty years ago. It went through many revisions the first few months as I perfected it and now you get a special treat because I do not give this recipe out. In fact, one of my dearest friends begged for it when our kids were little. I gave in but made her promise to close her eyes while she made it (LOL) and to never, ever give it to anyone else.

Enjoy! And thanks for joining us on the tour for BRIDGE OF GOLD. I hope you love it.

Kim’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies – recipe by Kimberley Woodhouse

2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. kosher salt

¾ cup melted/browned butter (this is important! Don’t skip this step)

2 Tb. Hot chocolate mix

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 – 12 ounce package mega morsels (I use Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips)

Directions: combine the first three dry ingredients and mix well. In a small saucepan on the stove, melt and brown the butter. Medium heat is recommended but you’ve got to watch it so it doesn’t burn. You want a beautiful caramel color. Set aside and allow to cool to around 100 degrees F before continuing. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Once the browned butter is cool, add the hot chocolate mix to it. Transfer to a stand mixer and blend the butter mixture with the sugar. Whip it until well combined and frothy about 2 mins. Gradually add eggs and flour mixture, beating on low just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, drop heaping TB scoops 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-14 minutes, watching carefully. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks. Enjoy!

For other fun tidbits about BRIDGE OF GOLD make sure you check out my blog at – kimberleywoodhouse.com

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 24

The Sacred Line, June 24

The Write Escape, June 24

lakesidelivingsite, June 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 25

HappyWhenReading, June 25

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 25

Texas Book-aholic, June 26

Bigreadersite, June 26

Pause for Tales, June 26

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, June 26 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, June 27

Christian Bookaholic , June 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 27

For the Love of Literature, June 28

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, June 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 28

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29

Bliss Books and Jewels, June 29

Lis Loves Reading, June 29

For Him and My Family, June 29

deb’s Book Review, June 30

Simple Harvest Reads, June 30 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Livin’ Lit, June 30

Remembrancy, June 30

Older & Smarter?, July 1

Lighthouse-Academy, July 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 1

Genesis 5020, July 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2

Betti Mace, July 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 3

Inspiration Clothesline, July 3

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, July 3

Live.Love.Read., July 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 4

Mamma Loves Books, July 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Mary Hake, July 4

Blossoms and Blessings, July 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 5

Blogging With Carol, July 5

Connie’s History Classroom, July 6

Life of Literature, July 6

A Baker’s Perspective, July 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 7

To Everything There Is A Season , July 7

KarenSueHadley, July 7

Splashes of Joy, July 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kimberley 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/10e03/bridge-of-gold-celebration-tour-giveaway
BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Purchase

The Elnora Monet, by Rachel Skatvold

About the Book

Book:  The Elnora Monet

Author: Rachel Skatvold

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: April 27, 2021

The Elnora Monet

Islanders call him the Elnora Monet.

Is that island speak for “pompous, arrogant jerk?”

When Carly Mulligan volunteered to make house calls on Elnora, she never imagined treating the richest cat on the islands. What other feline has his own wing in a mansion like the Belshaw Estate?

After a wrong turn in the mansion, Carly stumbles across a secret room—one filled with incredible paintings. Perhaps there’s something more to the man than she first thought.

Most people envy Jean-Luc Belshaw’s position. The heir to a lucrative business and family fortune, he should have everything he could dream of.

But Luc dreams of days past. Days when he traveled the world with his wife and painted the breathings of his soul disappeared with Angeline’s passing.  Faith and inspiration gone, he wonders if returning to France to take his place in his father’s business is the right thing to do.

Carly has a few relational demons of her own, and she’s reluctant to trust him, but Luc’s paintings draw her in even as his story touches a long-empty place in her heart.

Only God can transform two broken pasts into a work of art.

The Elnora Monet 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!

My Impressions

“‘…this isn’t normal, sir.’” Outspoken, spontaneous, and fun-loving vet assistant Carly Mulligan discovers that billionaire Jean-Luc Belshaw, Jr., needs some help returning to “normal.” She meets Luc on a house call for a very spoiled cat named Descartes. Appalled at his lack of interest in his pet, Carly wonders what story lies behind Luc’s tortured eyes.
The Elnora Monet, by Rachel Skatvold, quickly intrigued me as a fun-to-read, well-written contemporary romance with a poor girl meets rich guy trope. The major part animals play in the story shows Skatvold has a good understanding of feline and canine behavior. With the emphasis of the art style being French Impressionism and Monet specifically, readers attracted to that style will sit up and take note. And a chance to revisit Elnora Island, plus a trip to Paris? Be still my beating heart! A great faith thread is incorporated, and I should have loved the book.


But a mental block appeared. The book was good, even great, but for me, stopped short of magnificent. Deniable plausibility, that wonderful phrase, struck early on and I couldn’t let go. One of Carly’s important actions early in the book felt inconsistent with what she already knew. This may not be a problem for anyone else but me, and I would definitely encourage readers who like Christian contemporary romance with a poor girl-rich guy trope to give this novel a try.
My thanks to the author and publisher, Celebrate Lit, for providing a copy of this book. No positive review was required, and all thoughts are solely my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Life has no meaning for an artist who’s not creating…no matter what form of art it might be.”

