Friday, September 18, 2020

The Bird and The Bees by Neena Gaynor: Review & Giveaway!

The Bird and the Bees Blog + Review Tour 
Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for The Bird and the Bees by Neena Gaynor, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Bird and the Bees Title: The Bird and the Bees
Author: Neena Gaynor
Publisher: Mantle Rock Publishing 
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

When Larkin Maybie buries her mother in the foothills of Appalachia, she is left all alone. Her only inheritance? A crazy aunt, a mountain of debt, and a run-down, secluded cabin left by a mysterious benefactor. While Larkin thinks an escape to a cabin miles from anything familiar might be exactly what she needs, the quick answer to her problems only leaves her with more questions... Questions concerning her true identity.

As Larkin searches for her link to the Lewandowski Estate, she begins to accept the kindness of strangers on Presque Isle and the affection of professional baseball player, Ketch Devine. Charged with caring for the cabin’s honey bees and haunted by past choices, Larkin struggles to move forward in a new direction and is running out of time. With summer and baseball season coming to an end, she must decide: what is the value of true love?

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



MY THOUGHTS:

What a super interesting debut novel! First off I just have to say that I adore this gorgeous pink cover, it's so pretty! 
Larkin is a memorable and relatable character who has made some very real mistakes, I was rooting for her to find redemption and I think you will be too! I also loved that the story was told in first person from Larkin's POV (First person is my personal fave!) 
I love this author's writing voice! It has just the right amount of wit and sarcasm and made for such a fun and engaging read!
I recommend The Bird and the Bees and I look forward to Neena Gaynor's next book!
(4 Stars!)

I received an ebook copy of this book from the publisher which did not influence my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Neena Gaynor

When not chasing after her two joyful little boys, Neena Gaynor enjoys beekeeping, a good cup of coffee, and writing.

She's spent much of the last decade traveling with her husband, Wade, a former professional baseball player. Throughout the 29 changes of address and the stresses of moving a young family, Neena has learned to embrace the peace that only comes from the steady accompaniment of Christ.

CONNECT WITH NEENA: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $15 Chick-fil-A gift card!

The Bird and the Bees JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight September 15, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on September 22, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


 
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Review: Until I Met You by Tari Faris

Happy Book Birthday to Until I Met You (Restoring Heritage #2) by Tari Faris! I adored this, all the heart eyes emojis! Be sure to check out my gush fest review below! 😍😍😍😍😍



About the Book  



When she hears that the small town of Heritage, Michigan, is looking for a new librarian, Libby Kingsley jumps at the opportunity. Little did she know the library is barely more than a storage closet stuffed with dusty, outdated books. What the community really needs is a new building. But the only funds available are those being channeled into the new town square, and the landscape architect in charge of the project wants nothing to do with her plans.

All Austin Williams wants to do is get the town square project finished so he can do right by the family business and then extricate himself from the town that reveres the brother who cost him so much. But the local media and the town's new librarian seem to be conspiring against him at every turn. Will the determined bookworm find her way into his blueprints--and possibly even his heart?

Novelist Tari Faris invites you back to the small town with a big heart in this second book in the Restoring Heritage series.
 


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Baker Book House | Goodreads | Bookbub




My Thoughts:



Oh My Stars! What a beautiful, amazing book! I became a forever fan of Tari Faris' books last year when I read her novella P.S. Goodbye, and fell even deeper in love with her books when I read You Belong With Me! I seriously didn't think this author's writing could get any more amazing, but I was proven wrong! One of the things I love about this author's books is that they feature two love stories. I loved Libby and Austin, their story was wonderful and I was rooting for them from the start, though as much as I loved Libby and Austin's story I think Nate and Olivia's story was definitely my favorite! I have been head over heels in love with Nate since he first appeared in P.S. Goodbye and I've been eagerly anticipating his story, it was everything I had dreamed it would be and so much more!
Reading this book is pure bliss, it made me so giddy-happy, and I couldn't stop smiling while I read it!
Until I Met You is now my favorite Tari Faris book so far, it made me laugh out loud, touched every part of my heart, and made me swoon more times than I can count!
Heritage is one of my very favorite fictional towns (I wish I could live there) and I just adore Otis the hippo!
Saying I loved this book doesn't come close to describing the depth of my adoration for it, but sadly I can't come up with a more eloquent way to say it so this will have to do: I loved every single moment of this book and hated to stop reading!
Until I Met You is one for the keeper shelf (I already want to re-read it!) it's one of my top ten favorite reads of 2020 and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series!
I most highly recommend Until I Met You! If you are a fan of Christian contemporary romance, especially Susan May Warren's books you need to read Tari Faris! You don't want to miss a single moment of the amazingness that is the Restoring Heritage series!
(5 Stars, but I'd give it every star in the sky if I could!)


