Friday, November 20, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway: To Steal a Heart


I've been dealing with a sore throat and laryngitis for the past three days, but that did not stop me from laughing (sometimes out loud - well, in a whisper) and being riveted by this book!  It is delightfully funny and I was amused the whole way through.  The characters are fresh, unique, and believable without being silly.  I also enjoyed the repartee and conversations - again, funny and believable.  Even the animals were funny!!  There were enough drama and intrigue to keep my interest, especially finding out Gabriella's and Nicholas' pasts.  It ended like it should have and leaves room for more stories.  I do hope the next books in the series come quickly.  Although God was mentioned, it was not very often (not a bad thing - just don't expect much).  Gabriella's change from skeptical disdain to realizing that God had a hand in her life was somewhat subtle in that when she did acknowledge His working in her life, it was somewhat surprising to read.  The story is not quite 5 stars (although I will give it 5 stars because it's definitely more than 4 stars), but really really close, and I definitely want to read more of this series and by this author.

Celebrate Lit gave me the opportunity to receive, read, and review this book.  Read on to learn more about the book, the author, and to enter a great giveaway!

About the Book


Book: To Steal A Heart

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Comedic Historical Romance

Release Date: November 2020

After spending her childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. Using her old skills to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella unexpectedly encounters Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.

After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agrees to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.

As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author



Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado.
 
 

More from Jen

“To Steal a Heart” is the first book in a new series. How did you come up with the idea for this series?

Oddly enough, this series was inspired by a lot of different things. I keep this idea box, and whenever I stumble on something interesting, I throw the idea into the box. When I was getting ready to assemble a proposal for a new series, I took out the box and began rifling through it. Unfortunately, nothing struck my fancy. What did strike my fancy though, was the movie “My Fair Lady.” I’d recently watched it for the millionth time, and I thought…hmmm…what could I do with that? Well, I didn’t want to do a recreation of “My Fair Lady” and that’s when it hit me – what if I used a gentleman instead of a lady and improved his circumstances in life with the help of a professor? That wasn’t really enough, though, for me to formulate an entire series, but then I went to New York City for a research trip. While there, I roamed around Bleecker Street for hours. It was the perfect place to set a series, and then I saw this older building that my tour guide thought might have once been a boardinghouse. That was what really started me thinking, and before I knew it, I’d created an inquiry agency run by women that came about when a resident of a boardinghouse was unjustly accused of theft. When the police would not investigate further, believing they had the true culprit behind bars, the ladies who lived in the boardinghouse felt compelled to step up and clear their fellow boardinghouse resident of the charges brought against her. The series took off from there, the first book centering around one of the lady inquiry agents, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who used to live on the mean streets of the Lower East Side and, at one point in her life, was best friends with Nicholas Quinn, the man who has now found his circumstances vastly improved from the time he knew Gabriella. Throwing the two of them back together made for an interesting storyline, especially since Gabriella believes Nicholas abandoned her all those years ago, which makes it next to impossible for her to trust him.

 

Are there other interesting characters in this series?

 

Of course. All of the lady inquiry agents come with their own secrets. Miss Daphne Beekman is a reclusive author who lives in the attic of the boardinghouse. She has the propensity to faint at the drop of a hat, which makes for a few amusing scenes in the first book. She’ll get her own story in “To Write a Wrong,” coming out later in 2021. Then there’s Eunice Holbrooke. She’s the owner of the boardinghouse, and she only wears full mourning garb, covering her face with numerous veils and refusing to speak to anyone about her past. Clearly, there’s a mystery just waiting to be solved there, one that will be solved in book three, which I’m just now beginning to work on. The other residents of the boardinghouse provide a lot of color to the story, from the two sisters who work as paid companions by day to gossip collectors and carriage drivers by night, to the resident artist, Miss Judith, who has recently decided to dip her toe into the portrait market even though she’s really not proficient with painting people. There’s also a one-eyed, patch-wearing dog by the name of Winston, a parrot that likes to nick sparkly items named Pretty Girl, and a neurotic poodle that falls for Winston that goes by the name of Precious.

 

Did the pandemic affect the writing process at all for “To Steal a Heart?”

