Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

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Maybe because our family lived in Texas for several years, I was interested in reading this book.  A CIA agent becoming an Evangelical preacher caught my imagination.  As I began reading this book, I quickly found myself caught up in the storyline.  The characters grabbed my attention.  Truth has its place and trying to find it can lead to unintentional consequences.  This book is the second in a trilogy and I definitely recommend reading the first book before reading this one.

Family members can complicate the romantic lives of other members, and Christine and John find this out.  I am looking forward to reading the last book in this trilogy to find out how things end.  So check it out for yourself.

 

An Interview with Andrew Huff,

Author of Cross Shadow

All journalist Christine Lewis wants is the truth. There’s always more to the story, and she can’t rest until she uncovers it. All pastor John Cross wants is to avoid the truth. Given his prior life, he thinks hiding the truth can protect those he cares about. A journalist out for the truth and a pastor avoiding it sounds somewhat backward, but that’s where Christine and John find themselves in Andrew Huff’s Cross Shadow (Kregel Publications), the second installment of the Shepherd Suspense series.

When Christine hears that her stepbrother has been arrested for murder in Texas, she vows to get to the bottom of the crime and prove his innocence. Christine wants to investigate on her own, but when John arrives, they team up again to discover the truth about the crime. Untangling a web of intrigue, the couple finds themselves in the center of another dangerous situation and in trouble far deeper than they expected. A chain of events reveals a bigger conspiracy than either could have imagined involving a robotics defense contractor, a private military company, and an assassination plot.

With an assassin on the loose, a trusted colleague acting as a double agent, and unreliable artificial intelligence connected to mercenaries who have Cross on their hit list, these two may not get out of the Lone Star State alive. In the face of danger, will John’s former instincts kick in? Will he turn back to his old ways?

Q: For those who may not have read A Cross to Kill, tell us a little bit about John Cross and his past.

CIA assassin John Cross found himself at a crossroads in his life during a covert operation in Spain. He walked in on a Catholic Mass at a historic cathedral while tracking his target and couldn’t help but get caught up in the majesty of the building. Instead of fulfilling the requirements of the mission, John found an English Bible at a local bookshop and spent the night reading it. Convicted by his sin, he gave his life to Christ and resigned from the agency.

In an effort to pay penance for the targeted killings he was personally responsible for, John embedded himself in a small church community in rural Virginia and served the various needs of its members night and day. Impressed by his commitment to caring for them, and in need of leadership, the congregation offered him the chance to be their pastor. Thinking it might be another step toward paying the price of his past sins, he accepted, though he continues to hide the truth about who he used to be from the members of the church.

Q: How did John and Christine, the leading lady of Cross Shadow, meet?

On occasion, John would accept the call from the CIA to participate in rescue missions during his off time from serving the church. He was dropped into Amman, Jordan, on one such mission only to discover that the person he’d been sent to exfiltrate was Christine Lewis, a beautiful American journalist about to be executed by her captors. Using only a stun gun and his hand-to-hand combat skills, John stayed the execution and escaped with Christine. After he disappeared and all knowledge of his existence was denied, Christine made it her mission upon returning home to locate the man who saved her life.

Through a contact in Washington with mysterious ties to the intelligence community, Christine was given a hint to John’s true identity in the form of an address. She’s instructed to go there on Sunday, and when she arrived, she found John preaching a sermon in the small country church. John’s instinct was to run, but something caused him to trust her and reveal his story. Christine wanted to protect his secret, but forces beyond her control appeared, and she was caught in the middle as a choice from John’s past came back to haunt him.

Q: What are some of the relationship challenges John and Christine contend with? Why does Christine seem to be second-guessing their dating relationship?

Throughout the events of A Cross to Kill, John and Christine are drawn to each other like two magnets. After Christine gives her life to Christ, they decide to see if a dating relationship will work. What they find, however, is that neither is sure what such a relationship should look like as new believers. While the chemistry is still strong, their dates are consumed by John’s compulsion to train Christine in survival skills. Christine loves the small community of Rural Grove Baptist Church, but blossoming spiritual relationships and potential job opportunities keep her tied to New York City. Christine begins to wonder if her connection to John was anything more than an infatuation with his story.

While both are struggling to separate their identity from each other, the biggest challenge in their relationship comes from the lack of communication, both in the sense of the distance between them and also a lack of trust. John struggles to reveal more of who he really is for fear of driving Christine away while Christine struggles with planning her life around John for fear his plans might not align with hers. The tension in their relationship stems from their hesitancy to be truthful with one another when simply sharing their feelings would bring many of these struggles to light.

Q: Both John and Christine seem to have a problem with the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Why does this keeping popping up as an issue throughout the story?

John’s life prior to Christ was built on one lie after another, and he’s been oblivious to how that has continued to be the case, even in the wake of his conversion. For him, there’s also an objective to the lie, because he is convinced that he needs to deceive others in order to protect them. John thought his only lie was hiding his past from the members of his church when in reality he’s been lying to himself about who he is and what he should do about it. Finding forgiveness for the lives he took was only the first step of John’s journey toward becoming the new man God has called him to be.

Christine has less of a problem telling the truth and more of a problem obsessing over it. To her, there’s always more to the story, and she can’t rest until she uncovers it. Sometimes, however, she finds herself willing to bend the truth in order to get at the truth on something else. New to Christianity, Christine is still learning about the balance between grace and truth, too often erring on the side of the latter at the expense of the former.

Q: Without giving away too much, can you tell us about the situations they encounter this time around in Cross Shadow?

With the first story, A Cross to Kill, we were introduced to the characters and saw what happens when John’s cultivated small-town life clashes with the fallout from his previous career. For the second book in the series, I wanted us to spend more time with Christine and see how her past might draw them back into a world of danger. Only now she sees the world from a new perspective based on her relationship with John.

On her way to an interview with a new network, Christine spots a suspicious character on the subway who turns out to be a suicide bomber. With the aid of an off-duty NYPD officer, Christine “defuses” (not literally; John didn’t train her to do that!) the situation and is thrust into the spotlight a second time. As if that wasn’t enough, in the middle of it all she learns the shocking news that her stepbrother has been arrested for murder in Dallas, Texas. Christine vows to get to the bottom of the crime and prove his innocence. But when John arrives to shadow her, it starts a chain of events that reveals a far deeper conspiracy than either could’ve imagined involving a robotics defense contractor, a private military company, and an assassination plot.

Q: Christine is a national news reporter and in Cross Shadow has some opinions of her coworkers and how the network covers certain stories. What do you think her take would be about the current news of the day and coverage of events?

Before her kidnapping in Jordan, Christine felt at home among her colleagues at the network news division she works for. But upon her rescue and return, she can’t help but feel like most of the work happening in news is less about presenting truth and more about shaping it. I think she’d sense the same in the way news is covered currently, and she would be bothered by that. At the same time, she’s committed to the profession, and I think she would want to work to effect change from the inside.

