Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "A Spring of Weddings" by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell

About the Book

A Spring of Weddings
Book: A Spring of Weddings: A Contemporary Spring Weddings Collection
Authors: Toni Shiloh & Melissa Wardwell,
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: March 30, 2017
A Proxy Wedding
Carly James values loyalty and friendship above all, so when her best friend calls asking her to be a proxy bride, she says, ‘yes.’ How hard can it be to say ‘I do’ so that her best friend can be with the one she loves? Only, Carly never counted on the feelings that began to swirl around with the proxy groom.
Damien Nichols likes life lined up from A to Z, but when his best friend calls in a favor, disorder begins to reign. Instead of taking a quick flight to the proxy wedding, he must take a road trip with the proxy bride. Carly’s free-spirit attitude bumps heads with his meticulous approach to life. As Damien discovers the woman underneath the carefree fa├žade, his emotions become involved.
Will love become real at A Proxy Wedding?

Hope Beyond Savannah
Lily Allman and Nikotemo (Nik) Lagatuo were the poster children for the term “opposites attract.” He was an evangelist and CEO for a non-profit from Samoa who grew up in a large loving family. She was a blond bombshell with a funky style and no family to call her own. Two of the most unlikely people meet in the most unlikely of places, but God had a plan when He brought them together. They never let their differences deter them from the love they had for each other, but when Nik’s mother comes to the States for the wedding, the idea of wedded bliss is shaken. Can prejudices be over looked, insecurities overcome, and hope for a better future be restored so that these two can have all that was promised?

My Thoughts

"A Proxy Wedding": I had never heard of a proxy wedding and found it to be an intriguing idea (I had to look it up) I liked Carly and Damien. They both grew through the story and learned to trust God more. It is a novella, so things move fairly quickly, but with the epilogue being a year later, it helps to "slow things down".
"Hope Beyond Savannah": This story was interesting in that the main characters were already a couple when the story started, so the story isn't a typical romance where we see them fall in love. The struggles come from the fact that Nik's mom is not very accepting of Lily. One thing that didn't seem realistic to me was Nik's mom mentioning that Lily would get fat as Samoans tend to be larger people and I don't think she would mind. But it was a minor bump. I liked watching Nik's tenderness with Lily and his love for her. Knowing someone from Samoa, it was fun to have a character from there. I enjoyed reading this story.

About the Authors

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Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

MWardwell-4Melissa Wardwell was born and raised in a small mid-Michigan community living there still with her Husband and three children. She enjoys taking pictures, reading, and leisurely rides with her husband on their motorcycle. All her stories revolve around women who are mothers. Single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of her own.
Her hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life.