 



Luckily, I had already turned in the book before the pandemic hit. With that said, though, I then had to do some of the edits during the first few months of the pandemic. That was interesting. I have very specific conditions I need in order to write and edit and having Al (the husband person) working from home isn’t one of those conditions. It took me far longer than it normally does to complete the editing process, which threw off my schedule for the next book in the series, “To Write a Wrong.” Drastic measures were needed. That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a she-shed. Al thought I was joking when I first broached the subject of a she-shed, but after I had my millionth meltdown, he decided that might be a really good idea. Turns out sheds are in high demand at the moment, so getting a shed in a timely fashion wasn’t possible. It took 6 weeks for us to get a shed delivered and then we had to frame the inside and put up a ceiling and walls. I was not actually very involved with that process because I’m a danger to everyone surrounding me when nail guns are being used. 🙂 I did paint the outside of the shed, then painted the inside. Of course the air conditioning unit I had to order was delayed, so I painted in 100 degree heat. Lost about five pounds doing that, so…unexpected bonus there. I just recently finished decorating the inside, and I’m typing this interview from my new space. I’m thinking I’m going to call it “Jen’s Novel Nook” but that might change, so don’t quote me on that.

 

Anything else you’d like to add?

 

Just that I hope everyone is surviving these crazy days. I know there are many people out there who are suffering from many different problems this pandemic has caused. Know that you’re not alone, and that brighter days will show up again. Until that time, try to remember to smile and, perhaps, read a few books.

 

Wishing all of you the very best!

 

Jen

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 17

Soulfully Romantic, November 17

Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 17

Blessed & Bookish, November 17

Robin's Nest, November 17

Through the Fire Blogs, November 18

The Avid Reader, November 18

Losing the Busyness, November 18

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, November 18

She Lives To Read, November 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 19

Wishful Endings, November 19

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 19

Artistic Nobody, November 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

lakesidelivingsite, November 20

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 20

Reviewingbooksplusmore, November 20

The Write Escape, November 20

Older & Smarter?, November 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 21

Christian Bookaholic, November 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 21

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22

Mia Reads, November 22

Writing from the Heart Land, November 22

Betti Mace, November 23

Inklings and notions, November 23

Blogging With Carol, November 23

Life of Literature, November 23

Texas Book-aholic, November 24

D'S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 24

Batya's Bits, November 24

Joanne Markey's blog, November 24

For Him and My Family, November 25

Inside the Wong Mind, November 25

Mary Hake, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 25

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, November 26

EmpowerMoms, November 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 26

Novels Corner, November 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 27

Connie's History Classroom, November 27

Captive Dreams Window, November 27

Book of Ruth Ann, November 27

deb's Book Review, November 28

Blossoms and Blessings, November 28

Daysong Reflections, November 28

Bigreadersite, November 28

Jodie Wolfe - Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 29

Splashes of Joy, November 29

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 29

Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Vicky Sluiter, November 30

Pause for Tales, November 30

Spoken from the Heart, November 30

Hallie Reads, November 30

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the grand prize package of copy of To Steal a Heart, plus all three books in the American Heiresses series and a 30 second mystery kit (Link: https://amzn.to/3nqrIpC)!!

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/103a4/to-steal-a-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Book Review: Saving Mount Rushmore


When I was growing up, I cultivated a love for reading, and while devouring books, I learned a lot even through fiction.  Books like The Happy Hollister series and even the Nancy Drew books not only offered an interesting story but also the opportunity to learn about other places.  I have since learned that these types of books can be called living books (according to the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education).  If you are interested in homeschooling, that's a fun rabbit trail to research.

Saving Mount Rushmore is a good example of a living book.  It combines a touch of fantasy, suspense, and learning about a real place which just so happens to be one of our nation's treasures.  In the story, the main character John is bummed to learn he has to spend the summer with his aunt while his parents are away for work.  That attitude quickly changes when he is thrust into an adventure saving Mount Rushmore from attack by nefarious kids who work for an unknown boss.  John goes from missing his friend and family to becoming part of an important team with new friends.  The story is interesting and engaging.  At times, it gets a little too wordy with description, but overall, I like the book and I want to read the sequel Saving the Statue of Liberty.