When I created the character of Christine, I saw her as someone who went into the job believing she was an agent of change in the world, only to be stripped of her idealism by her captivity. Rather than turn cynical, the experience grounds her in reality and opens her eyes to the possibility that human beings can’t fix what feels broken about the world. That’s how her journey leads to John, then ultimately to Christ. She’s searching for something truly good and right. I think because of that, she’d be less interested in the sensationalism of today’s news and more in understanding the reality beneath the headlines.

Q: Trying to protect Christine from danger puts John in the middle of some moral quandaries. How does he handle himself mentally and spiritually in those situations?

The battle waging in John from the beginning is the tension between who he is now and who he was trained to be. His focus has been singularly placed on the act of killing. But what he’s suddenly faced with as he pursues a relationship with Christine and continues to serve as the pastor of his church is that the instincts drilled into him carry other moral prices as well. The more the situation in Dallas unravels, the more out of control John begins to feel with his own mental and spiritual status.

At the same time, he’s committed to protecting the innocent and preserving life, so he works to redirect his instincts to achieve those two goals. That’s what complicates his relationship with truth. If he’s convinced that what he’s doing is for the greater good, he’s quick to compromise on deception and manipulation. This is a struggle I have and have seen in others. By lying to ourselves about our intentions, we can sometimes make choices that are inconsistent with what we say we believe.

Q: Does John’s prior profession and the choices he made ever come back to haunt him?

Oh, all the time. The truth about the Central Intelligence Agency is that you never truly leave the Central Intelligence Agency. So, John keeps getting pulled back in, even when he says he doesn’t want to. The only problem is that he was really good at what he did. And not just the assassination part. Which begs the question: Should he go back? Was he only running from guilt when he decided to leave?

In Cross Shadow, we also examine his choice to accept the pastorate at his church despite being young in his faith and untrained for the ministry. From the outside looking in, he doesn’t seem like the best candidate to truly lead the church toward growth. Those were real questions that not only were present when I was writing the first book but have also been asked by readers afterward. I can’t wait for you to see how the story continues for him.

Q: What kind of research goes into writing about a CIA agent?

It does get tricky, especially when writing about members of the Special Activities Center (the CIA’s division for covert operations). The most important thing for me about writing these characters is to never make it feel like they’re learning any of it for the first time. Since we’re often in their perspective, there are certain actions they might take or things they might say that need to be second nature to them. That needs to be balanced with making sure the reader can follow along. This means I need to know my stuff!

A lot of my research comes from scouring the internet. (I’m sure the CIA knows how many times I visit their website.) But I also research movies and books too; other writers before me have done their homework, so I love to learn and be inspired by how someone else might have crafted the world of the United States Intelligence Community. A great book specifically on the CIA’s targeted killing programs is called Surprise, Kill, Vanish by Annie Jacobsen. It didn’t come out until 2019, so I didn’t have it as a resource for the first book, but I surprised myself with how accurately I was able to write some things with the then more limited knowledge about this particular aspect of the CIA.

Q: How long have you been working on the Shepherd Suspense series, and have you always wanted to write?

I worked on A Cross to Kill for several years beginning in 2014. The series didn’t start to take shape until two years ago after I signed with Kregel Publications for the book to be published. I originally wrote A Cross to Kill as a stand-alone novel, though I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t already thought about what I might do to continue the story with the characters. What I found most helpful in planning out the series was asking myself what lingering questions I had from the first story, and there were enough that the plots for the second and third books came relatively easy.

While I didn’t start attempting to write until I was an older teen, my passion for storytelling has been a part of my life from an early age. One of my favorite pastimes growing up was to tell stories using action figures (mainly to myself, but often with my brothers). I was also into art and would occasionally adapt those stories into drawings. I even made some short films based on stories I would write. In some ways, novels feel like a more recent addition to my repertoire of formats to tell stories in.

Q: What has been the biggest surprise for you as a new author following the release of your first book?

The biggest surprise has been the season following the release. I looked at the specific date of release as something akin to a movie’s opening weekend and expected there to be a lot of excitement over it immediately. I don’t know if you know this, but a book is very different from a movie, and while the release day was exciting, it’s been really fun to watch new readers discover the book over the months following its debut last October. I’m still getting reviews and messages about it (which is probably laughable for other authors to hear, but hey, I’m still new at this).

Another surprise has been how much I enjoy hearing the varied aspects of the book that different readers enjoyed. Of course, I know and love that each reader is their own unique person, but as an author, you are always trying to reach as vast of an audience as possible. And while many readers have let me know how much they love similar things, it’s been a lot of fun to hear the personal connection each individual has to certain themes or characters.

Q: What can readers expect from the final installment of the Shepherd Suspense trilogy, Right Cross?

A Cross to Kill featured a small-town setting with international intrigue. In Cross Shadow, I flip the script, and we get to go with John and Christine to a bigger city to solve a personal mystery. With Right Cross, both the locations and plot go big. I like to try and write the thrills of a Mission: Impossible movie onto the page with my novels, and the final book in the Shepherd Suspense series is the most M:I of them all.

At the same time, the characters have grown. They’re no longer wrestling with questions of identity and purpose. With a newfound confidence in their standing before God, they get a chance to be who they were ultimately created to be. And I’ve had so much watching that unfold. I can’t wait for readers to do the same!

Learn more about Andrew Huff and the Shepherd Suspense novels at http://www.andrewhuffbooks.com. He can also be found on Facebook (@huffwrites), Twitter (@andrewjohnhuff) and Instagram (@andyhuff).

Posted in Book Reviews

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez – A Review

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez

ABOUT THE BOOK:

We Are All Just Imperfect Believers

New release from songwriter Buck Storm described as literary Americana fiction filled with humor and heart

Grand Rapids, MI — If world events are getting you down and you’re ready for an escape, take a trip to Paradise, Arizona, via Buck Storm’s new literary fiction release, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez (Kregel Publications/July 21, 2020/ISBN: 9780825446375/$15.99). Storm admits his new book isn’t your typical faith-based novel. In fact, in his own words, he describes it as a bit funky, sometimes over the top, and rarely going where you’re expecting it to go.

When his wife, Angel, is killed in a head-on collision, Gomez Gomez feels he can’t go on—so he doesn’t. He spends his days in the bushes next to the crash site drinking Thunderbird wine, and his nights cradling a coffee can full of Angel’s ashes. It’s a form of slow, sure suicide, with no one for company but the snakes, Elvis’s ghost, and a strange kid named Bones. Gomez Gomez has always been a little (or a lot) out there, but the endless flow of alcohol sure doesn’t help.

