The Duke Refuge – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Duke’s Refuge

Author: Lorri Dudley

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: January 7, 2020

When love comes in a tempest, who knew it would wear pink?

Georgia Lennox has traded in her boyish ways for pink gowns and a coy smile to capture the eye of the Earl of Claremont. However, on the day she’s convinced the earl will propose, Georgia is shipped off to the Leeward Islands to care for her ailing father. But when she arrives on Nevis, the last thing she expects is to learn that her abrupt departure was not at her father’s bidding but that of the infuriating, yet captivating, island schoolmaster. And now her plans may well be shipwrecked.

Harrison Wells is haunted by the memories of his deceased wife and hunted by the subsequent women who aspire to be the next Duchess of Linton. Desiring anonymity, he finds sanctuary in the Leeward island of Nevis. He’s willing to sacrifice his ducal title for a schoolmaster’s life and the solace the island provides. That is until unrest finds its way to Nevis in a storm of pink chiffon—Miss Georgia Lennox.

As Georgia and Harrison’s aspirations break apart like a ship cast upon the rocks, a new love surfaces, but secrets and circumstances drag them into rough waters. Can they surrender their hearts to a love that defies their expectations?

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

Lorri brings us a wonderful new world of regency era in the Leeward islands with her debut novel. I enjoyed getting to know an area of the world that I have little knowledge of in the warm Caribbean.

Georgia is a spit-fire from the start; you don’t like her very much. But, as the story unfolds, you quickly learn that her hard exterior hides a soft hard that’s been bruised too many times. Harrison also is hiding his true self. Together Georgia and Harrison have to learn that with God their true selves can find a way to shine.

There wasn’t a character in this book I didn’t love. Besides the two main characters there is a cast of secondary characters that bring fun, wisdom, and variety to this story.

Even if you’re not traditionally a fan of regency, I encourage you to give The Duke’s Refuge a try. With a predominant portion of the book set on the island you see a more causal regency and thus it is easier for a modern reader to relate.

I received a complementary copy of this book for the purpose of this tour. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Lorri Dudley has been a finalist in numerous writing contests and has a master’s degree in Psychology. She lives in Ashland, Massachusetts with her husband and three teenage sons, where writing romance allows her an escape from her testosterone filled household. Find her online at www.lorridudley.com.

More from Lorri

After being buried under the largest snowfall in Massachusetts history, I wrote The Duke’s Refuge as an escape to warmer tropical climates, and what better respite than a romantic Caribbean isle with a mysteriously missing Duke? In the process I fell in love with the beauty of Nevis, it’s rich culture, and history.

My heroine Georgia lured me in the moment I realized she only wore pink. My psychology background had me digging deeper. I needed to know why. Why the obsession? What was the root behind the hurt? Why pink? How did she go from being a Tomboy to a dignified, Regency socialite? And how did she wind up in the Leeward Islands? Enter her beloved, sick father who always saw Georgia’s potential even when it was hidden under boy’s clothing and often smelled of marsh. Although, he held the best of intentions, his relocating to Nevis left Georgia with deep abandonment issues.

Harrison was a completely different beast. After reading about Mudlarks who trolled the Thames River searching for treasure and even picking the pockets of dead people washed up on the shores, I knew Harrison’s would wind up caked in the Thames’s thick mud and devastated at the loss of his wife. The Leeward island became not only a reprieve from his grief but also from the women who snuck into his carriage or cornered him at parties clamoring to become the next Duchess.

Oddly enough, part of the story formed when a friend of mine spoke of their family trip to visit his mother. She happened to own a parrot, and after a week of the kids yelling each other’s names, the parrot imitated their shrieking. Even long after they returned to the U.S. the bird still screeched out their names. I couldn’t resist adding a mimicking parrot to add a comical element and harass my main characters.

The Duke’s Refuge is meant to be a fish-out-of-water, case-of-mistaken-identity, love triangle romance with a happily-ever-after. It demonstrates how God’s love fervently pursues us, no matter how far we run, and that sometimes, something we would never have chosen can bless us in a way we would never have expected.

