Wyatt – JustRead

Wyatt JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Hey all – My sincerest apologies as I missed my date for the original posting for this tour. Thus, the giveaway is already closed. Carrie/Annie/Susie- I’m so sorry for missing it and thank you for your patience.

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for Wyatt, the fourth book of The Montana Marshalls series by Susan May Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for Wyatt, the fourth book of The Montana Marshalls series by Susan May Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

Wyatt by Susan May Warren

ABOUT THE BOOK

 Title: Wyatt Series: The Montana Marshalls, Book 4  
Author: Susan May Warren  Publisher: SDG Publishing Release Date: October 2019
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense
He’s lost her twice…he’s not going to lose her again…
NHL Hockey Goalie Wyatt Marshall has everything–fame, money and a thriving career. But he’s hiding the two things that matter most…a career-ending injury, and his broken heart. He’s been in love with Coco Stanley since she walked into his life at age fourteen, a foster child for the Marshall family. She stole his heart years later, when, after a secret tryst, she returned to her home country of Russia. But she won’t let him back into her life—and he can’t figure out why.  
She’s harboring a secret that could cost lives…  
Coco Stanley is tired of living her life undercover. Or at least, with an assumed name, always pretending to be someone she’s not. And that’s not the only secret she’s harboring. If Wyatt discovers the real reason she left him, it might just destroy him. She’s resigned herself to loving him from afar…  
But when he discovers she’s in danger…  
Wyatt is horrified when he learns Coco has been shot and left in Russia, her fate unknown. There is nothing—nothing—that will stop him from finding her. So what if he’s not one of his super-heroic brothers, not a Ranger, not a SEAL…Wyatt is a hockey goalie, a special kind of crazy brave. Except, is he brave enough to face the secret Coco is keeping, or will it destroy everything he’s hoped for?  
What will it cost them to save her?  
What Wyatt and Coco don’t know is that revenge is stalking her and bringing her home just might cost them their long-awaited happy ending.  
Continue the breath-taking Montana Marshall series!

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

MY THOUGHTS

Life is not always cupcakes, even though Ruby Jane bakes for comfort. In Wyatt we pick up the Marshall saga with Wyatt looking for Coco and Ruby Jane laying low pining for York. These siblings mirror real life in that while we can have a solid home life, Christian parents, and a good Heavenly Father, we still find ourselves struggling with the question of are we ENOUGH?

Wyatt and Coco have spent much of their adult life feeling shame, running from their assumptions about reality. Susies takes us through their story, teaching the reader about God’s grace, that HE CHOSE us, and because of that we are enough. I love how Susie takes an edge of your seat story and weaves these truths so they sink into the reader’s bones.

My heart aches with both of them and wants to shake some sense into their brains, in turn. They love so deeply, almost to a fault. In this way, Wyatt was a refreshing personality change from his domineering brothers, a romantic through and through. Swoon.

There’s a nice amount of spice and passion between both couples in this story, providing a bit of heat while maintaining a clean reads. Susie does a great job of addressing Wyatt’s and Coco’s choice to have sex before marriage, the consequences, and the healing, all from a solid Biblical, but real, perspective.

Can’t wait for the conclusion with Ruby Jane!

I bought a copy of this book even though it’s on tour. Support your authors!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award-winning novelist of over sixty-five novels. An eight-time Christy award finalist, a three-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.
A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: The Story Equation.
She is also the founder of MyBookTherapy.com, and Novel.Academy, a school for aspiring novelists.  
CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a signed copy of Wyatt and a Montana Marshalls Magic Mug!

Wyatt JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 2, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on October 9, 2019. US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Whispers in the Pews – Spotlight with Celebrate Lit

 About the Book

Book: Whispers in the Pews

Author: Chris Morris

Genre: Mental illness & Spirituality

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Release Date: November 9, 2018

Mental Illness is real. Will the Church get real?

This book is a collection of essays from various authors: men and women, pastors and congregants, counselors and nurses, parents and children. All have a unique view of how mental health conditions affect people, and how the church has responded to these circumstances. Whispers in the Pews tackles how the mentally ill have been, and still are, treated in the church at large by sharing stories.

This is not fundamentally a teaching book, but a book of moments and lives, knitted together by the common theme of mental health. No sermons will be included, though lessons learned from difficulties and their foundations in Scripture are encouraged.

This collection will expand your vision, and your heart, about what the church does well for the mentally ill, and where we can improve.