“Gomez Gomez’s sad state of affairs is the result of grief, pure and simple. At least as pure and simple as grief can be, I guess,” Storm explains. “He’s heartbroken at the loss of Angel. For years he was a black sheep, traveling the rodeo circuit and making trouble. When he met Angel everything changed. Somehow—a miracle in his mind—she saw something good and fine in him. She picked him out of a group of men he felt inferior to. She loved him unconditionally. She showed him what love is, unconditionally. She also introduced him to God. Not in an overhanded way, but by living love out every minute of every day. When she dies, Gomez Gomez simply can no longer get his arms around reality. For him, an Angel-less world is not a world worth existing in.”

The world outside his makeshift shack doesn’t really concern Gomez Gomez until Sonny Harmon, who owns the car dealership next door to the vacant lot, wants the land to expand. Sonny wants Gomez Gomez gone yesterday, and in Paradise, Sonny’s money speaks. Because Angel was special to everyone, when Gomez Gomez won’t leave, the town squares up and takes sides.

Coming to Gomez Gomez’s aid is his once-close friend Father Jake Morales, who always seems to play it safe, haunted by memories of the woman he left behind, hiding his guilt, loss, and love behind a thick wall of cassock and ritual. When Sonny’s shady business dealings threaten both Gomez Gomez and the town, Father Jake, can’t just stand by and watch. But what happens when the rescuer is the one in need of saving?

“In books, the very best characters are the ones who are the most human. As Gomez Gomez and Jake discuss, ‘We’re all just imperfect believers,’” Storm muses. “In this novel, Father Jake has certainly run to the priesthood more as a place to hide than as a true calling. We find that out almost immediately. Not that he doesn’t do his best to honor the commitment, but life presses no matter how high a person builds their spiritual wall.”

Storm didn’t set out with a teaching theme or spiritual message in mind when he started writing; instead he let the story take over. However, that doesn’t mean readers won’t find God throughout the story. “As authors, artists, songwriters, etc., we all have soul- themes that will insist on finding their way into our work. They won’t be quiet. I love God. I love Jesus. I love His love. So, by nature (I hope) these things will find their way into anything and everything I produce, whether it be prose or song or even how I love my family and neighbors. If I’m honest in my work and let things flow out of my personal relationship with God, then His relentless pursuit will resonate in a reader’s heart in an authentic way.”

The first release in the Ballads of Paradise series, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is quirky, heartfelt, and deeply human. Lives and hopes collide in the town of Paradise, stretching across decades and continents in this epic story of forgiveness, redemption, and love.

The next installment of the series, The Sound the Sun Makes, releases in 2021 and tells the story of Early Pines, the big, loud, funny, long-haired, plainclothes police detective. Readers are sure to be in for another wild ride.
Advance Praise

“The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez solidifies Buck Storm’s place among the unique literary voices of our day. Infused with humor, imagination, and poetic beauty, Buck’s writing is an absolute delight. I’ve read all his books, and his characters have taken up permanent residence in my memory. They come back to me at unexpected moments and invariably leave me smiling. Anyone who travels into the wild, wacky, wonderful world of Gomez Gomez is in for an unforgettable adventure.”

~ Ann Tatlock, novelist, blogger, and children’s book author

“I’ve never read a phrase from Buck Storm that wasn’t time well spent―and worth reading again. A topflight storyteller, Storm pits his protagonist―an eccentric, homeless widower―against a powerful and wealthy small-town businessman. The engaging story has readers quickly joining the cast of funky supporting characters on the streets of Paradise, Arizona, grooving on creative plot twists and wondering if this hero-and-villain drama can ever be resolved.”
~ Randall Murphree, editor of AFA Journal

“From a small Southwest town to the island of Corfu, Storm’s quirky characters take us to a place where love, compassion, and redemption may seem out of reach but are always within our grasp. From a cameo from Elvis to a story within a story, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez becomes more than a metaphor. Is Paradise, Arizona, real? We can only hope.”
~ Bill Higgs, author of Eden Hill

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I have to admit that as I began reading this book, I initially had a hard time staying interested.  While the idea of the story captured my attention, the storyline itself just moved at a pace initially that could not keep me captivated.

I think my favorite character is Father Jake because he struggles with being a priest and being in love with Honey.  I can also empathize with Gomez Gomez over the death of his wife.  However, I have to say at some places I had to force myself to keep reading because I wanted to see how the story would end.

So check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About the Author:

Buck Storm

Buck Storm is a critically acclaimed author and musician whose stories have found friends around the world. His nonfiction work includes Finding Jesus in Israel and Through the Holy Land on the Road Less Traveled. Storm’s novels include The List, The Light, Truck Stop Jesus, and The Miracle Man. The latest, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez, launches his new series, Ballads of Paradise.

Storm and his wife, Michelle, make their home in North Idaho and have two married children.

Learn more about Buck Storm, as well as his writing and music, at buckstorm.com. He can also be found on Facebook (@buckstormauthor), Twitter (@buckstormauthor), and Instagram (@buckstorm).

Suggested Interview Questions

  • From the title alone, we can tell that The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is going to be a unique tale. How would you describe your new release?
  • Without giving too much away, tell us a little bit about the story itself. Who is Gomez Gomez?
  • Readers find Gomez Gomez at the beginning of the story in a pretty sad condition. He’s drunk, soon to be evicted from a

    pitiful shack, and talking to snakes. Can you share more about the driving force behind his alcoholism?

  • As much of a lead player in the story as Gomez Gomez himself is Father Jake Morales. He doesn’t quite seem like your

    typical priest. Is he?

  • Did Father Jake join the priesthood for the wrong reasons? Was he struggling with grief in a different way?
  • At the risk of sharing a bit of a spoiler here, why did you put a priest in the middle of a love triangle?
  • The phrase “just an imperfect believer” keeps popping up. Is anyone not an imperfect believer?
  • Friendships play a big role amongst the somewhat large cast of characters in the book. What are some of the lessons in

    friendship readers will see through the story?

  • There is literally a story within a story in your book. Why did you have Father Enzo share outtakes from his own attempt at a

    novel within the main story?

  • Is Angel, or at least her memory, somehow a symbol pointing to a spiritual takeaway for readers?
  • What message do you hope readers will find in The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez?
  • Can you give a tease of what readers can expect from the rest of the series?

To request a review copy of The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomes, to schedule an interview with Buck Storm, or for more information, please contact Audra Jennings, ajenningspr@gmail.com.

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Irish Encounter – A Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Irish Encounter

Author: Hope Toler Dougherty

Genre:  Sweet, inspirational romance

Release Date: May 7, 2015

Irish Encounter - FCAfter almost three years of living under a fog of grief, Ellen Shepherd is ready for the next chapter in her life, perhaps an adventure during a visit to Galway. Her idea of excitement consists of exploring Ireland for yarn to feature in her shop back home, but the adventure awaiting her includes an edgy stranger who disrupts her tea time, challenges her belief system, and stirs up feelings she thought she’d buried with her husband.

