All of You – Celebrate Lit Giveaway

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

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Book title: All of You

Author: Sarah Monzon

Release date: May 15, 2017

Genre:Dual-timeline/Contemporary Romance

Maryland, Present Day

Jacquelyn Rogers can rebuild anything…except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she’s worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.

After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.

England, 1944

With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.

Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future.

My Review

Sarah had me at “Maryland, Present Day.” I love reading books set not only in my hone state, but near where I live. But, a story is more than its setting, right? Right. And I blame Sarah completely for why my house did not get cleaned the weekend I started reading All of You, because I just COULD NOT put it down. Thankfully, the hubs has to work Saturday, so I was left to my reading. I had planned to get some things accomplished, but about 15 minutes in I realized that wasn’t going to happen.

Sarah is known for weaving a contemporary and historical story together and since I like both genres, I appreciate the art it takes to put both together in a way that doesn’t make your head spin. I knew that eventually the two would intersect and had an idea about how it might happen, but Sarah wove two romances together in a manner that keep me anticipating the convergence rather than feeling like it was predictable.

It was also refreshing to have a male lead who was rock solid in his faith, despite his circumstances. Many authors (including Sarah in past books) use the hero’s trials to help him return to God, but seeing Michael firm, despite the circumstances, while still struggling to accept them and asking questions was a journey I can relate to; there have been many times in my life where I’ve asked God “why” and “what now” while not doubting Him and I like that Michael approaches faith like this as well.

I encourage you to pick up a copy. You won’t regret it!  I received  a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I was not paid nor required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.

About the Author

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Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 Selah award for contemporary romance.

Guest Post from Sarah Monzon

I’m so excited to be here today and getting this opportunity to hang out with y’all in this virtual world. If you are anything like me, you devour books faster than my son drinks orange juice (and he really loves orange juice!). Because of that, it is sometimes hard to come across a book with a unique premise or a message that you haven’t seen incorporated a thousand times before. As a writer, I always try to bring something fresh to the table.

In the first book of the Carrington Family Series, Finders Keepers, neither of my characters were Christians. What? No Christians in a Christian fiction novel? Most Christian fiction books usually have at least one or both main characters a Christians. Don’t worry, they both found their way to Jesus. With All of You, however, I wanted to take yet an even different approach.

I’ve ready lots of books where the main character is angry or upset with God for such-and-such thing that happened in his/her life (I’ve even written a character like that), but I hadn’t really read a story about a character that, no matter what life threw at him/her, he/she was going to trust in God no matter what. As a life-long Christian, this is a message I can identify with. The “If not, He is still good” resonation that is sometimes harder to hold on to in the midst of pain and struggles.

So, as with all my books, I hope the freshness of the story and the realness of my characters will inspire and uplift you as you travel along with them on their journey.

God Bless.

Blog Stops

September 12: A Baker’s Perspective

September 12: Quiet Quilter

September 13: Books, Books, and More Books

September 13: Jeanette’s Thoughts

September 14: Cordially Barbara

September 14: Smiling Book Reviews

September 15: Avid Reader Book Reviews

September 15: Carpe Diem

September 16: Inklings and notions

September 16: Christian Bookaholic

September 17: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

September 17: Artistic Nobody

September 18Bookworm Mama

September 18Remembrancy

September 19Back Porch Reads

September 19Kat’s Corner Books

September 20Just Jo’Anne

September 20Margaret Kazmierczak

September 21The Power of Words

September 21Mary Hake

September 22100 Pages per Hour

September 22Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

September 23Zerina Blossom’s Books

September 23Simple Harvest Reads (spotlight)

September 24Blossoms and Blessings

September 24Moments Dipped in Ink

September 25Kathleen Denly

September 25His Grace is Sufficient

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bd52

 

CFRR Recap – Giveaway

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Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat. Those words peaked my interest last year as I started seeing some favorite bloggers begin to talk about the inaugural event. It sounded a bit like heaven hanging out with bookish friends and meeting authors. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t swing it last year. So, when they announced that this year’s event was going to be hosted in Cincinnati, my (now former) hometown, I jumped at the chance. Timing ended up working out perfectly so I could stay with my mom and then hang around a couple extra days to hang with my best friend an her new baby. Here’s a recap of the fun, and at the end, a giveaway!

The first thing that I was super excited to meet Carrie from Reading Is My Super Power. Carrie has answered so many blogger questions as I’ve gotten started and been super sweet about it all. I also got to meet Annie, organizer extraordinaire, from Just Commonly.

Carrie and I pre-CFRR and post CFRR.

