Posted in Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Storing Up Trouble

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About the Author

Book:  Storing Up Trouble

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: May 6, 2020

Storing Up TroubleWhen Beatrix Waterbury’s train is disrupted by a heist, scientist Norman Nesbit comes to her aid. After another encounter, he is swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract—including the attention of the men trying to steal his research—and they’ll soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

Set in the past during the time of the Suffragette movement, this book started off with a  “bang”.  Beatrix Waterbury is an heiress who is part of the New York 400 (high society).  She demonstrates amazing courage and more.  Norman Nesbitt works to create and has his head stuck in his work.  The two meet on a train and from there their lives become intertwined.  But neither of them seem to want it.

I love how Beatrix goes to work for a store as a common employee and learns a lot about herself and society in general.  Beatrix’s aunt and her butler along with the young lady who works with Norman are some of my favorite people in the book.

I love the twists, turns, and adventures this book takes me on as well as the discovery of God in this book. Some things I figured may occur while others were a little of a surprise.

So if you are looking for a work of historical Christian fiction, check out this book for yourself.  I really enjoyed it.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

 

 

 

About the Author

Turano_Jen1Jen Turano, (www.jenturano.com) a USA Today bestselling author, has written four historical romance series. She is a member of ACFW and RWA and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

 

 

 

 

More from Jen

Thank you so much for visiting me on my Celebrate Lit tour as we celebrate the release of my latest novel, “Storing Up Trouble.” I’m delighted to be here, and I reached out to my street team to help me with the questions you’ll find below. I’m hoping the answers to those questions will allow you to learn just a bit about my new book, as well as allow you to get to know me better. With that said, here we go!

 

Can you tell us a little about “Storing Up Trouble?”

I’d be delighted to tell you about my latest book. “Storing Up Trouble” is the third book in the “American Heiress” series, but you don’t need to read the first two books in that series (“Flights of Fancy” “Diamond in the Rough” to understand what’s going on. I’ve been writing my books more as stand alone stories, and “Storing Up Trouble” is no exception to that. With that said, this book centers around Miss Beatrix Waterbury and Mr. Norman Nesbit. Beatrix, unfortunately, has annoyed her mother to such an extent that she finds herself banished from New York and on her way to Chicago to spend time with her aunt, a lady Beatrix remembers as being a querulous sort. She, being Beatrix, a lady who lands herself in trouble at the most unexpected of times, soon finds herself a victim of a train heist. An unlikely hero in the form of Mr. Norman Nesbit, a gentleman with a brilliant mind but relatively few social graces, comes to her rescue, and from the moment they disembark from the train, they find themselves thrust into one escapade after another.

 

In “Storing Up Trouble,” is there a character you’d like to be friends with in real life, or better yet, a character you’d avoid at all costs?

I actually have an answer to both parts of that question. Miss Theodosia Robinson is a lady I would love to count as a friend because she’s loyal to a fault, and is a friend who’ll be there for you, no matter if you want to delve into an unusual scientific experiment, or take a jaunt to your local department store to do a bit of shopping. As for who I’d avoid at all cost – Mrs. George Blossom, who has a very small part in the story, but she’s a customer at Marshal Fields & Company who embraces an air of superiority over the sales girls, and I’ve never been one to enjoy people like that.

 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

That’s easy. Being Dominic’s mom. He was definitely a handful when he was little, which is why he’s an only child, but it’s been incredibly rewarding to watch him grow over the years. He recently graduated from college with a degree in engineering, and seeing him land a grown up job and begin to embrace the whole adulting thing makes me prouder than any book I’ve written or other job I’ve held.

 

What was the inspiration behind “Storing Up Trouble?”

There were quite a few things that inspired me to write this book. I’d set another one of my books, “Caught by Surprise” in Chicago, and because of the research I did for that book, research I wasn’t able to fit into that story, I knew I wanted to revisit that city at some point. Beatrix Waterbury gave me the perfect excuse to travel back there. I wanted to take her out of her usual setting of NYC, so off she went to Chicago, on a train ride that definitely turned concerning. I had also picked up a few research books about Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison and I’ve been itching to create a character after those brilliant gentlemen. Norman Nesbit turned into that gentleman, although I have to admit that some of the science Nikola and Thomas used was way over my head. My son, the engineer, tried to explain it to me, but I believe at one point I might have been drooling, and not in the good way, but the bored way. That’s when Norman really began to develop because I thought it would be amusing to have a character who was passionate about his field of study, but most of the people he tried to share that passion with had no idea what he was talking about and always got a bit of a dazed expression in their eyes as he waxed on and on about double-electrical currents.