I was offered the opportunity to read and review this book by Celebrate Lit.  I wish I had remembered earlier that this was written for a middle grade audience.  I would have either read it aloud to Gracie or had her read it and write a review for my blog.  Gracie and I both want to visit New York City someday so we may read the sequel together pretty soon. 

One more thing:  I'm pretty particular about what I read and what I let Gracie read.  (We don't do Harry Potter, for example.)  Even though this book has a touch of fantasy, there is nothing in the book that I would be worried about.  I had forgotten that I was a little concerned about the mention of special talents when I was introduced to the book, but I decided to give the book a try....because of Mount Rushmore.  All of the talents mentioned are special gifts that real children and adults can have:  an affinity for history, a knack for code-cracking, and superior observation skills.  I can recommend this book to any parent without reservation.

About the Book



Book: Saving Mount Rushmore

Author: Andrea Jo Rodgers

Genre: Christian Nonfiction

Release Date: April 15, 2018

When John Jenkins’ parents ship him off to stay with his aunt, he’s certain it will be the worst summer ever—until he learns he’s been accepted into a top-secret school. St. Michael’s Academy is home to gifted students with extraordinary talents. Although John has no idea why he’s there, he’s assigned to Team Liberty, who assist authorities with solving low-level crimes. Their first mission: stop a trio of mischief-making teens from vandalizing Mount Rushmore. John battles feelings of inferiority as he and Team Liberty compete against Devlin Black and his cronies to track down clues and solve puzzles at Mount Rushmore. Along the way, John makes several key contributions, and his self-confidence grows. When he discovers he was admitted to the school due to a clerical error, he’s mortified. Now, he’s strictly an “observer” until the mission’s end. But when his teammates run into trouble, John must summon up the courage to save Mount Rushmore, and he learns an invaluable lesson: every person has special God-given gifts—including him.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author



Andrea Jo Rodgers is the author of award-winning Christian middle grade fiction as well as inspirational adult nonfiction novels. She holds a clinical doctorate in physical therapy and specializes in women’s health, orthopedics, and lymphedema. She has served her community as a volunteer emergency medical technician for over thirty years, responding to more than 8,200 first aid and fire calls. She lives on the east coast with her husband, two children, and their two rescue dogs, a Shih Tzu and a Dachshund.

 

More from Andrea

Can John embrace his God-given gifts in time to save Mount Rushmore?

Have you ever admired the extraordinary talent of another person? Perhaps you enjoyed listening to someone belt out a spellbinding rendition of your favorite song at church or a concert. Or, maybe you have dreamed that you’d gain the same athletic prowess of a professional sports player.

The amazing gifts of others can take many forms. These gifts may be linked with intelligence, such as an aptitude for math and engineering. They may reflect the beauty of the arts through singing, dancing, or painting. Certain individuals may dazzle the people around them with incredible athletic talents, from gold-medal Olympians to professional baseball, football, and basketball players.

Most people consider extraordinary talents to be God-given gifts. They allow people to stand out and shine among others. However, do each of us need a breathtaking talent to be considered special?

In Saving Mount Rushmore, John Jenkins, an awkward thirteen-year-old teenager, is unexpectedly chosen to attend Saint Michael the Archangel Academy. The top-secret school’s mission is to protect our nation by assisting authorities in solving crimes. Since the academy is for students with extraordinary abilities, John is puzzled as to why he’s been accepted. After all, he’s an average teen without any notable gifts.

While working with Team Liberty to save Mount Rushmore from Devlin Black and Team Mischief, John struggles to discover his special gifts. He’s mortified when he discovers that he’s been accepted to the academy due to a clerical error. He becomes strictly an “observer” until the mission’s end. But when his teammates run into trouble, John must summon up the courage to try to save Mount Rushmore. He learns that every person has special God-given gifts—including him.