Click here to grab your copy!

About the Author

ChrisMorrisFINAL (12 of 94)

Chris Morris writes about the juxtaposition of faith and unresolved pain, those moments where we feel like God should show up, but He doesn’t His writing focuses on bring hope, encouragement, and practical steps to those disappointments, we we don’t get stuck.

He is familiar with the confusion and pain of a life interrupted by an illness. He’s had seizures of one kind or another for his entire life. Some days, he loses hours of his day. Other times, the steel trap that used to be his mind…leaks like a sieve.

His daughter is epileptic, and has had over 5000 seizures in her life. She is also a high-functioning autistic, with increasing frustration as she begins to realize she is not like her peers.

Every day, he is reminded in some way that his family will never be normal.

But he won’t give in, he won’t give up. He won’t let the pain and aggravation, the injuries and difficulties that are part of his normal keep him from living a full life. At least, most days that’s true. His heart is to show his readers how to do the same.

More from Chris

Mental illness isn’t going away any time soon, as statistics say more than one in four people are diagnosed with a mental illness in the United States. And yet, the church at large has had a mixed response to mental illnesses. The church should be the one place where people are accepted as they are, no matter the details. Jesus accepted everyone who came across his path—adulterers, tax collectors, fishermen, critics. It didn’t matter. As His footprint upon the earth, the church should be the same.

Even with, or perhaps especially with, mental health conditions, the instinct should be to lean into kindness and love. The local church body should gather around, provide a place of safety and transparency, upholding those who are not well in their midst.

And this is exactly what happens, sometimes. There are pastors who are actively looking to normalize mental health conditions by mentioning depression alongside diabetes as an illness that can be overcome.

But for every pastor looking to build a healthy understanding of mental illnesses, there is a pastor lumping depression in with pornography, equating anxiety with faithlessness, telling their congregation to avoid medicine for treatment, or otherwise refusing to recognize the complexity of mental illnesses.

Definitely there are spiritual disciplines that can help those suffering from depression, but often it’s not enough. And yes, talking with a pastor or a counselor can certainly provide some relief for anxiety, but that’s not always the path forward either. Sometimes medicine is the answer, or at least part of the answer. And sometimes, there is no answer. Sometimes, trauma has left an indelible mark upon a person that cannot be overcome.

How can anyone tell the young man who is battling depression because of his abusive upbringing with a violent alcoholic father that a little more Bible reading and some memorization of a few verses will make the nightmares go away? No, that’s not how it works.

That’s not to insinuate every mental health condition comes from trauma. But even when the root isn’t trauma, there is still complexity involved. Some come from chemical imbalances…and no, that’s not a cop out. This is why antidepressants ease the burden for many suffering from severe depression, because these medications work to balance out various neurotransmitters. This is why some diagnosed as bipolar are able to find rest from the highs and lows with lithium, because a lithium imbalance was the problem in the first place.

Unfortunately, these truths are not always appreciated or understood in the church at large. No, many pastors paint with broad strokes, equating any mental illness with immaturity in the faith. It’s uncomfortable at best, and fear inducing at worst, to tell a pastor that he’s wrong. Especially when it’s hard to nail down why it is that he’s wrong.

Because of this discomfort, many choose to put on a happy shiny Christian mask and act like they’re not hurting. It’s more painful to confront church leadership and answer all the accusations and questions.

Even more disheartening than putting a mask on, many with mental illnesses choose to step away from the church altogether. They’ve been hurt too often, and too consistently, to have any space left in their hearts for trust. So they hang tight to a belief in Jesus, but walk away from the church because it hurts too much. Some of the voices you’ll read in this book have walked away from church for this very reason.

We can do better as the church. We must do better.

This reality is why I’ve gathered almost two dozen voices to share their stories. It’s only in listening—truly listening with every fiber of our being—to story after story of mental illness that we are able to see just how different every person is, even when the diagnosis is the same.

Mental illness isn’t a simple diagnosis, under any circumstances. It’s not like a fractured shoulder blade, where the path to healing is clear. With a shoulder, the bone needs to be set, the shoulder needs to be immobilized, and healing will take place. If there’s a complex fracture, then surgery might be necessary. But, the basic path is the same. This is never true with mental health conditions. Too often the church has treated those with mental illnesses as though there is a straightforward path toward healthier living, and that’s been painful to bear.