The day was filled speakers and great panel discussions such as spirituality themes and how to/should they/to what extent be woven into Christian Fiction. We heard some great opinions from authors about “organic” faith where their authors live it, but don’t necessarily preach at others and how these themes impact readers. Cynthia Ruchti open with a great talk about why chose Christian Fiction. I wish I had recorded it so I could listen again.

I got to meet sooooo many awesome authors. Here are some I was able to snap photos with! Carrie and Annie kept a secret from us all. Friday night, after after a long day of packing bags, Carrie said she wanted me to meet someone. Lo, and behold, I walk around the corner and there’s JEN TURANO. And when I started to introduce myself, she knew who I was. FANGIRL MOMENT.  I tried valiantly to real it in and act normal, but not sure how successful I was. On Saturday, I was privileged to eat lunch with her, Shelly Shepard Gray, and a new to me author, Mollie Campbell. It was awesome to be able get to know these authors more along with a few other attendees.

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After end of the retreat Saturday, Kristi Ann Hunter grabbed some of her lead team and some others and we all went to LaRosa’s and then UDF for ice cream. I learned that Kristi was staying at a friend’s that was only about 15 minutes from where I grew up and she had lived in the area for awhile! It’s a small world. I also got to meet some other great bloggers and readers and author Deb Marvin!

There were also many giveaways and games. It was a seriously awesome day. I hope I can see you there next year!

One of the books in our swag bag is Ronnie Kendig’s newest A Crown of Souls. Even the title is intriguing. And….you could win a copy!  I will announce the winner next week on Tuesday. As always, please read my terms and conditions for giveaways and it’s open to US residents only. Click on the link here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway.

 

 

 I tried to get a nice photo of the book, but Onxy was not cooperating.

Crazy about Alaska- On Tour with Celebrate Lit- Giveaway

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

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Book title: Crazy about Alaska

Author: Shannon L. Brown

Release date: June 30, 2017

Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance

Can she trust love?

Holly has her eye on a handsome state trooper. Not on her boring, oh-so-serious, former professor, Adam.

Having her toes curl when she’s near Adam must be ignored.

Holly just wants a great dad for her twin girls. She’s going to find one, write a novel to fulfill her dreams, and create a happy life.

Falling in love isn’t part of her plan.

My Review

Crazy About Alaska is the first book that I’ve read by Shannon Brown. When I finished the book, I immediately thought, “I HAVE to get the first two in this series” and promptly went to look them up on Amazon. I am always a little hesitant to try new authors, but it sounded like a sweet romance story line, and I am trying to broaden my horizons. Crazy About Alaska is exactly what I hoped it would be; a sweet romance, but with just enough depth to not make it too sugary.

I will admit that the first couple chapters had a lot of place names, which was a little overwhelming, but as Alaska is a huge place and the characters end up going to many various locations, it helped to have the lay of the land. Alaska is a beautiful place and Shannon’s descriptions really take you there. I hope one day I’ll be able to visit in person.

The premise of a professor-student relationship is something I’ve wondered about many times with so many “older” adults going back to school. Shannon captures the angst that I felt as a student wanting to succeed in my classes while balancing the more mature perspective that age and mommyhood bring. The interactions between Holly and Adam are never boring and were enjoyable to read as their relationship transitioned from professor-student, to friends, to more. Holly’s relationship with her sisters’ and what you see of her sisters’ relationships all make me want to get to know more of this family.

If you’re looking for a gripping story line or deep characters, this may not be your thing. But, if you’re looking for a pleasant way to pass en evening with an entertaining story that leaves with that happy sigh, I’d encourage you to pick up a copy.

I can’t wait to see the next thing from Shannon!

 

About the Author

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Writing books that are fun and touch your heart

Even though Shannon L. Brown always loved to read, she didn’t plan to be a writer. She earned two degrees from the University of Alaska, one in journalism/public communications, but didn’t become a journalist.

Years passed. Shannon felt pulled into a writing life, testing her wings with a novel and moving on to articles. Shannon is now an award-winning journalist who has sold hundreds of articles to local, national, and regional publications.

Shannon was born and raised in Alaska so she enjoyed writing the books in the Alaska Dream Romance series. “The Feather Chase” was her first published book and began the Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series. The eight-to-twelve-year-olds in your life will enjoy this contemporary twist on a Nancy Drew-type mystery.

Shannon lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her professor husband and adorable calico cat.

Guest Post from Shannon Brown

Open Doors

When a character opens the door and steps from her world into mine, writing about her is easier. Holly Harris in Crazy About Alaska is a real estate agent, and I was once one. I’ve driven clients around and shown them houses only to have them go a different direction. My husband and I bought a new house a few years ago, so I have tales to tell from that experience too. (Readers may think the purple shower is made up. Think again.) I chose to bring a college professor into her life as a love interest. I’m married to one.

