Christmas Reads 2018 – The Christmas Heirloom

Today I’m exciting to be bringing you a blog post found only at Kat’s Corner Books! Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter, Becky Wade, and 
Sarah Loudin Thomas join me to talk about a special gift that they have received. In The Christmas Heirloom, four women are gifted a Luckenbooth Broach and find love at Christmas. Join me in sharing the authors’ stories.

Karen Witemeyer

Zucchini Bread recipe

Heirlooms can be anything that is handed down from one generation to another, but what makes them special is not the item itself, but the memories and emotions that item evokes. I have an antique washstand in my bedroom that once belonged to my grandmother on my father’s side and a small landscape painting that my grandma on my mother’s side painted. Outsiders would not see anything of particular value in these items, but they mean a great deal to me because they connect me to people I loved from generations past. One of my favorite heirlooms​, however, is a recipe for zucchini bread written in my dad’s handwriting. I lost my dad when I was only 16, so this is a prized possession. Not only is the recipe delicious, but seeing my dad’s handwriting brings back a flood of happy memories every time I take it out.


As for gifts I’ve received, the ones that mean the most are the ones that have heirloom potential. They tie into specific memories and emotions. A couple years ago, my husband gave me two such treasures. The first was a blanket made with a photo of my kids. My first child was leaving for college and the empty nest had begun. This was a way for me to snuggle with my kids even when they were gone. Love it! The other gift was a set of throw pillows made from pictures we had taken on a trip to The Netherlands. My Dutch publisher had brought me out for a book tour, and they allowed Wes to tag along. It was one of the best trips we have ever taken. We met so many wonderful people and saw so many amazing things. These pillows sit on my couch all throughout the year, and every time I see them, I remember that trip and smile.


I’m a cross-stitcher, so this time of year, the house fills with handmade items like stockings, ornaments, and wall hangings. I’d like to think that some of these will become heirlooms as my children start their own families and take a few touches of Christmases past to start their own traditions, but even if they don’t, they will still hold memories and joy for me every time I look at them.

Kristi Ann Hunter

BFFs Tendy and Scruffy

I didn’t often get the trendy toy of the year growing up. I never owned a Cabbage Patch Doll or a Furby, but when I was three I did get a Care Bear. TenderHeart to be exact. I loved that bear. I slept with it every night, carried it around the house, he was my constant companion. I called him Tendy. Over the years Tendy soaked up a lot of tears, got a lot of washings, and got hugged until he was pretty much smashed flat. Eventually, when I was in college, I had to admit that Tendy was getting a little too worn to be my constant companion. My father, who’d gotten me Tendy to begin with, went on a hunt for a replacement. At the time he was traveling around the world for work. Everywhere he went, he visited toy stores looking for the softest, cuddliest replacement for my beloved Tendy. I was twenty when I received Scruffy, a gray dog with floppy arms and legs and fluffy fur. Scruffy has since been replaced by my husband, but he and Tendy still sit together in a place of honor in my bedroom. 

Sarah Loudin Thomas

Being sentimental is my super power. My most prized possessions are the bits and pieces that used to belong to someone who matters to me. There’s the Brown Betty teapot that belonged to my neighbor Betty. The stitched wall hanging Aunt Bess made. The wooden butter mold Uncle Willis made for Mom. Dad’s shaving mug. 
Mom knows this about me (maybe instilled it in me?). Which means she knew exactly what she was doing the year she gave me my favorite book EVER. It’s the copy of Heidi that her own aunt gave her as a girl. Mom must have read it to me a hundred times.
There, inside the front cover, it says “To Nancy Cox, Christmas 1954.” And then she passed it on to me one Christmas. And some Christmas down the road I plan to pass it along to my niece–mom’s granddaughter. And hopefully, there will be a great-granddaughter to appreciate it one day–say in 2054? 
While the Luckenbooth in The Christmas Heirloom was a valuable piece of jewelry, what made it such a prized possession wasn’t it’s dollar value, but rather it’s link to family. My character, Fleeta, lost her mother when she was very young. Having that connection to her mother restored in a way was what gave the pin value in Fleeta’s eyes.
It’s much the same with my copy of Heidi. It’s not a book–it’s something my great aunt picked out and wrapped for my mother. It’s the memory of curling into my mother’s side while she read aloud. It’s a connection to people I want with me always. 
I’m so looking forward to sharing those connections on down the line . . .

Becky Wade

My great grandmother enjoyed a long and faith-filled life of laughter.  She had a wonderful marriage, numerous children, and even more numerous grand children and great grandchildren. When she passed away, my grandmother, her oldest child, inherited her gold wedding band.  Since my grandmother had two sons and no daughters, she chose to entrust her mother’s ring to her oldest granddaughter — me.  She gave it to me when I was still a teenager, long before I was in the market for marriage.  But, even then, I recognized the pricelessness of that ring.  I, like the characters in The Christmas Heirloom, had received a piece of jewelry that had been treasured and worn by my ancestors.  What a gift!   Years later, when marriage came my way, I had my great grandparents’ initials and wedding date inscribed inside the ring.  To this day, I wear it as my wedding band. I hope to pass it down to my own daughter one day.