“I’d rather spend my life trying and risk failing, than doing nothing to change the situation.”

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

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 and Brides of Pelican Rapids 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: http://www.rachelskatvold.com.

More from Rachel

Thank you for helping celebrate the release of The Elnora Monet by following this Celebration Tour hosted by Celebrate Lit. I hope you enjoy learning a little more about the characters and what inspired the story. Please follow the other stops on this tour and don’t forget to enter in the giveaway. Thank you!

It has been a wonderful experience working with the talented authors and editors in the Independence Islands Series. Each of these stories has a heartwarming message of faith and the characters always teach me something new. Ever since writing Kendall Mulligan’s story in Her Merriweather Hero, I’ve been excited to share her free-spirited younger sister’s story.

Carly had many struggles in the first book, questioning what purpose God had for her life. This time around, her feet are more grounded, but she still has some growing to do when it comes to faith. Carly has been a fun character to write about because of her witty extroverted personality and some of the humorous predicaments she ends up in…one of them including getting caught snooping around a billionaire’s mansion.

While not outspoken as Carly, I can relate to the character’s search for direction. Sometimes it is difficult learning to trust, especially during troubling times, but we can rely on God’s promises. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight.” This verse means so much to me because I know even when I can’t understand something, He is behind the scenes guiding me in the right direction. For Carly, it leads in a direction she never expects, but it is worth it in the end.

Certain parts of the story were inspired by my mom. If you have read Her Merriweather Hero, you know the Mulligan sisters are originally from New England, close to where my mom grew up. I love hearing about her memories of spending time at Nantasket Beach, drinking orange pop, and putting chips in her sandwich so they wouldn’t blow away. Even though I grew up in the Midwest, I still put chips in my own sandwich because of watching her do the same thing and her fridge is always stocked with orange pop to this day. Little bits of my mom’s childhood are weaved into this story, making it close to my heart.

I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about characters and story behind The Elnora Monet. Now continue reading for a summary of the book and giveaway. Blessings!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 10

Lakesidelivingsite, May 10

Rebekah Reads Lit, May 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 11

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, May 11

She Lives to Read, May 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 12

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 13

deb’s Book Review, May 13

Texas Book-aholic, May 14

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, May 14

Inklings and notions, May 15

CarpeDiem, May 15

For Him and My Family, May 16

Cultivating Us, May 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 17

Books and Everyday Live, May 17

Blossoms and Blessings, May 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 18

Lots of Helpers, May 19

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 20

Blogging With Carol , May 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 21

Godly Book Reviews, May 21

Kayem Reads, May 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 22

Connect in Fiction, May 22

Splashes of Joy, May 23

Simple Harvest Reads, May 23 (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/10bb3/the-elnora-monet-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Matchmaker’s Best Friend, #3 Elnora Island: #9 Independence Islands, by Kari Trumbo

About the Book

Book:  Matchmaker’s Best Friend

Author: Kari Trumbo

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: March 30, 2021

“You’re just like a brother to me. I don’t like you in that way.”

When they dated ten years ago as teens, it almost destroyed their friendship. So Pen Reese did the only logical thing.  She lied about how she felt—and still feels—about him.

She’s still paying for that lie.

A brilliant plan to set Mike and a friend up and get over him has one problem.

It’s breaking her heart.

When Pen pushed him away, Mike Gaines assumed she just didn’t understand his faith. People like her persnickety aunt even claim he’s part of a cult—ridiculous, but it’s true. Still, if she wants him to play the part of a big brother, fine. At least he can stay close this way.

At first, Pen’s attempt to set him up with one of her close friends hurts. But what if it’s the perfect opportunity to show her what she’s missing if she sees him with someone else?

In this friends-to-more-meets-second-chance romance, The Matchmaker’s Best Friend 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!

My Impressions

“She’d always imagined life would be like a swing. Sometimes you could see the sky, sometimes only the ground coming at you fast, but all of it could be glorious if you worked at it. Lately, all she saw was the ground coming at her…”
This explains poor Pen Reece, wedding planner extraordinaire, and her miserable condition. Splitting her time between a thriving business on the mainland and an upstart on the islands that just isn’t starting, Reese sets up her best friend Mike (whom she has loved forever) with another friend. Now the matched friends are headed for the altar, and Pen’s businesses and reputation are about to crumble.
Truth, please. Somebody tell the truth. I wanted to scream this a few times during this novel. But maybe because I can’t keep a secret, I have a hard time believing so many people can cover up the truth and deceive each other, hurting each other in the process.


The Matchmaker’s Best Friend, Elnora Island, #3 Independence Islands, by Kari Trumbo, might be best suited for those in their 20s and 30s. I like to think that a person older than that would think through the situations more maturely than the main characters do. I enjoyed the book, but feel like I need to help guide Pen, Mike, and their friends into clearer thinking and better decision-making. Maybe that’s because I realize that marriage is indeed for life, and not something to be trifled with, which Pen only partially appreciates, by her actions.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, which are solely my opinions.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

Where western meets happily ever after.

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

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

More from Kari

Pen is Mightier than the Sword

Especially in sparkly, stacked espadrilles and pink power suit. Don’t let Pen Reese’s pink façade fool you, she’s a businesswoman to the core, with a heart of gold. She has built a party planning business from the ground up, and she’s about to create another.

