Review and Giveaway for Starla’s Christmas Conundrum

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About the Book

Book: Starla’s Christmas Conundrum

Author: Carol E. Keen

Genre: Holiday Romance

Release date: July 5, 2018

In the greatest conflict of her life, can she figure out who to trust?

Starla Devaroux is at the peak of her music career. Life as a popular Christian music artist is good. This Christmas she finds herself at the crossroads of several life-altering choices. It’s quite a conundrum; the path she takes this time will not only define her future but alter the lives of others as well.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

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Living in Texas during the summer means dealing with hot weather!  So reading a Christmas book that includes mentions of snow and Gatlinburg, Tennessee provides the perfect escape.  For two years, I attended college at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  One of our favorite day trips was to Gatlinburg.  So I loved the primary setting of this story.

Starla, a Christian singer superstar, feels the need to escape from the stress of performing and more.  However, her manager (caring on the surface) wants Starla to keep performing and more.  From the beginning, I knew I did not like the manager.

However, when Starla meets the star of a Christian Rock Band, the two instantly connect.  The scenery in the story is described in breathtaking detail.  Having been to Gatlinburg myself, I felt like I was back there through the pages of this book.

The characters are well-developed as is the storyline.  This book is the perfect summertime read to escape the heat or the perfect book to read during the Christmas holiday season.  So check it out for yourself.

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

About the Author

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Carol E. Keen enjoys fresh coffee, hot tea, and a good book. She was published for several years in FAMA magazine (Freshwater And Marine Aquarium) as a contributing editor. She published her first book on CD, called Simply Seahorses.
She is the author of The Beauty Series and The Corandira Station, to name a few of her works. She currently resides in the South with her husband and family and spends her time writing, reading, working in photography, and being with her much loved critters.

More from Carol

This book started off in an anthology and now is its own ebook. Christmas and romance go well together, and so I set forth to create a book that could meet that challenge. When I started thinking about writing this, it made me want to use one of my favorite locations as the main setting for this book. When you read it, I hope you will feel like you had a mini-trip to that area. (It’s beautiful there!) I also wanted to include writing about things that I’m very involved in or know a great deal about. Music is one of those things. I hope you enjoy Starla and Mason’s story and the things that God brought about in their lives in this book.

Blog Stops

My Devotional Thoughts, July 6

Artistic Nobody, July 6 (spotlight)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 7

Godly Book Reviews, July 8

Retrospective Spines, July 9

Splashes of Joy , July 10

Simple Harvest Reads, July 10 (spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 11

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 12

Texas Book-aholic, July 13

janicesbookreviews, July 14

Through the Fire Blogs, July 15

A Reader’s Brain, July 16

For Him and My Family, July 17

Inklings and notions, July 18

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, July 19

Power of Words, July 19 (Spotlight)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away a grand prize of a $10 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/e53f/starla-s-christmas-conundrum-celebration-tour-giveaway

June Firefly Special for SchoolhouseTeachers.com

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Also, check out this press release for SchoolhouseTeachers.com on Faith News Wire.

Review and Giveaway for “The Number of Love”

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About the Book

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The Toughest Puzzle She’ll Have to Solve

Might be the Wishes of Her Own Heart

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

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The Number of Love is a story set in the time of World War II and includes the tales of spies, code breakers and more.  Margot De Wilde works diligently to crack codes.  Numbers and mathematical equations fly around in her brain through the blessings of God.  As someone who loves numbers and mathematics myself, I loved her as a character.

Drake Elton, a spy, meets Margot when bringing his sister Dot to apply for a job at the Intelligence office.  When he is injured and sent back to England, the two begin an unconventional courtship.

A cast of additional characters including nobility, an injured servicemember, a service member initially pulled unwillingly into the code-breaking office along with Drake and Dot’s Spanish grandfather, keep the story interesting and moving along.

I have to say  I would love to read more about these characters, but found the ending to be satisfactory.  So if you like historical Christian fiction, check out this book for yourself.