Giveaway

Thanks you so much ladies for sharing your precious gifts and memories with us. To celebrate, I’m giving a gift of a Kindle ebook of The Christmas Heirloom. For the chance to win, enter via rafflecopter below. Please refer to my Policies. The giveaway will close at midnight of 12/10/18.

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Grace Restored – Singing Librarian Books

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About the Book1

Grace Restored

Series: Freedom Lake
Genre:  Adult, Christian, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Indie
Publication date: March 20, 2017

Michelle Thomas has it all. Beautiful and successful, she’s just opened her own law firm in Freedom Lake. What more could she want? When her old flame rolls back into Freedom Lake, she’s intent on ignoring him. But how can she give the widower and his precious twin girls the cold shoulder?

Still reeling from the death of his wife, Guy Pierre returns to Freedom Lake to take over as town sheriff and raise his twin daughters. Alone. Yet, life keeps throwing Michelle in his path and sparks of interest began to rise.

Will old secrets tear them apart again or can they find the faith to let God’s grace restore what has been broken?

GOODREADS | AMAZON | B&N | BOOKS2READ | KOBO | ITUNES

About the Author

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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.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

​​GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM
BOOKBUB | AMAZON | WEBSITE  | NEWSLETTER

Blog Contributor:
Putting on the New | Heartwings  Blog | Diversity Between the Pages | ACFW Virginia

Author Interview

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

T: I don’t. My kids would love if we could get a cat and dog, but we live in an apartment so that makes things difficult.

K: We understand this. Our cats lived with my parents the first year we were married because we couldn’t have any. Thankfully, this landlord understands their role in controlling the mice population, so we have several in our building. They’re key in a city apartment.

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

T: High wind warning has been issued for your area.

K: LOL. Considering the number of nor’easters we’ve had lately…makes me happy I don’t have to commute over the Bay Bridge.

3) As you and I have gotten to know each other, we realized we live relatively close. You also set your stories in this area. What are some of your favorite aspects of our region or what are some places you’d like readers to be able to visit if they had a chance?

T: Yes, my Maple Run series has been set in the area. For places to visit, Tyson’s Corner mall is a must. They have a Tesla store which I think is amazing. Chasin’ Tails (Alexandria) is also an amazing New Orleans’ inspired restaurant. Their crawfish bucket and crawfish mac n cheese is awesome. Of course I’ve been to Baltimore which is about a 2-hr drive from me. I loved the Harbor and all it had to offer.And if you come in the fall, go to an apple orchard. It’s so fun.

K: Yes! Orchards! We have some great ones around here. Picking my own apples is such fun. I’ve never been to Chasin’ Tails. I’ll have to keep it in mind the next time I’m that direction. Since Baltimore is home, I am, of course, a fan. I actually work only two blocks north of the harbor!

4) As an author, I know you’re passionate about creating characters outside of the norm for Christian Fiction and contribute to the Diversity Between the Pages blog. Your dedication to a diverse set of characters is one of the aspects of your writing that I love the most. How did this passion come about and how does it influence your writing?

T: When I first started reading Christian fiction, I was so happy to have found the genre that I read all I could. Once the newness of my find wore off, I noticed none of the characters looked like me. I actually remember the day I found Ronie Kendig’s Firethorn in the library. I was so ecstatic to see a Black man on the cover of a CF novel. When I started writing, I wanted to give readers that missing piece.

K: This is a point that I have heard from many friends of different races- having someone that looks like them in fiction (books, movies, etc.) means a lot to them and brings a story closer to them. Being a white female, this isn’t a longing I can relate too, but being part of a mixed race family, I long for stories with more diversity. Our families face unique issues, but at the root, we’re still just family like any other family. So, I love reading more diverse stories!

5) What is one thing you’d like your readers to take away from this story?

T: That God’s grace is enough.

K: A fact I need reminded of constantly.

6) If we ever actually manage to get together for coffee, what are you likely to order?

T: A peppermint mocha. I discovered these last season (I’m not much of a coffee drinker) and got hooked!

7) If you could sum up DC traffic in one sentence, what would it be?

T: A living, unchanging nightmare I wish to avoid.

K: Hehehe. That’s an elegant way to describe it!

Review

What I like most about Grace Restored is that it broaches one topic you don’t see often in Christian Fiction: abortion. While it’s a highly controversial ethical and political issue, at the core, there are many hurting women out there who have made this choice in the past and are now/still dealing with all that comes with it.

