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

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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

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

This Wandering Heart, #1 Madison River Romance by Janine Rosche with Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  This Wandering Heart

Author: Janine Rosche

Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance

Release Date: May 5, 2020

In the first entry in the Madison River Romance series, Keira Knudsen gets the traveling opportunity of a lifetime, but when she reunites with her first love, Robbie, she learns that even a wandering heart needs a home….

No one in the quaint town of West Yellowstone, Montana, knows that unassuming geography teacher Keira Knudsen moonlights as sensational travel blogger Kat Wanderfull. No one, that is, except for her first love, Robbie Matthews, who has just discovered the woman he is falling for online is the same one that broke his heart five years ago.

But Robbie has another problem: the mother of his daughter, Anabelle, has resurfaced after a three-year absence determined to rip Anabelle away from him. Robbie needs a steady paycheck for a chance at custody, and now, on the eve of a grand adventure that could give Keira a chance to flee her old, troubled life once and for all, she is in need of assistance.

With so much broken trust between them, Keira and Robbie must keep an arms-length away to make this partnership work. But the more time they spend together, exploring majestic places and sharing new experiences, the closer they get–until their secrets and dreams threaten to cost them everything.

My Review

Can Keira, a history teacher by day and a travel social media presence by weekend; and Robbie, an expert builder but non-intellectual; get honest enough with each other to explain their past issues and build a new future?

This Wandering Heart, #1 Madison River Romance by Janine Rosche was a Hallmark-type Christian romance. I wasn’t sure what to think of Keira. I really liked her, but she didn’t seem to know her own mind. She had a rough past, but when things got tough, it was hard to predict which way the wind would blow. She does show tremendous growth when she finally stands up to her father and tells her mother, “…courage isn’t something we’re born with. It’s a choice.” Kiera does find the bravery needed to make some other changes in her life that create great life choices for her.

I immediately liked Robbie for his great, tender care of his daughter by himself. He was totally dedicated to Annabelle. Robbie has several issues to sort out, all coming to a head at once. He was wise enough to lean on God and his family to help him produce the resources he needed to weather some very tough storms.

Annabelle was another show stopper. How could anyone not fall in love with this sweetheart?

I even loved how Vivian was drawn as more than 2- dimensional. Sometimes the villian only seems to have one side- bad. But I could actually identify with Vivian as Ms. Rosche wrote her.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent- Will be Glad to Recommend

About the Author

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

More from Janine

Do you remember that weird kid who would sit at their desk in elementary school and stare into space for minutes at a time? If you don’t, then chances are, you were that weird kid. Welcome to the club—you know, the club for people who believe that what could be is worth imagining.

“If you imagine it, then it will never happen,” my junior high friends said.

“You’re setting yourself up for disappointment,” my high school mentor advised.

“Close your mouth, or you’ll catch a fly,” my second grade teacher warned.

While that last one scared me into buttoning my lips while staring blankly at the chalkboard, those early naysayers didn’t keep me from daydreaming. I couldn’t help it. I loved imagining a world far more exciting, awe-inspiring, and romantic than my own. Even when I’d finish books or movies, I would happily dream myself into the story where courage abounds and heroes are truly larger-than-life.

Of course, through the years, disappointment did come, and so did reality. In love, my heart was broken. In my career aspirations, my confidence was shattered. My daydreams almost stopped entirely.

People often ask me if it was a lifelong dream of mine to publish a book. The answer to that is yes…and no. It had been once, but holding on too tightly to that while also believing it was too far out of reach for someone like me created such an overwhelming ache in my heart. And so, I buried it. However, that dream, along with the storylines and characters in my mind weren’t content to stay buried. For eight years they awakened me at night and distracted me by day, until finally, I chose to spit out the words in a blank spiral notebook. I’d hoped that by writing down the story that had festered, I’d finally have peace, but then the next story came, and the next.

“I’ve learned that courage isn’t something we’re born with. It’s a choice.” That line of dialogue comes from a key moment in my debut novel, This Wandering Heart. In the story, my heroine, Keira, rises above an awful childhood to live a life of adventure. The line was quite autobiographical. I could have chosen to keep believing the naysayers. That would have been easy. It took no courage–no risk at all—to believe the lies, the criticism, and the discouragingly low probability statistics of publication.

Pursuing your dream, though, requires a lot of courage. Courage to be laughed at, to fail, to be rejected. Courage to be terrible at this new thing you’re trying. Certainly more courage than I carried in my spirit. So I prayed. I climbed onto that metaphorical rope dangling from the hand of God, and swung.

It was a choice. To be completely honest, it still is a choice to believe these daydreams of mine. Each day, it takes faith to chase this dream of writing novels and to imagine what could be. I guess you could say that I’ve found my way into the story after all. And it truly is exciting, awe-inspiring, and—dare I say?—romantic.