To learn more, check out my website at lorridudley.com or click here to watch The Duke’s Refuge’s book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D65yeAhswnI&feature=emb_logo

Blog Stops

Batya’s Bits, January 9

Genesis 5020, January 9

Texas Book-aholic, January 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 10

Betti Mace, January 11

KarenSueHadley, January 11

janicesbookreviews, January 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 12

Remembrancy, January 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, January 13

Through the Fire Blogs, January 13

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 14

Kat’s Corner Books, January 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 15

Books, Life, and Christ, January 15

She Lives to Read, January 16

Blessed & Bookish, January 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 16

Daysong Reflections, January 17

Mary Hake, January 17

Inklings and notions, January 18

April Hayman, Author, January 18

For Him and My Family, January 19

Britt Reads Fiction, January 19

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, January 20

Hallie Reads, January 20

Pause for Tales, January 20

deb’s Book Review, January 21

Life of Literature, January 21

Just the Write Escape, January 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 22

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lorri is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/f468/the-duke-s-refuge-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Dating Charade – Celebrate Lit

The Dating Charade FB Banner

About the Book

Book:  The Dating Charade

Author: Melissa Ferguson

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction, Romantic  Comedy

Release Date: December 3, 2019

The Dating Charade cover

Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.

But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.

No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?

Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Melissa Ferguson

Melissa Ferguson lives in Bristol, Tennessee, where she is an adjunct professor at King University and pens books that make her laugh and grow. She used to have hobbies like running and backpacking the Appalachian Trail outside her door. Now she and her husband are outnumbered, and her hobbies include diaper changes, chasing toddlers in parking lots, and admiring the Appalachian Trail out her minivan window while singing “Winnie the Pooh.” She survives by Jesus, rom coms, and roughly two espresso shots a day. The Dating Charade is her first novel.

My Thoughts

I devoured this debut novel! It was all a sweet romance should be; a bit of drama, a bit comedy, twists, and lots of love. I really enjoyed that Melissa brought out a topic that is close to my heart: fostering. I was right there with both Jett and Cassie when they found themselves parents overnight.

The kid antics are incredibly realistic and hilarious (because they weren’t happening to me), and a couple hit a little too close to home. It’s true that kids really do say the darndest things. But, if you don’t have children, don’t think you won’t relate. Melissa does a great job of pulling you into the story of a couple trying to retain normal in a topsy-turvey situation.

I cannot wait to read her next novel.

I was provided a copy of this novel but was not required to post a positive review. All opinions are my own!

Read an Excerpt

Read an excerpt of The Dating Charade here.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, December 16

Genesis 5020, December 16

Kat’s Corner Books, December 17

Robin’s Nest, December 17

EmpowerMoms, December 17

Reflections From My Bookshelves, December 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 18

For Him and my Family, December 18

Carla Loves to Read, December 19

CarpeDiem, December 19

Cultivating Us, December 19

Quiet Quilter, December 20

Through the Fire Blogs, December 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 21

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 21

SusanLovesBooks, December 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 22

Texas Book-aholic, December 22

A Reader’s Brain, December 23

janicesbookreviews, December 23

Just Your Average reviews, December 23

Emily Yager, December 24

Vicky Sluiter, December 24

Hallie Reads, December 25

Remembrancy, December 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 26

Just the Write Escape, December 26

Simple Harvest Reads, December 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 27

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 27

Pause for Tales , December 27

As He Leads is Joy, December 28

A Rup Life, December 28

Batya’s Bits, December 29

With a Joyful Noise, December 29

Inklings and notions, December 29

*No Giveaway for this Celebration Tour

Heart Of A Royal – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

Heart of a Royal FB Banner

About the Book

Heart of a Royal cover

Book: Heart Of A Royal

Author: Hannah Currie

Genre:  Young Adult/Royalty

Brought to the palace as a newborn, the royal life bestowed upon Mackenna Sparrow was never meant to last forever. With Princess Alina engaged to be married, Mackenna’s presence as companion is no longer required and, like it or not, she must return to the birthright which should have been hers – that of a commoner. But not everyone at the palace wants her gone. When the truths she’s based her life on start crumbling as fast as her future, will she find the courage to trust, both herself and the prince she’s fallen in love with?

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

Kenna is a princess who doesn’t want to be a princess. In this childhood friends to more coming of age story we watch Kenna struggle with figuring out who she is when all of her life circumstances change. She has to ask herself the hard questions we all face at some point: who am I, what is my purpose, where do I belong?