 

What fun facts did you uncover while doing research for “Storing Up Trouble” but weren’t able to fit into the story?

 

There was so much fodder for additional storylines just with the research I did on Marshal Field and his department store. Did you know that the main store in Chicago burned down doing the Great Fire of 1871 and…it burned down several times after that? Who knew? There was also a lot of drama surrounding Marshal and his partner for years, Mr. Levi Zeigler Leiter. They had different ideas about how the store should evolve, which resulted in Marshal forcing Levi to sell his shares of the company to him, at which point the store turned from  Field, Leiter, & Company to Marshal Fields Company. It was also interesting to learn that Mr. Fields was notorious for paying his workers low wages, but those workers accepted those wages because of the prestige that came with working at his store. If you worked at any other store, you were considered common, but to work at Marshal Fields was a feather in your cap, even if you weren’t earning as much as you could have earned at another store.

 

What are quirky little things you keep on your desk?

At the moment, I have one little pig with googly eyes, one cow with googly eyes, and then another small pig that a reader sent me because she really liked Matilda in “A Match of Wits” and thought this little pig she found at a store was exactly what Matilda would look like.

 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Oddly enough, no, it never crossed my mind until Dominic was in third grade and we decided to write a book together after finishing this horrible series about this bird. That book was never meant for publication, but it did have me remembering that I had, at one point in time before I became a stay-at-home-mom, enjoyed using my brain. I started experimenting with different genres and learned everything I could about the publishing industry. It took me five years to find an agent, and then she sold “A Change of Fortune” to Bethany House, and I’ve been writing for them ever since.

 

Any words of advice for aspiring writers?

I get this question a lot, and I always answer by saying “Have an honest talk with yourself about what you really want to achieve with your writing.” It’s perfectly fine to want to write because you’re interested in turning it into a career. However, with that said, a writer needs to understand that writing and publishing are two different creatures. Publishing is a daunting business, and it’ll take a lot of perseverance to find success with it. With that said, if you have raw talent and are a story teller at heart, you should write all the time and do whatever you can to learn how to improve your craft.

 

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a new series right now – “The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency.” The first book, “To Steal a Heart” releases in November, 2020. It’s about Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who spent her childhood living on the mean streets in Five Points. She’s currently living in a boarding house on Bleeker Street in New York City, and when a fellow resident gets unjustly accused of theft, Gabriella, along with the other ladies living in the boarding house, take it upon themselves to try and clear her name. That’s the beginning of the Bleeker Street Agency, and hopefully the ladies will enjoy much success as the series continues.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope all of you get an opportunity to read “Storing Up Trouble!”

 

Wishing you all the best,

 

Jen

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, May 23

Godly Book Reviews, May 23

Robin’s Nest, May 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 24

Rebecca Tews, May 24

Texas Book-aholic, May 24

Novelscorner, May 24

Among the Reads, May 25

Inklings and notions, May 25

deb’s Book Review, May 25

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 26

Hebrews 12 Endurance, May 26

reviewingbooksplusmore, May 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 27

Losing the Busyness, May 27

For Him and My Family, May 27

Simple Harvest Reads, May 27 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 28

Inside the Wong Mind, May 28

Mia Reads, May 29

Read Review Rejoice, May 29

Betti Mace, May 30

Breny and Books, May 30

Blogging With Carol, May 30

Life of Literature, May 31

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, May 31

Emily Yager, May 31

Splashes of Joy, May 31

The Collaborative Press, June 1

Stories By Gina, June 1

Hookmeinabook, June 1

Blessed & Bookish, June 2

Older & Smarter?, June 2

The Artist Librarian, June 2

Blossoms and Blessings, June 2

Through the Fire Blogs, June 3

Beauty in the Binding, June 3

Mary Hake, June 3

amandainpa, June 3

Wishful Endings, June 4

EmpowerMoms, June 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 4

Pause for Tales, June 4

KarenSueHadley, June 5

Raining Butterfly Kisses, June 5

With a Joyful Noise, June 5

Hallie Reads, June 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the the grand prize package of all three books in the American Heiresses series and a $25 Barnes & Noble eGift 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/fb8f/storing-up-trouble-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Seeing Voices – A Review and A Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Seeing Voices

Author: Olivia Smit

Genre:  Contemporary Young Adult

Release Date: April 15, 2020

Skylar Brady has a for her life—until a car accident changes everything.