 

After years of ignoring God, nursing anger, and stifling his grief, Payne Anderson isn’t ready for the feelings a chance encounter with an enchanting stranger evokes. Though avoiding women and small talk has been his pattern, something about Ellen makes him want to seek her—and God again.

 

Can Ellen accept a new life different than the one she planned? Can Payne release his guilt and accept the peace he’s longed for? Can they surrender their past pain and embrace healing together or will fear and doubt ruin this second chance at happiness?

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

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As I began reading this book, I was quickly caught up in the story. Ellen Shepherd, a widow of 3 years, has left North Carolina to come Ireland in order to see her daughter and also to acquire yarn for her shop.  While sitting in a coffee shop trying to write, an elderly gentleman approaches her because she reminds him of his deceased wife.  The interaction between Seamus and Ellen is touching.

But when Seamus leaves, a new man barges into Ellen’s life and it will never be the same.  Initially, he lives up to his name of Payne.  He proves to be a pain to Ellen.  But she recognizes that sometimes God plants people in our path so we can share His Truth with them.

Payne and Ellen begin a relationship that becomes characterized by misunderstanding both on her side and his side.  This book demonstrates how it is important to ask questions when we do not understand or like what we see.

It also shows how an appointment by God can change a person’s life forever.

Olivia, Ellen’s daughter studying in Ireland, daughter my attention.  She obviously loves her mom and loved her dad and initially proves to dislike Payne, seemingly because he is not her father.  But over time, he is able to win her approval.

Another part that really caught my attention was when Ellen’s other daughter and her son Scott called Ellen in Ireland and wound up talking to Payne as well.  The love of the family for each other and the amazing group of friends the are surrounded by make this a story worth reading.  So check it out for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Hope DoughertyHope holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Forever Music is her fourth novel. Residing in North Carolina, she and her husband enjoy visits with their daughters and twin sons.

 

 

 

 

More from Hope

Inspiration Behind Irish Encounter

A few years ago, I was staring at the first day of the rest of my life. My oldest daughter was set to graduate high school in less than a month. Two years later, her sister would march right behind her, followed in two years by their twin brothers.

Life as I’d known it for the preceding eighteen years was about to change enormously.

Throughout my tenure as a stay-with-my-children mom, I’d written for publications—sporadically—but I had a portfolio of articles with my byline in print.

That May afternoon, I decided to write something for Guideposts, a magazine filled with inspirational, faith-filled stories. I’d just completed “The Life of Moses” with Bible Study Fellowship, and I envisioned sharing wisdom and insight gleaned from thirty two weeks of study.

I penned What I learned from Moses on the top line of a yellow legal pad. As soon as I wrote this fascinating title, I immediately began daydreaming—about Ireland, not Moses.

In my daydream, a woman in an Irish café scribbled in a journal. A little old man in a tweed vest approached her, introduced himself, and began talking about his late wife.  I saw the wooden buttons on his vest and the Irish cap clutched in his hands.  Suddenly another man, dressed in dusty safari clothes, appeared to the woman’s left, lounging at his table and eavesdropping on their conversation.

This scene interested me infinitely more than the Moses idea. I turned the page to a fresh sheet and wrote everything I saw and heard in that Irish coffee shop.

Irish Encounter began that day. I didn’t know it yet, but God did. I just hurried back every morning to my desk to see what happened next. Before writing, I’d recite Bible verses from the Moses study, like Exodus 3:12 “And God said, ‘I will be with you’” and Exodus 4:12 “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (NIV)

I’d pray for guidance and help, and then I’d travel to Galway.

God led me onto this writing journey with a lot of prodding and pulling and nudges toward those interesting characters. I’m thankful every day He did, and I hope readers will enjoy the trip to Ireland with Ellen and Payne, too!

Blog Stops

Batya’s Bits, July 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 28

Inklings and notions, July 29

deb’s Book Review, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 30

Genesis 5020, July 30

For Him and My Family, July 31

The Collaborative Press, July 31

Through the Fire Blogs, August 1

Godly Book Reviews, August 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 2

Older & Smarter?, August 3

Writing from the Heart Land, August 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 4

Reflections From My Bookshelves, August 5

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 5

Betti Mace, August 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 6

Locks, Hooks And Books , August 7

Maureen’s Musings, August 7

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 8

Pause for Tales, August 8

Just the Write Escape, August 9

Read Review Rejoice, August 9

Emily Yager, August 10

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, August 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour Hope 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/fe36/irish-encounter-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Tempting Tait – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Tempting Tait

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release Date: July 30, 2020

He chose to be a dad before he realized he’d need a wife, too.

When Tait took in an abandoned girl, he had no idea it would change his life.

Tait Stedtmann–accountant, fledgling do-it-yourselfer, and all-around nice guy. He’d been more than a little interested in Bentley Girard and had finally worked up the courage to ask her out. That was before that fateful day at the rest stop when he saw a girl shoved from a car and abandoned there.

She’s not like any girl he’s ever met, and now she’s given him an ultimatum.  Adopt her baby, or she’ll abort it.

Eden doesn’t think he’ll do it. She can have the abortion and move on with her life–far away from these creepy Christians in Fairbury.  But when Tait agrees, she finds herself keeping her word… and the pregnancy.

Nine months later, Tait is wracked by guilt as relief sets in when Eden leaves and terrified as he decides he can’t do this daddy thing alone. Bentley figured out how to make marriage happen for her.

Would she help him, find someone, too?

Tempting Tait is the second in the Marriages of Conviction series.

 

Click here to purchase your copy of the book!

 

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Sometimes doing what Jesus actually would do means we do something different from what others would have us to do.  When Tait encounters a young woman shoved from a car and abandoned.  He does what Jesus would have done.  He takes the girl to the hospital, gets her the care she needs, buys her the things the needs, and allows her to stay with him once she is released.

If you were given the ultimatum to adopt someone’s baby or she will abort the baby, what would you do.  I would have done exactly what Tait did, which is say I’ll adopt the baby.  Two different times in our marriage, my husband and I were approached about letting someone come stay with us, and both times we said yes.  But God deemed we were not the right people at the right time for those individuals.  But we gladly would have given them a safe place to call home.

Having read Bentley’s story about her marriage of conviction, I was glad we get to see more of her and her husband in this story.  I think that is one of my favorite things about Chautona Havig’s writing.  She takes characters and tells their stories, but then if it is a series, those same individuals pop back up an grab your attention.  Or you meet someone who plays a minor role in a book, and they eventually get their own book that captures your imagination.

I love the interactions, Tait and Bentley have now that Bentley is married.  When Tait starts talking about finding someone to share his life and baby with him, Bentley knows just the person.  Sometimes marriages of conviction based on God’s Word can lead to the greatest blessing.