Whispers in the Pews has been written because I am convinced that it is fundamentally stories that will change the allowances for bad theology and inconsiderate (or worse) treatment of people. By hearing the pain and the victories that others have experienced in the church, my hope is that there will be room for a new way to approach mental health—one that sees the person before the health condition.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

As He Leads is Joy, October 14

Kat’s Corner Books, October 15

Texas Book-aholic, October 16

janicesbookreviews, October 17

Just the Write Escape, October 18

Mary Hake, October 18

Kathleen Anderson, October 19

A Reader’s Brain, October 20

Rev. Rebecca Wtites: Read, Write, Pray, October 21

Inklings and notions , October 22

Artistic Nobody, October 23

Inspired by fiction, October 23

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Chris 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/e97f/whispers-in-the-pews-celebration-tour-giveaway

Ford

Intrigue. Faith. Romance. Three things you can count on in a Susie May Warren book. Today’s feature is FORD.

Navy Seal Ford Marshall isn’t the kind to stand by and let a woman get hurt—especially when it involves his twin sister, RJ. So, when she makes the news, accused of sparking an international incident, he doesn’t care what it takes—he’s going to find her and bring her home.

But he might need a little help, so he calls on the woman who has had his back during the last three years—Petty Officer Scarlett Hathaway, former communications expert-turned Rescue Swimmer candidate. She’ll help him get into the country, watch his back, and…well, they might be able to have one last mission together before she leaves for a new life, a life he very much wants to be a part of now that she is off his team. Maybe he can convince her to give them a chance to kindle the spark that’s simmered between them for years. Navy Seal Ford Marshall isn’t the kind to stand by and let a woman get hurt—especially when it involves his twin sister, RJ. So, when she makes the news, accused of sparking an international incident, he doesn’t care what it takes—he’s going to find her and bring her home.

Scarlett Hathaway isn’t sure what future she wants—not when she suddenly has to care for her little brother. Maybe she should quit the Navy and start a life with the man she can’t seem to get out of her heart. So yes, she’ll help Ford find his sister. And maybe, along the way, figure out if they have a future.


But finding RJ somewhere in the vastness of Russia with the FSB chasing them will push Scarlett beyond even her courage and make her question everything she thought she wanted…including Ford. What will it cost her to love a man who saves the world? Navy Seal Ford Marshall isn’t the kind to stand by and let a woman get hurt—especially when it involves his twin sister, RJ. So, when she makes the news, accused of sparking an international incident, he doesn’t care what it takes—he’s going to find her and bring her home.

And when Ford is asked to choose between saving his sister, saving the world from a war, and rescuing the woman he loves…can he live with his decision?

My Thoughts

Susan May Warren has such a talent for balancing romance, intrigue, and spiritual nuggets in her stories. Ford is another installment in that category. Ford struggles with feeling like he has to rescue, to, in a way, control the outcome of a situation; he puts himself in the position of savior. But what happens when things keep going wrong?

I highlighted some deep Biblical truths that were presented as wise advice, questions, and internal conversations with God to apply to my own life. My favorite is the idea that God is not our back-up, He is who makes the way in front of us and we are his back-up. It was a timely reminded.

“You do not need to be the strongest one in the room. You have a breacher. Expect Him. He will not disappoint. Not because you deserve it, not because you work for it, but just Because. He. Period. Love. You. Full stop. End of story.”

I appreciate Scarlett’s questions that stem out of her difficult upbringing; they’re questions I’ve asked and and many others through the centuries. Susie doesn’t shy away from those questions, nor does she gloss over them, but show’s how God can overcome those situations.

All that faith is wrapped up in a page turning story with two pairs racing the clock across Russia. It was fun (Ford would NOT agree with me) watching Ford, a navy seal so prepared for every situation, be so far outside of his element.

I also enjoyed getting to see the perspectives of 4 characters as we also have RJ’s and York’s story.

I can’t wait to see how Coco and Wyatt’s and RJ and York’s story concludes as well.

Oh! And don’t forget to read the author’s note at the back. It’s a good one!

I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions are honestly my own!

Top Five Fall 2019 Christian Fiction Releases

Happy fall! ALMOST. I officially changed out my more door decoration and have started to imagine fall bookstagram photos full of leaves, mums, and fun decorations.

Today I’m linking up with blogger friends to share reads we’re looking forward to. I was supposed to pick fall AND winter, but there were too many greats, so this selection is Sept-Nov releases.