Pen is one of those characters that I could just see CLEARLY as I was writing. She is about ninety percent Elle Woods from Legally Blonde and ten percent a close personal friend. I heard her voice in my head. I could hear her talking as I wrote the book. Her personality was perfect for the energetic party planner.

I’m sure if I put a character description up without context or clarity many people wouldn’t want to read the book, they would write Pen off as shallow. But she’s not. She’s heartbroken.

Do you still remember your first love? Maybe you still care for them? Pen fell hard for her first love and no matter how professional she is or how many lavish weddings she plans, she can’t forget the one wedding she’ll never get to create. Her own.

Pen things that if Mike falls for someone else, goes off and gets married, she’ll finally be able to move on. So, she sets a plan in motion. That’s when her world completely falls apart and you see the tender parts of Pen that she doesn’t show to just anybody.

She is a very complex character and I hope she touches you like she touched me.

I hope you enjoy Pen’s tale of matchmaking gone wrong.

Blog Stops

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 14

Books and Everyday Life, April 14

Labor Not in Vain, April 14

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 15

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 15

lakesidelivingsite, April 16

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 17

Rebekah Reads, April 17

Artistic Nobody, April 17 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 18

A Novel Pursuit, April 18

She Lives To Read, April 19

deb’s Book Review, April 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 20

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, April 20

Splashes of Joy, April 20

Aryn the Libraryan, April 21

For Him and My Family, April 21

Texas Book-aholic, April 22

Blogging With Carol, April 22

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

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 23

CarpeDiem, April 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 24

Connect in Fiction, April 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 25

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

Inklings and notions, April 26

Godly Book Reviews, April 26

Batya’s Bits , April 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 27

Blossoms and Blessings, April 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kari 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/10acd/matchmaker-s-best-friend-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Purchase

Bookers on the Rocks:#1 Elnora Island: #7 Independence Islands, by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book:  Bookers on the Rocks

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

If it ain’t broke, why’s she so intent on fixing it?

Tessa Booker hates romance.

For twenty-five years, Tessa Booker has insisted that romance is something Hollywood cooked up to sell books and movies. Yes, she knows the word existed before movies.  She doesn’t care. That’s her story, and she’s sticking to it.

So when Ross gets a gentle nudge from Mallory Barrows to look into what Tessa’s doing every day while he’s at work, he discovers a romance in the works–one that sounds a little too “ripped from the pages” of his life!

Who is this woman, and what has she done with his wife? 

Armed with advice from 101 Ways to Romance Your Wife and a copy of the manuscript he printed while she was napping, he’s determined to figure out what’s up with his wife… and if maybe a little romance wouldn’t be a good thing after all.

In a twist of the “on the rocks trope,” this book 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

Romance is only for books, (the kind she’d rather not read) not for real-life after marriage, opines Tessa Booker. Determined to prove her point, Tessa is convinced to write a book. Strange things happen as Tessa secretly sets out on this journey. Her husband hardly recognizes the changes in her, a desperate woman needs help, and life takes an unforeseen loop.


Chautona Havig has penned a thought-provoking novel, Bookers on the Rocks, as part of the Independence Islands series. Entertaining, suspenseful, and reflective, this novel can set standards for both those eventually contemplating marriage and those already in a marital union.
Mallory Barrows is a faithful friend who uses her resources (her business, The Book Barrow,) to help her friends find themselves.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

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

Who Needs Romance? My Marriage Is Great as It Is!

Writing a book about a couple who are in love, devoted to each other, and don’t have marriage problems is… challenging. Let’s face it. Most books about married couples, especially ones “on the rocks,” are going to have fights, an affair (at least of the emotional variety), or some big thing threatening to send them straight to divorce court.

Mine doesn’t.

In fact, Bookers on the Rocks shows what happens when couples become too comfortable in their routines—so comfortable, in fact, that they become blind to each other’s needs. If you asked Tessa Booker if anything is wrong in her marriage, she’d say no. If you asked her if she wanted anything different, she’d say no. The age old, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

Still, if you look at stories in Scripture, you see deep love and even romance in some places. Elkanah, who loved his wife enough to say, “Am I not more to you than ten sons?” Jacob who worked fourteen years to marry the woman he loved. Solomon and his love for the Shulamite woman. While the first two do not make me squirm, Solomon does. That book… oh, that book.

What I think Song of Solomon does is remind us of the Lord’s wooing of His people and how invested the Shulamite woman was in being delighted in her beloved—in all of him. If that isn’t a picture of how we should devote ourselves to our Lord, I don’t know what is.

In Bookers on the Rocks, I explore the possibility that those of us who aren’t naturally romantic might just be missing a vital ingredient in our marriages. A body can look and feel perfectly healthy for years—even decades. But if some essential nutrient is missing in a person’s diet, eventually that body will show it in some way. A lack of calcium can create brittle bones. No one sees the problem until a slight stumble turns into a nasty break.