I received a copy of this book from the publisher. Which did not influence my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own!


About the Author

 

I have been writing fiction for more than twelve years. It has been an exciting journey for this math-loving-dyslexic girl. I had read less than a handful of novels by the time I graduated from college and I thought I would end up in the field of science or math. But God had other plans and I wouldn't trade this journey for anything. As someone told me once, God's plans may not be easy, and they may not always make sense but they are never boring.​

When I am not writing or working, I spend time with my amazing husband. We have been married for fifteen wonderful years and have three sweet children. In my free time, I love coffee, rock hounding with my husband and kids, and distracting myself from housework.

I love to hear from readers. You can connect with me at my website at www.tarifaris.com

 


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y'Barbo: Review & Giveaway!



About the Book

 


Book: The Black Midnight
Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense
Release Date: August, 2020

Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend

Book 7 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, women were dying in their beds as The Midnight Assassin terrorized the citizens of Austin, Texas. Now, with suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin case, and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter.

The prospect of a second chance to work with Annie just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer. If his theories are right, they’ll find the The Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the feisty female left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago.

Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted.

Click here to get your copy!



My Thoughts:


What an interesting read! This is my first time reading this author but it definitely won't be my last! 
While I am a huge mystery/suspense fan, true crime stories aren't usually my cup of tea, but after having read and really enjoyed the first book in this series (The White City by Grace Hitchcock) I was definitely looking forward to reading another and when I read the description of this one I knew I had to read it, so of course I jumped at the chance to request a review copy! 
This story is very good. I knew a few historical basics about Jack the Ripper, but I had no idea about these murders in Austin, Texas a few years earlier, and it was interesting and very chilling to learn that it's likely all of these murders were also committed by Jack the Ripper! I hope and believe that one day, somehow, these horrible crimes will be solved. 
I loved Alice Anne, it was so cool that she was a Pinkerton Detective and such a fun twist that she was the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria! 
Isaiah was a great character too! I loved the second chance romance aspect of their story, as that is one of my favorite tropes!  
The Black Midnight is a great addition to the True Colors series, and I recommend it! I can't wait to read the next True Colors book, The Red Ribbon by Pepper Basham! 


I received a copy of this book from the publisher. Which did not influence my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own!



About the Author

 


Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than sixty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad.







More from Kathleen Y’Barbo

I am a tenth generation Texan, but London has held a place in my heart for over ten years. You see, I have a son who has lived there for more than a decade. Thanks to him and his family of three—my granddaughter was born there on New Year’s Eve 2019—the city will always be special to me. There is absolutely nothing like walking those streets with a thousand years of history close enough to touch.
It was on a walk with my son through this great city that the stories of nineteenth century London came alive. With fog shrouding the rooftops of buildings that were hundreds of years old and our footsteps echoing on the cobblestones, I could imagine a time when lack of electricity and CCTV would make this place less than charming on a dark night. What reminded me of my favorite childhood movie, Mary Poppins, quickly became more reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. And then a story was born.
Only I just had half the story.
The other half came to me several years later when I stumbled across an article in Texas Monthly magazine about a serial killer who rampaged through Austin, Texas in 1884 and 1885 and was never caught. Some surmised this madman, called “The Midnight Assassin” by some, might have been Jack the Ripper honing his skills before he crossed the Atlantic to begin his famous crime spree in Great Britain.
But Austin? Ironically, my other two sons lived in Austin. So while part of my heart was in London, two more parts of that same heart resided in the Texas capital. I thought I knew Austin inside out. Between one of my sons getting not one but two degrees from the University of Texas (this Aggie grad is still proud of him in spite of what I jokingly call his burnt orange rebellion) and my other son living there and managing a restaurant at the time (and who just graduated from Texas A&M Galveston last month!), I had spent many years in the city. And yet I had never heard of the Midnight Assassin.
Research turned up a tale that sounds so close to fiction I had to write about it. Discovering the theory that the Austin killer might also be the Ripper just added to my interest—neither had been caught. And I like to write about Pinkerton detectives.
From there the story unfolded. If you’ve read any of my historical romances, you know that I love incorporating actual history into my stories. As you’ll see when you read The Black Midnight, this book is no exception. While I will continue writing the historical romances I love to bring to you, I will confess that writing this book has me itching to research another one like it.
What’s next in my foray into true crime novels? Maybe Houston. You see, I have a daughter who lives there…
In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Black Midnight as much as I enjoyed writing it!



Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 27

Genesis 5020, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Inklings and notions, August 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 28

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 28

Older & Smarter?, August 29

Texas Book-aholic, August 29

Artistic Nobody, August 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For the Love of Literature, August 30

Connie’s History Classroom, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 31

Betti Mace, September 1

Robin’s Nest, September 1

Bigreadersite, September 1

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Splashes of Joy, September 2

Just Your Average reviews, September 2

Rebecca Tews, September 3

Just the Write Escape, September 3

Emily Yager, September 3

Christian Bookaholic, September 4

reviewingbooksplusmore, September 4

KarenSueHadley, September 4

Remembrancy, September 5

Through the Fire Blogs, September 5

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 6

Blogging With Carol, September 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 7

Life of Literature, September 7

Mary Hake, September 7

Godly Book Reviews, September 8

Back Porch Reads, September 8

Daysong Reflections, September 8

Pause for Tales, September 9

Blossoms and Blessings, September 9

Hallie Reads, September 9


Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package 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.


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Review: The Price of Dreams by Toni Shiloh

 I'm thrilled to share with you my review of The Price of Dreams, the third and final book in Toni Shiloh's amazing and totally binge-worthy chick lit series! 😍😍😍😍😍



About the Book


Ballet has always been my life, but one terrible moment may have destroyed everything I’ve worked so hard for—especially my title of Octavia Ricci, principal ballerina. I thought for sure my physical therapist, Dr. Noah Wright, could help me obtain my dream once more, but he wants more than I’m prepared to give.

I’ve seen firsthand the trials of interracial relationships. I’m a product of one myself and promised I’d never put my hopefully-someday kids through that drama. Everyone keeps telling me to let go of other people’s expectations, but I’m just not sure I can. Besides, if my dreams of returning to ballet are futile, what hope is there in seeking unconditional love?

The Price of Dreams is the third and final book in the Christian Chick Lit series: Faith & Fortune.



My Thoughts:


What a fabulous conclusion to the Faith & Fortune series! I have been eagerly anticipating Octavia's story since reading the first book in the series, and it exceeded all my expectations! I love all three of the heroines in this series, but I think Octavia is my favorite. I could so relate to her feeling that God had left her and being unable to feel His presence, as well as trying to figure out what is God's plan for your life when you don't know if the dreams you have for yourself will ever come true or not, these are all thoughts and feelings that I have had and sometimes still have, so needless to say Octavia's story touched my heart very deeply!
I loved Octavia and I wish she were real because I think we'd totally be besties!
Noah was an awesome, swoon-worthy hero, I loved him so much (though I have to say that Fox is still my favorite hero of the series!) Noah's tenderness, patience, and steadfastness were amazing, and his tendency to embarrass himself and end up blushing was totally and completely endearing! Humility and humor are two of my favorite traits in a hero and he has them both in spades!
I loved The Price of Dreams from the first page, and I hated to see it end!
I adore the Faith & Fortune series and most highly recommend that everyone read it, though I would suggest starting with The Trouble with Love as this is a series that is best read in order!
Toni Shiloh is one of my favorite authors, I've read and loved all of her books to date and I cannot wait to read her next book!
(5 Stars!)


I received an ebook copy of this book from the publisher. Which did not influence my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own!



