Flights of Fancy

About the Book

Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

My Review

Jen brings another story to life with all the quirks, humor, and slightly odd happenings that her readers love. This time, it’s predominately set outside of New York, which is a refreshing change of pace for her stories. I thoroughly enjoyed this story with its humor and lovable characters.

It’s hard for me to imagine someone not knowing how to complete basic housekeeping skills, but with the perspective of Isadora’s class and time period, it creates moments that will make you laugh. I admire her tenacity and determination to succeed, which is balanced with “girlie” moments. Ian is a strong self-made man, but at times that means he can’t see past his nose. I enjoyed him as a hero, alternately falling in love and wanting to shake some sense into him.

The villain is fairly obvious early in the story, but it did not detract from the story for me I enjoyed seeing the journey of how he would get his comeuppance. Along with the hero and heroine are three wonderful children and animals to love. I can just imagine a cow living in a yard in the city. Living in a large city myself, I kept imagining trying to keep a cow in our apartment building’s side yard.

If you’re looking for a fun read that’s clean with enough faith but not getting preachy, give this one a read. I received a copy from the publisher, but was not required to post a review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com

Finally Accepted

On tour with Celebrate Lit!

There’s only one thing Chloe Smith has ever wanted: family. Yet the DNA results she’s received have thrown her life into a tailspin. Her utmost desire has ended up being the catalyst for shaking her faith. She doesn’t even know who she is anymore, and she’s certainly too messed up for her longtime crush to give her more than a second glance.

Darryl Jones is struggling between his past and the grace God so freely offers. His sins feel too big for him to handle, let alone expect the woman of his dreams to accept. Chloe is the only woman he’s ever wanted and the one he doesn’t deserve.

As they form a tentative relationship and examine their faith, Chloe and Darryl ache to know they are finally accepted and fully loved.

My Review

Chloe is caught between two worlds. She grew up identifying as black and when she finds out he father is Caucasian finds her identity in turmoil. I can’t imagine being in the place where what I believed about myself my whole life was called into question. Chloe wrestles with finding her identity in God rather than her skin color or genetics. She wrestles with loss, bullying, rejection, and doubt that God is a good Father.

Darryl struggles with accepting that he is good enough with God’s grace. I like how throughout the story he is continually compassionate and fights to overcome his past though he does not see it. So many of us do things that we think will make up for past wrongs and earn favor with God, not truly believing that His grace is offered freely and that nothing we can do will earn His mercy.

I enjoyed watching Chloe and Darryl’s relationship develop as they both sought God and what it meant to follow Him in the bad as well as the good, how they held each other accountable for dealing with their relationship with God and their families. I was reminded of Biblical truths about who I am in Christ and I know that He’ll reveal something to you as well in the reading.

I received a copy of this story for the purpose of this tour with Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author

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 the president of the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

You can find her at http://tonishiloh.wordpress.com.

Enduring Promises of the Heart

Enduring Promises of the Heart Blog Tour

About the Book

Enduring Promises of the Heart

Genre:  Adult, New Adult, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: February 8, 2019

“What if I told you there is a way that we could all be happy? That if I were to propose to you, your father couldn’t deny us?” “What is it, John? Tell me!”
Just then the basket hit the water and the sea began to stream in through the spaces between the reeds. This was the end.
The year is 1887, and the small community of Pleasant View is abuzz over Penelope Pottifer’s serialized romances in the local paper. Since the release of the first volume, the thrilling story has captured the hearts and minds of the entire town— and several towns over!
Each successive edition of the Pleasant View Gazette spins a breathtaking tale of kidnappers, pirates, and forbidden love. Between volumes, however, Pleasant View resident Mary Clarence, the story’s toughest critic, hears a rumor that Penelope Pottifer is not, in fact, the author’s real name. Determined to uncover the mystery, Mary drags her friend Elizabeth Black into a hunt for the elusive author’s true identity. But fiction and reality seem to entwine when along the way, Mary and Liz discover unexpected truths, exciting adventures, and dramatic romances of their own.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

About the Author

BOP_Valerie-50 (1)

Valerie has a love for stories with happy endings and bright comedy. A native to the California high desert, she now considers Utah her home where she lives with her husband, three children and two chihuahuas. Growing up in a family of seven kids, Valerie learned to embrace her unique creativity and way of looking at the world and hopes it will enrich other’s lives. In 2015 she published two children’s books, Singing Not so Sweetly and Anabelle Loves Babies. She believes writing is the ultimate end-all for creative pursuits because there are no limits to what you can create. A picture may say a thousand words but a novel is usually around seventy-thousand.

FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | YOUTUBE | WEBSITE

My Thoughts

Enduring Promises of the Heart features a story within a story. It was nice to read something a bit different, watching two stories progress at the same time. I enjoyed the featurette part, which was over the top dramatic, in the style of the dime store novels of the day. Reading it in that lens and accepting the outlandish tale as the style of the period fiction let me just have fun and enjoy the adventure and pirates.

I struggled to connect with the “real world” part of the story line. To me, Mary came off as immature and not the best of friends. Her mood swings create most of the drama in the “real life” story. I admire Liz for her patience through Mary’s anger and pettiness. I also like the sweet romance that developed between Liz and Peter.

I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this tour. I was not required to give a positive review.

Giveaway

EPofH Tour Giveaway

​Enter the giveaway HERE.

Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Tour Schedule

March 5
Heidi Reads…
March 6
Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen 
March 7
​Stephanie’s Life of Determinations
March 8
Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic
March 11
Bookworm Lisa
Reading Is My SuperPower
March 12
Blooming with Books
Kat’s Corner Books
March 13
Emily Yager
March 14
Singing Librarian Books
March 15
Paulette’s Papers

Grace and Lavender – JustRead – Giveaway

Welcome to another addition of First Line Friday! Today I’m featuring a stop on the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Grace & Lavender by Heather Norman Smith, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

Join in with other on FLF, hosted by Hoarding Books and see all of today’s first line. Comment below to share your current read.

Without further ado, the first line from Grace & Lavender:


“Colleen Carter Hill sat at her kitchen table with a cup of black coffee in her hands and a boatload of ideas on her mind.”


ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Grace & Lavender
Author: Heather Norman Smith
Publisher: Ambassador International
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: March 1, 2019

Recently retired Colleen Hill is always busy, constantly on a quest to make life more interesting.

When the ladies’ group at her church partners with the local children’s home, Colleen jumps in as usual, volunteering to share her passion for cooking with a troubled teenager named Grace. But Colleen must balance the new project with her pursuit of becoming a contestant on a television game show, along with all the other ideas her brain continually spins out.

Colleen’s daughter Melody is quite different. She lives a calm, simple life and is content with who she is. That is, until an unexpected opportunity to work with Grace, too, pushes her to reevaluate life and dare to take on bigger dreams. The path starts with a newly-found interest in soap-making and leads her to responsibilities she didn’t even know she wanted, including helping Grace understand the meaning of her name.

Grace & Lavender is a book for all audiences—a heart-warming story that reminds us to seek God’s purpose for our lives.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD | Book Depository

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Norman Smith aims to entertain and encourage, while illuminating the redemptive love of God through her writing. Along with Christian Fiction, she writes devotions and children’s books. She also enjoys writing songs and singing about Jesus.

Heather is proud to be a life-long North Carolinian and hopes to present the beauty of the Tar Heel State in her writing. Her home is just outside Winston-Salem, NC, where she lives with one husband, two daughters, one son, two cats, and two dogs. Heather loves words and does not enjoy math, except when it comes to counting blessings.

CONNECT WITH HEATHER : website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will win a print copy of Grace & Lavender (US only)

(4) winners will receive an ebook copy of Grace & Lavender (open internationally)

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 4, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm March 11, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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

Ladies of Intrigue – Giveaway – Celebrate Lit

Ladies of Intrigue FB Banner

About the Book

Title: Ladies of Intrigue

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian Historical

Release Date: February 2019

Publisher: Barbour

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Three stories in one; the first is longer followed by two novella length.

The first story starts in a gripping manner with your classic kidnapping, but it’s quickly apparent that things are not as they seem. Isaac is a loyal man who I liked for forging a way through tough times and working hard to provide for those dependent on him. Helen has no problem telling Isaac what she thinks of his actions and she gradually comes to understand Isaac’s heart, but also isn’t afraid to push him to be a better man. Each page kept me turning as I wanted to see their story unfold. The style is what I would term an easy suspense; provides mystery and action but does not get intense. I was surprised when it ended earlier than I thought it would, but it was a good spot to end the story. I would’ve happily continued reading about them.