I came up with the idea for Saving Mount Rushmore while in the airport, just before our plane departed for the famous landmark. I wrote feverishly the entire flight, and the first chapters were born. Saving Mount Rushmore is a middle grade novel which combines information about Mount Rushmore, adventure, and Christian values. My goal was to write an exciting, fun, educational book for middle grade readers that incorporates Christian values into the fabric of the story. John and his friends have an opportunity to save another national monument in the sequel, Saving the Statue of Liberty. I hope you celebrate our country’s heritage by joining John and Team Liberty in their adventures.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 18

For the Love of Literature, November 18

The Avid Reader, November 19

Texas Book-aholic, November 20

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 20

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, November 21

For Him and My Family, November 22

Mary Hake, November 22

Older & Smarter?, November 23

Library Lady's Kid Lit, November 23

Inklings and notions, November 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 25

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 25

Vicky Sluiter, November 26

deb's Book Review, November 27

Simple Harvest Reads, November 27 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 28

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

Captive Dreams Window, November 29

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, November 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 1

Blossoms and Blessings, December 1

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Andrea is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of Saving Mount Rushmore: Saint Michael the Archangel Academy, Mission 1 as well as 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/103a5/saving-mount-rushmore-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway: Her Merriweather Hero


I know I've said it before, but I really like the Independence Islands series!  It's one of the fictional places that I wish I could visit in real life.  I have also always wanted to ride a ferry.

This book in the series is about a young lady Kendall, who along with her younger sister Carly, starts a mobile veterinarian business on Merriweather Island.  Their brother, who also loved animals, had died unexpectedly sometime previously and, in honor of him, Carly became a veterinarian assistant.  Carly is somewhat of a party girl, mostly because she is newly free and independent and like most young people, wants to have fun.  Kendall is several years older (and wiser) and has her hands full: "Tyler had let her down, Carly was being a jerk, her mother was still breathing down her neck even from hundreds of miles away and now she'd have to spend more money she didn't have on roof repairs."

Tyler is a very strong and loyal man -- loyal to his sister's family and the memory of his brother-in-law who was killed in action.  Tyler was injured in the same battle that killed his brother-in-law and came home to recover, care for his sister and her family, and get ready to go back into the military in order to finish what he started.  He and Kendall both are very high-character people, very admirable.  However, due to a real-to-life conflict, neither are sure if they will continue being a couple.

Besides the characters and the settings, I also enjoyed the faith element of this book.  

"Yeah, I guess the image of the anchor really stuck with her.  She said of all the people who'd tried to talk to her about God, your explanation made the most impact.  I believe it, too.  Whatever life throws our way or whatever storm comes to wreak havoc in our lives, God is always there holding on to us.  He'll never let us go, no matter what."

That quote is a great reminder!  Later it proves to be an encouragement to Kendall:

"But that isn't going to stop me from doing what I know is right.  Know why?" She looked up at him again, fighting tears. 'Why?' 'Because I know a God who's bigger than my fear. He's my anchor and protector.' "

And then later:

"We can't control what the future holds.  That's up to God.  But we can make the most of every moment He gives us." 

Celebrate Lit offered me the opportunity to receive this book and review it.  I'm glad I did!  Keep reading to learn more about the book, the author, and to enter a great giveaway!

About the Book



Book: Her Merriweather Hero

Author: Rachel Skatvold

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 27, 2020

 

He just wanted a place to rest and recuperate.

She only needed a repairman to help fix up her beach house.

For marine sergeant, Tyler Banner, nothing could be further from the memories of his time in Iraq than the slow, easy pace on Merriweather Island. Taking up a job as a physical trainer serves to keep him in shape while he enjoys a little downtime. Making friends with the local vet—veterinarian, that is—on his morning jog is just a bonus.

When Kendall’s sister tricked her into recruiting Tyler’s help one day, she didn’t fortify herself against a breach to her heart. Making friends with the marine was easy, but helping him overcome the PTSD that holds him captive isn’t. As she picks her way across a minefield of memories and horrors Tyler endured, Kendall begins to hope he could be the man she’s prayed for.

Falling in love wasn’t in Tyler’s orders, but a new deployment to Iraq is. How can he convince Kendall not to go AWOL when she hears? What can he do to convince her that they’ll make it… together?

