Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Past Forward


About the Book



Book: Past Forward  
Author: Chautona Havig  
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Suspense  
Release Date: April 19, 2017

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning. The Finley women’s lives, while rich and full, aren’t easy. rejecting electricity and many other modern conveniences, they live purposefully and intentionally–alone and isolated from the world around them. When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother dead. From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid. The Past Forward series opens with Willow’s life-changing discovery and gently guides the reader through aspects of her life–the past weaving through the present and into the future. Experience her first morning in church, her first movie, and the culture shock of her first trips to the city. A birthday party and a street faire add welcome diversion from butchering, canning, and the beating of area rugs. Disaster strikes. Will she choose to continue her simple life, or will an offer in the city change it all? Find out in this first volume.

My Thoughts:  This is an extraordinary novel.  Ms. Havig has woven a novel that all will enjoy.  It is interesting to look into the world through Willow's eyes as she integrates into the "world" and the world's way of living; to experience all Willow's firsts in this new world that her mother protected her from.

Willow is an unusual woman who has led a sheltered life.  After her mother passes away,  she makes new friends who don't fully understand her simple homesteading lifestyle.  Some try and get her to change and make life easier, but her best friend Chad understands who Willow is and how she lives her life; helping her through her grief.

I loved this novel and really enjoyed the simple life portrayed in the novel and glad that Willow stood her ground for that way of life.

The characters in this novel all work together well, and with the storyline.   I liked Chad and was encouraged by his character, as he did not want Willow to change.  He appreciated Willow for who she was and what she stood for.  The readers will adore Willow;  everyone loves Willow, she is full of spunk and has a strong but loving personality. 

I enjoy Chautona Havig's writings, and I believe this is my favorite.   I spent the week reading all 3 volumes, and I believe readers will want to do the same;  Once you start reading you just can't get enough.  

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Click here to purchase your copy.





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

How Did My Weird High School Years Inspire This Book?

December 1985. The time had finally come. After two months of living in a run-down motel in Rosamond, California, we were finally moving to our own place. Seventeen miles away. Just off Highway 58, outside Mojave, California (about the place that Alton Gansky’s, Distant Memory opens), a huge billboard loomed. For the curious, it’s still there today. Aqueduct City. For the record, there was no city. There still isn’t. Just a dirt road or three. Oh, and the aqueduct. In fact, that’s eventually how we got our water—stole it from the California aqueduct. But I’m getting ahead of myself. At the edge of all those parcels lay our new land. Twenty-two acres of desert sand, creosote, sage, and a tiny, baby Joshua tree at the end of our long, U-shaped dirt driveway. I took out that sucker with my first attempt at backing down the drive. It looked like a snake had slithered back and forth across the sandy strip of cleared dirt, and somehow I managed to run over the foot-high tree. It wasn’t often I managed to shock my mother speechless. That was one time. I now have mad back-upping skills. Thought you oughtta know.
On that land, my parents put an 18’ travel trailer.
We hauled in water in 55-gallon drum barrels—first from a friend’s house and later from that aqueduct. It was several miles closer. One of those barrels ended up on top of the trailer for showers. The water pressure depended on how full that sucker was. Navy showers? Ever had one? It goes like so:
  • Turn on water.
  • Make one slow turn under the water to get all wet.
  • Turn it off.
  • Lather up.
  • Shampoo hair.
  • Turn on water.
  • Turn off.
  • Work conditioner into hair.
  • Turn on water.
  • Turn off.
  • Get out.
  • Try to stop your teeth from chattering.
For the record, that chattering is no joke. When it’s twenty degrees out there, water gets cold. And we had no way to heat it. Our plumbing also included a shovel. For… um… other plumbing needs. Winter was the worst and the best time for the call of nature. Worst because, well, 40 mph winds and twenty-degree weather. Best, because no snakes. We used Coleman propane lanterns, a propane refrigerator (that sat outside our door), and eventually, a gas-powered generator. Once a week, Dad would fire that thing up so I could iron my church clothes. #darkages
For the curious, summer was blistering hot.
No fans (except for stiff cardboard we used arm-power to operate). No air conditioner. Not even a swamp cooler. Mom and I would go into town and read at the library when we just couldn’t take another minute in 112-degree desert heat. She’d drive me to Lancaster so I could go sit in an air-conditioned movie theater and watch another movie. If it came out in 1986 or 1987 and wasn’t pure smut, I probably saw it. Out of self-preservation. Before long, I’d been relegated to the “porch.” That consisted of a redwood lattice “patio” enclosure in front of the trailer door. (For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I was the dictionary definition of “trailer trash” in some people’s books.) That space was eight feet wide and sixteen feet long. I had a twin bed out there. When winter came, dad made sleeping out there more bearable by heating huge rocks in one of those 55-gallon drum barrels and wrapping them in old quilts. That went at the foot of my bed to keep my feet warm. If only the wind hadn’t blown sand into my hair every night…
What does all of this have to do with Past Forward?
Just this. People have often asked why Willow would choose to live without electricity. Some have said you couldn’t live only five miles outside of town and be so isolated and reclusive. I disagree. We did it. By choice. Because it’s who my father is. And of all of my characters, Kari Finley, Willow’s mother, is the most like my father. The way Kari taught Willow? That’s exactly how Dad used to teach me—by making it a natural part of life. I didn’t know it when I wrote the series, but Past Forward really does show exactly what kind of life my father would have chosen to live if he’d ever really considered it. The self-sustaining work, the emphasis on beauty, the isolation—all of it shows the kind of man I call Dad. If you’d asked me as a kid what I thought of living out there in Mojave, I would have said I hated it. Not only that, I would have believed myself. But if you’d talked to me for a while, you would have figured out that I said that because I was expected to. No one thinks you’ll like living with almost nothing, in the middle of nowhere, especially as a teenager. Looking back, though, I actually I liked it. Dad. Mom. Me. And Boozer, our dog. I’d tell you about her, but that’s a story for another day. Yeah, I liked my life there “out on the property,” as we called it. Except for the Mojave green rattlesnakes. Not a fan of those. Not then or today. Just sayin’.