Be sure to check out Read Eat Repeat and For the Love of Christian Fiction for their fall/winter reads!

Contemporary

The close of the intense Montana Marshalls series and then a comedy to lighten it up.

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Historical

I especially enjoy listening to Elizabeth Camden’s books in audio. I’m just waiting for my pre-order to show up! And I can’t say no to a Kristi book.

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Best of Both

Baby girl Carrington all grown up! After watching her grow, over the series, I can’t wait to read hers.

Just out of Nov 30 cut-off

So close and I’m too excited for this new author not to share. I met Melissa this past spring and she’s awesome.

Fatal Memories – SLB – Giveaway

Fatal Memories Blog Tour Banner

About the Book

Fatal Memories

Series: Love Inspires Suspense
Genre: Christian, Inspirational, Romance, Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: September 1, 2019

She was framed! Or was she?
If only she could remember…
Border patrol agent Jocelyn Walker has no memory of how she turned up unconscious with a cache of drugs—or why a gang is dead set on killing her. With evidence stacking up against her, Joss takes refuge with driven DEA agent Dylan Murphy, who guards—and suspects— her. But will finally trusting each other lead them into a trap they’ll never escape?

GOODREADS | B&N AMAZON

About the Author

Bio Pic -Tanya Stowe

Tanya Stowe is an author of Christian Fiction with an unexpected edge. She fills her stories with the unusual…mysteries and exotic adventures, even a murder or two. No matter where Tanya takes you…on a trip to foreign lands or a suspenseful journey filled with danger…be prepared for the extraordinary.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE

Author Interview

1. Here at Kat’s Corner books, we’re fans of cats, but love all pets. Do you have a pet? 

Not at the moment. While we were working in the Middle East our dog passed away. He was in the arms of our sons and loved, sitting on the grass while thier babies played around him. We knew that we would be selling our house and hitting the road in an RV so we opted not to find another pet, especially since we planned to do lots of hiking, museums and tours. I love cats too!

K: Aww. Losing pets is always so hard, but glad he was in a happy place. It makes sense RVing that a pet would be difficult. We have one cat, but would love to have a dog. One day, when we have a yard (shhh, don’t tell Sasha)!

2. Open your text message app. What are the first 10 words that come up automatically?

Look at our gorgeous little honky tonks in Tombstone. 

(Two of my grandchildren just graduated from high school and we are taking them on a graduation trip. We stopped in Tombstone and bought them both cowboy hats and I sent a picture back to thier mom, my daughter. They looked gorgeous!)

3. When you are not writing, what other “hats” do you wear?

Mom. Meemaw. Pickleball player. Full time RV’er.

K: Pickleball? I’ve heard of it, but had to ask Google. Anyone else curious? Click here.

4. What inspired the idea for Fatal Memories?

My husband retired and we moved to southern Arizona. I loved the area and needed to write a story about it!

5. What is your current WIP?

Killer Harvest. It’s set in Central Calilfornia. 

K: Oooo so many ways that story line could go!

6. What was the hardest character to write in Fatal Memories?

Neither Joss nor Dylan were hard for me to write. I felt like I knew them both very well. But finding a way to get these two driven characters together was a challenge!

K: Strong willed personalities do present a challenge, but they also give us sparks! Thank you for sharing them with us.

Review

This book made it onto Hubs Hot List. Ya’ll know how rare that is. That makes two books for Tanya, so you know she’s a great suspense author. He liked the non-stop action, from the opening pages to the big finish. I think this would make a great Hollywood action flick.

Hubs: “This book is enticing. The plot grows thick with twists and turns building on the edge of your seat. Specifically, I enjoyed learning more about the drug cartels/gangs in the Southwest and with all the politics taking place today involving this area of the U.S. it leaves some room for hope and reconciliation on both sides of the border.”

Giveaway

Fatal Memories Tour Giveaway

Enter the giveaway HERE.

Giveaway ends September  7 at 11:59pm MT.

Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Tour Schedule

Check out the tour schedule HERE.

The Enlightment of Bees – JustRead

Spotlight: The Enlightment of Bees by Rachel Linden

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sometimes a shattered dream leads to an amazing journey.

At twenty-six, apprentice baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, a job baking at The Butter Emporium, and her first love—her boyfriend, Ethan—by her side. But when Ethan declares he “needs some space,” Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles.