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

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author



Rachel Skatvold is a Christian author and stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. She enjoys writing inspirational romance and encouraging blogs. Rachel completed her first series, the Riley Family Legacy Novellas in 2014 and is now working on the Hart Ranch Series, set in the Montana wilderness and the Ladies of Ardena Series, set in medieval times. She is also a contributing author in the Whispers in Wyoming, Brides of Pelican Rapids and Independence Island Series. Other than writing, some of her hobbies include singing, reading and camping in the great outdoors with her husband and two young sons. You can find more information about Rachel and her books on her website: www.rachelskatvold.com.

 

More from Rachel

Her Merriweather Hero has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding stories I have written. Often when I am starting a new book, I immerse myself in the world-building process, which involves a lot of research and notetaking. This time around, I had the amazing opportunity to work with Celebrate Lit and the authors in the Independence Islands Series to map out these beautiful island stories. It has been an exciting journey so far.

 

This story was inspired by my parents who met through letters while my dad was in the Marine Corps. They both came from different backgrounds, with my mom being from Massachusetts and my dad from a small town in Iowa, but their differences didn’t stop them from falling in love. For Her Merriweather Hero, I used themes of opposites attracting, New England, and the Marine Corps from my parent’s love story.

 

Kendall is a young veterinarian who moves to the Independence Islands with her sister to start a new mobile clinic. There, she meets Sergeant Tyler Banner who is on medical leave after a tour overseas. She tries to avoid Tyler at first, determined to concentrate on making her business a success, but over time she can’t ignore the handsome military guy who keeps ‘accidently’ crossing her path. It doesn’t help he lives a few doors down from her fixer-upper beach house. Can she continue to try to ignore him or is it true that opposites attract?

 

This romantic island tale is also inspired by the verses from Hebrews 6:18-19 which describe God as our anchor. The characters feel tossed around by waves of difficulties at certain parts of the story, but He is always the anchor who keeps them secured.

Blog Stops

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, November 16

Daysong Reflections, November 16

Texas Book-aholic, November 17

lakesidelivingsite, November 17

Inklings and notions, November 18

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 18

Joanne Markey, November 18

For Him and My Family, November 19

Emily Yager, November 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 20

deb's Book Review, November 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 21

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 21

Artistic Nobody, November 22 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Rebecca Tews, November 22

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 23

The Cafe Scholar, November 23

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, November 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 24

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 24

Aryn The Libraryan 📚, November 25

She Lives To Read, November 25

Simple Harvst Reads, November 26 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Livin’ Lit, November 26

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 27

Rebekah Reads, November 27

Connect in Fiction, November 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 28

Life, Love, Writing, November 28

Blossoms and Blessings, November 29

Batya's Bits, November 29

Godly Book Reviews, November 29

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/103a0/her-merriweather-hero-celebration-tour-giveaway

Pin It!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway: Desire of the Heart

In less than a month, my husband and I will celebrate our 13th anniversary.  We married after knowing each other and courting by long distance (Indiana and Tennessee) for one year.  Something that probably most people probably do not know is that our kiss as Mr. and Mrs. Kinsey was literally our first kiss together.  Not only that but we dated in public and/or with a chaperone and did not even ride in the same car together by ourselves.  When we asked my mom to ride with us to and from my family reunion (when Robert met a lot of my mom's side of the family), she laughed at the thought of being a chaperone for grown adults who had been independent for 10-20+ years, but good-naturedly complied.  Extreme? Yes, but it kept us from making mistakes we would regret later and kept our testimonies intact.

I found it very interesting that Desire of the Heart by Anne Perreault had the theme of saving PDA and more for after marriage.  Cady Jackson was reared very strictly by her parents and clung to the same guidelines that her parents shoved down her throat taught her.  Grant McClintoch, who became a Christian as a young adult, respected her boundaries.  OK, I have to say that my snarky little "shoved down her throat" was probably a little unkind, but that was the impression I got from her parents -- that they were authoritarian to the extreme.  I know they were well-meaning -- what parents do not want to teach their children principles that will protect them? -- but they really came across as over-the-top crazy strict with little feelings for their daughter.  That's probably my biggest complaint about the book.  I know these people exist (not her parents, but other real people), but I wish we could have seen a little bit more caring humanity from them before experiencing the harshness.  On a positive note, it helps me to know how NOT to teach and rear my daughter.