Some of myself always finds its way into a story. Sometimes, it’s just something I might like to do. Holly’s sister Jemma rehabs furniture in Falling for Alaska, book one in the series. The idea for her business came while I was watching HGTV’s Flea Market Flip. Taking trash and making it beautiful sounds like something I’d like to try. Jemma also dislikes coffee and drinks tea. (Here I am again.) But she is not exactly me. She’s cooking challenged, and I’m a good cook.

Does the story become about the author when she inserts herself into it? Reality is only a fun fraction of the book. Holly has two men vying for her affections. That never happened. (It might have been fun if it had!) She also has five-year-old twins. I never experienced that.

By far the most challenging of the sisters in the series was Bree in book two, Loving Alaska. She’s a doctor, and my knowledge of the medical profession comes from sitting on the exam table, not from doing the exam. I spoke with doctors I knew and brought her to life. But Bree isn’t all made up either. She despises being in nature, especially camping. I’ve camped on a frozen river, beside a lake after canoeing or boating in, and many more places, but I’m with Bree and hotels are greatly preferred. There I am in the story again.

Reading the books I’ve written helps you know who I am. I’m a woman with a big imagination who enjoys bringing stories to life. Oh, and that slightly sarcastic sense of humor you may notice with Jemma and Holly? That might be from me as well.

Blog Stops

July 20: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

July 20: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

July 21: A Baker’s Perspective

July 21: Reading Is My SuperPower

July 22: Artistic Nobody

July 22: Just Commonly

July 23: Live.Love.Read.

July 23: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

July 24: Carpe Diem

July 24: autism mom

July 25: Redeemed Hope Dweller

July 25: Baker Kella

July 26: A Rup Life

July 26: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

July 27: Karen Sue Hadley

July 27: Quiet Quilter

July 28: Pause for Tales

July 28: Have A Wonderful Day

July 29: Remembrancy

July 29: Cafinated Reads

July 30: Zerina Blossom’s Books

July 31: History, Mystery & Faith

August 1: Kat’s Corner Books

August 1: For the Love of Books

August 2: Avid Reader Book Reviews

August 2: Ashley’s Bookshelf

Giveaway

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To celebrate this tour, Shannon Brown is giving away a grand prize of a book lovers gift basket – a basket filled with book-related things!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bb35

I received a digital copy of this book from the author/publisher for promotional purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

Sprouts of Love with Author Valerie Comer

Romance Grows AVHappy Tuesday, ya’ll! Today we’re chatting with Valerie Comer. Valerie is known for her local fresh food focus and sweet romances. Her band new book, Sprouts of Love, is part of the A Garden Grown Romance series. It was kicked off with a fantastic collection of stories by six authors called Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley. There was a lot of collaboration by the authors to make a little fictional world in a corner of Idaho. I am amazes at how well all of the different series work so well together, even as each author continues dependently. Since cats are know for their curiosity, it only made sense to ask Valerie to join us here today!

Sprouts of Love:

Sprouts Of LoveCan love sprout amid a tsunami of vegetables?

Single mom Evelyn Felton takes on another part-time job managing a greenhouse and garden project for Grace Fellowship. Formerly homeless, she’s thrilled to offer truckloads of fresh produce to the Arcadia Valley food bank.

If only Ben Kujak weren’t running Corinna’s Cupboard singlehandedly, he’d be delighted to be on the receiving end. But Evelyn and her dynamo daughter, Maisie, won’t take no for an answer, even if it means restructuring Ben’s charity.

Soon Ben finds himself wishing they’d transform his personal life, too, but can true love sprout when their pasts collide with the present?

Interview

Valerie- Thanks for joining us here today! We like to ask all of our authors a couple fun questions to start off with:

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

Valerie: The girls in that evening are so cute I can’t…

Kat: You can tell you have grandgirls!

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

Valerie: Three animals — a dog and two cats — currently share my husband and me. Brody is a black Lab cross (crossed with something unknown and large!) who’s nine years old and is not the smartest thing on four legs. Even hubby  says that, and he’s the dog person! Coonie and Moxie are tortoiseshell littermates who are seven and a half years old. They’re a good trio, between them. They get along well and keep us company.

And now on to the book!

  1. This series started off with a collaboration of a set of novellas. I imagine that an immense amount of coordination was required. I even saw one of the authors post that some of you have never met (at least until that trip). Can you tell us a little about the process?

Valerie: There’s a fair bit going on behind the scenes in our Facebook group and in our shared Dropbox folder, for sure. We started brainstorming early in 2016, creating our setting and divvying up the parts we each wanted to write about.