Did it change how I view my marriage? No… not yet. Then again, yes it did, too. I’m more… aware of what is going on in my marriage these days. I doubt candlelight and roses will ever become a thing in our relationship, but translating what romance might mean and look like to my husband has become something I do think about from time to time. That probably means more Wienerschnitzel and less broccoli, but hey. He did a lot of dishes, dinner, and diapers (my perfect three Ds of romance) when our kids were small. I can endure a hot dog or three thousand, right?

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 10

Livin’ Lit, February 10

lakesidelivingsite, February 11

Sara Jane Jacobs, February 11

She Lives to Read, February 12

Texas Book-aholic, February 12

Book of Ruth Ann, February 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 13

Rebekah Reads, February 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

Batya’s Bits , February 14

Inklings and notions, February 15

Simple Harvest Reads, February 15 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 16

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 16

Robin’s Nest, February 16

Lots of Helpers, February 17

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 17

Splashes of Joy, February 18

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 18

Artistic Nobody, February 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 19

For Him and My Family, February 20

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 20

CarpeDiem, February 20

deb’s Book Review, February 21

Connect in Fiction, February 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 22

Blogging With Carol, February 22

Blossoms and Blessings, February 23

Godly Book Reviews, February 23

Pause for Tales, February 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona 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/10740/bookers-on-the-rocks-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour

Restoring Fairhaven, #6 Merriweather Island, by Carolyn Miller

About the Book

Book: Restoring Fairhaven

Author: Carolyn Miller

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Love hurts, or so the songs say, so who wants it?

Taking on her ailing father’s gardening business on Merriweather Island, Samantha Green only wants to escape her ex and to make her father proud.

But Sam gets more than she bargained for when Greener Gardens accepts the job of restoring the gardens of a reclusive writer, Max Fairhaven, whose historical novels about romance and unrequited love litter bookstore shelves and movie marquees all over the world.

Max much prefers the fictional world to the real, and the gardening girl’s interruptions means he’s driven from his writing cave far too often for his liking.

How’s he supposed to craft stories with her distracting him all the time?

Things change when he learns something of Sam’s family challenges, and his admiration slowly kindles. With his secretary’s goading, he’s forced to confront the past, while facing the fact that he needs to change in order to avoid a lonely future.

Gentle pruning and a whole lot of banter forges a friendship between this not-so-Southern belle landscaper and the half-British author. But is their budding attraction enough to grow into a flourishing happily-ever-after?

Restoring Fairhaven is the final “Merriweather book,” but don’t forget to embark on a tour of the next island in this series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

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

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

I enjoyed this island Cinderella/combination Beauty and the Beast story, Restoring Fairhaven, by Carolyn Miller. After a couple of deep historicals, this lighter, easy-to-read contemporary romance of Samantha Green of Greener Gardens landscaping business and Max Fairhaven, a famous author, was just what I needed. Miller includes a good look at a struggling landscaping business that Sam reluctantly takes over for her father.


It is a wonder what a change the love of God and a good woman can affect in a man’s soul. I also appreciated seeing how love caused Max to want to give of himself, to move beyond the little world that had bound him after the death of his wife, Meggie.
There were a couple of ongoing sinister elements that I thought were ended and dismissed too quickly given the importance they played in the drama. Come to think of it, if this is indeed a fairytale retold, it would make much sense for at least some of the bad elements to quickly disappear.


This is book six in The Merriweather Island: Independence Islands series. This book seemed to be able to stand on its own.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. These opinions are solely my own, voluntarily submitted.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop, Miss Serena’s Secret, The Making of Mrs. Hale, A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, Underestimating Miss Cecilia, and Misleading Miss Verity, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc Her contemporary novels include Restoring Fairhaven and Regaining Mercy, as part of the Independence Islands series.

More from Carolyn

I’m a long time lover of gardens, plants, flowers and trees! I’m married to a horticulturalist, who once upon a time worked at Lyme Park, the site of Mr. Darcy’s magnificent Pemberley from the 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice, and who has also worked at Kew Gardens in England.

Some of my garden and plant highlights include visiting Blarney Castle’s Poison Garden in Ireland, New Zealand’s Hamilton Gardens, Dunrobin Castle in Scotland, Frederik Meijer Gardens in Michigan, the redwoods of Yosemite, California, Butchart Gardens in Victoria Island, Canada, and Jardin Botanique in Montreal, Canada.

I love to post pictures of flowers and trees on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/carolynmillerauthor/)  and have included pictures of some of these places at my website (www.carolynmillerauthor.com) I have incorporated some of the gardens and plants in a number of my historical novels, including the gorgeous gardens at a castle in Scotland where I set Misleading Miss Verity.

I’m so excited to be introducing readers to my new contemporary books, where I can bring some of my love of gardens (& my hubby’s expertise!) to a new audience. Restoring Fairhaven sees readers introduced to a range of gardening experts who together will bring the gardens of the Independence Islands back to life.

If you’re someone who has enjoyed The Secret Garden, or Becky Wade’s My Stubborn Heart, you’ll be sure to enjoy this story of a reclusive writer and the gardening guru sent to restore his gardens – and his heart.

Happy reading!