In this story, we glimpse two women, Michelle and Tanya, as well as the motivations behind their abortions and the emotions they’re dealing with today. I think that Toni takes a difficult sensitive subject and gives it not just bones and flesh, but heart. On an issue that many of us have solid opinions, she gives us a glimpse into the lives of women processing through the after affects of an abortion and makes us adjust our attitudes toward them. It is a good reminder not to judge the woman, no matter her reasons or actions, but to reach out and love the person as Christ has loved and forgiven us much.

I’ll also say that while the story does get into some deep stuff, Toni doesn’t let it bog the story down. There are friends and two adorable little girls to help ease the tension and give the book some levity in the midst of two main characters being worked on by God and all comes up with that.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own!

Giveaway

For a chance to win an e-copy (International) of Grace Restored by Toni Shiloh, comment on this blog responding to the following question: What verse capture’s God’s grace for you?

Tour Schedule

March 19-Among the Reads | The Power of Words​
March 20-Faithfully Bookish | Wishful Endings
March 21-Singing Librarian Books
March 22-A Baker’s Perspective
March 23-Remembrancy
March 24-Kat’s Corner Books
March 26-Reading Is My SuperPower
March 27-Robin’s Nest
March 28-Cafinated Reads | Fiction Aficionado
March 29-Cordially Barbara
March 30-All-of-a-kind Mom
March 31-Blossoms and Blessings

Mojave Rescue – Singing Librarian Books – Giveaway

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Mojave RescueSeries: Love Inspired Suspense
​Genre:  
Christian, Romance, Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: January 1, 2018

Brilliant, electronic warfare engineer, Drina Gallagher is riddled by guilt and determined to create a weapon to protect American soldiers. Caleb Norwood is a CIA agent working undercover. For two years he’s been trying to infiltrate a highly organized group selling secret plans on the black market. He’s scheduled to connect with operatives at a wind farm in the middle of the desert where he’ll be taken by helicopter to meet with the leader. He arrives at the meeting place only to discover the men have kidnapped Drina and plan to kill her. Cal must make an instant choice, keep his cover and stop the organization or save Drina. Cal chooses Drina. They race across the Mojave Desert to escape the killers and Drina discovers that Cal is a man of action grounded in unbreakable faith. His personal walk gives Drina the confidence she needs to confront the guilt of her past. Can He possibly forgive her and allow her and Cal to escape their pursuers? Or will all her hopes and dreams die in the desert?

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I really enjoyed Mojave Rescue. Cal is a swoony hero; upright, protective, godly, a little bit wounded. Drina is a smart driven woman who still manages to be likable. She doesn’t know how beautiful she is and struggles with being enough, something I think many woman can relate to. The action is steady, as is the romance; both kept me turning pages. The romance was sweet, but just steamy enough to make your breath hitch. My only complaint is that the story was too short; I’d like very much to read more from both of these characters!

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

Unfortunately we don’t have a pet right now. Our dog Kody was big, part malamute and wolf but he was very old and passed away. We were preparing to follow my husband’s work overseas and knew we would be selling our home and moving into a motorhome to travel the U.S. when we returned so we decided to wait to find another pet when we were more settled. That hasn’t happened yet!

Malamutes are so pretty and faithful pets. I hope you’re settled soon enough, at least for a goldfish or two!

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

T. can’t make it tonight but we’ll go again when

Hahaha. You’re words actually make sense other than cutting off. You must not be able to make it a lot.

3. What was the hardest character to write in Mojave Rescue?
Believe it or not the hero, Cal Norton was the hardest to write. I knew him very well and he spilled onto the page originally but even though I thought his motivation…stopping the bad guys…was good enough, my editor wanted more. I had to dig even deeper.
The easiest was Drina Gallagher.  I think guilt is something we all carry at some time in our lives.

You did a great job with him too! A swoony, upright hero.

4. What inspired the idea for Mojave Rescue?
The rocket site where my husband worked twenty years ago. The platforms were set on a hill and designed to hold rocket engines for testing. At the time the platforms were abandoned and they were desolate and scary…the perfect setting for a mystery.

5. What do you want readers to take away from reading Mojave Rescue?
A sense of God’s grace. Even when we deny Him, He’s watching over us and He has a plan.

Amen!

6. What is your current WIP? 
My next project is tentatively called Fatal Memories. It’s set in the Sonoroan Desert of Southern Arizona. The heroine is a border patrol agent trying to stop drug traffic.

7. When you are not writing, what other “hats” do you wear?
Well, I’m a mom and grandma with 21 grandchildren so I stay very busy. I love to travel. I just returned from a trip to China. And I love to play pickleball!

Wow! I would love to travel more. And what a legacy with all of those grandbabies.

Bio Pic copyTanya 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

Giveaway

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January 2-Singing Librarina Books
January 3-Book by Book | Kat’s Corner Books
January 4-Among the Reads | Red Headed Book Lady
January 5-Pause for Tales | Bibliophile Reviews 
January 6-cherylbbookblog | Reading is My SuperPower
January 7-Remembrancy

All of You – Celebrate Lit Giveaway

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

aoy cover final(1)

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

CFRR 19

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/