Feeling adrift, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on a humanitarian trip around the world funded by a reclusive billionaire. Along with a famous grunge rock star, a Rwandan immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s heart is challenged and changed in astonishing ways—ways she never could have imagined. As she grapples with how to make a difference in a complicated world, Mia realizes she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the life unfolding before her.

In a romantic adventure across the globe, The Enlightenment of Bees beautifully explores what it means to find the sweet spot in life where our greatest passions meet the world’s greatest need.

PURCHASE LINKS*: 
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Christianbook


“The memories are always with us, but sometimes we can ease the way for others. That is what we must do, use our pain to build understanding and empathy, not to build walls. Then it is transformed into a thing of beauty, then our suffering has value.”


MY REVIEW

I’m a book monster; at the top I dog ear pages to keep my place and at the bottom I dog ear for quotes I want to revisit. This book has a lot of bottom corner dog ears.

Rachel Linden has a way with words that will sooth your sole. It’s a combination of lyrical with hard truth forcing the reader to confront their inner-self without pulling the reader into the depths of despair.

This is the first of Rachel’s books I’ve read so I had no clue what to expect. I’ve been reading a lot of fluff lately and at first her style of writing caught me off guard (because, again, fluff ya’ll). But, I quickly realized I had missed falling into a book world where I feel wrapped up in a cocoon; one where I knew I was going to be challenged and face feelings I’ve been ignoring, but knew I would come out better for it on the other side.

I appreciated how Rachel brought her experiences in to give the story depth and meaning. International aid is one of those things that I know exists and I see on news stories, but not a topic I really KNOW about; it hasn’t touched me personally. Through this story I was able to touch that world and develop a deeper level of empathy towards those who struggle with the basic comforts of life.

I liked all of the characters. I felt for Ethan, who struggled with knowing what was familiar and what was the right call for his and Mia’s future. I can’t imagine the agony of wrestling with the decisions he made, and then Mia being strong enough to process through and move to where she needed to be. I loved Nana Alice and her beau who brought smiles and wise words. Rosie is an awesome best friend who also grows and I’m super glad she finds her forever love during the story.

And Mia. In some ways I could relate and in others what she was going through was totally foreign to me, but no matter what, I could put myself in her place and see why she was struggling with decisions, thoughts, and the world around her. I could relate to having long held hopes and the struggle of wondering if those are still meant to be or if what is a good life but different than what I imagined really what I’m supposed to do?

For inspirational readers you’ll see some faith themes woven into the story. However for those who prefer a clean read with some depth but without faith themes, this story is also for you. It speaks to the goodness of humanity and finding the purpose for your life but does not specifically get into the religious beliefs of the characters.

And lastly, here is my favorite quote. I hope one day, I too can find this place.

“‘Remember, Mia, your place in this world is the space where your greatest passion meets the world’s great pain.'”

I received a copy of this book for the purposes of this tour. All opinions are my own.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures in over fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her writing. She is the author of Ascension of LarksBecoming the Talbot Sisters, and The Enlightenment of Bees. Currently, Rachel lives with her family in Seattle, Washington, where she enjoys creating stories about hope, courage, and connection with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy.

CONNECT WITH RACHEL: Website | Facebook | Instagram


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

The Second Yes – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

About the Book

The Second Yes

Book: The Second Yes

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Fiction / Christian / Romance

Release date: May 15, 2019

The Second Yes: Five of today’s Best-selling Christian Authors weave six brand-new, unique, interconnected stories of what happens after the bride says yes to him and yes to the dress.

Something Borrowed, Someone Blue: A borrowed dress, half-completed marriage counseling, and a last-minute theft.

Let’s face it. Weddings equal stress for the families involved. Preachers, however, have it easy. Or so they say.

Ty Jamison’s first parishioner is getting married. Though he’s performed many services at the little chapel in New Cheltenham–grand affairs, all designed to give the illusion of simplicity–all of them were strangers to him.

So when Lara Priest asks him to perform the ceremony at her wedding, and to use the chapel, of course, Ty is thrilled. That joy fades as one by one, things go wrong. From a groom who refuses to attend pre-marital counseling to Lara discovering that her dream wedding dress is a no-can-do, what can go wrong seems to.

And like so many weddings that movies are made of, things go from bad to worse to “worser.”

All the while, Ty tries to remind himself that he only has to provide a little premarital counseling, show up, perform the service, and find a way to hide his broken heart through the whole ordeal.