I’ve met two of the other authors in person, and the other three only online. The internet makes it so easy to work together and to become true friends with people we’ve never met!

  1. As each of the authors continue forward in the series, how much do you all still collaborate or check-in? While all the series happen in the same town, they’re very different and kind of exist in their own world. Do you all try to refer to each other’s stories?

Valerie: We check into our Facebook group often. Someone is posting at least once or twice a week, perhaps with a timeline question or a “would your character say this” question. We are all reading each other’s work, so as things go along, I think you’ll find increased mixing from when the first few authors were working more in a vacuum.

We agreed early on to keep our smaller series focused on our own characters and themes, and only bring in someone else’s characters for flavor. At the same time, the characters may attend the same church (we’ve created three) or dine at the same restaurants or go to the same park or events. I love how the town of Arcadia Valley is filling out a little with each new story!

  1. I know that you have a passion for “real” food and that is an important aspect for all your stories. I know I’ve learned a lot from them. For those who may not understand the concept, can you describe it in a few sentences and tell us why/how it’s so important to you?

Valerie: As a culture, we’re quite selfish. We tend not to think about the results of our choices that often – the workers who harvest sprayed vegetables, the child slave labor that goes into much of today’s cocoa production, the big corporations that care more for their bottom dollar than any person’s health and welfare. We willingly gobble up empty chemical calories with little regard for our own bodies or the moral implications!

Am I perfect? Not by a long shot. Sometimes tiredness and thrift play a role in the food choices I make, too. But I truly believe that we who are residents of first world countries need to learn to think beyond ourselves for the betterment of our own bodies, our communities, people around the world, and the environment.

Yeah, I’ve got an entire soapbox, but I’ll get off now. 😉

  1. I also believe in the importance of real food, but struggle to implement it living the middle of the city (though I do cherish my three small community garden plots). For some, it seems far out of reach. If there were one or two things that they could implement today, what would they be?

Valerie: I think the first thing is just being aware. Look at the labels on your food… not just on the boxes and packages but even on your fruits and vegetables. What country did they come from? Are there other alternatives from closer to home? What’s actually in season?

I recommend frequenting your local farmers market or a food co-op if you can. Talk to your farmers and growers. Learn what actually grows in your area. Fresh produce picked at the peak of ripeness may turn your picky kids into fans of vegetables.

  1. Sprouts of Love deals with an issue that many try not to think about: homelessness, and even more so homeless women and children. What was the inspiration behind this theme?

Valerie: I honestly don’t know the answer to that. It’s the second time homelessness has been central to one of my novels — the other was Berry on Top, released in February 2016. I’ve never been homeless or close to it, and I’ve never worked at a shelter or anything like that.

All I can say is God probably wanted to teach me empathy. I don’t plot my story details out prior to writing, so sometimes what happens on the page is just as much a surprise to me as it is to the readers!

  1. If there’s one lesson you’d like readers to walk away with after reading this story, what is it?

Valerie: We’re so quick to judge other people for the way they are and the choices they make. In the story, characters are judged because they’ve been homeless… or because they have a beautiful home. There are other judgments, too, against parents who do literally anything for their children, and others who abandon their kids.

So maybe the takeaway is not to judge, not even the big things that are so obviously wrong. Each person makes decisions based on their history and current circumstances. We need to give grace and come alongside people who are hurting, not heap condemnation on their heads.

You know, I hadn’t really thought about that before with this book. Good question.

What an insightful interview. Thank you so much! I really look forward to following all of the Arcadia Valley series.

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Author Bio

Valerie-Comer-150x150Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary Christian romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local foods movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily-ever-afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie is a USA Today bestselling author and a two-time Word Award winner. She writes engaging characters, strong communities, and deep faith laced with humor into her green clean romances.

Connect with Valerie! 

http://valeriecomer.com

http://arcadiavalleyromance.com

http://inspyromance.com

http://twitter.com/valeriecomer

https://www.pinterest.com/valeriecomer/garden-grown-romances-set-in-arcadia-valley-idaho/

https://www.pinterest.com/valeriecomer/arcadia-valley-romance/

 

Behind the Scenes – Giveaway/Interview

Behind The Scenes For anyone who hasn’t heard, Jen Turano has a new book out called Behind the Scenes! That is always a happy event for me as I read to escape and for entertainment and I can ALWAYS count on Jen for both. Her newest series features wallflowers during the Gilded Age and is called “Apart From the Crowd.” I am so excited to have Jen on the blog today for an interview, plus, Jen has graciously agreed to give away a copy of Behind the Scenes to a lucky reader! Keep reading for Jen’s interview, my thoughts, and to enter the giveaway.