Carolyn

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 16

lakesidelivingsite, January 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 17

April Hayman, Author, January 17

A Novel Pursuit, January 17

Texas Book-aholic, January 18

Rebekah Reads, January 18

Blogging With Carol, January 18

Inklings and notions, January 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, January 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 20

Mary Hake, January 20

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 21

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 21

CarpeDiem, January 21

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

Cultivating Us, January 22

Kathleen Neely, January 22

Livin’ Lit, January 23

Ashley’s Bookshelf, January 23

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

Older & Smarter?, January 24

Artistic Nobody, January 24 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For Him and My Family, January 25

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 25

Inkwell Inspirations, January 25

deb’s Book Review, January 26

Blossoms and Blessings, January 26

Joanne Markey, January 26

She Lives To Read, January 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 27

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, January 28

Splashes of Joy, January 28

Godly Book Reviews, January 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 29

Daysong Reflections, January 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carolyn is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon prize 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/105a8/restoring-fairhaven-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Purchase

Mishaps off the Mainland, #5 Merriweather Island by Tabitha Bouldin, Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Mishaps off the Mainland

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Genre:  Christian fiction, contemporary romance

Release Date:  November 24, 2020

BOULDIN-Mishaps Off the Mainland

All Mel wants is to run the business of her dreams.

Melody Carmichael’s mobile pet grooming business might sink before it can sail when a favorite pet escapes her care. Doggie escape-artist, Daphne, got a taste of freedom, and the Afghan hound refuses to be found.

Enter Zeke Solomon. Desperate to bring the dog home for his grandmother, Zeke steps in to save the day.

And working together with Zeke would be a snap—if he would just stop blaming Mel for Daphne making a break for it.

Zeke is desperate to prove himself worthy of the Solomon name and step out from his father’s shadow. With his father breathing down his neck and demanding he return to the company business, Zeke must decide whether confronting the man he admires most is worth the risk of alienation.

Everything’s falling apart, and Mel’s dream transforms into a nightmare. She thought this was what God wanted for her life, but can you blame her for second-guessing everything?

Was it all just a mistake?

Mishaps off the Mainland is the fifth “Merriweather book” in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

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

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

Cheers for an all-around great book by a new-to-me author, Tabitha Bouldin. Bouldin joins forces with several other Christian authors to tell the tales of various small businesses on a group of islands off the coast of Georgia. While the books are loosely connected, I did miss a few without feeling like I was missing any vital facts pertaining to this story, Mishaps off the Mainland. I always want to applaud for a novel whose title is especially apropos, and Bouldin’s creation is one of these. Contemporary romance is not my first love, but Bouldin makes me forget that as she introduces characters like Mel (owner of Zoomin’ Groomer) and Zeke and Miss Evelyn. These three stole my heart, as did the dogs and cats involved. The easy, every day language flowed smoothly, while Bouldin’s snarky humor made me stop to laugh. Consider the following:
“Dressed in a navy pencil skirt, white flowy top, and carrying what looked like a real Gucci bag under her arm, with her nose lifted so high she couldn’t possibly see the ground, this woman would not tolerate a single dog hair in her presence.”
“Penciled-in eyebrows struggled against the Botox holding them aloft as the woman shook her head.”


Themes of chasing one’s own interests more than chasing God, and needing an earthly father’s approval make for great conflict, along with a fledgling relationship that sometimes needs handled with kid gloves. I heartily recommend this book for those who love Christian contemporary romance, who love dogs and cats, or who have ever struggled to receive a parental blessing or figure out God’s will.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. I also purchased my own copy. I am voluntarily leaving this review. All opinions are my own.

My Rating

Magnificent

About the Author

Tabitha Bouldin is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and an avid reader. When she’s not busy homeschooling her two boys, you’ll find her buried in a book.

More from Tabitha

Why mobile pet grooming?

I get this question a lot when I bring up Mishaps off the Mainland.

I mean, I could have chosen any occupation as long as it could be mobile. Anything from a mobile doctor office to a bug specialist. The world was wide open for ideas.

After just completing a rather serious series, I wanted to write something lighter, funnier, but with that same depth and heart that I love to read. I also needed something that fit my character, and Mel had some pretty strong opinions right out of the gate.

You see, Mel is one of those characters who spoke to me right away. She loves animals. All animals but especially dogs. They’re her happy place. Mel is also a giver. She will drop everything to help someone else.

When I asked her what her dream job would be, she answered me faster than any character ever has. Pet groomer! (Yes, I talk to my characters.)

And I thought, why not a mobile pet groomer? She gets to spend all her time with animals (which is a bonus for me as the author), and Mel’s character traits can shine through her actions and reveal her giving heart.

Once the job was decided, I knew there needed to be some drama. What would be the underlying fear of a pet groomer? I didn’t want to injure an animal, so I went for what felt like second most traumatic, an escaped animal.