The second story did not resonate with me as much. While I enjoyed the developing romance and the sexual tension written into the story line without even a kiss, I struggled to believe in their developing relationship as the story mostly revolved around their internal thoughts and the medical actions, not as much about them getting to know histories, likes, dislikes, etc. I think this was a function of the limited length.

The third story features an already engaged couple. It’s not often that we get a romance with a couple in this stage of the relationship which was refreshing. I liked Amanda and Joseph immediately. Joseph for his clear adoration of Amanda and good heart. Though I don’t agree with him hiding something from her, I do understand and his motives are so honorable, you can’t help but love him more. I admire the way Amanda is determined to break the mold from an overbearing father, but still clearly loves him while doing it.

Each story brings a unique perspective to being an intriguing lady and I encourage you to give it a read.

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

About the Author

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit michellegriep.com.

Guest post from Michelle

3 Reasons to Read Historical Fiction

Guest post by Michelle Griep

Believe it or not, some readers snub historical fiction, preferring instead to stick to contemporary reads. Several have good reason to, simply preferring one genre over another. But others have never given historical fiction a try. If you fall into that camp, here are some reasons you should consider reading a tale from the past.

  • Historical fiction books are not as boring as your high school history class.

Does the thought of endless names and dates make you break out into hives? Good news! Historical fiction is a painless way to glean some historic facts without mindless memorization. You can experience a different era and culture vicariously through heroes and heroines that live on the pages of yesteryear.

  • Makes for great conversation.

In a world that prides itself on keeping up with the Kardashians, dare to add a little cultural zest to your next dinner conversation. Reading historical fiction arms you with interesting tidbits of things that’ve happened in years gone by.

  • Because truth is timeless.

Some people yearn to go back to a simpler time. The truth is, though, that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the historic side of the fence. People have had tough issues to deal with no matter the era. . .but therein lies a great reason to read historical fiction: truth is timeless. Be it ancient, biblical, medieval, Victorian, or anything in between, truth never changes.

In my new release, Ladies of Intrigue, you’ll experience all these things and more. Find out about the smuggling trade in Cornwall in The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady. Learn about the rough and dangerous life on a military fort during the 1860’s in The Doctor’s Woman. Find out why the gilded age wasn’t as glittery as we often think in A House of Secrets.

Don’t be doomed to repeat history. Grab a cup of tea and master it with a great read!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, February 23

The Power of Words, February 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 23

Blogging With Carol, February 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 24

Mary Hake, February 24

Kathleen Denly, February 25

Genesis 5020, February 25

Splashes of Joy, February 25

For the Love of Literature, February 25

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 26

Faery Tales Are Real, February 26

Through the Fire Blogs, February 26

Blossoms and Blessings, February 26

Inspired by fiction, February 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 27

Back Porch Reads, February 27

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 27

A Baker’s Perspective, February 28

Andy Carmichael, February 28

Stories By Gina, February 28

Emily Yager, March 1

Multifarious, March 1

A Reader’s Brain , March 1

Baker kella, March 1

Bibliophile Reviews, March 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 2

Remembrancy, March 2

Just the Write Escape, March 3

Bigreadersite, March 3

Inspiration Clothesline, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

Vicky Sluiter, March 4

Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 4

Book by Book, March 4

Kat’s Corner Books, March 5

Inklings and notions, March 5

Living Life Free in Christ, March 5

The Morning Chapter, March 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 6

Pause for Tales, March 6

Simple Harvest Reads, March 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Daysong Reflections, March 6

Texas Book-aholic, March 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 7

Janices book reviews, March 7

A Humble Cup of Lukewarm Tea, March 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 8

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, March 8

Carpe Diem, March 8

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of Ladies of Intrigue!!

Be sure to comment on blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/da8c/ladies-of-intrigue-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Desperate Hope – Giveaway – Prism Book Tours

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Desperate Hope
(Empire State #3)
By Elizabeth Camden
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
February 5th 2019 by Bethany House Publishers

Eloise Drake’s prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she believes is finally behind her. A mathematical genius, she’s now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town–but he needs Eloise’s help to succeed. 

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he’d lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleChristianBookiBooksKobo

My Review

I’ve been looking forward to A Desperate Hope since I finished reading A Daring Venture. The premise of a town caught underneath the proposed drinking water reservoir and its fate intrigued me from the start. One of the things I love about Elizabeth’s books is her ability to take a historical even and weave a fictional story around it and A Desperate Hope fulfills all I’ve come to expect of her stories.