 

Miss Permilia Griswold, the wallflower behind “The Quill” gossip column, knows everything that goes on in the ballrooms of New York. When she overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Asher Rutherford, she’s determined to warn him. Away from society’s spotlight, Asher and Permilia discover there’s more going on behind the scenes than they anticipated.

 

Jen has joined us for an interview. We like to start all authors out with a couple fun questions.

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

Jen: I don’t have a text message app – texting is just on my phone😊

Kat: Don’t feel bad, my hubs still has what everyone refers to as a “dumb phone.”

2. Here are Kat’s Corner Books we’re partial to cats, but love pets of any kind. Do you have a pet?

Jen: I do not have a pet.  My Australian Cattle Dog, Sasha, died last year.  She was fifteen, lived a great life, was a great companion, but I don’t think I’ll get another dog for a few years. 

Kat: So sad. It’s always hard to lose a member of our family.

Now onto book questions!

3. Many of your readers know that you’re working your way through the Gilded Age, but I must confess, other than the late 1800’s, I don’t really know what that means. Can you give us a little summary?

So the Gilded Age – cliff note version.  Right after the Civil War, and because of the advances within industry, gentlemen began making fortunes at an unprecedented rate.  Because taxes were not paid on a lot of that newly acquired money, conspicuous consumption became the norm for the privileged in the country.  Mansions were built without a care to cost, wardrobes were acquired for every season, most high society ladies traveling to Paris to shop from Worth, and established society members had to work incredibly hard to prevent the newly rich, and as they thought of them, uncouth industrialist, from entering their hallowed circles. Rules did begin to relax when the fortunes being made were so large they could not be ignored, and with that relaxation came incredibly ridiculous society events and a disregard for common sense, something that helped bring an end to the Gilded Age, right around the start of World War I and the passing of income tax laws which had these very wealthy Americans no longer able to keep every cent they made. 

 

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I was so excited when I recieved my copy! Yes, that is my very messy desk.

4. I know that you enjoy contemporary stories as well (a là Finding Margo), how did you pick the Gilded Age for your series?

 

When I first tried my hand at writing historical, I wrote Regency, although I had absolutely no success procuring the interest of a publisher, but I did manage to snag an agent with a Regency story I wrote titled “A Marriage of Inconvenience.” While she was shopping that book around, we discussed what I should write next, and she suggested setting a story in America since she’d been successful placing quite a few of her clients with American-set stories.  Since I’m all about high society, I knew I wouldn’t be good at a Western, so got a friend of mine who is a research librarian to pull a bunch of books in different American eras, finding myself enthralled with the Gilded Age.  It’s a fascinating period in time, overlooked in my humble opinion, and since it does stretch all the way up until World War I, I have plenty of fodder for my stories.  I’m looking forward to doing a series about working women in industry, but that will be a few years from now.   

5. As a researcher myself, I know that you can come across some really…interesting…stories and photos. Can you share a unique one? (You can’t use any that are in the book. 😉)

One of the most disturbing stories I’ve come across is that of Eve Nesbit. She was the most photographed woman of the era, becoming famous at the ripe-old age of sixteen.  Men took advantage of her, especially Stanford White.  He was a famous architect of the day and designed Madison Square Garden.  Eve and Stanford were involved with each other for years, but he was already married, and disturbingly enough, he seemed to have a propensity of taking young girls under his wing.  As Eve began to age, he lost some of his fascination with her, which is when she decided to marry Mr. Harry Thaw.  Unfortunately, Harry was an incredibly jealous man, and he hated the idea she’d been involved with Stanford White. On a hot afternoon in 1906, while enjoying a performance at the Madison Square Garden rooftop theater, Henry shot Stanford at point blank range, killing him. All the sordid details of Eve’s past with Stanford came out at trial, and the rest of her life was spent under a cloud of scandal, with Henry spending eight years after his murder trial committed to an asylum.  They never lived as husband and wife again.  When he died in the 1940’s, Henry left Eve $10,000 – the same amount he left a waitress he barely knew.

 

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Eve Nesbit (photo provided by Jen Turano)

 

6. If there’s one lesson you’d like readers to walk away with after reading this story, what is it?

I don’t really expect readers to walk away with a lesson from my stories.  What I’m hoping is that they’ll be entertained by my characters and will have found a brief respite from any problems they may be facing. 

Kat: This is exactly why I love reading your books. Though, I feel like I do always walk away from something. Your characters always have such a great perspective on faith and insight on life and God without getting preachy. It’s just part of who they are. I want to be more like that.

My Thoughts

 

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Best didication ever.