Skylar knows exactly what she wants, and getting in a car accident the summer before twelfth grade isn’t supposed to be part of the plan. Although she escapes mostly unharmed, the accident has stolen more than just her hearing from her: she’s also lost the close bond she used to have with her brother.

When her parents decide to take a house-sitting job halfway across the province, it’s just one more thing that isn’t going according to plan. As the summer progresses, Skylar begins to gain confidence in herself, but as she tries to mend her relationship with her brother, she stumbles upon another hidden trauma. Suddenly, she’s keeping as many secrets as she’s struggling to uncover and creating more problems than she could ever hope to solve.

 

Click here for your copy!

My Thoughts

As a homeschooling mother, I am always on the lookout for new books for my children to read.  So when I had the opportunity to read this book, I knew I wanted to read this book.  With interesting characters, a realistic storyline and more, I feel this book is one that needs to be read.

When Skylar becomes deaf as a result of an accident, life changes for her entire family and especially with her brother.  Nothing is the same for the family.  So they go to her aunt’s home only to find out her father’s sister (the aunt) has left the country.

Arranging for a job for Skylar at the library, her aunt creates opportunities for Skylar to have a normal experience as well as make friends with Cam and Ana. They have quite a few experiences that are told in ways that are realistic and make the reader want to continue reading.  The relationship between Skylar and her brother has incredible depth and caused me to react with relief when they are able to restore their relationship.

While Skylar does not feel like God cares about her, Cam and God Himself wnd up grabbing her attention.  I love how the author weaves the message of God’s grace and forgiveness throughout the story.  Ultimately, Skylar finds she needs a relationship with God.

I would love to read the “rest of the story” or at least more of the story for these characters.

So if you have young people in your life you are looking for a book for, or you enjoy reading Young Adult Christian fiction, check out this book for yourself.

I recevied a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

Olivia Smit loves baking, visiting small towns, and writing stories that face hard truth with hope and encouragement. Olivia has an Honours Specialization in Creative Writing, English Language, and Literature and lives in Canada with her family. Seeing Voices is her first novel. Learn more at https://oliviasmit.ca/

 

 

More from Olivia

Although “Seeing Voices” is not the first book I ever wrote, it is the first one that felt like it held a little piece of my heart. Skylar and her older brother, Mike, popped into my head one afternoon, both coping with the aftermath of a car accident in totally different ways. It took me ages to figure out what kind of story they belonged to, but right from the beginning I knew it would be a story about siblings and families, pain and guilt, and also (perhaps most importantly!) togetherness and love.
In so many ways, “Seeing Voices” was for me, before it was for readers. I wrote the rough draft when I was 18, fresh out of high school and still figuring out a few tricky situations within my own family. As I wrote about Skylar and Mike, I poured a lot of my own confusion and emotion into the pages, trying to make sense of my own feelings of responsibility, frustration, and ultimately, hope. Words from the book still float through my mind when I’m in certain situations, little reminders of lessons I learned once and need to hang onto with both hands.
I prayed my way through the writing process, trying (and failing) to find a story that fit with Skylar and Mike, who felt so much like real people. I prayed through querying, trusting that if God wanted this story out there in the world, He would find it a home … and if He wanted Skylar and Mike to be a story just for me, I would be okay with that, too. In so many ways this process has been a team effort, and I feel convinced that this isn’t my story, after all — it’s God’s, and I’m just doing my part to help tell it.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away the grand prize package of coasters and a book sleeve!!

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/fa00/seeing-voices-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Historical Fiction, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for The Socialite

About the Book

Book:  The Socialite

Author: J’nell Ciesielski

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: April 14, 2020

Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.