I absolutely adored how Tait has his own secret life and the way the family of his future bride is weaved into the story.  Someone she seems to be exactly who Tait needs. So I advise checking out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

About the Author

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

 

 

 

More from Chautona

How One Man Turns A Mess into a Miracle

It’s been ten… maybe fifteen years since Eden Pohl waltzed into my brain and settled in. Despite my focused attention on other books, her taunts never strayed far from my hearing.

If you really believed what you say about abortion, you’d tell my story.

You just don’t want to have to write the messy stuff.

Ouch. Worst of all, she was wrong.  And she wasn’t.

I don’t mind attacking the hard things when it’s the right time, but I only had half a story. I knew what would not happen but not what would.

So, she languished there in what is probably the longest pregnancy in fiction.

After my friend, Sandy, killed my dreams of combining Tait and Bentley’s stories and added Tait’s (and therefore Eden’s) into a series, things clicked.  Duh. Tait would need a wife. Being a single parent is hard. It isn’t how God designed things, you know? We’re supposed to have help.  A spouse, extended family, the church.

But sometimes things don’t work in this fallen world.  Sometimes we find ourselves parents—even by choice—without the daily support of another parent. Not only that, sometimes our own parents aren’t in a position to be able to help. Age, illness, or distance can remove us from the God-given networks we should have and don’t.

Finally, our decisions sometimes cause us to isolate ourselves even from God’s family, and the result can mean we don’t have that help that we otherwise would.

One verse came to mind over and over when I planned out the rest of Tait’s story. 

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Sometimes the words tried to transform themselves into, “It is not good for a father to be alone, so God will find him a helper parent suitable…”

And I had to silence that voice.

First, because we don’t just change Scripture to suit our purpose. Or rather, we shouldn’t.

Second, because that’s even more out of order than having a baby before marriage.  It happens sometimes—sometimes by choice, as in Tait’s situation. However, the healthiest marriage will usually put a strong emphasis on the marriage relationship first (after the Lord, of course) and then focus on the children.  Why? Because it is best for the children if their parents are in unity. Children find security and strength in knowing their parents love and are committed to each other.

So many times, I started to put that emphasis in the wrong place struggled to get it right. Then one day I realized that this was the very thing I needed to do.  Show that struggle.  I needed to show that Tait’s focus was wrong—that he created problems he could have avoided simply by being a good daddy… but also by being an even better husband.

I hope you’ll enjoy Tait’s story, and I pray that his heart for the unborn will touch your life in a real and tangible way.

Blog Stops

Batya’s Bits, July 29

Godly Book Reviews, July 29

Among the Reads, July 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 30

Texas Book-aholic, July 31

Book of Ruth Ann, July 31

Inklings and notions, August 1

Cultivating Us, August 1

For Him and My Family, August 2

Read Review Rejoice, August 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 3

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 4

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 4

Aryn The Libraryan 📚, August 5

deb’s Book Review, August 5

Older & Smarter?, August 6

Back Porch Reads, August 6

Through the Fire blogs, August 7

Daysong Reflections, August 8

Pause for Tales, August 8

She Lives To Read, August 9

Spoken from the Heart, August 9

Artistic Nobody, August 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 10

Lots of Helpers, August 11

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

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of Tempting Tait and an original watercolor of “Tait’s Wedding”!!

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/fe37/tempting-tait-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Direct Threat – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Direct Threat

Author: Kimberly Rose Johnson

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: June 1 2020

One little girl.

Two bodyguards.

Only one chance to guard their hearts.

Protection Inc. co-owner, Carissa Jones, an ex-cop turned bodyguard, has one goal—keep her young client safe. When her business partner brings in a new guy to help, she discovers her heart desires more. Can she still do her job and follow her heart without compromising her client’s safety?

Marc Olsen, a former Military Police officer, struggles to find his way as a civilian. He agrees to help out an old friend for the summer. He gets more than he bargained for when he’s assigned to work with the feisty co-owner of Protection Inc.

When sparks fly faster than bullets, will the bodyguards be distracted from their task, or will they work together as an even stronger team?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

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A child in danger, parents who want their child protected, a company that provided protection come together to make a spellbinding story.  Carissa Jones is a bodyguard and along with her partner Frank, she works to keep her client safe.  But Marc, Frank’s friend/brother enters the picture, and sparks begin to fly between Marc and Carissa.

A friend of Marc’s enters the picture and causes more questions than answers about why he is actually there.  Carissa’s childhood friend Julie keeps coming around, but does not set off red flags.  Yet the team knows someone is after Olivia.

Olivia demonstrates all the headstrong tendencies of a 9-year-old who is too smart for her own good.  Initially kept in the dark about what is going on and why Carissa is there because of Olivia’s parents, Carissa comes to the point where explaining to Olivia why she is really there is the only option.

Linda, the girl’s grandmother, resents the intrusion in her home, to begin with of the security team.  But based on certain things that happen, she recognizes the need for them to be there.  The love Linda and her husband have for their granddaughter shines through pages of the book.  I would love to read more books about this team of bodyguards.  I have a feeling there is a lot more stories to be told.

This book illustrates the power of faith and family.  So check it out for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

 

 

More from Kimberly

Direct Threat is the first book in the Protection Inc. series. The series follows a group of bodyguards who are all either former cops or military police. They are on location in Lincoln City on the Oregon coast in book one, but their business is based out of Seattle.

 

I’ve been to Lincoln City more times than I can remember, but I took a research trip there with my husband, specifically for this book.

 

While in Lincoln City my husband and I walked the same beach my characters walk. I studied the access points to the cliffside homes from the vantage point of the beach, as this was an important aspect in the story. We also visited the ice cream shop mentioned in the book. You’ll understand significance of the shop when you read the story.

 

My writing career has taken some twists and turns. When I first began writing in 2006 I wrote romantic suspense. Then switched over to writing contemporary romance, which turned out to be the genre of my first contracted book and many more after that. After writing several romantic mystery novels for my publisher, I decided to dust off my romantic suspense manuscripts and publish them. Direct Threat is one of those manuscripts.

 

I absolutely love reading and writing suspense as well as romance, so joining the two together comes naturally for me. I hope you will read and enjoy this story.

 

You can learn more about Kimberly Rose Johnson and her books at https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, July 25

deb’s Book Review, July 25

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 26

A Baker’s Perspective, July 27

Texas Book-aholic, July 28

reviewingbooksplusmore, July 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 29

Because I said so – adventures in parenting, July 29

Quiet quilter, July 30

Inklings and notions, July 31

Maureen’s Musings, July 31

For Him and My Family, August 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 2

Read Review Rejoice, August 2

Daysong Reflections, August 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 4

Batya’s Bits, August 5

Mary Hake, August 5

Simple Harvest Reads, August 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Betti Mace, August 6

Just the Write Escape, August 7

Blossoms and Blessings, August 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kimberly is giving away the grand prize of 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/fe34/direct-threat-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fantasy, Uncategorized

The Seer – Review and Giveaway

The Seer Celebration Tour

About the Book

Book:  The Seer

Author: Erin R Howard

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release Date: February 27, 2018

FC-The-Seer---LargerViktor has one order to follow:
Kill the girl before her eyes are opened.