I read it in one sitting.

Each page made me want to read another. And another. And another. I liked all of the characters; the good, the bad, the questionable. While there were many to keep track of, it didn’t get overwhelming and kept me on my toes wondering how each would fit into the final moments of the plot. I had an inkling about how the ending might go, but I outright gasped at the plot twist.

I appreciate Alex’s devotion and his eternal optimism reminded me of hubs, so I could help but loving Alex as well. The way he drew Eloise out of her shell, made her believe in herself, and helped her grasp a far fetched dream was swoonworthy. He wasn’t all talk either- he rolled up his sleeves and worked hard to make it happen.

Eloise understandably struggled with her self worth and I could relate on many levels (but not the instant head math!). I admire her courage to step out in a strange new world after a tough isolated childhood and succeed in a men’s profession when many at that time would cheer for her failure. I understand her need for safety and predictable. I’m the same way.

As I’ve seen in my own life, these opposite personalities create moments of friction and frustration. Even more importantly they create moments of growth and compromise that, if weathered well, bring a couple closer together.

I encourage you to read A Desperate Hope not only for the mystery but to get to know an entire town you’re sure to love.

(I might be on tour, but I purchased a copy!)

Tour Schedule

February 18th:
Launch
The Power of Words
Kelly Goshorn @ Romancing History
February 19th:
Remembrancy
Labor Not in Vain
February 20th:
Hearts & Scribbles
Locks, Hooks and Books
Uplifting Reads
February 21st:
Books n Baubles
The Barefoot Reader
February 22nd:
Among the Reads
Faithfully Bookish
February 25th:
I’m Going on an Adventure
Beauty in the Binding
February 26th:
All-of-a-kind Mom
Wishful Endings
Kat’s Corner Books
February 27th:
Jorie Loves A Story
Loraine D Nunley, Author
February 28th:
Tell Tale Book Reviews
Hallie Reads
Splashes of Joy
March 1st:
Heidi Reads…
Flowers of Quiet Happiness

Bookstagram Tour

Check out the Bookstagram Tour:February 17th (launch): @prismbooktoursFebruary 18th: @heidireadsblogFebruary 19th: @suziewaltnerFebruary 20th: @girlandherbooksFebruary 21st: @singinglibrarianbooksFebruary 22nd: @betherin02February 23rd: @all.the.lovely.pagesFebruary 24th: @christenkrumm
Other Books in the Series

About the Author

Elizabeth Camden is the author of twelve historical novels and two historical novellas and has been honored with both the RITA Award and the Christy Award. With a master’s in history and a master’s in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. She lives with her husband in Florida.

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebook

Tour Giveaway

– One Grand Prize winner will receive print copies of all three books in the Empire State series: A Dangerous LegacyA Daring Venture, and A Desperate Hope

– Two additional winners will receive a print copy of A Desperate Hope– US only- Ends March 1, 2019

Enter here.

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe – Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe cover

Title: Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe

Author: Carla Laureano

Genre: Christian Romance

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can’t deny that she’s stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it’s a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he’s looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he’s already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country—an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-café in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she’s faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she’s come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.

My Review

I was pretty excited to start Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe. Somehow, I hadn’t yet read Saturday Night Supper Club and was in desperate need of a Carla book. I’m happy to report that you can read this novel as a stand alone, but fair warning, if you haven’t read the first in the series, you’ll want to start it as soon as you finish Bittersweet.

What first intrigued me was the idea of a bittersweet cafe. I wondered what was bittersweet about the cafe, knowing it was about a baker, but also knowing that Carla wouldn’t play off of something as obvious as bittersweet chocolate. Clearly, I’m not a writer. As the story unfolded I thought that it fit the title perfectly at times sweet, at times bitter, at times both.

I had a hard time putting this book down, wanting to turn the pages as I watched Melody and Justin grow as individuals while trying to figure out their relationship. Both are torn and struggle with who they want to be. They flounder, as humans do, but eventually find their way to each other in a satisfying ending that will leave you with a contented sigh.

I struggled a bit with Rachel’s role as best friend in this story and there were several times that I wasn’t sure I liked her. But, I also remembered how my bestie didn’t like my hubs very much at the beginning (and I hadn’t liked her beaus either), because she loved me and didn’t want to see me hurt. With that perspective I understood more where Rachel is coming from and in the end, she grows as well.