As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

As an English socialite, Kat and her sister Ellie had to live to a certain standard.  But when Ellie, the younger sister, flees to Paris and becomes a social secretary for the Nazis, something has to be done to bring her back to England.  Kat decides she is the one to do it.

I have to say I normally love reading historical fiction, and this book was no exception.  The characters and scenery came to life throughout the pages.  I did not care for the Nazis in any form or fashion.  Eric, Ellie’s love-interest, proves to be everything I despise about Nazis.

Barrett Andersen is training freedom fighters in France, and he is tasked with keeping the sisters safe and getting them back to England.  I think one of my favorite parts of the story was finding out about Barrett’s history and his family.  I also loved reading about the interactions between Barrett and Sir Alfred Whitford at the end of the story.

So if you enjoy reading historical fiction, check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

 

More from J’Nell

I blame Pinterest. Too many hours are spent chasing rabbit holes of glorious pictures of fashion from eras gone by, Highlanders in kilts, WWI ambulances, and fairytale castles. One day I was browsing something super important (or possibly escaping from the actual work I was supposed to be doing, er, we’ll never know) and stumbled across a black and white picture of six beautiful girls. Who are these lovely ladies? I wondered. A quick search brought up the Mitford sisters. Six gorgeous daughters born into an aristocratic English family, each girl with a different passion: Diana the fascist, Jessica the communist, Unity the Hitler lover, Nancy the novelist, Deborah the duchess, and Pamela the poultry connoisseur. Whoa. You know dinner time around their family table was interesting. How could such different personalities belong in the same family? What would you do if your sister got moon-eyed over Hitler??

Bam. An idea was born.

In the beginning, my little rebel Ellie was going to be a full-fledged Nazi ideology lover, but she quickly informed me that it wasn’t so much the Nazis or their crazy ideas she loved, but one man in particular. One twisted Nazi who had fallen completely under her spell, and she under his. The ideas of love can often be more difficult to break as Kat finds out when she tries to rescue her naïve sister. Luckily, she has a hunky Sottish bartender to help her while providing a few romantic intentions of his own. With everyone hiding past hurts and true identities, how will they ever hope to find the love they each long for when war rages under the bright lights of Paris? Guess you’ll have to read to find out 😉

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 22

Emily Yager, May 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 22

Back Porch Reads, May 22

Inklings and notions, May 23

Breny and Books, May 23

Stories By Gina , May 23

For Him and My Family, May 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 24

Connect in Fiction, May 24

Simple Harvest Reads, May 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 25

Life, Love, Writing, May 25

Livin’ Lit, May 26

Robin’s Nest, May 26

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 26

For the Love of Literature, May 26

Betti Mace, May 27

Maureen’s Musings, May 27

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 27

Genesis 5020, May 28

Book of Ruth Ann, May 28

Remembrancy, May 28

Read Review Rejoice, May 29

Quiet Workings, May 29

Mia Reads, May 29

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

deb’s Book Review, May 30

Older & Smarter?, May 31

Texas Book-aholic, May 31

Books I’ve Read, May 31

Batya’s Bits, June 1

Blossoms and Blessings, June 1

Splashes of Joy, June 1

Through the Fire Blogs, June 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 2

Moments, June 2

Pause for Tales, June 3

Andrea Carmen, June 3

Just Your Average reviews, June 3

To Everything There Is A Season, June 3

Fiction Aficionado, June 4

Lis Loves Reading, June 4

Hallie Reads, June 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a book and a book sleeve!!

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/fa09/the-socialite-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Grace Looks Amazing on You

Grarce Looks amazing on you image 1

    Book Description:

What if today is the perfect time to notice God’s grace in one another?
Women are so often weighed down by comparison, anxiety, and fear that the idea that grace could look amazing on them feels unbelievable. But all around us are flashes of grace, shining examples of God’s love.

Amy Seiffert says it’s the everyday moments that Jesus shines through: making time for a friend even when your to-do list is pages long; apologizing to your neighbor when you don’t want to admit you are wrong; opening the Bible when your soul feels hollow and empty.

Making the choice to accept God’s limitless love no matter what and reflecting it back to the world around you—friend, that’s when His grace looks amazing on you.

A perfect gift to affirm and encourage any woman, Grace Looks Amazing on You is a timeless Christian message packed with personal story and reflection, Scripture, and deep biblical truth. This 100-day devotional will help you change your perspective so you can confidently radiate the grace of Christ.