All in a life’s work.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

Something Borrowed, Someone Blue is a full length story in a the Second Yes collection, taking us back to New Cheltenham. At first it was a little odd knowing that the “romance” was between a woman who was already engaged with someone else, but as my college pastor (and who married us) always says, it’s not over until they say “I do.” See, he too fell in love with a woman who was engaged to someone else.

Chautona does a fantastic job portraying a growing relationship where both parties respect that boundary between engaged hands-off person and the growing together needed to form the bond of eternity.

I admire Ty and respect the self-control he had on not stepping over the line with Lara as he centered himself in prayer. Though, we see in the end, that even self-control can be taken too far. And I love his relationship with his mamma. I have my own prayer warrior mamma and the amazingness that comes from knowing your mamma will pray for you anytime day or night is a blessing I can never put into words. I think Ty would say the same thing. The fact that he calls her to ask for prayer is just…sigh. Melts my heart.

Lara is like so many of us, I think, though we always want to say “I wouldn’t do that.” She craves love. While she knows that God loves her, she struggles to see what’s worth loving in the midst of the overwhelming questions about who she is.

I can’t wait for the next installment! I hope this series continues long enough that we get to see Lauren grow up and take her turn on the crazy train to love.

Just one question remains: who do you think is next to get bit by the love bug in New Cheltenham? I know who I’m rooting for!

I received a complementary copy of this collection for the purpose of this tour. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Chautona

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

More from Chautona

The tiny bridal shop held dozens of dresses. Frothy princess dresses, twenties dropped-waist dresses, straight, short, silky, shiny satin, lace, beaded appliques… I looked at them all and found an ivory jacquard, tea length, dress by Jessica McClintock. It was a hundred dollars.  To a girl making $4.25 an hour and too broke to buy food, it might as well have been a thousand.  Still, it was also cheaper than any other dress in the store and just my style.

I pulled out the twenty-dollars I’d saved by doing extra work around my apartment for the landlord and said I’d put it on layaway.

My maid of honor protested.

The dress wasn’t fancy enough.  It didn’t reach the floor.  It wasn’t white.  I didn’t look good in ivory (she was right on that one, anyway), and the veil I’d fallen in love with—you know the $120 veil I could never afford—wouldn’t look good with it.

Duh.

Look, I was eighteen (barely), and had parents who would have paid me to elope in Las Vegas in lieu of the wedding.  Two months later, we did go…  And we still had the wedding, but that’s a story for another day.

I left the store with my choice on layaway.  Went home and later told my fiancé about the thing.  He said to get the one I wanted. And I had. Still, I got the impression that he thought I actually wanted the other one… and maybe he meant that I should get that one.

That left a conundrum.  Did he like the sound of the other one more?  Was that why?  The traditional white and floor-length thing?  I went back to the shop the next day to look again.  Seriously, if we’d had cellphones back then, I would have taken a picture and asked him.

That’s when I found out the white one was now on layaway—not the ivory I’d chosen.  The decision had been made for me.

And so went the rest of my wedding planning.

I made one decision.  It was countermanded as not grand enough, not traditional enough, too cheap, not enough…  One decision, I’d made involved flowers.  I called to ask about something after I’d ordered them and found they’d been changed to something else.  I lost it—informed the florist that if any changes were not made in person with my driver’s license as proof of me making them, then when the wedding day came, if the flowers were wrong, I’d do without flowers.  We wouldn’t have any.  And I wouldn’t pay for them.

I wish I’d have had the backbone to do more of that.

But come on, I was eighteen.  My mother didn’t have anything to do with wedding planning.  They’d agreed to show up in whatever clothes we told them to, and that was it.

Back to the dress.  I think it’s important to note that I did love that white, floor-length dress.  It was beautiful, it looked good on me, and it would make for lovely pictures.  It would.

It just wasn’t what I’d chosen.

You see, I’d said “yes” to a dress—just not the one that I had agreed to pay for.  Instead, it was the one that was almost four times the cost of the one I already couldn’t afford.

I’d always planned to tell the story—fictionalized, of course—but I figured it would be about Rockland’s wedding planning company, “The Agency.”  So, when it came time to do my book for the next Crossroads collection, The Second Yes, I was surprised to discover that elements of my own wedding kept cropping up in different ways.

The motivation is different in Something Borrowed, Someone Blue, but the result is the same—a girl who, no matter what happens, can’t seem to have the wedding she envisions.

The question is… is that a good thing?

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