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

About the Author

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Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

 

More from Roseanna

When I told my best friend and critique partner what book I was pitching next to my publisher, her response was something along the lines of, “That sounds awesome. Also, you’re crazy, and I do not envy you writing that one.”

I laughed…and knew exactly what she meant. Because I was setting out to write a heroine who was a mathematician—which I am definitely not. A heroine who was utterly indifferent to love and marriage—which makes for a difficult story when one writes romance. A character who had an unshakeable faith—which has to be shaken at least a bit in order to make for growth throughout the story. And more, a character who has “issues,” let’s call it, that those familiar with such things will recognize…and which those who aren’t will probably think are quirks.

I was setting out to write a story that would be challenging for me, every step of the way. And the result is a book I’m incredibly in love with and so happy to share with the world.

The Number of Love is all about Margot, who thinks and even prays in numbers. Born and raised in Belgium, she and her family fled to England in 1914 when the Germans invaded her homeland. Thanks to her remarkable abilities with numbers and patterns, she’s now employed at Room 40, the Admiralty’s secret codebreaking branch. But as I was contemplating what sort of man could ever win Margot’s heart, I knew he had to be very different… someone active where she’s still. Someone outgoing where she turns inward. Someone who sees in her what she never can, and who believes she can grasp the dreams that society tells her are unbefitting a woman. This is how Drake was born—a field agent employed by Room 40.

I can honestly say this is the only book I’ve ever written that required me to borrow my daughter’s algebra book while I was writing it, LOL. And though every single scene was a challenge, it was one I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you’ll join me on the journey that Margot and Drake are on, which answer the question my husband cheekily asked more than once as I was writing it: what is the number of love?

 

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, June 17

Moments, June 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 17

Girls Living For God’s Glory, June 17

Back Porch Reads, June 18

The Avid Reader, June 18

Stories By Gina, June 18

janicesbookreviews, June 18

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 19

Inspired by Fiction, June 19

Worthy2Read, June 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 19

As He Leads is Joy, June 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 20

Blossoms and Blessings, June 20

Real World Bible Study, June 21

Multifarious, June 21

Emily Yager, June 21

A Reader’s Brain, June 21

Bigreadersite, June 22

For the Love of Literature, June 22

Simple Harvest Reads, June 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

She Lives to Read, June 23

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 23

Just the Write Escape, June 23

Genesis 5020, June 24

For Him and My Family, June 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 24

Inklings and notions, June 24

Life of Literature, June 25

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 25

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, June 25

Texas Book-aholic, June 25

Just Your Average reviews, June 26

Blogging With Carol, June 26

The Becca Files, June 26

Splashes of Joy, June 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of winner’s choice of TWO signed books, Fruit and Floral Flavors Sugar Shapes, and some Roseanna M. White swag!!

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/de86/the-number-of-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

Review and Giveaway for “Murder in the City of Liberty”

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About the Book

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Book: Murder in the City of Liberty

Author: Rachel McMillan

Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical

Release Date: May 21, 2019

Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren have a new case—and this one brings the war in Europe dangerously close to home.

Determined to make a life for herself, Regina “Reggie” Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.

Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he’s afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes that seem to link Boston to Hamish’s hometown of Toronto.

When an act of violence hits too close to home, Hamish is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

Click here to purchase your copy.

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This is the second book about Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, and as far as I remember I have not read the first book.  While I think it would be helpful to read Murder at the Flamingo first, I found myself able to follow along with the storyline fairly well.  This historical book, set in 1940 in Boston tells the tale of a set of private investigators.

This book started off a little slow for me, and I initially had a hard time staying interested.  However, at some point in the story, I did become more interested.  I am a fan of murder mysteries, so I really wanted to enjoy this one.  I felt like some details were focused on too much in the story, while other things I wanted to know about were brushed to the side.