While Daphne’s escape is serious and causes Mel no end of sleepless nights, it also provides some comedic relief for Mel and Zeke while they work through their own personal battles. I like to think of Mishaps off the Mainland as a mixture of quirky fun and serious truth. The story was a joy to write, and I hope you fall in love with Mel and Zeke.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 18

Livin’ Lit, December 18

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 19

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 20

Connect in Fiction, December 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 21

deb’s Book Review, December 21

Inklings and notions, December 22

The Collaborative Press, December 22

For Him and My Family, December 23

lakesidelivingsite, December 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 23

Joanne Markey, December 24

Reviewingbooksplusmore, December 24

Batya’s Bits, December 25

Daysong Reflections, December 25

She Lives To Read, December 26

Rebekah Reads, December 26

Splashes of Joy, December 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 27

Blossoms and Blessings, December 27

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

Captive Dreams Window, December 28

Artistic Nobody, December 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Simple Harvest Reads, December 29 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Aryn the Libraryan, December 30

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 30

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 31

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 31

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/104fd/mishaps-off-the-mainland-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour

Scrumptious Independence, #2 Merriweather Island by Melissa Wardwell with Giveaway

About the Book

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

And so is Beth’s cooking! It’s a good thing, too. After a lifetime of her family’s smothering embrace, a whole new world opens to her with the passing of her beloved grandmother.

Armed with an inheritance she never expected and orders on how to use it, Beth sets off for Merriweather Island and fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams.

Or so she hopes.

What she didn’t hope for was what most women would—a man who fills her thoughts at the most wonderfully unwelcome times. She doesn’t have time or space for a relationship, but how do you tell love to just go away?

Of course, starting over in a new place is never easy, especially as an outsider in a small community. Add to that a mayor who has her dander up and a woman bound to make her life miserable, is it any wonder that Beth begins to doubt God’s and Gram’s plans?

With her heart betraying her resolve and challenges to her faith, Beth finds it takes bravery she didn’t know she had to discover just how scrumptious independence can be.

This “Merriweather book” is the second in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

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

Click here to purchase your copy!


My Impressions

“Gram always told me that family was a gift from God so that we would never feel alone in this world. If that is the case, I think God hates me.” Poor Beth Stevens, left wealthy by her beloved Gram’s passing, has been deeply marred by her family’s rejection over the years. Her grandmother was her one dependable light in her dark world. Having received the house on Merriweather Island, Beth moves south with plans for an island food truck. Scott Anderson, her childhood island friend, wants to help Beth heal and is also attracted to her. Beth feels so broken and the islanders seem to want her gone. Is a successful life on the island, let alone with Scott, really something Beth wants to pursue?


Scrumptious Independence, #2 Merriweather Island by Melissa Wardwell is a fun contemporary fiction novel. I can’t imagine being as crippled as Beth is by her family’s failure to show love. However, I very much could relate to the need for independence at that age. Wardwell imbues her love of pirates and coastal scenery into the story adding nice touches. I enjoyed the relationships of the book. It was neat to see how friendships from childhood carried over into adulthood, in Scott’s case.

Of course, one is always hoping Beth and Scott will be one of those childhood friendships developing into something more, but that is why you must read the book. Mallory is a good friend with a listening ear, who kindly holds Beth accountable to her faith. Overarching the whole possible island romance theme is Gram’s solid, Biblically-based wisdom. It comes seeping through both Beth’s and Scott’s memories at God-appointed times. Sage, gentle, yet straightforward, Gram is life’s buffer for both Scott and Beth. Gram is the person I most wanted to know on the island.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher, Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband Jonathan, three children, a cat, and two pitbulls.

Besides writing, she enjoys reading, having coffee with friends, and spending quality time with her husband kayaking and fishing.

Melissa likes to joke about the voices in her head, but it is those voices have inspired her to write several romance novels such as “I Know the Plans” (a story based in her hometown of Owosso) and “Finding Hope in Savannah”. When she is not penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books on her blog, Back Porch Reads.

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

More from Melissa

“Lord, I don’t know how I can keep doing this.”

That was my prayer one evening in 2019 as I made my way to praise practice. I knew that writing was something God had called me to (because He never seems to call you to do something you enjoy) but the finances were just not there to publish another book. I felt lost in the uncertainty of the path moving forward and I needed a light. I had just shared all my concerns with my parents and left with my dad’s words ringing in my head. Are you writing to gain notoriety or are you writing for God?

The next morning, CelebrateLit had a post looking for submissions for a new and innovative series. Hope burst within me and I know I needed more information. I followed instructions and spoke with Sandy Barela and Chautona Havig. The more I was told, the more excited I became because I knew I needed to be part of this collection.

Ideas were hatched, characters began to talk, and a book proposal was sent. I continued to work on the development of characters and the mobile business knowing in my heart that God had given me this opportunity. I wouldn’t do things halfway. And when the confirmation email came, I was ready to share the beautiful story and characters that developed.

Beth is a food truck proprietor, so that means she spends most of her time cooking. In an effort to grow her recipes, I have been making videos of me cooking some of our family’s favorites as well as raiding my mom’s recipe box. The result is some amazing food to share.

Every book, pre-order card, and my YouTube channel has recipes on it. And so will this tour.

With it being summertime, our family doesn’t want those heavy meals so sometimes chips and sandwiches are all we need in the evenings. One favorite is my chicken salad.

Now, this recipe is easily substituted with other things like however, you like your chicken.

Melissa’s Chicken Salad

Feeds 4 (unless you have big eaters.)