Blog Stops

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes a complete paperback set of Past Forward & a custom Past Forward Lavender Lemonade candle!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!



 I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am  disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Printed Letter Bookshop


About the Book



Book: The Printed Letter Bookshop  
Author: Katherine Reay  
Genre: Women’s fiction, romance
Release Date: May 14, 2019  

Amid literature and lattes, three women come together and find that sharing one’s journey with best friends makes life richer.

When attorney Madeline Carter inherits her aunt’s bookstore in a small town north of Chicago, she plans to sell it and add the proceeds to her nonexistent “investment portfolio.” But plans change when Madeline discovers the store isn’t making money and she gets passed over for promotion at her firm. She quits in protest, takes the train north, and decides to work at the store to prep it for sale. Madeline soon finds herself at odds with employees Jessica and Courtney; when she also finds herself attracted to an affianced man, it only confuses the entire situation. After blowing up her marriage two years earlier, Janet has found solace working at the bookstore and a kindred spirit within its owner, Maddie Cullen. But when Maddie dies and her niece, Madeline, barges in like a bulldozer, Janet pushes at the new owner in every way-until she trips over common ground. Soon the women are delving into online dating and fashion makeovers, and Janet feels the pull to rediscover her art, a love she thought long behind her. After a night of bad decisions leaves the store in peril, Claire arrives and tries to save the day. While she, too, found sanctuary in the little bookstore, she knows it’s under-insured, in the red, and will never survive. When she discovers her teenage daughter has played a part in vandalizing the store, Courtney taps into strength she didn’t know existed or had long forgotten. The quietest of the three, she steps up and finds a way to save her family, the store, and the precious friendships that have grown within it. The Printed Letter Bookshop is the story of friends who find each other-and themselves-in a place none of them ever expected.

This is a wonderful read.  It's hard to put down once the reader begins the story.  One shop, three women and their lives are connected through one woman, Aunt Maddie.   In this story, we learn through three women how one magnificent woman helps each woman, Madeline, Janet, and Claire take a look into their lives through books that she has left them to read after her death.  

I love bookstores, and this one is more than a bookstore; it's a place where friends come together for love, help, and healing.   It's about friendships that can last through trials and tribulations.  It's about one woman's legacy and how she looked at life.  It's a story that one should not miss.

This is a story of finding one's calling in life, of love, forgiveness and true friendships that last through trials and tribulations, not just in the good times but in the worst of days.  This was a wonderful book that teaches us that reading is beneficial, soothing and can always be a learning experience.

I loved the shop; I wish it were real if it were I would visit everyday!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author



Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily Price, The Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flair. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and isa wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL. You can meet her at www.katherinereay.com; Facebook: KatherineReayBooks; Twitter: @katherine_reay; or Instagram: @katherinereay.