The book centers around a case Hamish DeLuca and Reggie Van Buren are trying to solve involving Errol Parker, who plays for the Boston Baseball farm league. Errol has been subject to a series of what the local police state are pranks.   I loved the interactions of the characters -, especially between Hamish and Reggie.  Throughout the story, the crimes and adventures seem to increase.  The ending was fairly satisfactory to me. I have to say I really felt sorry for Vaughan, who was in love with Reggie and ultimately walked away from her since she realized she was in love with Hamish.

Dirk Foster was a character I was easily able to despise and want to see brought to justice.  Nate was a character, however, I found myself liking throughout the story – even when he was keeping secrets.

At times the story seemed to drag along, while at others it seemed to fly by.  All in all, I would recommend this book.

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

About the Author

McMillan Rachel

Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

 

Read the excerpt

Boston

April 19 40

There really never was a good time to drown. But this particular April had been unseasonably cold and promised spring long in coming. The slosh of the Charles River warmed by ribbons of June sun would have been preferable to the crusted sludge of leftover ice rimming the harbor, or so thought Reggie Van Buren as she bobbed up and down like a buoy.

A New Haven Van Buren ought to have perished an old, wealthy woman, tendrils of snow-white

hair falling around a satin pillow, comforted in the knowledge that she would be interred in

the family plot, her soul destined for paradise—not with water up to her nose, choking as it lapped in and out like a tide over her chattering teeth. But a New Haven Van Buren also might have had the propriety to insist upon the use of her given name and not the “Reggie” she so preferred. The Reggie she was just hearing now in a rather frantic yet familiar voice.

“Reggie!” Hamish DeLuca’s panicked voice reached into the hollow dome of her cement cave. “Reggie!”

“I was st-stupid. I s-slipped.”

She treaded poorly, her arms feeling like gelatin, her form rather lacking the swimming skills

she had learned informally alongside her family’s schooner on Regatta Day. Reggie strained to rise above the lapping water. She took turns treading and raising herself as high up on her toes as she could. Rotating and wondering why she failed to complete the ballet classes her parents enrolled her in as a child. Standing on tiptoe might have added inches to her height and allowed her to clear her mouth of the water. As it was, her calf muscles strained. She said something that came out in a series of bubbles before glugging, rising upward, and noticing for the first time how the fog from her icy breath rippled over the water. If she couldn’t understand herself,

how would he?

“S-slipped,” she said again, trying to make him out in shadow. “H-Hamish.” She tried again. Funny, usually he was the one with the stutter. Hamish DeLuca with the stutter and the bit of a handshake and that one pesky dimple and those big blue eyes. Her own eyes fluttered. Maybe she would never see him again. She would just slip under the water and rest her heavy eyelids. She blinked until a stream of torchlight buttered the dark walls, crystallizing the percolating water drips around her, and then the figure of her rescuer, whose blue eyes looked even more brilliant than usual in the eerie glow of the flashlight.

Hamish dropped to his knees. “Take my hand.”

“This didn’t turn out as I expected,” she chattered.

“Reggie, we don’t have much time.” His voice rippled as he looked frantically at her and then over to the grille she had stared at since she got into the mess, watching the water level rise and fall and rise and fall until it made her dizzy. She clung to his hand a moment.

“We should have gone with plan B.”

Hamish growled. “We didn’t even have a plan A.”

“You’re my hero, Hamish.” She patted his hand with her icy one. “It was so nice of you to come.”

“Reggie, just take my hand.”

“I’m stuck!”

“What?”

“M-my shoe.”