In the end, Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe left me craving chocolate croissants and the next book in the series.

I received a copy of this story but was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Carla Laureano

Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

Guest Post from Carla

“Confessions of An Erstwhile Baker”

Like most females, baking is encoded somewhere deep down in my DNA. Call it nature or call it nurture, but at the earliest age, I figured out that the cute boy in my English class would talk to me if it involved chocolate chip cookies. Got my heart broken or had a friend betray me? I grabbed the mixing bowl and went for the brownies (even better if they’re served à la mode.) My friend was having a birthday? I made a cake drowned in pounds of buttercream.

I quickly graduated from the boxed mixes to the real thing when I got married and had a kitchen large enough to roll out dough. I would comb magazines for the best recipes and spend my weekends trying them out. I quickly became known for bringing beautifully iced Christmas cookies and delicious homemade cakes to work.

Then my husband and I moved our young family from Los Angeles to Denver, a relocation that was about 1000 miles northeast and 5000 feet up. Suddenly, every recipe I’d perfected in the previous eight years failed. Cookies burned to crisps, cakes fell, and don’t get me started on candy making. Gradually, I adapted my recipes (my beloved never-fail Toll House recipe took eight tries to get right) and even became an avid artisan bread-baker.

Then disaster. Or at least, what a baker would consider a disaster. After developing chronic health problems, I discovered that among other things, I was sensitive to gluten. The horror! In order to heal, I turned to the paleo diet, which eliminates all grains (there goes most gluten free recipes) and all processed sugars (there goes everything else). I’ve tried baking paleo-style, and while I can now make cakes that even my gluten-fiend family enjoy, it’s just not the same.

So what’s a once-obsessive baker do when she can’t eat her creations? She bakes for other people and goes on faith that they actually taste good… considering she can’t taste them herself.

It struck me that there was a spiritual lesson in that, and an obvious tie to Brunch at Bittersweet Café, which deals in large part with Melody’s faith journey. There are times when we have no idea if things are working out the way they’re supposed to, in which case we just have to trust the “recipe” and the input of friends and family who love us. Sometimes our instincts tell us when we’re off track, and sometimes we need that outside nudge from our “taste-testers” to put us back on course.

In any case, what Melody and I have in common is that we both bake to show our love for the people around us. And the process of baking my favorites, even knowing that I can’t enjoy them myself, can still be a selfless way to show people they’re important to me.

Fortunately, macarons, which happen to be made with almond flour, are still on the menu.

Blog Stops

Quiet Quilter, February 12

Among the Reads, February 12

Lighthouse Academy, February 12

By The Book, February 12

The Power of Words, February 13

As He Leads is Joy, February 13

Cultivating Us, February 13

Blossoms and Blessings, February 13

Fiction Aficionado, February 14

The Lit Addict, February 14

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 14

This Chattanooga Mommy Saves, February 14

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 15

Just the Write Escape, February 15

100 Pages per Hour, February 15

Splashes of Joy, February 15

Bibliophile Reviews, February 16

Texas Book-aholic, February 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 16

C Jane Read, February 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 17

Moments, February 17

Back Porch Reads, February 17

Cordially Barbara, February 18

Genesis 5020, February 18

Simple Harvest Reads, February 18 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 18

Livin’ Lit, February 19

Kat’s Corner Books, February 19

Life with the Tribe, February 19

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 19

Through the Fire Blogs, February 20

Remembrancy, February 20

Vicky Sluiter, February 20

Living Life Free in Christ, February 20

2014 and Beyond!, February 21

Daysong Reflections, February 21

Inklings and Notions, February 21

Pause for Tales, February 21

Cafinated Reads, February 22

Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 22

two points of interest, February 22

Ashley’s Bookshelf, February 22

My Devotional Thoughts, February 23

Two Girls and a Book, February 23

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 23

For the love of books, February 23

God is Love, February 24

Book by Book, February 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 24

Janices book reviews, February 24

Lukewarm Tea, February 25

Carpe Diem, February 25

A Baker’s Perspective, February 25

Bigreadersite, February 25

Giveaway

brunch at bittersweet cafe giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carla is giving away a grand prize package of a macaron baking mat, a macaron book, and a paperback copy of Brunch at Bittersweet Café!!

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/db0f/brunch-at-bittersweet-cafe-celebration-tour-giveaway