About the Author

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novel, Grace Restored, was a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist and Risking Love is a 2020 Selah Award finalist. 
A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and of the Virginia Chapter, Toni seeks to help readers find authors. She loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media. You can learn more about her writing at http://tonishiloh.com

Social media links –
















Sunday, August 16, 2020

Greek Word Study by Chris Palmer: Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway!


About the Book

 

Book:  Greek Word Study
Author: Chris Palmer
Genre:  Christian Non-fiction, Educational
Release Date: July 17, 2020

“Flour. Sheep. Coins. Wheat. Jesus never abandoned the familiarity of His time because what He had to say was so celestial or deep. Instead, He took advantage of what people already understood. In doing so, He didn’t just leave a way of salvation for us, but also a pattern of teaching to follow. This alone was my inspiration for how I chose to write Greek Word Study.”—author Chris Palmer

In a follow-up to his highly acclaimed book Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation, the Rev. Chris Palmer has written Greek Word Study: 90 Ancient Words That Unlock Scripture. With wit, humor, grace, and scholarship, Chris offers biblical insights while teaching Koine Greek words and phrases one delightful bite at a time. Unlike other books that overwhelm readers with Greek grammar, word formation, tenses, and the like, Chris makes the language accessible to anyone, using modern stories and analogies that engage readers and draw them into the Scriptures. Learning some Greek words and phrases helps you read the Bible in high definition!

“You don’t need to be scholar to read this book and you don’t need to know an ounce of Greek either. In fact, you don’t even have to really know much about the Bible at all,” Chris says. “All you need to do is just kick back and enjoy.”

Click here to get your copy!


My Thought:


I don't read a ton of non-fiction, but as soon as I read the description of this book I was super intrigued, and so I jumped at the chance to request a review copy! 
I am a Christian who has long been fascinated by the meaning behind Greek words in the Bible. I have zero knowledge of Greek, but as a reader, writer, and lover of words I was excited to start this book. 
What an awesome read! The author brilliantly uses written snapshots of life and cultural things that are very familiar to a contemporary reader to illustrate and unpack the meaning of each Greek word! I love it! 
This book is interesting, engaging, and inspiring, it teaches tons of great lessons and is super fun to read! 
I loved this book, and highly recommend it! This is definitely a book I'll be reading time and again and I very well may purchase a print copy for my keeper shelf!  
(5 Stars!)


I received an ebook copy of this book from the publisher. Which did not influence my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own!



About the Author

 


The Rev. Chris Palmer is the founder and pastor of Light of Today Church in Novi, Michigan, and founder of Chris Palmer Ministries. He is host of the popular podcast, Greek for the Week, seen on several Internet platforms. His first book with Whitaker House, Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation, has received dozens of five-star reviews from readers.
Chris began in full-time ministry in 2006 and began to preach internationally in 2009, helping many congregations grow, flourish, and expand. His desire for missions is to train and educate pastors, encourage congregations, support the vision of local church, and show the love of God to the culture. He has done this successfully for a decade in over forty nations of the world in Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, and the Caribbean, working with both traditional churches and the underground and persecuted church.
Chris earned a B.A. in Pastoral Studies from North Central University and an M.A. in Exegetical Theology, magna cum laude, from Moody Theological Seminary. He is a sought-after Greek scholar for his ability to make God’s Word come alive from the Greek in a unique way. Chris is often invited to present Greek and hermeneutics workshops at Bible and ministry schools. He recently began working on his Ph.D. at the University of Wales, Bangor, in the area of Johannine literature, particularly the book of Revelation.
His previous books include the self-published Living as a Spirit: Hearing the Voice of God on Purpose, The 85 Questions You Ask When You Begin a Relationship with God, The Believer’s Journey, and Escaping the Haunting Past: A Handbook for Deliverance.