More from Katherine

Don’t you love bookshops? Every time I walk into a bookstore, it feels like a rainbow cracked open and rained a kaleidoscope of light, life and possibilities before me. I find worlds within the world and a call to adventure. Each bookshop tells a different story. It tells of its loyal beloved customer base. It reflects the personality of its owner and staff. It carries the aura of the stories it offers to us. And it was the perfect place to dig into lives, hearts and book loves of Janet, Claire and Madeline. These three women, at different stages in life, meet at the Printed Letter Bookshop, with all the romance and wonder it holds, and learn to work through their challenges together. They become the friends that each didn’t know she was missing. There is also a fourth woman I loved spending time with in the Printed Letter Bookshop — its original owner, Maddie Carter. Maddie doesn’t step onto the stage even once, but her presence, her love and her guiding hand are apparent from page one as Janet, Claire, and Madeline grow in friendship and in faith. The Printed Letter Bookshop is a love letter to books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship. I hope you savor your time with these three women — And, book lovers rejoice, there is a list of all the books they allude to in the back of the book!

Blog Stops

Bigreadersite, May 16
By The Book, May 16
Emily Yager, May 18
Simple Harvest Reads, May 26 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
amandainpa, May 27

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Katherine is giving away a paperback copy of The Printed Letter Bookshop to one lucky winner!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! 


 I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am  disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Shine the Light


About the Book


Shannon is out to save the world one caring act at a time. She’s stood by her best friend, Amber, through their whole lives especially when Amber lost her sight. She has an active outreach ministry to the homeless and disenfranchised. And she’s even let down her guard long enough to let a boyfriend, Justin, into her life.

Her life has settled into a pleasing routine of teaching, freelance photography work, quiet dinners with Justin, and taking Amber on treks to find new subjects for her visionary paintings. But when a man from her past shows up, her secure world crumbles into triggered PTSD episodes that threaten everything she relies on. Will she be able to overcome these old memories, or will her past crush any hopes she had for a future?

My Thoughts:   This is a book that touches the heart.   A book that deals with many concerns.   It deals with homelessness, physical disabilities, and PTSD.   The author has spun a story expertly around these topics.  It is a story of love, friendship, healing, and forgiveness.  

This was a novel that the reader can become engrossed in, finding it hard to put down.  The characters are easy to relate to, and the reader can come to know and love.  It brings empathy toward the homeless and their plight.  It is a compelling read and I enjoyed this and I know that the author has put much time into research for this novel.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author



April McGowan loves to read and write inspirational fiction. She and her husband, two children, and her ‘mews’ (three cats!), live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is a member of Oregon Christian Writers, the Christian Author’s Network, and American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, homeschooling her son, or playing board games, you might find her at her drum kit, imagining she’s on a world tour. Hey, it could happen.

More from April

Writing About Tough Subjects—with Hope I began writing over twenty years ago. And technically I wrote long before that as well. But those pieces were ‘just for fun.’ However, as I look back on my short stories, blog posts, and now my published work, there’s a definite theme: overcoming. Overcoming childhood abuse, overcoming an abusive marriage, overcoming loss—physical and emotional. And those overcoming stories were not about overcoming through our own strength, which is so often flawed and lacking, but by relying on the One who can heal us from every wrong, every hurt, and every loss. After my first novel, Jasmine, I asked my readers what they’d like me to focus on in my next books—what subjects were overlooked in fiction today? The overwhelming consensus was adoption, loss, and mental illness. As a contemporary fiction author, I stay current on social issues, so that wasn’t a huge jump for me. My readers saw a gap, and I did, too. Not that it’s wrong to simply read for entertainment—shoot, I do! But I’ve always loved gripping stories with people I could identify with who were overcoming obstacles I’d faced, or watched a loved one face—stories that offer real hope in the face of tragedy. So began my journey. In book one of this series, Hold the Light, I wrote about sight loss and adoption. I wrote about best friends who were solidly there for each other in the face of great hardship and pain. And in book two, Shine the Light, I’m doing the same—with a twist. There’s a lack of representation and writing concerning mental illness and how it affects the sufferer and those around them. There is a stigma that is significantly changing, but it’s something we’re still hesitant to discuss. Myself and many I know are deeply touched by this issue, and I think we’re long past due letting those that suffer from mental illness and their families know that they are not alone. Or if they are, that they don’t have to be. Book two, Shine the Light, is about Shannon’s life. Her love for the downtrodden, the lost, and the injured. Her passion for the underdog. How she became the stalwart friend she is to Amber in Hold the Light, the obstacles she’s overcome, and those she has to continue to grapple through with God’s help. As with all of my books, I’ve vetted this story with people who have faced these situations and am very careful to respect their stories as well as staying true to my characters. I hope you’ll dive in and find Shannon to be a deep and real and identifiable character. I hope you’ll discover in her a friend. I know you’ll grow to love her as I do. The giveaway: Many of my books are set in Portland, Oregon, and as a celebration of that, I’m offering a giveaway celebrating two of my favorite things about the city: Powell’s books and super good coffee! Also cats…but I can’t give one of those away in a contest! Well…I could try, but I’d probably fall in love with it and never send it to you…so for now, books and coffee!