For thousands of years, his job has been to torment and kill seers: humans that have the gift of seeing the spiritual realm. So it was no surprise when his brother Matthias was once again sent to stop him and protect the girl.

Now the last of the seers’ bloodline hangs in the balance, as the estranged demon and angel brothers are forced to work together to save a girl’s life and escape to the sanctuary city of Bethesda.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

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If you enjoy YA Fantasy, you should check this book out.  Viktor is a demon with one mission to kill the last Seer before she realizes who she actually is and what she is actually capable of doing. His estranged Matthias is an angel who also has one primary job – to keep the last Seer alive.

This story of brothers against brother is not a new one, but when they are forced to work together in order to save the Seer and Viktor’s life at the same time, this book takes the reader on an interesting journey.

Viktor has come to realize he made a mistake when he fell from grace and wants to end his life of torturing and killing people.  Matthias has to recognize he needs to help his brother in order to get all of them out of Bethesda – a sanctuary city.

The world-building in this story makes it one worth reading.  I loved reading Thea and watching as she comes to recognize she is able to see the Spiritual Realm.  It shows the effects secrets can have on a family.  If Thea has known about her gift earlier she wonders what her life would have been like

Truly this book illustrates the ramifications of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven and the battle between good and evil.  So if you like Young Adult Christian fantasy, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

About the Author

 

Erin R. Howard is a Developmental Editor, YA Urban Fantasy Author of The Kalila Chronicles, and has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. When she’s not writing, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, fueling her craft addictions, and teaching writing workshops. Erin is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the KenTen Writers Group. She resides in Western Kentucky with her husband and three children.

 

 

More from Erin

If I’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s that I’m still not a fan of change. It’s always been hard for me to transition from what I know, to the unknown, and then find a new normal. Let’s be honest. Stepping out of our comfort zone isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to challenge and stretch our faith. And as a result of stepping out, we hope that we will learn and grow.

I love messy characters, because life is messy, and it doesn’t always work out the way we expect. It’s full of changes and situations. The characters in my series, The Kalila Chronicles, are no different. Each character has unique challenges. For some, they didn’t ask for change, and for others, they are stepping out on their own.

Here’s a little bit more about The Seer. The first book in The Kalila Chronicles:

For thousands of years, Viktor has carried out his orders from Lucifer faithfully. But after a recent demotion in rank, he has grown weary of the bloodshed. His latest order is to kill Thea, a seventeen-year-old Seer before her gift manifests, and she can see into the spiritual realm. However, his estranged angel brother, Matthias, intervenes on his plans. Seeing this as his way out, Viktor proposes that in exchange for leaving Thea alive, Matthias must escort him to the sanctuary city of Bethesda. Although, getting through the portal isn’t as easy as Viktor thought, and now he has to work with Matthias to protect the very girl he was ordered to kill.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 21

For the Love of Literature, July 22 (Author Interview)

Rebecca Tews, July 22

Through the Fire Blogs, July 23

Inklings and notions, July 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 25

Just the Write Escape, July 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 27

Artistic Nobody, July 28 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, July 28

For Him and My Family, July 29

Wishful Endings, July 30 (Author Interview)

April Hayman, Author, July 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 2

Emily Yager, August 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Erin is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Seer, a Behind the Story Booklet of The Seer, and a $25 Amazon 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/fe2f/the-seer-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Still Small Voice

About the Book

Book:  Still Small Voice

Author: Allen Brokken

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Release Date: July 24, 2020

The Still Small Voice Leads the WayStill Small Voice - ebook (1)

Because of their faith, twelve-year-old Lauren and her younger brothers, Aiden and Ethan, prevailed in the battle for the Tower of Light. But their victory did not stop the Dark One. Darkness continues to spread across Zoura’s frontier.

Now, in a vision, Mother tells them to light a second tower in Blooming Glen. Before they can set out on their journey with the Knight Protector, their Uncle arrives with a different set of instructions. He doesn’t trust the Knight Protector or the Mighty Mercenaries and believes the children should go to grandma’s house instead.

Unyielding in his belief, Uncle unknowingly leads the children off their path. And a misguided acolyte follows them. Lurking in the shadows, he strikes at every opportunity as the dark forces prepare to descend.

Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan are Zoura’s last defense. Can they convince their Uncle of the truth—that he must listen to the still small voice—and make it to Blooming Glen before the Dark One’s forces overtake them?

 

Click here to buy your copy!

 

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Still Small Voice is the second book in the Tower of Light series that chronicles the adventures of twelve-year-old Lauren and her younger brothers, Aiden and Ethan.  These three children are still on a quest to find their parents and overcome the darkness threatening their land.  These three children with their animals with gifts along with weapons such a sword courageously put on the “Armor of God” to do what is right in God’s eyes.

With the help of the their uncle and the Knight Protector, they face danger head on through the power of the Holy Spirit.  At times I wondered about the uncle’s intentions, but by the end of the book I appreciated him as a character. This book illustrates how if we take the time to concentrate and listen, we are able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit guiding us in the right path.

At the same time, evil lurks around us because of the fall of man with Adam and Eve.  We need to overcome the power of darkness and step into the power of the light.  When we truly reflect God’s glory those around us who do not believe initially may step into the light themselves.

So if you enjoy fantasy novels, check out this book for yourself.  It is definitely worth reading.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Allen Brokken is a teacher at heart, a husband and father most of all. He’s a joyful writer by the abundant grace of God. Follow his endeavors @towersoflight, @twodadsandajoke, and http://www.brokken.net. Your children can grow their own faith and love of God by following the adventures of Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan (plus their pets!) at instagram.com/towersoflight.

 

 

 

 

More from Allen

Still Small Voice is the much anticipated 2nd book in the Towers of Light series.  We will be launching the book with a Celebrate Lit tour on July 24th.  Come on the tour to learn about some of the places author Allen Brokken visited to research the unique frontier setting for the series.  Five of the tour stops are interviews where he shares what he learned at different historical locations as well as his inspiration for the second book which focuses in listing for the Holy Spirit’s still small voice.

As defenders of the light, three children embark on a journey to stop the dark forces invading their land.

Louder than ever before, the message of listening to the holy spirit’s still small voice resonates with an urgency that demands action.