Read an Excerpt

Study 12: Immeasurable: Hyperballō; ὑπερβάλλω)
And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might. (Ephesians 1:19)
Over the years, I’ve been privileged to travel to many lands and countries to preach the gospel. One of the best parts about this is experiencing the different cultures, particularly their food and cuisines. Meals are times of joy and jubilee, when the hosts go all out to make me feel at home.
This is especially true in Sicily. I’ve often joked with my Sicilian friends that eating is a full-time job there. Sicilians take pride in making sure you are well fed, and you’ll often hear them say, “Mangia” (eat) or “Mangia qualcosa” (eat something), even right after you’ve just eaten. Food is of the utmost importance there and the answer to many of life’s problems. I understand this because my grandparents were of Sicilian descent.
There’s a joke in Sicily about a young man with a guilty conscience who tells his mother, “Mama, I’ve robbed a bank.” She says, “Well, that’s not good.” Then, he says, “And I’ve stolen a car.” His mama says, “I see. That’s not good either.” Then he says, “And I haven’t eaten today.” And she jumps up from her seat and screams, “What! You haven’t eaten? What’s wrong with you!?”
I once invented a joke of my own that the Sicilians found funny. I said, “After studying God’s Word, I’ve discovered the disciples of Jesus were Sicilian.” They looked perplexed. While they were still scratching their heads, I had them turn to John 4:31, which says, “Meanwhile the disciples were urging him [Jesus], saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’” I think that joke has been making its way around Italy ever since.
Needless to say, there’s never been a time when I’ve been disappointed with mealtimes. I’ve been to Sicily twelve times and I can’t think of one instance when I didn’t have more than enough food placed before my eyes. I will never forget the first meal I had in Sicily. It was on a Sunday afternoon after church. I was told we were going to have “a little something” before dinner that evening. They brought out course after course after course. I was stuffed to the gills before the main course even arrived¾and this wasn’t even dinner.
My translator told me later, “Chris, the Sicilians go all out for every meal. You are never going to survive if you try eating everything.” If I’ve learned anything about the wonderful Sicilian people over the years, it’s that they don’t mess around when it comes to food: it’s always going to be over and above, more than enough, and plenty left afterwards.
The apostle Paul talks about God’s power this way in Ephesians 1:19. Here, Paul was sharing with his church in Ephesus what he prays for them. He tells them that he prays they will know the hope that God has called them to and the riches of God’s “glorious inheritance in the saints” (verse 18).
The hope that God called us to represents the beginning of the Christian life. While we did call upon God to be saved (see Romans 10:13), He first called us. He called us to belong to Christ and have a new life free from sin, to be holy and separate from the world, and be part of God’s celestial family.
The riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints alludes to the end of the Christian life. It is our total inheritance, which we will receive when the fullness of time comes. Until then, we are waiting for it with patience. In short, verse 18 speaks about the beginning and end of the Christian life.
At present, we find ourselves in the middle. Our Christian life has taken off, but we have yet to receive the totality of God’s promises. As we make our way toward receiving this final inheritance, we find our path strewn with all sorts of challenges, difficulties, and suffering. To push us past these and over the goal line, God has given us His power—“what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.”
The Greek word for “immeasurable” is hyperballō. It is a two-part Greek word that comes from: hyper (above, over, beyond, more than) and ballō (to throw or cast). It literally meant to “throw beyond” or “surpass.” Over time, it came to express other means of excessiveness such as outbidding someone at an auction, extreme heat from a fire, unbearable pain, and the intense brightness of stars. Hence, it was a word used for something that stood out, excelled the norms, and went beyond the standard amount.
The idea in this Scripture is that God supplies an over-and-above ration of His power to help us overcome the obstacles and challenges we face so we can receive the full inheritance promised to us. Not just a little, just enough, or even more than enough, but an over-and-above, highly excessive amount, like a meal in Sicily. We can stuff ourselves with God’s power and never come close to exhausting it. It’s all around us and is ours for the taking. And we aren’t to be stingy with it because there is enough to go around and plenty to take home.
Perhaps you are wondering how you can tap into this smorgasbord of power. The way Paul tapped into it: through prayer. When you come into prayer, you stand before a banquet table that is heaped with everything you could possibly need to overcome your troubles. And you are free to take.


Blog Stops



Giveaway


To celebrate his tour, Chris is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Dual Power of Convenience by Chautona Havig: Review, Guest Post, & Giveaway!