I really loved the setting of the book.  That was what lured me into choosing this book to review.  Celebrate Lit kindly gave me a copy to read.  I have never been to Yellowstone National Park, but I would love to go.  I was surprised to find out that the author has not been there; the descriptions made it feel like I was there with Cady and Grant.  I enjoyed the characters and their personalities.  Cady, while coming across as naive (which she is to some degree) also has great inner strength that comes out later.  Grant overcomes heartache in the book and proves himself to be a man of integrity and wisdom.  I really liked what he said to Cady about her parents:  "Your parents have done a great job raising you, Cady-girl.  They wanted to protect you from making mistakes.  I respect that.  If I were in their shoes, I'd do the same thing."  It takes a wise man to see beyond the surface and recognize that and to treat them with respect.

Keep reading to learn more about the book and the author and to enter a giveaway!

About the Book



Book: Desire of the Heart

Author: Anne Perreault

Genre: Christian Romance

Release Date: April 2020 

It all started with a hike…

Cady Jackson’s vacation plans were simple. Go to Yellowstone National Park, enjoy the scenery, take lots of pictures. She and her cousin, Ashley, have grown up in a strict, conservative Christian family in upstate New York. Cady has never been encouraged to spread her wings. This trip is an opportunity to do so. Only, she doesn’t know how much her life is about to change when she has an unfortunate encounter in the middle of nowhere.  Why would God take a personal interest in someone like her?

Grant McClintoch generally loves his job as a ranger in the oldest national park in the country. That it includes rescuing stranded visitors to the park is unfortunate. He has been trying to rebuild his life after it had nearly been destroyed. Grant doesn’t realize that God isn’t done with him yet when he stumbles onto an injured hiker.
But can he place his past in God’s capable hands where it belongs?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author


Anne Perreault was born and raised in Germany. By the time she was 14 years old, her family moved to Dubai, UAE. While living in this exotic place, she traveled extensively to various countries around the world. After graduating from an American boarding school in Austria, she attended college in England, where she met her husband. She graduated from New England College with a degree in biology, and settled down in Connecticut. Anne became a horseback riding instructor as well as a certified therapeutic riding instructor. She and a group of friends started a therapeutic riding center in Bristol, CT. During that time, Anne also received a masters degree in secondary education and began to homeschool her three children. While raising their three children, she began to write an inspirational story primarily for her daughter. Anne, her husband, and two of their grown children now reside in Southern Vermont, where they are building their home. Besides writing, Anne enjoys reading, spending time with her husband, grown children, and grand-dogger.

 

More from Anne

Desire of the Heart…

This book is so special to me. I had been pondering what to write a few years back and the thought came to me that I should base my next character on some of the adorable quirkiness of my beautiful daughter, a young woman filled with integrity and strength. Except, when you first meet her, you might think she’s too naïve or too sweet. She has a fire in her and a passion. And then I watched a TV show and one of the character’s were named Cady. I knew I had my main character. My daughter loves to  travel, and a few years ago, she and her cousin traveled to Scotland together. It was kind of like fiction came to live right then and there. I had already paired Cady up with her cousin, a young woman who is the complete opposite to Cady. Of course, in real life, my daughter and her cousin are incredibly similar to each other and are both such amazing young women of God.

Her counterpart came about because I was looking for someone with strength and also with great integrity, but someone who was wounded by life. I also realized that I wanted to set the story in a national park. I’ve always enjoyed nature and wanted my main character to be working in some capacity with nature. Grant naturally became a park ranger. It fit his personality so well, I secretly rubbed my hands together in glee.

Setting the story at Yellowstone allowed me to research that beautiful part of the country. I have always been a wildlife enthusiast. My oldest son loves wolves and has studied them all his life. I wanted to include wolves in the story… enough said. I fell completely in love with the park and I will one day travel there and stand where Grant and Cady did.