“Still Small Voice by Allen Brokken is an adventure of a lifetime! Filled with mystery, action, family bonds, and a healthy dose of animal friends this second book in the Tower of Light Series is a fantastic continuation of the journey of siblings Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan. Their quest to spread the Light as Darkness creeps across the land is a faith-filled adventure worth joining. ~Katie Clark, author of the Enslaved Series”

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 23

For the Love of Literature, July 24

Artistic Nobody, July 25 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, July 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 27

Vicky Sluiter, July 28 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 30

A Baker’s Perspective, July 31 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, July 31

deb’s Book Review, August 1

A Reader’s Brain, August 2

Through the Fire Blogs, August 3 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, August 4

My Devotional Thoughts, August 5 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Allen is giving away the grand prize of a $50 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/fe32/still-small-voice-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Sincerely Yours – A Review

Sincerely Yours

About the Book

Book:  Sincerely Yours

Author: Kari Trumbo

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release Date: July 26, 2019

SincerelyYours_EBOOK_Corrected20191227What if you fell in love with a man you’d never met?

When marketing coordinator Liberty Dryden tries to help radio station owner and DJ Tom Higgs attract new listeners and advertisers, she hits a roadblock.
He refuses to meet with her, and she has no idea why.

Tom has an affliction that’s plagued him his whole life—a painfully crippling stutter. On air, he can speak to thousands, but in person, he stumbles to find every word.

After a woman stalked him, he’s convinced his fame and fortune are all women want. He’s unable to tell Liberty why he won’t meet in person. How could he explain his unfounded doubts and his own issues?

Without her, disaster looms for his station. But, meeting her might prove he’s right about women.

Liberty takes matters into her own hands and calls into his radio show… using an assumed name.
She never expects to hit it off with him. If she reveals her secret, it will put her new relationship and her job at risk.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Thoughts

Sincerely Yours is one of those books that pulls you into the story and does not let go.  Liberty Dryden has experienced the horrors that cancer can bring including losing her job.  But when her best friend’s husband offers her a marketing job working with one client to start off she eagerly jumps in to the experience.  However, one minor – no make that very major detail – proves to be a road block.

Tom Higgs is a DJ and station owner who suffers from stuttering – especially around women.  He has been burned by a woman in the past so he refuses to let anyone in to his life.  So Liberty does the only thing a lady can do in this circumstance, she calls into his station and pretends to be someone else.  She does not want to hurt him, alls he wants to do is get to know him.  When Liberty is diagnosed with cancer a second time, she struggles to keep her life together.

I can not imagine only communicating to someone through emails – especially when working with them.  With cancer, heartbreak, unintentional deception and more, this book has a lot to offer.  Kari Trumbo creates characters I love reading about, even when they are from a prior book or a future book, because it creates a world I want to read more about each time.

So if you love books that are part of a series that create incredible storyline and worlds, check out this book for yourself.

About the Author

Kari cropped image 2Kari Trumbo is a bestselling author of Christian historical and contemporary romance novels. Her books are known for characters who feel real, settings you could move to, and faith woven between the pages. She makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband of over twenty years, two daughters, two sons, and never enough time.

 

 

 

 

More from Kari

Thank you all so much for joining me on my blog tour! I’m happy to be here. I write an eclectic mix of historical (western) and contemporary (western and not) romance, sometimes with a hint of suspense woven in. I can’t help it; my education is a degree in psychology with a sociology minor focusing on criminality and deviance… the suspense just happens whether I plan it or not.

I am one of those writers who usually gets a story idea and then writes it. I usually don’t write a book just because I “should”. That being said, this is one of those books where readers asked for it and I delivered. The first story in the series is in a popular book bundle Betwixt Two Hearts. In my story, the secondary character Liberty Dryden (named after one of my readers) is a really fun character, even though she’s only in a few scenes. Readers liked her so much, they wanted her to have her own happily ever after.

Then the hard part began.
I liked Liberty and I spent a while in her head, trying to figure her out. She was a tough one because Liberty has some hurts. She feels alone and a little used. Don’t we all? But how to write that in a way where the reader wasn’t bored by her self-doubt. Because, let’s face it, it’s cool when a story touches us in a way that is familiar, but if it’s overdone…snooze. I liked the idea that because of their hurts, both characters were shy. So, I gave myself a challenge. These two couldn’t meet until later in the story, but it still had to feel like a romance.

It’s a little like the movie You’ve Got Mail, but different too.

This series was my first big step outside of the western genre (which is funny, because I’m not at all western) and that forced me to think in new ways, which helped with the characters and bringing this story to life.

My favorite poignant quote from Sincerely Yours is, “If I can’t forgive those who ask for it, it ruins my witness. I literally can’t be the love of Jesus if I’m not willing to forgive those who wronged me. Especially if they earnestly ask.”

Thank you for joining me and happy reading!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 24

Inklings and notions, July 25

For Him and My Family, July 26

deb’s Book Review, July 26

Older & Smarter?, July 27

Through the Fire Blogs, July 28

reviewingbooksplusmore, July 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 29

Wishful Endings, July 30

Rebecca Tews, July 30

Britt Reads Fiction, July 31

Life, Love, Writing, July 31

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, August 1

Read Review Rejoice, August 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 2

Captive Dreams Window, August 2

Book of Ruth Ann, August 3

Pause for Tales, August 3

Godly Book Reviews, August 4

Livin’ Lit, August 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 5

Batya’s Bits, August 5

Artistic Nobody, August 6 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 6

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kari is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of Sincerely Yours and Winter in Wonderland!!

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/fe33/sincerely-yours-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Kentucky Bride – A Review and Giveaway

Kentucky bride FB Banner

About the Book

Book:  Kentucky Bride

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre:  Historical Christian Romance

Release Date: June 9, 2020

KENTUCKY outer-glow 2A Country Divided…And so is her heart.

Some might say you can’t be too fussy when almost every unattached young man is off fighting for Southern freedom, but that shouldn’t mean a rebel’s daughter has any business with a Union soldier. Forbidden love never created greater battles than Gigi’s unexpected love for a Union soldier.

A dashing Rebel Soldier. The daughter of a Federal Soldier. How will they overcome the odds and a war to be together? Find out in this twist on Romeo and Juliet.

 

 

Click here for your copy of this book!

 

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I always love having the opportunity to read and review books by Caryl McAdoo. She does an excellent job of creating characters that come to life and storylines that capture my attention and imagination.  Kentucky Bride was no exception. Set in 1861 during the Civil War, Gigi is a feisty and determined young woman.  Her father and brother are off fighting the war while her grandfather, mother, sister, and herself try to keep things going at their mercantile.

Of course, girl has to meet boy so sparks can fly.  This book shows it is possible to fall in love in a short period of time.  I love how this book examines not only the time of the Civil War, but also how different people had different views on slavery and how they treated their slaves/servants.  The relationship between Gigi and Daisy as well as Ephraim and Bonaparte illustrates how familial bonds can transcend everything else.

Of course, no book like this reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet would be complete without a meddlesome parent, and in this case that role goes to Gigi’s mother.  But Gigi’s grandfather is able to put her mother in her place, and helps make Gigi’s plans come to life.