My Thoughts

This book contains 100 days of devotionals.  The cover of this book immediately caught my attention.  Each devotional includes a passage of Scripture, a personal story, and a grace reflection that includes either prayers or suggestions for prayers.  The Biblical truths inspired me and helped draw me closer to God.  This book would make a perfect gift or purchase for yourself.

Check out this video.

Click on the banner below to enter the giveaway.

Grace Looks Amazing on You - giveaway banner

  • #GraceLooksAmazingOnYou
Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Volition

Volition Banner

About the Book

Book:  Volition

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre:  Christian fiction, futuristic

Release Date: December 31, 2019

Print“I should have made that left turn at Tucumcari.”

It’s Doctor Who meets mail-order brides when “rescuers” from the future arrive to save Andi Flanders from a happy life with her loving family and fiancé.

Okay, so they meant to get her suicidal roommate, but hey. Mistakes happen, right?

And as far as Andi’s concerned, they can fix them—by sending her home.

However, when she learns what happens when she disappears from home, Andi has an impossible choice. Stay in the government-controlled futuristic world she despises and never see her family again or return to the twenty-first century and doom an innocent person to death.

Volition— Life and death decisions are so overrated.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

All of the books I had read up to this point by Chautona Havig, I have loved and thoroughly enjoyed reading.  However, I have to say I had a hard time finding my reading groove with this one.  A woman pulled from her present to the future, a man trying to pull a woman from what is the past to him in order to save her life and offer her marriage.  But when the wrong woman is brought to the future things get difficult.

But I have to say I am glad that I kept reading.  Andi is a Christian brought to a future time she does not want to be in, while James is not a Christian and has struggled to find his way with Andi.  The adjustment that comes from changing time periods and societal requirements and expectations made this story eventually capture my attention.

So if you want to read a book that examines what the future may look like, check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

 

 

About the Author

Havig_Chautona (1)Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

What Happens When You Explore Logical Progressions?

She used chopsticks. Me? I’m a fork kind of gal. But over plates of sesame chicken and fried rice, we hashed out what our NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) books would be. Every year, I challenged myself.  Once by writing drippy romance (Discovering Hope).  Once by turning a sermon into a story that wasn’t preachy (Argosy Junction). (psst… links are affiliate links—they provide a small commission at no extra expense to you!)

This time, I’d decided the challenge would include writing in the first person.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I don’t like the first-person perspective. As we tried to figure out what our plots would be, my friend added another challenge. “Do science fiction.”

I’ll be honest. I almost laughed her out of the restaurant. But then an idea hit me.  Why shouldn’t I?  I could kill two dislikes in one book.  Bam! Done!

That kicked off a book I probably never would have written otherwise.

I knew doing major techno-science stuff wouldn’t be conducive to trying to write 50,000 words in thirty days, so I immediately chose futuristic over space travel.  The decision to go with a form of time travel was probably inspired by Doctor Who, now that I think of it. I didn’t back then. I just went with what I thought I might be able to make interesting—to write, if not to read.

That kicked off an idea that sent my brain spinning.

What would happen if you got kidnapped and taken to the future, but returning to your former life means someone’s soul will never be redeemed?

Of course, it would take a really strong, amazing character to pull off that kind of thing. Not everyone could do it. But who… who give up her life for someone else?

That’s when I knew. That soul saved would have to belong to someone my character didn’t even like. Gotta raise the stakes, you know?

That’s also when I discovered that I wouldn’t like her—not at first.

Andi Flanders jumped onto the page with hands on hips and eyes flashing. She was livid that people in the future had interfered with her life. Then she’s broken when she realizes she can’t go back.

Fiercely independent, Andi enters futuristic Rockland with a critical eye and condemning spirit.  Since most sci-fi stuff I’ve seen focuses on sleek, pristine futures full of glass and steel, I wanted to go a different direction.  But how?

That’s when my solution came to me.

I’d take today’s world and push everything to logical exaggerated conclusions.

  • Environmentalism? We’ll have a world that tries not to encroach on nature any more than necessary
  • Population? I took China’s “one child” policy and made it worldwide… and then let the future deal with the fallout.
  • Globalism? I let them have their one-world government that protects everyone from themselves.
  • Apathetic faith? I didn’t persecute Christians. I just let their faith die a slow, natural death.