We first met Asher and Permilia in the (free!) prequel novel At Your Request, in January. I was intermediately intrigued by the interaction between these two characters and could not wait to read their story. Jen is known for her strong female leads who ahead of their time and Permilia is exactly that. And Asher. He is just so sweet. Unlike many of the heroes in Jen’s book, Asher is smitten from the start and steadily pursues Permilia, which is a refreshing storyline in Jen’s novels, and isn’t a rugged “manly man.” Though his pursuit of the title is quite humorous.

 

Readers often put pressure on their favorite authors to churn out another story they love, and Behind the Scenes is another classic Jen Turano story without getting repetitive of earlier stories. It is an absolute delight that I will reread for several years to come.

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Giveaway

Jen has graciously agreed to giveaway a print copy of Behind The Scenes! Click on the link below to enter. Due to shipping costs and international regulations, this giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway is subject to Kat’s Corner Books’s giveaway policies which can be found on the Disclosure and Policies page. The winner will be announced next week. Giveaway open until midnight on 5/15/2017.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form here.

 

A Spring of Weddings

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Click here to purchase your copy

About the Book

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Book: A Spring of Weddings: A Contemporary Spring Weddings Collection

Authors: Toni Shiloh & Melissa Wardwell,

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Release Date: March 30, 2017

A Proxy Wedding

Carly James values loyalty and friendship above all, so when her best friend calls asking her to be a proxy bride, she says, ‘yes.’ How hard can it be to say ‘I do’ so that her best friend can be with the one she loves? Only, Carly never counted on the feelings that began to swirl around with the proxy groom.

Damien Nichols likes life lined up from A to Z, but when his best friend calls in a favor, disorder begins to reign. Instead of taking a quick flight to the proxy wedding, he must take a road trip with the proxy bride. Carly’s free-spirit attitude bumps heads with his meticulous approach to life. As Damien discovers the woman underneath the carefree façade, his emotions become involved.

Will love become real at A Proxy Wedding?

Hope Beyond Savannah

Lily Allman and Nikotemo (Nik) Lagatuo were the poster children for the term “opposites attract.” He was an evangelist and CEO for a non-profit from Samoa who grew up in a large loving family. She was a blond bombshell with a funky style and no family to call her own. Two of the most unlikely people meet in the most unlikely of places, but God had a plan when He brought them together. They never let their differences deter them from the love they had for each other, but when Nik’s mother comes to the States for the wedding, the idea of wedded bliss is shaken. Can prejudices be over looked, insecurities overcome, and hope for a better future be restored so that these two can have all that was promised?

My Thoughts

The first thing I thought when I finished both stories is that they were refreshingly different from most reads. While they were light-hearted romances, they each possessed a unique aspect that I really appreciated. Trying to explain without spoilers is difficult, but I think I can summarize by saying that one ends with a beginning and the other begins in the middle. While this may sound off at first, in my opinion, it made for more realistic and believable stories; with contemporary romances it’s hard to have a believable storyline covering the meet cute to the wedding and these two stories do a great job of diving into two seasons in a relationship not as covered in Christian Fiction.

 

In A Proxy Wedding I was intrigued by a premise of a proxy wedding. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. And what a great way to throw two characters together in a contemporary setting. Toni was able to provide surprising depth and character development in the length of a short novel.

 

In Hope Beyond Savannah, I enjoyed getting to know the Samoan culture. This story was shorter than I thought it would be, which left wanting to know more about these characters before and after this story. Melissa does a good job with the heroine still struggling with wounds of the past while also healing and moving forward. For me the story wrapped up a bit quickly, but I still very much liked it.

I received this book free for promotional purposes. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

About the AuthorsSONY DSC

 

 

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

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Melissa Wardwell was born and raised in a small mid-Michigan community living there still with her Husband and three children. She enjoys taking pictures, reading, and leisurely rides with her husband on their motorcycle. All her stories revolve around women who are mothers. Single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of her own.

Her hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life.

Guest posts from Toni & Melissa

A Proxy Wedding

By Toni Shiloh

Spring is here! I love it because I always think of new beginnings as the flowers bud and then bloom. The trials and tribulation of the winter season are no longer on my mind. My hope that the winter season would not linger begins to become visible as new life takes shape on the bare trees. The seeds I planted in faith of God’s faithfulness sprout up in hope and promise.

When I sat down to write A Proxy Wedding, I had to imagine spring time, because the dreary, overcast skies outside my window were a constant reminder that I was in a season of sickness. One person would get sick, then the next, and the next. By the time the last person got sick, the round would start over. Visits to the doctor were made. Miserable kids were constantly whining in their discomfort.

It. Was. Rough.

It made perfect sense for me to throw my characters into a new situation. One that would make the stretch, take them out their comfort zone, and search for God’s goodness. I wanted to give them a hint of goodness and throw in a trial or two so they could make the decision that sometimes, risk is worth it. Just as we all react differently to new situations, so did my characters.