2 cans of chicken (you can use cooked but this is quick and easy

1/2 cup of red grapes – halved

1/2 cup celery – diced

Make sure you rinse all of this well as you prep the salad

Dressing

1 1/2 cup of miracle whip (you can use mayo)

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp of sugar

Mix everything together and serve on your favorite bread option or on a bed of lettuce. I like mine in a pita pocket or on lettuce. This time it was with a pita pocket with a side of lightly salted chips and a pickle.

Now, just a little side note, you can add what ever veggie or fruit you like. Apples and cucumbers would be a great addition as well. So, don’t feel like you have to do things exactly like I do. Make it your own.

Bon appétit

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 21

Soulfully Romantic, September 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 22

Inklings and notions, September 22

For Him and My Family, September 23

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Artistic Nobody, September 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

She Lives To Read, September 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 25

Quiet Workings, September 25

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , September 26

Older & Smarter?, September 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 26

Blogging With Carol, September 27

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 27

Batya’s Bits, September 27

Emily Yager, September 28

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 28

Stories By Gina, September 28

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 28

CarpeDiem, September 29

Christian Bookaholic, September 29

Cultivating Us, September 29

Aryn the Libraryan, September 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

Connect in Fiction, October 1

The Collaborative Press, October 1

Livin’ Lit, October 1

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

The Meaderings of a Bookworm, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

Joanne Markey, October 3

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Vicky Sluiter, October 3

Blossoms and Blessings, October 4

Splashes of Joy, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4

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/10105/scrumptious-independence-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Purchase

Dual Power of Convenience: #1 Independence Islands by Chautona Havig with Giveaway

Dual-Power-of-Convenience-FB-Banner-768x284

About the Book

Book:  Dual Power of Convenience

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre:  Christian Contemporary Romance

Release Date: July 28, 2020

When Richard Danforth inherits the family estate on Merriweather Island, he 52900839._SY475_doesn’t have time to deal with it—especially not from halfway across the globe. He’s too busy working to become the world’s newest billionaire and avoiding the women who would detract him from his goals.

Enter Lyla Santana. Fresh out of Oxford University with a degree in antiques and a relationship that nearly killed her to leave, she’s eager for the isolation and treasure trove that is Danforth Hall. Lyla also is determined to avoid men at all costs. Forever.

It was supposed to be a match made on paper. With him halfway across the globe, they’d never have to see each other again.

So, what’s Richard doing on Merriweather just weeks after the wedding? And how will his arrival test Lyla’s faith, not to mention stretch their so-called relationship?

In a twist on billionaire romance and marriage of convenience, this “Merriweather book” kicks off a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

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

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

This series, Independence Islands, authored by six various raconteurs, promises to be as refreshing and unique as a visit to Merriweather Island could be. Southern to-the-core, you can close your eyes and feel the refreshing breezes and hear the waves and the call of the gulls. In this first book, Dual Power of Convenience, Chautona Havig introduces two females whose friendship develops when Lyla Santana moves to the island to catalog antiques. Mallory Barrows is the islander who befriends Lyla. As Lyla helps Mallory find ways to better sell her merchandise in her mobile bookstore, Mallory returns the favor with her knowledge of the island people. This friendship will be essential as Lyla enters into a marriage of convenience with the island’s “favorite son,” whom she has never met. She does not expect the marriage to change her life, per the agreement.

Dual Power of Convenience 1
Havig tackles not one, not two, but three tropes here: a marriage of convenience, fake relationship, and billionaire. She approaches this in a way that encourages the reader to be willing to suspend disbelief while enjoying tongue-in-cheek, witty banter between characters. A few pop culture references are totally fitting and hilarious, some with double entendre. While a billionaire from a little country called Azadi might be the first hint a practical reader should run the other way, real problems like allergies, getting rid of an unwanted pet, and visits to the coffee/bookstore and taco truck, balance the feelings of normalcy.

Dual Power of Convenience 2

The question becomes, can Lyla and Richard ever find a sense of normalcy to their very unusual marriage? I recommend this novel as a great way to spend a few relaxing hours.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. All opinions are solely my own and no positive review was required.

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

media-headshot-sm-240x300Chautona 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 on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

Did I Really Agree to Write a Romance Series?

When my fledgling little idea for a single book transformed into a series that then transformed into a SERIES, I kind of missed the part where I agreed (and likely suggested, if truth be told), that the books should be contemporary romance.

I mean, beach reads.  Romance.  Duh.

There’s just one problem?  I rarely write a straight-up romance.  And if I do, it’s usually a short novella in a collection—often at Christmas.

Why?

Isn’t it obvious?

Despite nine kids and being married for almost thirty-two years, I am THE most unromantic woman on the planet. No habla amor.  Or something like that.

So there I was, toodling down the 395 (a treacherous bit of road between my house and the publisher’s) when all of what I’d agreed to exploded in my brain.  I’m still scraping brain matter off the windshield and trying to stuff it back in. I need every last one of those “little gray cells,” thank-you-very-much!

Romance.  My heart sank.  Boy meets girl.  They like each other.  They fight.  They get back together.  They live happily ever after.

It’s a thing, folks.  A formula.  And if you deviate, true romance readers get annoyed.  What was I going to do?  I didn’t want to write romance.  Not really. I had ideas.  The prequel book had been all about trying to bring a young woman back to the Lord.  That’s more my speed, okay?