Anyone out there a knowledge geek? Where you’re reading something in a book and you’re like, “Really” or think, “I have to Google more about that?” It happens all the time to me. Hannah’s book gave me one of those geeky cool moments as Google introduced me to the sirocco winds. These are some fascinating weather systems; if you’re a weather geek like me, be sure to look up some info! But I’m not telling you how this impacts the story; you’ll have to read it yourself.

Ben’s constancy makes me swoon. I just love the heroes that know they love the girl from the start and set out to help her realize that no matter how hormonal they get. (Yes, I am speaking from personal experience. Love you, hubs!)

There are times I wanted to shake Kenna and tell her she’s being a dramatic teenager, but it’s an appropriate level for a YA. As the reader, Ben’s love is so obvious, but Kenna allows her self doubt to rule her beliefs. She believes the lie that she’s not good enough, just a sidekick. But as she comes to realize that others believe in her, she grows in confidence.

I felt that the ending wrapped a bit too quickly and a few of the strings were left hanging, but enough were tied to give you sense of closure. As it’s the first in a series, I’m hopeful that we’ll see some resolution of those; I’ll read the next to see where Hannah takes the story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for this tour and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Hannah currie

Aussie author, Hannah Currie, loves God, family, people (in small numbers, let’s not go crazy here!) and writing. She and her husband live with their three adorable kids in sunny Queensland, where it really is beautiful one day and perfect the next. Except, maybe, during heatwaves. They’re not so fun. She loves to connect with readers at http://www.hannahcurrie.com.

More from Hannah

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by royalty. Real ones like Queen Elizabeth II, who is such an incredible woman and a total hero of mine (not to mention, as a proud Australian and member of the Commonwealth, my monarch) but also the not-so-real ones. Those found in fairytales. Romances. Narnia.

I’m one of those people who blocks out an entire day to watch a royal wedding, sighs like a hopeless romantic through cheesy princess movies, reads just about any novel I find with a crown on the front and loves a full-spread photo souvenir magazine. I may have even written a short story starring a princess for an English assignment at school. More than once. [Side note, if you’re going to write a story about a princess who is totally adorable but can’t spell, don’t use a misspelled word as the title. It takes a lot of explaining to make sure the teacher knows you did it on purpose and doesn’t mark you down for it… sorry Ninth Grade English teacher!].

The glamor draws me in, the beautiful clothes, the history and romance of it all, but it’s the expectations they have on them which hold me there. Every title comes with a million expectations, whether or not they’re realistic. We expect royals, both real and fictional, to behave in a certain way. To be honourable (assuming they’re the good guys). To care for their people and put them first. To always be there. Yes, even to be beautiful.

But what happens when they’re not? When they’re shy? Fight anxiety? Hate the spotlight? Are blemished in some way? What happens when what’s best for the people isn’t what’s best for them? Or when they make a mistake? Something which, for anyone else, would be easily fixed or glossed over but for a royal, gets written into the history books forever. Purely because of their title.

Kenna, the main character in Heart of a Royal, never meant to be a princess. She wasn’t born into royalty, neither did she choose it. And yet, due to circumstances far beyond her control, there she is. Living in a palace. Part of that life.

Very few of us are royalty but I think we all know how heavy expectations can be and the pain of being thrust into situations beyond our control. And yet, even in those moments and seasons, just like Kenna, we have choices. They might seem small, maybe even insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they’re there. Who we put our trust in. What we do with the circumstances we’ve been given. Where we go from there.

Heart of a Royal is as much my story as it is Kenna’s. No, I’m not a princess (thankfully!) but I have struggled through finding hope and purpose when life flies out of control and the expectations prove too much. And here’s what I’ve found – God is good. There is hope and God is good. I hope, through Kenna’s story, you are reminded of that too.