Carly was intent on making lemonade from her lemons. She tries to get the handsome broker, Damien, to see the importance of smelling roses and lingering over new adventures. Of course, Damien wasn’t partial to the frivolity. He’s so intent on becoming a success that he had no time to slow down.

In order for them to see God’s handiwork in their lives, I had to remind them that they were not products of their past. That in God, they’re a new creation with new opportunities available to them.

I hope you enjoy A Proxy Wedding. May you think of the Father’s love as you take time to stop and smell the roses.

Hope Beyond Savannah

By Melissa Wardwell

I hope you enjoy this story of love, acceptance and new beginnings. It was a joy to write because there is much more to it than the hope of marriage. It is about the blending of two families who are from two completely different cultures. Researching the island traditions, beliefs, and customs was not only fun, but enlightening. Being able to return to my background in bridal as well as the most beautiful city in the United States was just an added bonus.

With Nik and his family being from another country, I gave you a glossary of words and phrases used so you knew what was being said. I found the language to be rather beautiful and to not include it would take away from who these people are. I also give a small explanation as to what Rock-a- billy is. Lily is a funky chick who dresses in a fun and exciting way. When I saw this couple in my head, I knew it would be quite the uncommon match. As you will soon see, they fit together quite nicely.

My point in using a bi-racial couple for this story was based on what we have been seeing in the news lately. It is unlike anything I have ever done but after talking to friends in similar relationships, I knew I had to step out on this limb. I think it is time we begin to look at people through the eyes of God and not man, then we would see how beautiful we all are. It doesn’t matter what color our skin is or what our past contains, we are all God’s creation and we are beautifully and wonderfully made.

Blog Stops

April 25: Blossoms and Blessings

April 25: Lighthouse Academy

April 26: A Baker’s Perspective

April 26: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

April 27: Blogging With Carol

April 27: Avid Reader Book Reviews

April 28: Moments Dipped in Ink

April 28: Mary Hake

April 29: Reading Is My SuperPower

April 29: The Power of Words (Spotlight)

April 30: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

April 30: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

May 1: Quiet Quilter

May 1: Kristin N. Spencer

May 2: Kat’s Corner Books

May 2: Karen Sue Hadley

May 3: Books. Books. And More Books.

May 3: History, Mystery & Faith

May 4: Jeanette’s Thoughts

May 4: A Greater Yes

May 5: Carpe Diem

May 5: Christian Bookaholic

May 6: These Splendid Sentences

May 6: Just Jo’Anne

May 7: God is Love

May 7: Ashley’s Bookshelf

May 8: Autism mom

May 8: Caffeinated Reads

May 9: Bibliophile Reviews

Giveaway

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To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b614

An Uncommon Courtship (Plus my first Author Interview!)

I read a lot of books in a year, varying from ones I barely make it through to those I devour in as few sittings as possible. An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter was the first new release I was looking forward to reading this year, and it did not disappoint in its debut spot. This is the third installment in the Hawthorne House series (plus a prequel novella) and features the affable younger brother, Trent.

I am so excited that Kristi has agreed to be my first author interview! She’s been amazingly kind through the process. See her answers below the book summary.

uncommoncourtshipcoverLife for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier if she hid in her older sister’s shadow–which worked until her sister got married. Even with the pressure of her socially ambitious mother, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience to save her previously spotless reputation.

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn’t be happier that he is not the duke in the family. He’s free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, which includes grand plans of wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he doesn’t know, his dream of a marriage like his parents’ seems lost forever.

Already starting their marriage on shaky ground, can Adelaide and Trent’s relationship survive the pressures of London society?


Kristi, thanks so much for joining us today! I have a few, hopefully interesting, questions for you.

  1. It’s the first day the kids are back in school after the summer. What are you doing?

Kristi: Sleeping. 🙂 Then writing. I love getting back into schedule after the kids go back to school.

  1. Are you a ninja or a pirate?

Kristi: Can I be both? Kick you in the head while saying arrrr instead of hiya? No? Sigh. I’ll be a ninja. They kick posterior. 😉

  1. Have you ever Googled yourself? If yes, were you surprised with what you found?

Kristi: Every few months so that I can make sure my website is still at the top. But when I first started writing I Googled myself and found that I was already a pretty prominent painter. Hence the addition of the Ann.

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

Kristi: “I think it would make more sense to be a weekend.” So, there you have it.

  1. I loved how Lady Blackstone really shined in this story and can see how she was strong enough to raise a Duke. Might we ever get to hear the story of how she fell in love with Lord Blackstone?