The wheels began churning.

The ones in my head, I mean.  The tires still rolled along the ground. Fortunately, my cranial explosion hadn’t caused an accident or anything.  Just in case you were curious.

I considered making each one loosely related to a fairy tale retelling.  I’d have a Cinderella story, a Beauty and the Beast, a… nope. That made it that far and I just couldn’t.  The minute we got to Sleeping Beauty, I’d have my readers in comas.  No. Thanks.

Next came Rom-com.  We’d make it funny.  All the stuff that happens in beach romances gone wrong.  Why not?  We live once!

I was yawning before the thought finished forming.

Right about then, I think, is when I wondered what kind of tropes I needed to consider.

See, romance tropes are a thing.  I even talk about them on my podcast.  The tingling sensation that comes when a good idea is brewing happened.  A grin formed.

Tropes. I’d play with tropes.  I’d take all those familiar things and twist them somehow.  Why not?  It would be fun.

And it was.

Right about then is probably when I began recording my ideas.  Creosote and sage whizzed past at breakneck speeds (let me dream.  I’m not a speed demon, but c’mon… for the sake of poetic license and all?). And the ideas whizzed faster (no license needed.  They really did).

Book 1.  Marriage of convenience.  I mean, those are always fun, right?  So why on earth would someone need to get married?

Every idea I came up with has been done… and done again.

That’s when I upped the stakes. Authors do that, you know. We come up with a way to torment our characters, and then we say, “Okay, now how can I make this worse?  Nope, I need it even worse.  Oh, and…” Bam!  The story goes from interesting to can’t-put-it-down.  All because we’re not afraid to be cruel to non-existent people. Score!

How’d I do it with this one? I added in another trope. One I personally just can’t “get.”  People love the things, and I’ve got no idea why.  But it answered my first question of why someone might need a marriage of convenience or… as my gal puts it… “a paper marriage.”

My guy became the world’s newest billionaire.

Yep, you read that right. I wrote a “billionaire romance.”  Sort of.  Now, if I could figure out how on earth I’d take two people on opposite sides of the world and get them together.

*insert hands rubbing together in fiendish delight*

Oh, yeah.  I did it.  And even more than that, I love it.  I made my characters do some stupid things. I really did (you know, like how two Christians didn’t even pray about their marriage decision?  Like how they didn’t even ask if the other person was saved?  Why should they?  They’ll never see each other again… they said.  Ha!  The Lord had other ideas.  Sorta.  This is fiction, right?  Oops! I suddenly feel like that crazy Kathy Morningside in Miss Congeniality).

From Adelanto to Kramer Jct., I planned out that first book—Dual Power of Convenience.

(the title gives away that reason for marrying, no?  Also, links may be affiliate links that provide a small commission at no extra expense to you.)

It was almost too easy.

Then I started playing with the next ones, and the series became a reality to me.

– Dual Power of Conveniencewhen a woman too afraid of men goes to work for a man who is too busy making money to want anything to do with that whole marriage and family thing.

– Bookers on the Rocks— This couple’s marriage is on the rocks (that’s the trope, of course), and neither of them has a clue. They’ve been married for twenty-five years, neither is having an affair, no one wants a divorce, life is good, so why is it on the rocks?  You’ll see…

– Directing Hearts— The Crawforths got tricked into allowing a reality matchmaking show film on their islands. Brooks Crawforth tangles with the director until their verbal battles turn into a different kind—a battle for their hearts (enemies to “lovers”)

– Just a Memory— In this one, Mallory Barrows (who makes appearances in all of the books) comes across an old journal that tells a story she’d never heard. It’s the old Patti Paige song “Go On with the Wedding” but over forty years later!  Mallory knows something that might just create a (here comes the trope) second chance at romance.

Printed on Her Heart— After being instrumental in so many couples’ relationships, it’s Mallory’s turn in this dual-trope story.  In this one, we get a mashup of friends to more and love at first sight.  Can’t wait to share it.  Squee!

Okay, that’s the deal.  Yes, I really did agree to write a romance series.

And yes, it probably was my idea.

I might deny it to my dying day, but it is also a whole lot of fun… so far.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 5

Inklings and notions, August 6

lakesidelivingsite, August 6

deb’s Book Review, August 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 7

Rebekah Jones, Author, August 7

For Him and My Family, August 7

Artistic Nobody, August 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

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

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 9

21st Century Keeper at Home, August 9

She Lives To Read, August 10

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

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 11

Adventures of a Traverlers wife, August 11

Emily Yager, August 12

Stories By Gina, August 12

CarpeDiem, August 12

cultivating us, August 13

Connect in Fiction, August 13

Livin’ Lit, August 13

Read Review Rejoice, August 14

Quiet Workings, August 14

Blossoms and Blessings, August 14

Just Your Average reviews, August 15

Rebekah Reads, August 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 15

Lis Loves Reading, August 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 16

Splashes of Joy, August 16

Pause for Tales, August 17

Captive Dreams Window, August 17

Spoken from the Heart, August 17

Lots of Helpers, August 18

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book (winner’s choice of eBook or paperback 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/ff14/dual-power-of-convenience-celebration-tour-giveaway