Blog Stops

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 28

CarpeDiem, November 28

Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 28

Hallie Reads, November 28

Emily Yager, November 29

For the Love of Literature, November 29

Through the Fire Blogs, November 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 30

Back Porch Reads, November 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 30

To Everything There Is A Season, November 30

Books, Life, and Christ, December 1

Mia Reads Blog, December 1

Bigreadersite , December 1

Kathleen Denly, December 2

Genesis 5020, December 2

She Lives To Read, December 2

Texas Book-aholic, December 2

A Baker’s Perspective, December 3

Livin’ Lit, December 3

Kat’s Corner Books, December 3

The Becca Files, December 4

Becka Jiménez , December 4

HookMeInABook, December 4

janicesbookreviews, December 4

Blossoms and Blessings, December 5

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 5

Just the Write Escape, December 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 6

Avid Reader Nurse, December 6

For Him and My Family, December 6

A Reader’s Brain, December 6

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 7

Moments, December 7

Simple Harvest Reads, December 7

Remembrancy, December 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 8

Pause for Tales , December 8

Inklings and notions, December 8

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 9

For The Love of Books, December 9

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 10

Just Your Average reviews, December 10

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 10

Living Life Free in Christ, December 11

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

Batya’s Bits, December 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour Hannah is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/f1a8/heart-of-a-royal-celebration-tour-giveaway

Fatal Memories – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

Fatal Memories FB Banner

About the Book

Fatal Memories Cover

Book: Fatal Memories

Author: Tanya Stowe

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Release Date: September 1, 2019

She was framed! Or was she?

If only she could remember…

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

Click here to grab your copy!

My Thoughts

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

Tanya Stowe delivers another action packed adventure. Fatal Memories is based around the amnesia troupe, but Tanya brings her own twist; as a reader, I wasn’t sure if Joss was as innocent as I wanted her to be. And I’m not going to say more there; you’ll have to read it yourself!

The second in the series, we launch right back into the war on the Serpientes, however you can read as a stand alone. Having read the first, I was well invested into seeing this gang taken down. Score one for the good guys! Tanya brought some fascinating facts about how complex the smuggling lines across the boarder are. It brought new respect for me for the boarder patrol agents. Living so far from one, it something I don’t have perspective on. Tanya brings that aspect to life for this heartland girl.

I wasn’t sure about Dylan at first. I wanted him to believe in Joss’ complete innocence right from the start. But it was realistic, the progression and the struggle of wanting to believe her innocence with the realistic need to do a thorough investigation. After awhile I came to respect his ethics and the struggle he had to let go of the past.

I like Joss’. It spoke to her true character that she would question if she was somehow complicit in the gang’s activities even if she couldn’t remember. He devotion to her brother makes me long for that kind of relationship. She’s tough, but soft in the right places. I love that even though her memory is comprised, she remembers scripture. #lifegoals

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

About the Author

Tanya Stowe

Tanya Stowe is a Christian Fiction author with an unexpected edge. She is married to the love of her life, her high school sweetheart. They have four children and twenty-one grandchildren, a true adventure. She fills her books with the unusual…mysteries and exotic travel, even a murder or two. No matter where Tanya takes you…on a trip to foreign lands or a suspenseful journey packed with danger…be prepared for the extraordinary.

More from Tanya

It has long been my husband’s desire to travel the country in a motorhome. So when he retired three years ago, we sold our home and hit the road. We lived in the high desert region of Southern California for almost 37 years. I thought it was going to be a rough transition, but it wasn’t…especially since I came to love one of our new locations.

We spend the winter months in southern Arizona where Fatal Memories is set. I love everything about this unique place. We are surrounded by incredible ecosystems…the Sonoran and Chihuahua deserts collide there, so a different environment is around every corner. The beauty of the mountains, streams and lakes (yes, there’s water in southern Arizona—monsoons come up from Baja every summer) and the wildlife is amazing. I’ve been told black panthers have been known to cross the border from Mexico and roam the countryside. My husband and I bought a Jeep so we could go off-roading to see these sites up close and personal.

In addition to all these amazing natural wonders, history jumps out and grabs me. I’m just twenty minutes from Tombstone. Fort Huachuca and Fort Bowie are forty miles away in different directions. Every time I turn around, there’s a history making site or event to grab my interest. I hope you can see why I fell in love with my new home. I hope you will too when you read Fatal Memories.