I’m honored to have you all join me on this incredible journey! But it’s not all about me. What daydream are you tempted to believe in your life?

Everyone is eligible to receive a free subscription to the Love Wander Read Journal, a quarterly digital magazine from Janine Rosche that aims to provide inspiration for a life well-lived. Link: http://janinerosche.com/the-love-wander-read-journal/

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, June 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 8

Texas Book-aholic, June 9

Read Review Rejoice, June 9

My Devotional Thoughts, June 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 12

Get Cozy Book Nook, June 12

Batya’s Bits, June 13

deb’s Book Review, June 13

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 14

The Becca Files, June 14

Older & Smarter ?, June 15

Through the Fire Blogs, June 15

For Him and My Family, June 16

Vicky Sluiter, June 17

Pause for Tales, June 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 19

Britt Reads Fiction, June 19

Life of Literature, June 20

Hallie Reads, June 21

Livin’ Lit, June 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Janine is giving away the grand prize package of a set of GelConnie leather bracelets, a 2020 National Geographic Road Atlas, and a $50 Visa gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fc1c/this-wandering-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, New Author

The Trouble with Tulips, #1 Hometown Holiday Heartstrings by Emily Botrous

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About the Book

Title: The Trouble with Tulips

Series: #1 Hometown Holiday Heartstrings

Author: Emily Dana Botrous

Publisher: Independently Published

Released: May 2020

He prefers plants to people. She’s a black thumb. Can love bloom?
Kim is stagnating in her hometown, like a dying flower. When her mother asks her to create a flower garden to enter into a local competition, Kim decides it’ll be her last big hurrah before skipping town for a new start. But with her wilted gardening skills, she can’t pull it off alone, especially since her mom wants tulips. The only person who might be able to help is her brother’s best friend. Trouble is, she’s liked him for years despite his prickly personality, and he never noticed.

Jake has met with a lot of loss in life. The only thing he can keep alive is a plant. Besides his friend Dusty, Jake has no use for anyone, including God. So when Dusty’s sister asks him for help, he turns her down flat—until he realizes he needs her help, too. Trading tulips and time for business advice, Jake finds there’s more to Kim than he’s ever noticed before. Too bad the only way to keep her safe is to keep her out of his heart.

When things get weedy, Kim must decide whether to dig in her roots or move on. Can Jake trust that God is enough to bridge the distance between the pain in the past and the promise of the future?

My Review

I really liked this book as the issues the protagonists had to resolve are so basic to many young people. Some people never overcome this personal baggage during a lifetime. Kim Williams and Jake Dunn are a couple that just can’t seem to get it together in order to be together. Emily Botrous has penned a very wise and insightful tale of hurt, beauty, and romance in her The Trouble with Tulips.

The Trouble with Tulips 1

Kim Williams has a very marketable MBA, but due to a years-long crush
on her brother’s best friend, Jake, she has moved home where no full-time jobs are available. Jake refuses to let go of guilt over his mother’s and brother’s death. This causes him to become surly and morose to close out any who would get close to him. I often wondered just what Kim saw in him.
Many readers will be able to identify with Kim and Jake. Kim can’t believe she is worth anything to anybody unless Jake sits up and takes notice. Kim needs to learn that God alone can fill the true void in her heart. Botrous does a great job, without preaching, of placing Kim in conversations that point her to begin listening to “The Voice of Truth.”
Jake is an even tougher nut to crack, though. Closed off from people, he is convinced anyone he cares about will meet disaster. He dumped his trust in God long ago, when beloved family members died.

The Trouble with Tulips 2


My favorite secondary character was Jason. He figures so strongly into the arc of this couple’s life. As their boss, he cares for them like a father. He is gracious, helpful, and insightful. Jason is also protective of his workers. God placed Jake and Kim in a great work environment, even though Jake is leaving to branch out on his own and Kim is only part-time.
I cried along with Kim until she finally finds her true worth. “Only God can make you understand your real value. And it’s to Him and no one else.”

Other notable quotes:

“The only thing he could take proper care of was plants.”

“Love’s worth the risk. God sure thought so.”

“But wasn’t she, by insulting herself—God’s very own creation—indirectly insulting God?”

“Stop actin’ God, son.”

“You want to be all-powerful to the ones you love, but only God can be that. Us? We have to trust those we love to His hands.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. This in no way influenced my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating 

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot 

 

About the Author

18860227Emily Dana Botrous lives in San Diego, California with her husband and their four children. She lived in 10 states before she settled on the West Coast where she plans to stay for awhile. She started writing short stories at age 10 and studied English in college. The only thing she enjoys more than writing is motherhood. While there are a lot of things that matter to Emily, nothing is more important to her than Jesus Christ. It is her goal to point anyone who reads her writing toward Him. When Emily isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, long walks, music, and playing with her kids. “A New Shade of Paint” is her first book.