And then I threw in a character with a love for Jesus and a minor obsession with Ayn Rand’s objectivism.  Yes, I’m aware that those two things can be mutually exclusive. That was the fun of it.

This Rand-spouting, Jesus loving, freckle-faced, fiery redhead had to deal with all if this stuff in a world as opposite from her freedom-loving self as can stand.

Ninety-thousand words later, I was done.  And then I shelved the book.

For ten years.

On December 27, 2019, I got a message from my son.

He’d found a book cover design contest and wondered if he should enter.  And if so, with what book?  We hashed out ideas when I remembered Volition.  It wasn’t edited.  Done, but not edited.  Could I possibly get the whole thing cleaned up before December 31 rolled over into January 1?

I decided to try.

Nolan got to work on a cover while I began editing like nobody’s business.

With the help of my amazing launch team, an incredible editor, and no sleep, the book was live on New Year’s Eve with three hours to spare.

Then my son decided not to worry about entering this year.

He lives. This is a testimony to God’s grace and control over my life.  And my hands.

Or maybe it’s because he lives three hours south of me, and I’ve only seen him once since then. You don’t kill your son at your daughter’s wedding reception. Just sayin’.

But let’s go with the first reason. It makes me sound more spiritual or something. 😉

 

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, May 12

Wishful Endings, May 12

Lots of Helpers, May 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 14

Pause for Tales, May 14

Emily Yager, May 15

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 16

Robin’s Nest, May 16

Texas Book-aholic, May 17

Inklings and notions, May 18

Worthy2Read, May 18

For Him and My Family, May 19

Read Review Rejoice, May 19

deb’s Book Review, May 20

Rebecca Tews, May 20

Book of Ruth Ann, May 21

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 22

Blogging With Carol, May 23

Quiet Workings, May 24

Breny and Books, May 24

Artistic Nobody, May 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/f9f5/volition-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Taking Chances

About the Book

Book:  Taking Chances

Author: Melody Carlson

Genre:  Middle Grade

Release Date: April 15, 2020

Zoey knows her days are numbered. At least when it comes to remaining in Cedarville. So when Louisa coaxes her to be part of a garage band, Zoey tosses her insecurities aside to make music with her friends. And she even goes out for the basketball team. But what will happen when her mom shows up and pulls the plug on everything?

 

 

Click here for your copy!

 

My Thoughts

Having read the other books in this series, I was looking forward to reading this next installment.  Zoey learns the power of forgiveness and being a friend to some who hurt her in the past.

This book illustrates all the angst and drama that comes with being a “tween”.  Zoey learns to find her way through beginning a band with her best friend and two boys her best friend brings with her.  Zoey learns the importance of being open and honest both with her grandparents she is living with, her mother, and the people around her.

By joining the basketball team, she finds a place to belong and other people she can be a witness to of Christ’s love.  Moreover, she and her friends find their way to become more than themselves by reaching out to others who are hurting.

This book does an incredible job of illustrating Christ’s love for us and for those around us as well as forgiveness.

So check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

 

 

More from Melody

Sometimes I feel guilty for ‘torturing’ my teen and tween characters, but I do it for my readers. It’s not easy being an adolescent, and reading about someone who’s facing hard times is comforting. But in the final Zoey book, I really wanted to give her some victories too. So when challenges come her way, she stands up to them. And she even puts her newly found faith to work. The goal is for readers to feel hopeful about their own lives when they see Zoey rise above her tough circumstances.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, May 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 15

For Him and My Family, May 16

Inklings and notions, May 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 18

deb’s Book Review, May 19

Older & Smarter?, May 20

Vicky Sluiter, May 20

Remembrancy, May 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 22

Splashes of Joy, May 23

Christian Bookaholic, May 24

Blogging With Carol, May 24

Moments, May 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away the grand prize package of the full Being Zoey series!!

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/f9fd/being-zoey-taking-chances-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for illusions

Illusions FB Banner

About the Book

Book:  Illusions

Author: Jennifer Sienes

Genre:  Christian Contemporary

Release Date: April 28, 2020

Illusions eBook coverCorey Schaffer, pastor’s wife and mother of two teens, has spent her entire marriage subconsciously repenting for one reckless night the week before her wedding.