Blog Stops

Giveaway


 
To celebrate her tour, April is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Powell’s gift card, a Powell’s coffee mug, and Stumptown coffee!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!



 I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am  disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Memory House


About the Book



Book: The Memory House  
Author: Rachel Hauck  
Genre: Christian Romance  
Release Date: April 2, 2019  

Embracing the future means remembering the past . . .
When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either. Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share. Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.

My Thoughts:  This is a very compelling story.  It is full of life's issues that some of us will deal with in one way or another.  This is a novel that is hard to put down from the minute the reader starts reading.  Author Rachel Hauck has a knack for telling a fabulous story, that involves the readers into the lives of the characters she creates.   

This novel shows us how one life can touch many, through the character Miss Everleigh.  A loving woman who had been through traumatic experiences, and loved God and family.  

This is a story about God's love and His miracles and how He works in our lives through others.  I  truly enjoyed this story and highly recommend it for others to read.  I look forward to reading more from Rachel Hauck.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author



Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pet and writes from her ivory tower. Visit her online at RachelHauck.com; Facebook: RachelHauck; Twitter: @RachelHauck; Instagram: @rachelhauc

Excerpt from The Memory House



When Mama Applegate spoke as if Everleigh were a guest rather than a family member, she embraced it with grace. Because at the end of the day, she was Rhett’s wife. She alone shared his dreams, his heart, his life. And at night, when she couldn’t sleep, his soft breathing was her lullaby. “Listen, mister, I have to get back to work or I won’t make it home in time for our dinner.” She tugged at his shirt collar. “So are you going to tell me why you’re here?” “I was going to wait until tonight, but I got so excited . . .” Rhett stepped over to the desk in front of Everleigh’s and retrieved a long white canister. “Here. Open it. I feel like a kid at Christmas.” “Rhett, what have you done?” She pried away the cap and slipped out a set of drawings. “Here, let me.” Rhett unrolled a rendering of a cozy house with a wraparound porch nestled between two cottonwoods. “Our house, Ev. I took those sketches you made after we were married and gave them to the architect. What do you think?” “Th-this is our house?” She wrapped her arms around his waist, leaning against his thick arm as she studied the drawing. “It’s our house, darling.” Everleigh studied the drawing. It was just like she imagined. “Are you sure?” She gazed up at her husband. “I didn’t think we’d saved enough money.” “We’ve saved every penny of your salary, and I finally sold the stud bull to Jacob Marshall. He’s been after me for a year . . .” Rhett held her with one hand while flipping through the drawing with the other. “I bought the ten acres by the stream. You know, the one with the trees we loved. Dad wanted to give it to us, but I said no strings. I wanted to buy it so he can’t hold it over me. Not that he would, but family business can get tricky.” Everleigh leaned to see the name of the road. Memory Lane. “Darling, the section right off Memory Lane? The spot I wanted?” Rhett’s grandmother had named the dirt road years ago, when she imagined a large family with lots of grandkids running around. She envisioned an Applegate community. But her sons, Melvin and Earl, went to war. Only Earl—nicknamed Spike—returned home the fall of 1918. He inherited the ranch, married Mama Applegate, and fathered Rhett, an only child. Grandma’s two daughters married and moved away. “Your granny would be proud, darling,” Everleigh said. “We’re beginning her dream.” “Sh-she would.” Rhett cleared his throat, pressing his fist over his cough. “So, w-what do you think?” Tell him! The timing could not have been more perfect. “Rhett, sweetheart—” He jerked his wrist up, checking his watch. “Oh, Ev, sorry, darling, but I promised Dad I’d pick him up from the hardware store thirty minutes ago.” He gave her a quick, passing kiss. “I’d planned to show you these tonight, but I just couldn’t wait.” He rolled up the drawings and tucked them into the canister. “What is it you wanted to say?” On reflex, he checked his watch again. “Nothing,” she said, smiling. “I’ll see you later. We can talk then. I have work to do anyway.” “You sure?” Everleigh fell into him and pressed her cheek against his chest. “You make my dreams come true, Rhett Applegate.” He kissed her one more time, then held her at arm’s length. “Distraction, girl, you are one beautiful distraction.”

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, April 22
Wishful Endings, April 22
Worthy2Read, April 23
C Jane Read, April 25
Carpe Diem, April 26
Mary Hake, April 27
EmpowerMoms, April 27
BigreadersiteApril 28
Pause for Tales, April 28
Quiet QuilterApril 30
Moments, May 5
Simple Harvest Reads, May 5 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Giveaway


 
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize of a copy of The Memory House!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! 


 I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am  disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”