About the Book

 

Book:  Dual Power of Convenience
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre:  Christian Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 28, 2020

When Richard Danforth inherits the family estate on Merriweather Island, he doesn’t have time to deal with it—especially not from halfway across the globe. He’s too busy working to become the world’s newest billionaire and avoiding the women who would detract him from his goals.
Enter Lyla Santana. Fresh out of Oxford University with a degree in antiques and a relationship that nearly killed her to leave, she’s eager for the isolation and treasure trove that is Danforth Hall. Lyla also is determined to avoid men at all costs. Forever.

It was supposed to be a match made on paper. With him halfway across the globe, they’d never have to see each other again.

So, what’s Richard doing on Merriweather just weeks after the wedding? And how will his arrival test Lyla’s faith, not to mention stretch their so-called relationship?

In a twist on billionaire romance and marriage of convenience, this “Merriweather book” kicks off a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.


Click here to get your copy!


My Thoughts:

A couple of years ago I read and really enjoyed this author's Christmas novella, Merri's Christmas Mission, and I'd been wanting to read more of her books but just hadn't gotten around to it yet (except for her short story collection, A Short Week, which I LOVED!) 
When I first heard about the Independence Islands series I thought it sounded awesome, and when I read the description of Dual Power of Convenience I knew it was right up my alley because I love romances that feature multiple tropes and/or a twist on a popular trope, so of course I jumped at the chance to request a review copy! 
This is such a great story and I enjoyed it SO much! 
I loved the small town atmosphere, that's my favorite type of setting and the fact that it was on an ISLAND made it even more fabulous! 
I loved Lyla, and there were so many times that I just wanted to reach through the pages and give that girl a hug, she's someone I'd love to be friends with, if she were real, that is! 
I must admit that at first I wasn't sure how I would feel about Richard, I thought he might turn out to be a bit of a jerk, but he was not at all. I have a bit of a thing for kind, gentle, patient, tender heroes, and the way Richard strove to love Lyla like Jesus loves her absolutely melted my heart. Richard is perfect in his flawed humanness! 
This book is so witty and made me literally laugh out loud more times than I can count! 
I so enjoyed this story, and highly recommend it!


I received an ebook copy of this book from the publisher. Which did not influence my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own!


About the Author

 

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

Did I Really Agree to Write a Romance Series?

When my fledgling little idea for a single book transformed into a series that then transformed into a SERIES, I kind of missed the part where I agreed (and likely suggested, if truth be told), that the books should be contemporary romance.
I mean, beach reads.  Romance.  Duh.
There’s just one problem?  I rarely write a straight-up romance.  And if I do, it’s usually a short novella in a collection—often at Christmas.
Why?
Isn’t it obvious?
Despite nine kids and being married for almost thirty-two years, I am THE most unromantic woman on the planet. No habla amor.  Or something like that.
So there I was, toodling down the 395 (a treacherous bit of road between my house and the publisher’s) when all of what I’d agreed to exploded in my brain.  I’m still scraping brain matter off the windshield and trying to stuff it back in. I need every last one of those “little gray cells,” thank-you-very-much!
Romance.  My heart sank.  Boy meets girl.  They like each other.  They fight.  They get back together.  They live happily ever after.
It’s a thing, folks.  A formula.  And if you deviate, true romance readers get annoyed.  What was I going to do?  I didn’t want to write romance.  Not really. I had ideas.  The prequel book had been all about trying to bring a young woman back to the Lord.  That’s more my speed, okay?

The wheels began churning.

The ones in my head, I mean.  The tires still rolled along the ground. Fortunately, my cranial explosion hadn’t caused an accident or anything.  Just in case you were curious.
I considered making each one loosely related to a fairy tale retelling.  I’d have a Cinderella story, a Beauty and the Beast, a… nope. That made it that far and I just couldn’t.  The minute we got to Sleeping Beauty, I’d have my readers in comas.  No. Thanks.
Next came Rom-com.  We’d make it funny.  All the stuff that happens in beach romances gone wrong.  Why not?  We live once!
I was yawning before the thought finished forming.
Right about then, I think, is when I wondered what kind of tropes I needed to consider.
See, romance tropes are a thing.  I even talk about them on my podcast.  The tingling sensation that comes when a good idea is brewing happened.  A grin formed.
Tropes. I’d play with tropes.  I’d take all those familiar things and twist them somehow.  Why not?  It would be fun.

And it was.