Upon discovery of Corey’s indiscretion, her 17-year-old daughter, Taylor, is in a car accident resulting in a weeklong coma, traumatic brain injury and memory loss. Corey is riddled with guilt and would like nothing better than to confess all to her husband, Paul. But how can she when his pastoral position is at risk, thanks to their son’s thoughtless act of rebellion the year before—an act Paul has yet to forgive?

Instead, Corey loses herself in the day-to-day work of Taylor’s rehabilitation and prays God will give her the courage to face the past. But when a disgruntled church member sees an opportunity for revenge, Corey must find the faith and strength to put her family first, even if it means walking away.

 

Click here for your copy!

My Thoughts

As I began reading this book, I quickly found myself caught up Corey and Paul and their two children.  Taylor discovers through a classroom experiment that she cannot be her father’s daughter.  As a result, she rushes out of the house and winds up in a car accident that completely changes her life when she winds up in a coma.

While Corey is keeping secrets from Paul, Paul is also keeping secrets of his own from Corey.  Meanwhile, their son is caught up in his own upsetting experiences.  The family struggles to keep everything together.

I love how Corey has her friend to seek refuge from the world to help her daughter.  Plus, she encounters another minister who provides guidance and wisdom.  Corey and Paul both learn that in order to forgive others they have to be willing to also forgive themselves.

The book also illustrates how one or two people out for revenge or to cause trouble can take a church to the brink of destruction.  I loved reading this book that shows the power of God and by offering forgiveness like Jesus offers us.

So if you are looking to read a book with an incredible storyline and a pwerful message, check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

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

 

More from Jennifer

Since I was twelve years old, I’ve been writing stories. I even wrote fan-fiction before it was a thing—a Happy Days episode, which I’m sure dates me. I took every creative writing class I could, starting in high school, and even declared journalism as my college major until I realized I like fiction a whole lot more than truth because I can create the characters any way I like.

 

However, my first attempts at writing emotionally charged novels fell flat; I hadn’t lived enough to truly understand what deep emotion felt like. Then life happened—a series of tragedies that made me feel I was more on par with Job than with Jesus. Someone wise told me that all writers must find the core of why they write—that deep part of us that God instilled in our hearts. What is it we, as writers, want to communicate to our readers? What I came away with was that we all need hope, especially in our darkest days.

 

Illusions was born out of a near-fatal car accident my daughter was in only weeks after her eighteenth birthday. It was walking through that accident with her that started the what if questions years later. What if an accident is the result of a mother/daughter argument? What if that argument was caused by something the mother did in her past—a deep, dark secret that even she cannot face? And what if that mother is held to a higher standard than most others? Say the wife of a pastor? And what if that pastor already has a black mark against him because of an act their other child (a boy) previously committed?

Would the congregation turn against him? We all know people in church who seek any opportunity to throw a wrench into things—that live with a big ol’ log in their eye, blinding them from the concept of grace.

To add to the tension (because, what’s the point of a story without it?), what if the accident caused a traumatic brain injury and the daughter remembers nothing? It may not be on par with Sophie’s Choice, but now a mother is torn between wanting her daughter to be whole again and hoping the deep, dark secret remains lost somewhere in the recesses of her mind.

Admittedly, the two children of Corey and Paul Schaffer (the main characters) are based loosely on my own children, Nicole and Christopher. It is so much easier to write what I can easily envision in my mind. And many of the challenges Taylor (the accident victim) faces were actually those my own daughter experienced. But that’s where truth and fiction part ways. So, Illusions started with inspiration, but God took it to whole new level. It’s one of the ways He uses the challenges I’ve faced in life to connect with readers and hopefully give them His inspiration and encouragement.

 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 13

Godly Book Reviews, May 13

Through the Fire Blogs, May 14

Genesis 5020, May 14

Emily Yager, May 15

Texas Book-aholic, May 16

deb’s Book Review, May 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 18

Inklings and notions, May 19

reviewingbooksplusmore, May 19

For Him and My Family, May 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 22

Older & Smarter?, May 23

CarpeDiem, May 23

Moments, May 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 25

Pause for Tales, May 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & 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/f9fc/illusions-celebration-tour-giveaway