Hamish said something she was altogether certain she had imagined in her half-frozen and very soggy state. And then, of course, he recklessly jumped in to get her.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, June 11

Simple Harvest Reads, June 11

The Power of Words, June 12

amandainpa, June 12

As He Leads is Joy, June 13

Fiction Aficionado, June 13

Through the Fire Blogs, June 14

Carpe Diem, June 14

Moments, June 15

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 16

Have A Wonderful Day, June 16

Cordially Barbara, June 17

Rebekah’s Quill, June 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 18

Hallie Reads, June 18

Bigreadersite, June 19

Connect in Fiction, June 19

Blogging With Carol, June 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 20

For Him and My Family, June 21

Remembrancy, June 21

Pause for Tales, June 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 22

Godly Book Reviews, June 23

Texas Book-aholic, June 23

janicesbookreviews, June 24

A Reader’s Brain, June 24

Inklings and notions, June 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize of both book in the 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/e513/murder-in-the-city-of-liberty-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

SchoolhouseTeachers.com June Firefly Special for June 1-28

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Review and Giveaway of Past Forward by Chautona Havig

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About the Book

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Book: Past Forward

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Suspense

Release Date: April 19, 2017

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

The Finley women’s lives, while rich and full, aren’t easy. rejecting electricity and many other modern conveniences, they live purposefully and intentionally–alone and isolated from the world around them.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother dead.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

The Past Forward series opens with Willow’s life-changing discovery and gently guides the reader through aspects of her life–the past weaving through the present and into the future. Experience her first morning in church, her first movie, and the culture shock of her first trips to the city. A birthday party and a street faire add welcome diversion from butchering, canning, and the beating of area rugs. Disaster strikes. Will she choose to continue her simple life, or will an offer in the city change it all? Find out in this first volume.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

For quite a while, I have enjoyed reading books by Chautona Havig.  She creates memorable characters, believable plot lines, and pulls her readers into the worlds of her stories.  And Past Forward is no exception.  Imagine growing up with only your mother around, never really using electricity or other modern conveniences including a phone.  So when Willow’s mother dies unexpectedly Willow finds herself thrust into a world she cannot relate to and is content to basically keep going in the same way she has always done them.

Chad Tesdall, as a law enforcement officer, finds himself given the task of taking Willow’s report about her mother’s death.  Then he finds himself unexpectedly being thrust into the role of protector and more for Willow.  He finds himself drawn into her life through no effort on his part.

I love the simplicity of Willow’s life.  The journal’s of Willow’s mother create a memorable and interesting look at Willow’s childhood.  Personally, I would love to be able to actually hold the journals in my hand and read them in their entirety.

As Willow experiences many firsts, both of doing things herself at her home and by attending places like church and going to the city, Willow’s world expands in many ways and yet also stays the same.  She is unwilling to compromise what she believes in and what she holds true.  Chad provides the perfect support, encouragement, and strength Willow needs.  Watching Willow grow and come into her own makes this book worth reading.  But watching Willow and Chad’s relationship grow makes it even better.

So if you want a story that does not dwell on traditional modern life, but instead offers a glimpse of what a simpler life could look like, check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of the audiobook for this for my fair and honest review, and I have to say, the audiobook is fantastic.

About the Author

Chautona

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 on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

HOW DID MY WEIRD HIGH SCHOOL YEARS INSPIRE THIS BOOK?

December 1985. The time had finally come. After two months of living in a run-down motel in Rosamond, California, we were finally moving to our own place. Seventeen miles away.

Just off Highway 58, outside Mojave, California (about the place that Alton Gansky’s, Distant Memory opens), a huge billboard loomed. For the curious, it’s still there today. Aqueduct City.

For the record, there was no city. There still isn’t. Just a dirt road or three. Oh, and the aqueduct. In fact, that’s eventually how we got our water—stole it from the California aqueduct.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At the edge of all those parcels lay our new land. Twenty-two acres of desert sand, creosote, sage, and a tiny, baby Joshua tree at the end of our long, U-shaped dirt driveway.

I took out that sucker with my first attempt at backing down the drive. It looked like a snake had slithered back and forth across the sandy strip of cleared dirt, and somehow I managed to run over the foot-high tree. It wasn’t often I managed to shock my mother speechless. That was one time. I now have mad back-upping skills. Thought you oughtta know.

On that land, my parents put an 18’ travel trailer.