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, November 2

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, November 3

Book of Ruth Ann, November 3

Texas Book-aholic, November 4

Mary Hake, November 4

Inklings and notions, November 5

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, November 6

Pause for Tales, November 6

Older & Smarter?, November 7

deb's Book Review, November 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 8

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 9

Artistic Nobody, November 10 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 10

Quiet Quilter, November 11

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 13

Just Your Average reviews, November 13

Spoken from the Heart, November 14

Emily Yager, November 14

Daysong Reflections, November 15

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Anne is giving away the grand prize package of a bookmark and a signed copy of Desire of the Heart!!

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/102f2/desire-of-the-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Monday, November 9, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway: The Bells of New Cheltenham


I don't consider myself to be very creative.  If I have a Pinterest photo, then I can maybe copy it and tweak it (unless it's a recipe), but to come up with something new, I don't think I'm very good at it.  However, I do love to immerse myself in an environment that stirs my imagination -- much of the time, that's books; other times, it's giving something a name that elevates it from boring to descriptive.  For example, the storage area under the platform/choir loft/baptistery/baptistery changing area is usually called just that.  However, when I first actually went into it several years ago, I had to stoop under a 3-foot tall door and creep, hunched-over, through a little maze of steel 2x4s before it opened up to an area that I could actually stand up in.  I henceforth dubbed it "The Catacombs" because that's fun, and it enriches the imagination.

When Gracie was very little, I heard about a Dickens on the Square event that occurs every year out from Memphis.  I have wanted to go as a family ever since I heard about it.  It sounds like fun to see people dressed up and hear carolers, perhaps taste some food that characteristic of Dicken's England.  I don't really have anything I could wear, unfortunately, except for maybe my wedding cape and muff that I bought for my December 1st wedding (where it was in the 60's).  Well, due to one thing or another, we have yet to go.  But doesn't it sound rich for the imagination??  The only thing better would be an actual town modeled in the same way all year long!  And that's one of the best things I like about The Bells of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig!

The Bells of New Cheltenham is not the first book set in the fictitious (but why can't it be real???) New Cheltenham.  This is a sequel (but reads just fine as a stand-alone book) to The Ghosts of New Cheltenham.  Some of Chautona's other characters in other books have visited the town as well.  I adore the setting.  I want to go there -- a living history kind of place for Victorian England.  How fun would that be?!

Before I go any further, so I don't forget, this is a 5-star book!  I was offered and sent the book by Celebrate Lit, but I had already pre-read the book in her Advanced Reader group, and I bought the collection that the book is in because 99 cents for 7 books is a steal.  The collection is also available on Kindle Unlimited.  Keep reading for the rest of my review, to learn more about the book and about Chautona, and to enter a really great giveaway!

The characters are very real and believable.  Justine is fun and quirky.  Ken is kind and steady.  They make a good match for each other, except for one thing:  Ken is a Christian and Justine is not.  I found this book also refreshing in that while living in the middle of the Bible Belt for most of my life, I have not really met very many Americans who do not have at least a surface knowledge of God, the Bible, Jesus, and the Christmas story.  Justine not only didn't know, but she also didn't really care.  She had one goal:  win the story contest so that she could take care of a huge burden placed on her.  However, in learning about the faith elements and symbolism, she learned about the whole Christmas story and how it formed the beginning of the Gospel.  Ken, an observant and kind-hearted man, started out by helping Justine, but along the way became very attracted to her.  He realized early on that "You will fall for her.  Hard and fast.  Futility at its finest unless you can convince her to give Jesus a shot."  He had to use much discernment and wisdom to know how much to tell her and when because "If he pushed at all, she'd shut him out.  His best shot was the story.  She just had to need help with understanding it, and once she did understand, how could she resist?"  They form a friendship throughout the book.  And you'll have to read the rest of the story to find out what happens!  This is a great book!

PS Three years ago, my church put on its first BIG Christmas play called A Handful of Miracles which was set in Victorian times.  My husband had a small singing part, and Gracie and I had a couple of walk-on parts.  We had so much fun with this play!  You can view it on YouTube at:  https://youtu.be/FISGygU7pa4

About the Book


Book: The Bells of New Cheltenham

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian fiction, Christmas romance

Release Date: October 15, 2020

Who knew that Christmas carols were love songs?