Guest posts from Toni & Melissa

A Proxy Wedding
By Toni Shiloh
Spring is here! I love it because I always think of new beginnings as the flowers bud and then bloom. The trials and tribulation of the winter season are no longer on my mind. My hope that the winter season would not linger begins to become visible as new life takes shape on the bare trees. The seeds I planted in faith of God’s faithfulness sprout up in hope and promise.
When I sat down to write A Proxy Wedding, I had to imagine spring time, because the dreary, overcast skies outside my window were a constant reminder that I was in a season of sickness. One person would get sick, then the next, and the next. By the time the last person got sick, the round would start over. Visits to the doctor were made. Miserable kids were constantly whining in their discomfort.
It. Was. Rough.
It made perfect sense for me to throw my characters into a new situation. One that would make the stretch, take them out their comfort zone, and search for God’s goodness. I wanted to give them a hint of goodness and throw in a trial or two so they could make the decision that sometimes, risk is worth it. Just as we all react differently to new situations, so did my characters.
Carly was intent on making lemonade from her lemons. She tries to get the handsome broker, Damien, to see the importance of smelling roses and lingering over new adventures. Of course, Damien wasn’t partial to the frivolity. He’s so intent on becoming a success that he had no time to slow down.
In order for them to see God’s handiwork in their lives, I had to remind them that they were not products of their past. That in God, they’re a new creation with new opportunities available to them.
I hope you enjoy A Proxy Wedding. May you think of the Father’s love as you take time to stop and smell the roses.
Hope Beyond Savannah
By Melissa Wardwell
I hope you enjoy this story of love, acceptance and new beginnings. It was a joy to write because there is much more to it than the hope of marriage. It is about the blending of two families who are from two completely different cultures. Researching the island traditions, beliefs, and customs was not only fun, but enlightening. Being able to return to my background in bridal as well as the most beautiful city in the United States was just an added bonus.
With Nik and his family being from another country, I gave you a glossary of words and phrases used so you knew what was being said. I found the language to be rather beautiful and to not include it would take away from who these people are. I also give a small explanation as to what Rock-a- billy is. Lily is a funky chick who dresses in a fun and exciting way. When I saw this couple in my head, I knew it would be quite the uncommon match. As you will soon see, they fit together quite nicely.
My point in using a bi-racial couple for this story was based on what we have been seeing in the news lately. It is unlike anything I have ever done but after talking to friends in similar relationships, I knew I had to step out on this limb. I think it is time we begin to look at people through the eyes of God and not man, then we would see how beautiful we all are. It doesn’t matter what color our skin is or what our past contains, we are all God’s creation and we are beautifully and wonderfully made.

Blog Stops

April 25: Lighthouse Academy
April 28: Mary Hake
April 29: The Power of Words (Spotlight)
May 1: Quiet Quilter
May 4: A Greater Yes
May 5: Carpe Diem
May 7: God is Love
May 8: Autism mom

Giveaway

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To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b614

"A Spring of Weddings" is available in Kindle edition after May 3:
  • File Size: 797 KB
  • Print Length: 156 pages
  • Publication Date: May 3, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07226FF6P


I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Temperature Blanket - Week 16

Apr 16: 70 Rain from 5:00 - 6:30 am & 10:30 am- 1:00 pm
Apr 17: 65
Apr 18: 69
Apr 19: 70
Apr 20:  64 Rain from 4:00 am - 2:00 pm
Apr 21: 51
Apr 22: 60

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "Witch" by Denise Weimer

About the Book


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Book: Witch
Author: Denise Weimer
Genre: Modern romantic light suspense with a historical back story
Release Date: April 1, 2017
The Restoration Trilogy: When Jennifer Rushmore accepts a brooding bachelor’s job offer to act as coordinator for the restoration of his family’s historic doctor’s house (WHITE), apothecary (WIDOW) and log cabin (WITCH) in a rural Georgia community, little does she know it’s her own heart that will undergo the greatest renovation. Three stories. Three centuries. Three lessons on the healing of the heart. And one buried mystery that threatens their redemption.
WITCH, Book Three: Having restored Michael Johnson’s ancestors’ house and apothecary shop and begun applying the lessons of family and forgiveness unearthed from the past, Jennifer Rushmore expects to complete her first preservation job with the simple relocation of a log home. But as her crew reconstructs the 1787 cabin, home to the first Dunham doctor, attacks on those involved throw suspicion on neighbors and friends alike. And while Jennifer has trusted God and Michael with the pain of her past, it appears Michael’s been keeping his own secrets. Will she use a dream job offer from Savannah as an escape, or will a haunting tale from a Colonial diary convince her to rely on the faithfulness of his love?

About the Author

2016headshotDENISE WEIMER holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. A former magazine writer, she is the author of romantic novella REDEEMING GRACE, The Georgia Gold Series (SAUTEE SHADOWS, THE GRAY DIVIDE, THE CRIMSON BLOOM, and BRIGHT AS GOLD – winner of the 2015 John Esten Cooke Award for outstanding Southern literature) and The Restoration Trilogy (WHITE, WIDOW and WITCH). Denise is a wife and swim mom of two daughters who always pauses for old houses, coffee and chocolate!