Right about then is probably when I began recording my ideas.  Creosote and sage whizzed past at breakneck speeds (let me dream.  I’m not a speed demon, but c’mon… for the sake of poetic license and all?). And the ideas whizzed faster (no license needed.  They really did).
Book 1.  Marriage of convenience.  I mean, those are always fun, right?  So why on earth would someone need to get married?
Every idea I came up with has been done… and done again.
That’s when I upped the stakes. Authors do that, you know. We come up with a way to torment our characters, and then we say, “Okay, now how can I make this worse?  Nope, I need it even worse.  Oh, and…” Bam!  The story goes from interesting to can’t-put-it-down.  All because we’re not afraid to be cruel to non-existent people. Score!
How’d I do it with this one? I added in another trope. One I personally just can’t “get.”  People love the things, and I’ve got no idea why.  But it answered my first question of why someone might need a marriage of convenience or… as my gal puts it… “a paper marriage.”
My guy became the world’s newest billionaire.
Yep, you read that right. I wrote a “billionaire romance.”  Sort of.  Now, if I could figure out how on earth I’d take two people on opposite sides of the world and get them together.
*insert hands rubbing together in fiendish delight*
Oh, yeah.  I did it.  And even more than that, I love it.  I made my characters do some stupid things. I really did (you know, like how two Christians didn’t even pray about their marriage decision?  Like how they didn’t even ask if the other person was saved?  Why should they?  They’ll never see each other again… they said.  Ha!  The Lord had other ideas.  Sorta.  This is fiction, right?  Oops! I suddenly feel like that crazy Kathy Morningside in Miss Congeniality).

From Adelanto to Kramer Jct., I planned out that first book—Dual Power of Convenience.

(the title gives away that reason for marrying, no?  Also, links may be affiliate links that provide a small commission at no extra expense to you.)
It was almost too easy.
Then I started playing with the next ones, and the series became a reality to me.
Dual Power of Conveniencewhen a woman too afraid of men goes to work for a man who is too busy making money to want anything to do with that whole marriage and family thing.
Bookers on the Rocks— This couple’s marriage is on the rocks (that’s the trope, of course), and neither of them has a clue. They’ve been married for twenty-five years, neither is having an affair, no one wants a divorce, life is good, so why is it on the rocks?  You’ll see…
Directing Hearts— The Crawforths got tricked into allowing a reality matchmaking show film on their islands. Brooks Crawforth tangles with the director until their verbal battles turn into a different kind—a battle for their hearts (enemies to “lovers”)
Just a Memory— In this one, Mallory Barrows (who makes appearances in all of the books) comes across an old journal that tells a story she’d never heard. It’s the old Patti Paige song “Go On with the Wedding” but over forty years later!  Mallory knows something that might just create a (here comes the trope) second chance at romance.
-Printed on Her Heart— After being instrumental in so many couples’ relationships, it’s Mallory’s turn in this dual-trope story.  In this one, we get a mashup of friends to more and love at first sight.  Can’t wait to share it.  Squee!

Okay, that’s the deal.  Yes, I really did agree to write a romance series.

And yes, it probably was my idea.
I might deny it to my dying day, but it is also a whole lot of fun… so far.


Blog Stops


Texas Book-aholic, August 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 5

Inklings and notions, August 6

lakesidelivingsite, August 6

deb’s Book Review, August 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 7

Rebekah Jones, Author, August 7

For Him and My Family, August 7

Artistic Nobody, August 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 9

21st Century Keeper at Home, August 9

She Lives To Read, August 10

Simple Harvest Reads, August 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 11

Adventures of a Traverlers wife, August 11

Emily Yager, August 12

Stories By Gina, August 12

CarpeDiem, August 12

cultivating us, August 13

Connect in Fiction, August 13

Livin’ Lit, August 13

Read Review Rejoice, August 14

Quiet Workings, August 14

Blossoms and Blessings, August 14

Just Your Average reviews, August 15

Rebekah Reads, August 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 15

Lis Loves Reading, August 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 16

Splashes of Joy, August 16

Pause for Tales, August 17

Captive Dreams Window, August 17

Spoken from the Heart, August 17

Lots of Helpers, August 18

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 18


Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book (winner’s choice of eBook or paperback format)!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.