Kristi: I’ve had a lot of people asking about it so I might have to look into it. It’s not a very long story. They’ve always been more settled in my mind, but a lot of people want their story.

  1. You’ve mentioned previously that you scrapped an entire first draft for this story, which I’m sure was very difficult. How did you get through it and keep going (besides the obvious I have a deadline I had to keep)?

Kristi: Deadlines are powerful motivators, but it was more that I believed in the story and I knew I could do better.

  1. What in the world is a rasher? Are there any other words in the book that you use, but still aren’t quite sure what they mean?

Kristi: I haven’t a clue, but I know it’s a measurement of bacon. I vaguely remember looking it up when I was writing to make sure I didn’t give him like 20 pounds of bacon of something, but I don’t remember what it was…Here I go, off to Google to be able to answer your question. Apparently it’s a thin slice, not a measurement. So, yeah. But it sounds cool.

  1. You’ve mentioned before that your heros share character traits with your husband. What, if any, traits do Trent and your husband share?

Kristi: It’s a little harder to pin down with Trent than with some of my other heroes, but probably the most identifying one is that he adores Adelaide’s faults. I’m very blessed to have a man that thinks it’s cute when I forget to do the laundry. Again. 

  1. How did you come up pineapple? Did you think about using any other fruit? (like a Georgia peach, LOL)

Kristi: Okay, this one was one of those very fortunate research rabbits. I was looking up agriculture facts for the prologue and stumbled across the instructions for growing pineapples. They started growing them in England in the 1700s using the Dutch method of growing them in glass hothouses, using horse byproducts to keep the warmth tropical. It was so fascinating that I had to use it. Plus there’s something fun about the word pineapple.

  1. If there’s one lesson you’d like readers to walk away with after reading this story, what is it?

Kristi: You can choose love. It doesn’t have to be a feeling or even something the other person wants. You can choose to love because Biblical love is about what you do for and to the other person. Are you kind, patient, etc.? Choose love. Every day.

Those are some great answers. I really love the lesson of the book too. Relationships, especially marriages, have their hard seasons and choosing love is what gets you through.

Bonus: I love my silly cats who try to read all of my books by osmosis. I’m asking every author about their pets. If you have a pet, what’s their name and your favorite thing about them?  

I have no pets. My kids have pet rocks, though. They have adoption certificates and everything.

LOL, Kristi. You should get them a pet! At least you can’t accidentally kill a rock, though, right?


Review (with a [minor] spoiler!)

The first two pages are enough to give a girl heart palpitations. Trent is already married, plus he’s not finishing his bacon? What?! I forewarn you that as soon as you start reading an Unncommon Courtship that you will not be able to put it down. Will Adelaide and Trent be able to make a real marriage?

I know that so many of us readers have been on #teamtrent for awhile, even referring to him as #mytrent, and waiting, waiting, waiting, for his story to come about. To say I was surprised that his marriage came about as it did is an understatement, but for all the expectations we put on him and pressure Kristi felt in living up to those, she did not disappoint in the least. The book was so very Trent.

I did not expect Trent to struggle so much with figuring out what love is, but I did admire his desire to give their marriage the same foundation that typical couples would have experienced. I think that Trent wading his way through the great love question provides a faith filled insight into Biblical love and the basis that it’s more than a feeling; it’s a choice. And in the end, Trent first chooses to love and then falls in love. Calling in the “cavalry” (aka “the boys,” aka Griffith, Ryland, Colin, and Anthony) who proceed give Trent an education was brilliant, and I love how we get to view the more intimate side of the relationship between these five men.

Can I also just say that Kristi is the master of awkward conversations? There are a few chapters that happen after a delayed wedding night between two inexperienced people. While most authors avoid the, ahem, more physical side of marriage, Kristi plunges right in in a manner that is realistic while being tactful and hilarious at the same time. Of course, it’s probably only hilarious because it’s happening to Trent and not me. That said, I know some folks ask about appropriate ages for reading a novel, and while it’s handled superbly and leads to some great conversations about what love is and isn’t, I’d suggest that parents make sure they’ve addressed this topic with their kid before reading this book and then follow up afterwards as well. That said, there are fantastic lessons to be had from Trent and Adelaide’s story.

I received this copy as a courtesy from Bethany House in exchange for an honest opinion. All the opinions above are mine alone. But, seriously, the book is awesome, so go read it.

An Uncommon Courtship (Hawthorne House, #3)        Amazon       Christian Book

hunter_headshotKristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. In addition to several pre-published contests, Kristi is a Rita award winner and has also been a finalist in the INSPYs, Christys, and GRW Maggie Award of Excellence. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

You can connect with Kristi Ann Hunter at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.