Justine Driscoll sure didn’t. Peace on earth? She’s heard of that. Holy and joyful? Something about that, too. But love songs sung by a bride about the birth of her bridegroom? That’s just weird stuff right there.

Weird or not, though, once Justine decides to enter a short story contest using a Christmas carol as the inspiration, she discovers love in the carols she investigates, in the story an ex-Army guy tells, and in the little tourist town of New Cheltenham.

“But what do the words mean?”

Ken Torsney is used to fighting for causes he believes in. He just never imagined he’d go from Army “warrior” to spiritual warrior in the span of one question from a stranger. Justine is like no girl he’s ever known— hungry for the gospel even as she rejects it.

He’s falling for her, and that’s bound to break his heart.

Love is in the air in New Cheltenham this Christmas. Again.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

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 Havig

3 Things That Make My Christmas Heart Sing

I didn’t have a ghost of a chance.

The message popped up in my messenger at exactly the moment I sat down.  This is significant, because I get dozens of Facebook messages every day, and often, they get buried when a new one supersedes it. So, as you can see, it’s a near miracle that I ever saw the message at all.

The message offered me a spot in a collection of novellas—a Christmas collection.  Yep. Not a ghost of a chance.

Still, I tried to be responsible, you know?  After all, I had quite a few books due at the same time already.  Bookers on the Rocks, The Last Gasp, my Christmas Lights Collection “noella,” and my CrossRoads Collection “noella.”  And those didn’t include anything I wanted to write in spring or summer.

Then she added another layer of temptation. This collection had a theme.  That theme? Christmas carol inspired romances.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love music, Christmas, and specifically, Christmas music?

The other authors in the set had already made their carol selections.  She sent a list of those that had already been claimed.  I read them with great trepidation. See, I already had two carols I’d want to use in the story for this collection that I hadn’t even agreed to participate in yet.

No one had chosen “The Holly and the Ivy” or “The Bells on Christmas Day.”

That ghost slowly transformed into the ghost of my resistance.

All that remained was for me to come up with a story idea.  I mean, why join a collection if you can’t even decide what to do with it?

That’s when it happened.

There’s always this moment when the first idea germinates, sprouts, and pushes up through the fertile soil of my imagination.  My favorite moment.  And it hit me.  What if the theme for the collection was my story idea?  My character could enter a contest that requires a short story based on a Christmas carol.

And once I had that idea, the rest came in a whoosh!  Mitchell, from The Ghosts of New Cheltenham could be sick to death of this annual ghost storytelling contest and decide to create his own contest.  And then… well…

The Bells of New Cheltenham was born.

If you’ve not read The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, you’ll follow this “noella” just fine. It is meant to be a stand-alone.  However, if you want a richer reading experience, I recommend reading The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, followed by the companion short story, “The Ghastly Therapist” first. Both are available through Kindle Unlimited.  Additionally, if you send your receipt (or a screenshot of the final page of the eBook from Kindle Unlimited) for the Melodies of Christmas Love collection to chautona@chautona.com, I’ll send YOU the bonus short story—the one Justine Driscoll writes in this “noella.”

But I promised to tell you three things that make my heart sing at Christmas.

  1. The way people are often just a little kinder and a little more giving and understanding.
  2. The joy that seems to fill every part of life—family, friends, parties, presents, church services, reading, singing…
  3. The music that plays everywhere—and often sings of a Savior’s love.

 

What makes your heart sing at Christmas?

Blog Stops

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, November 9

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 9

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

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 10

Texas Book-aholic, November 11

Blogging With Carol , November 11

Among the Reads, November 12

Artistic Nobody, November 12 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Inklings and notions, November 13

Batya's Bits, November 13

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, November 14

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 15

Worthy2Read, November 15

For Him and My Family, November 16

Labor Not in Vain, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

lakesidelivingsite, November 17

Aryn the Libraryan, November 18

Lots of Helpers, November 19

deb's Book Review, November 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20

Jeanette's Thoughts, November 20

She Lives To Read, November 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 22

Mary Hake, November 22


Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Chautona 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/10359/the-bells-of-new-cheltenham-celebration-tour-giveaway

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