By the way…if you interested, I write about our travels in my monthly newsletter. Be sure to check it out!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 16

Bigreadersite , October 16

Genesis 5020, October 17

The Avid Reader, October 17

Hebrews 12 Endurance, October 17

Emily Yager, October 18

Sara Jane Jacobs Blog, October 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 19

Batya’s Bits, October 19

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 20

Andy Carmichael, October 20

For Him and My Family, October 21

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 21

Kat’s Corner Books, October 22

EmpowerMoms, October 22

Through the Fire Blogs, October 23

Betti Mace, October 23

Daysong Reflections, October 24

Mary Hake,October 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 24

Older & Smarter?, October 25

Blogging With Carol, October 25

Inklings and notions , October 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26

Christian Bookshelf Reviews , October 26

Texas Book-aholic, October 27

Just Your Average reviews, October 27

janicesbookreviews, October 28

Gail Hollingsworth, October 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tanya is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/ed13/fatal-memories-celebration-tour-giveaway

Whispers in the Pews – Spotlight with Celebrate Lit

 About the Book

Book: Whispers in the Pews

Author: Chris Morris

Genre: Mental illness & Spirituality

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Release Date: November 9, 2018

Mental Illness is real. Will the Church get real?

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

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

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

Click here to grab your copy!

About the Author

ChrisMorrisFINAL (12 of 94)

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

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

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

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

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

More from Chris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

As He Leads is Joy, October 14

Kat’s Corner Books, October 15

Texas Book-aholic, October 16

janicesbookreviews, October 17

Just the Write Escape, October 18

Mary Hake, October 18

Kathleen Anderson, October 19

A Reader’s Brain, October 20

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

Inklings and notions , October 22

Artistic Nobody, October 23

Inspired by fiction, October 23

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/e97f/whispers-in-the-pews-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Second Yes – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

About the Book

The Second Yes

Book: The Second Yes

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Fiction / Christian / Romance

Release date: May 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All in a life’s work.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

Chautona

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

More from Chautona

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

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

My maid of honor protested.

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

Duh.

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

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

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

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

And so went the rest of my wedding planning.

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

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

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

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

It just wasn’t what I’d chosen.

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

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

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

The question is… is that a good thing?

Giveaway

Shadow Among Sheaves – Celebrate Lit

shadow among sheaves FB Banner

About the Book

Shadow amonght Sheaves

Book: Shadow Among Sheaves

Author: Naomi Stephens

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: April, 2019

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz

The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.

Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

I was strangely enthralled with this story as soon as I started. It is not a high action story, which is what usually keeps pages turning, but I was pulled into the story and I could not put it down. I ended up staying up waaayyyy too late just to finish.

When I first read the description I was intrigued with the idea and wondered how Naomi would frame the the story in 1850s England, and I think she picked the perfect setting; an Indian woman followed her mother-in-law, Nell to the land of fair skinned English.

Other similar period books I have read have shown Indian men and women in an exotic viewpoint, often as servants. Naomi doesn’t shy away from the realities of racism and how close to starvation the ladies became. But in all of that, she doesn’t allow the story to get bogged down to the point of tear preferring to lift it with Rena and Nell’s determination to survive and thrive despite their circumstances.

I admire both women for their dedication to each other when splitting up could have made their lives easier in some way, they stuck like glue, a thread of love woven between their hearts. Nell has a strong steady faith and is patient with Rena and her faith journey.

I am not sure how I feel about Barric. On one hand he is stern and distant, struggling with his own prejudices. On the other, his heart slowly turns, running quietly deep. He learns to stand up to others and their assumptions, how to follow his heart. Barruc will never wax poetic to the masses with the grand declaration, but I believe his love for Rena will only grow.

For this story, the end is just the beginning.

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

About the Author

Naomi Stephens

Naomi Stephens is a bookworm turned teacher turned writer. She received a M.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and now lives in Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a rascal of a dog named Sherlock.

More from Naomi

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz

The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.

Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own. Which will he choose? Find out in Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens.

Read an Exclusive Excerpt from Shadow Among Sheaves:

She smiled, stepping closer and placing her hand on the horse’s wet snout. Samson was a pretty beast with wide, ponderous eyes and a few splotches of gray around his nose. The soft puff of air Samson snorted into her palm brought a delighted smile to her lips, and she gasped as he bowed his neck to nuzzle his nose against her stomach. She felt her smile leap into a grin. It was a delightful change, to feel joy so deep it finally showed.

Barric circled around Samson to stand beside her, his hands never leaving the reins. “He’s fond of you,” he remarked as Samson dropped his snout against her hip.

“Unsurprising, I suppose. Though he could also be searching you for a carrot.”

Surprised to hear Lord Barric speak so teasingly, and pleased by the gentle light she found in his otherwise tired eyes, Rena laughed her faint agreement. “That will teach me to come empty-handed, won’t it?”