We hauled in water in 55-gallon drum barrels—first from a friend’s house and later from that aqueduct. It was several miles closer. One of those barrels ended up on top of the trailer for showers. The water pressure depended on how full that sucker was. Navy showers? Ever had one? It goes like so:

  • Turn on water.
  • Make one slow turn under the water to get all wet.
  • Turn it off.
  • Lather up.
  • Shampoo hair.
  • Turn on water.
  • Turn off.
  • Work conditioner into hair.
  • Turn on water.
  • Turn off.
  • Get out.
  • Try to stop your teeth from chattering.

For the record, that chattering is no joke. When it’s twenty degrees out there, water gets cold. And we had no way to heat it.

Our plumbing also included a shovel. For… um… other plumbing needs. Winter was the worst and the best time for the call of nature. Worst because, well, 40 mph winds and twenty-degree weather. Best, because no snakes.

We used Coleman propane lanterns, a propane refrigerator (that sat outside our door), and eventually, a gas-powered generator. Once a week, Dad would fire that thing up so I could iron my church clothes. #darkages

For the curious, summer was blistering hot.

No fans (except for stiff cardboard we used arm-power to operate). No air conditioner. Not even a swamp cooler. Mom and I would go into town and read at the library when we just couldn’t take another minute in 112-degree desert heat. She’d drive me to Lancaster so I could go sit in an air-conditioned movie theater and watch another movie. If it came out in 1986 or 1987 and wasn’t pure smut, I probably saw it. Out of self-preservation.

Before long, I’d been relegated to the “porch.” That consisted of a redwood lattice “patio” enclosure in front of the trailer door. (For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I was the dictionary definition of “trailer trash” in some people’s books.) That space was eight feet wide and sixteen feet long.

I had a twin bed out there. When winter came, dad made sleeping out there more bearable by heating huge rocks in one of those 55-gallon drum barrels and wrapping them in old quilts. That went at the foot of my bed to keep my feet warm.

If only the wind hadn’t blown sand into my hair every night…

What does all of this have to do with Past Forward?

Just this. People have often asked why Willow would choose to live without electricity. Some have said you couldn’t live only five miles outside of town and be so isolated and reclusive.

I disagree.

We did it. By choice. Because it’s who my father is. And of all of my characters, Kari Finley, Willow’s mother, is the most like my father. The way Kari taught Willow? That’s exactly how Dad used to teach me—by making it a natural part of life.

I didn’t know it when I wrote the series, but Past Forward really does show exactly what kind of life my father would have chosen to live if he’d ever really considered it. The self-sustaining work, the emphasis on beauty, the isolation—all of it shows the kind of man I call Dad.

If you’d asked me as a kid what I thought of living out there in Mojave, I would have said I hated it. Not only that, I would have believed myself. But if you’d talked to me for a while, you would have figured out that I said that because I was expected to. No one thinks you’ll like living with almost nothing, in the middle of nowhere, especially as a teenager.

Looking back, though, I actually I liked it. Dad. Mom. Me. And Boozer, our dog. I’d tell you about her, but that’s a story for another day. Yeah, I liked my life there “out on the property,” as we called it.

Except for the Mojave green rattlesnakes. Not a fan of those. Not then or today.

Just sayin’.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, May 15

A Reader’s Brain, May 15

Godly Book Reviews, May 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 17

Blogging With Carol, May 18

Inklings and notions, May 18

Bigreadersite, May 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 19

All-Of-a-kind Mom, May 20

Texas Book-aholic, May 20

Aryn The Libraryan, May 21

Quiet Workings, May 22

Retrospective Spines, May 22

Inspired by Fiction, May 23

Carpe Diem, May 24

For Him and My Family, May 25

janicesbookreviews, May 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 26

Rebekah’s Quill, May 27

Inspiration Clothesline, May 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes a complete paperback set of Past Forward & a custom Past Forward Lavender Lemonade candle!!

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/e319/past-forward-celebration-tour-giveaway