So if you like Christian Historical fiction, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

carylAward-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling stories—over fifty published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her; you may listen at YouTube. Sharing four children and eighteen grandsugars with Ron, her high-school-sweetheart-husband of over fifty years, she lives in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

 

 

 

More from Caryl

It thrilled me to be a part of the North and South Collection series, a thirty-seven titles by seventeen authors project headed up by Christine Sterling Bortner. One reason is that my husband and co-writer has always been a Civil War buff, and the other because it’s such a huge undertaking. I’m actually writing two titles, Kentucky in 1861 and Nevada in 1865.

The stories are broken up by the years (1861-1865) and then the years divided into the states or territories (37 in all) as to when its most major event happened. So, if a reader stays with the series, one releases every other week, they will enjoy a chronological overview of the Civil War.

This story, Kentucky Bride is set near Bowling Green where the Confederates first set up their area headquarters. Twenty-thousand men descended on the city of seven hundred. Nearby, General Hindman with fifteen hundred men that included the 8th Calvary Regiment from Texas, a group of Texas Rangers who’d joined the effort. Of course, I had to have a Texan as a hero! 😊

My heroine is eighteen-year-old Gardenia Gladiola Garland who helps her grandfather in the family business as her papa, brother, and uncle were gone. They’d joined the Union Army several weeks before. She hates the flowery name her mother pinned on her almost as much as the war and insists on being called Gigi.

 

My Texas Ranger hero, Ephraim Edward Kerns is sent to meet a supply wagon and it surprises to find such a lovely young woman muleskinning. He ties his horse to the back of the wagon and takes over for her, falling in love with her intelligence, beauty, and determination practically at first sight.

 

This Texas author hopes readers will love these two young ones, and I’m always “Praying my story gives God glory!”

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 10

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 10

Inklings and notions, July 11

For Him and My Family, July 12

Novels Corner, July 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 13

For the Love of Literature, July 14

Pause for Tales, July 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 15

Older & Smarter?, July 16

She Lives To Read, July 17

deb’s Book Review, July 18

Bizwings Blog, July 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 19

Betti Mace, July 20

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

KarenSueHadley, July 21

Artistic Nobody, July 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Connie’s History Classroom, July 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away the grand prize of 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/fe19/kentucky-bride-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

6 Hidden Behaviors That Destroy Families – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  6 Hidden Behaviors that Destroy Families

Author: Dr. Magdalena Battles

Genre: RELIGION / Christian Living/Family & Relationships

Release Date: June 9, 2020

Families are complicated.
There is no such thing as a perfect family…or an easy family. We all make mistakes that hurt or disappoint our family members, and we’ve all been hurt or disappointed by those we love.
Within our human makeup is a deep and basic need for healthy family relationships. Family was designed to provide us with love, a feeling of belonging, a shared history, traditions, comfort, affection, quality time, feedback, learning, and a safety net. When our family fails to provide for these needs, we feel a deep sense of loss.
6 Hidden Behaviors That Destroy Families by Dr. Magdalena Battles addresses the top conflicts in extended families that cause relationships to become strained, disjointed, or broken. These hidden behaviors are: criticism, gossip, lack of inclusion, deception, refusing to accept differences, and a failure to apologize and forgive. Dr. Battles provides practical tips and solutions based on research, biblical principles, and her own observations of what has worked in families.
Most families have some dysfunction, causing pain, damage, and division. While every family has problems, what really matters is how we deal with those issues. Are we working in a way that heals and resolves problems, or are we allowing them to fester, divide, and explode, causing tremendous damage to our relationships? Families are always in a state of change, and they are a work in progress. But they can function in a way where love, support, belonging, and kindness are exemplified and practiced.
Doing nothing about our family conflicts often contributes to the problems. The healing in your family can begin with you. To have a family that is loving and supportive, you need to be part of the solutions and healing. You just have to take those first steps! It is a process, but the result will be happier lives and more fulfilling relationships.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

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As a wife and mother of four children who are now between the ages of 24 and 17, I know that families take work.  As a mother I have made mistakes in the past and there are things I wish I had done differently.  Dr, Magdalena Battles does an excellent job of combining Biblical truths with psychological facts to create a book aimed at helping people recognize perfect families do not exist.  At the same time, she gives strategies and suggestions for helping families rebuild their lives and create lives where they actually thrive.

The personal examples helped pull me into this book and made me want to keep reading.  Ultimately we are all members of some type of family, so I feel everyone can benefit from reading this book.

So if your family is struggling or if you simply desire to improve what your family already is doing well, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

About the Author

Dr. Magdalena Battles is a writer and conference speaker whose specialties include parenting, child development, family relationships, domestic violence, and sexual assault. She shares her real-life experiences and professional insights on her website, LivingJoyDaily.com, and on Lifehack.org, where she was named one of their top writers. She is also the author of Let Them Play: The Importance of Play and 100 Child Development Activities (September 2019). Dr. Battles earned a bachelor’s degree in child psychology and a master’s degree in professional counseling, both from Liberty University, and a doctorate in Clinical and Academic Psychology from Walden University. She has also completed post-graduate studies on “Technologies in Education” at Harvard University. While she may seem all business, in her spare time, she enjoys camping with her family, visiting national parks, reading nonfiction, decorating, organizing, shopping, spending time with extended family, and incubating/raising Silkie chickens. She is also an active volunteer in her community and church. Dr. Battles and her husband, Justin, reside in Texas, where they are raising their daughter, Brielle, twin boys, Alex and Charlie, a dog named Max, and a Silkie chicken named Marshmallow.

 

More from Magdalena

While every family has its problems—some minor, some major—what really matters is how we deal with these issues. Are we working to heal and resolve the conflicts, or are we allowing them to fester, divide, and explode, perhaps causing irreparable damage to our relationships? The six hidden behaviors that destroy families are described as “hidden” because we often ignore, deny, or cover up our family issues. The family unit is a living organism, never remaining the same. Sometimes, it is healthy and working well, and other times, it is not as healthy or functional. All it takes is one person to start a trend of love, compassion, and support that can change generations to come.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 11

 Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 12

Artistic Nobody, July 13 (Spotlight)

Inklings and notions, July 14

For Him and My Family, July 15

A Baker’s Perspective, July 16 (Spotlight)

deb’s Book Review, July 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 18

Simple Harvest Reads, July 19 (Spotlight)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, July 20

Mary Hake, July 21

Through the Fire Blogs, July 22 (Spotlight)

Captive Dreams Window, July 22

Splashes of Joy, July 23

For the Love of Literature, July 24 (Spotlight)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Magdalena is giving away the grand prize of a $20 Starbucks 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/fe58/6-hidden-behaviors-that-destroy-families-celebration-tour-giveaway