Their smiles both dropped as a young, lanky stable hand came rushing out to take Samson, and Barric relinquished his hold on the reins, nodding his silent thanks.

As soon as the stable boy had disappeared with Samson, Bar¬ric glanced back at Rena. “Are you going home?” he asked, nodding toward the dusty road looping down the hill to William’s house.

She stepped back, realizing she had dawdled longer than she’d first intended. “Yes,” she answered. “I often come this way to avoid the other workers.”

“Might I walk with you?” He turned to hang his whip on a peg. “Just a short stretch of the road?”

Stunned by his request, and a bit suspicious of his motive, she nonetheless nodded. “Yes, of course.”

Barric drew up beside her, his even strides betraying no unease, though he was silent for some time as they made their way down the golden-colored hill.

“You have seemed tired these past few days,” he observed. Rena did not bother to deny it. She’d been working hard to keep up with the others, as Barric had told her she must, and felt wearier for it. She had tried to split her days in half, the mornings spent binding sheaves with the women and the afternoons spent picking for her own stores, but the work was backbreaking, and, as he had already pointed out once before, she was not used to hard labor. “I realize I haven’t really asked you how you are settling in,” he went on.

“Perhaps you’ve been too busy provoking me,” she answered before she could stop herself.

Barric’s eyebrow inched up as he slanted an approving smirk down at her. “Perhaps.”

Rena cursed her honest tongue. She must have been more tired than she thought, to speak so freely to a man of title. “I have been well,” she tried again, a bit more diplomatically. “The house suits us, if that is what you are asking.”

“The people here do not speak to you unkindly?”

“The people do not speak to me at all.” She had meant to sound casual, unaffected, but heard the hurt in her own voice she hadn’t been able to weed out. As Barric’s expression tightened, she hastened to amend, “Except for you, my lord. Of course. And the Wilmots.”

“They are good people,” he agreed quietly. “And will you be coming with them to the festival this evening?”

She hesitated. According to Alice, harvest home was a yearly tra¬dition, a night of raucous drinking and dancing to celebrate the close of the harvest. All of Abbotsville would be there—landowners, stew-ards, even tenant farmers and common laborers. But Rena was none of those things, and she and Barric both knew it.

“Come,” Barric teased, “do not tell me you are afraid to go. I would never have thought it of you.”

“I am not afraid,” she insisted. “I just had not thought about it.”

At her defensive tone, he smiled—a true smile—one that pinched the corners of his eyes and pressed grooves along the outer edges of his mouth. “You ought to come,” he decided. “Everyone in Abbotsville is welcome, and many are the men who would feel lucky to dance with you.”

But, of course, Lord Barric knew this was not true. The men in his fields regarded her mostly with contempt and made no secret of it— they would not count themselves at all lucky to dance with her. Was Lord Barric trying to offer her words of comfort? Or was he trying to convey a message?

Did he want to dance with her?

This was hardly a safe question, and so she asked another. “Do you dance, Lord Barric?”

When he met her gaze, so direct, she was all the more glad she had not stammered in her reply. The man walked a dangerous line whenever he deigned to speak to her. Far too close, she’d think, and then stern enough to cool her blood with a word.

He surprised her with another smile, this one a faint twist at the corner of his lips. “Perhaps you would have to come to find out.”

Blog Stops

Godly Book Reviews, April 30

Mary Hake, April 30

Worthy2Read, April 30

Back Porch Reads, May 1

Inspirationally Ever After, May 1

Fiction Aficionado, May 2

Splashes of Joy, May 2

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 2

Bigreadersite, May 3

Inklings and notions , May 3

Blossoms and Blessings, May 3

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 4

janicesbookreviews, May 4

Just the Write Escape, May 5

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, May 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 6

For Him and My Family, May 6

Kat’s Corner Books, May 7

Pause for Tales, May 7

Aryn The Libraryan, May 8

Faery Tales Are Real, May 8

Hallie Reads, May 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 9

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 9

Through the Fire Blogs, May 10

The Becca Files, May 10

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 11

Older & Smarter?, May 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 11

Texas Book-aholic, May 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 12

A Reader’s Brain, May 13

For the Love of Literature, May 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Naomi is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a finished paperback copy of Shadow Among Sheaves!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/deb9/shadow-among-sheaves-celebration-tour-giveaway