 My Thoughts

I read the whole trilogy back-to-back and it really helped getting the whole picture of the series. It almost felt like a television series where the main storyline doesn't conclude at the end of the episode or even the season, but continues on into the next episode/season with the finale being the climax of the whole story. I loved the connection with the historical heroine and her struggles and Michael and Jennifer. I enjoyed watching them grow in their spiritual lives and in their relationship with each other. I had a guess early on who was behind the mishaps that kept happening and it turned out I was right. Before I read them, I was a little confused why the books were titled the way they were, but I quickly understood. (See the author's guest post below for an explanation) I liked the church services at Harmony Grove and all the people from Hermon. By the end of the series, they felt like friends and I was sad to leave them. I've always been intrigued by old buildings and things, but after reading this series, I notice them even more! I thought the book was well written and easy to follow. 

Guest post from Denise Weimer

The first thing I want to tell you about Witch is … it’s not scary! Hang with me, and I’ll share more about the title.
The Restoration Trilogy mixes a unique tonic … the budding of a romance and friendships in a humorous, small-town community, a splash of suspense, and spiritual and emotional healing. Check out the summaries above.
The restoration my parents did on a real life doctor’s house and apothecary shop inspired this series. As I watched them work and learn about the historical line of doctors associated with their property, I realized how much a physical restoration project can mirror the spiritual work God wants to do in each of us. And that’s exactly what happens with Michael and Jennifer, who both conceal areas of brokenness from their pasts. As they come together to restore his family buildings, the stories they uncover about his ancestors reveal truths they need to apply in their own lives:
  • Family connection from the 1920s story of Georgia Pearl as they restore the house (White)
  • Forgiveness from the 1860s story of Charlotte as they restore the apothecary (Widow)
  • Faithfulness from the 1780s story of Verity as they restore the log cabin (Witch)
The title of each novel – and the cover – reflects that struggle of the historical heroine. Eventually each, as well as Michael and Jennifer, learn that only God, the Master Renovator and the Great Physician, can heal their broken places.
So here’s your prescription, should you choose to accept it by entering into this grand prize giveaway!
Grand Prize Gift Basket From Durham Apothecary & Museum: Take from a homemade tea pocket one of the selection of special teas. While brewing thy favorite tea, dispense liberally from the tea cookie tin onto a china plate. Prop up thy feet and commence thy reading journey through a print copy of WhiteWidow AND Witch! After a goodly time of rest and reflection, take up thy quill (ahem, I mean set of decorative pens) and record pearls of wisdom in thy new journal. When they husband and children begin to grumble, rise with fresh vigor to prepare a meal from Farmer’s Almanac Colonial Cookbook.
Second place prize: an e-book copy of Witch (or any other one book of The Restoration Trilogy)

Blog Stops

April 21: A Greater Yes
April 26: Artistic Nobody
April 27: Book Love
April 28: Pause for Tales
April 29: Bigreadersite

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Denise is giving away:
A Grand Prize Gift Basket From Durham Apothecary & Museum: Take from a homemade tea pocket one of the selection of special teas. While brewing thy favorite tea, dispense liberally from the tea cookie tin onto a china plate. Prop up thy feet and commence thy reading journey through a print copy of White, Widow AND Witch! After a goodly time of rest and reflection, take up thy quill (ahem, I mean set of decorative pens) and record pearls of wisdom in thy new journal. When thy husband and children begin to grumble, rise with fresh vigor to prepare a meal from Farmer’s Almanac Colonial Cookbook.
Second place prize: an e-book copy of Witch (or any other one book of The Restoration Trilogy)
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b57b


"Witch" is available in paperback:
  • Series: Restoration Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Canterbury House Publishing, Ltd (April 1, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0997011971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0997011975
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 2340 KB
  • Publisher: Canterbury House Publishing, Ltd.; 1 edition (March 20, 2017)
  • Publication Date: March 20, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06XS611DJ


I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Temperature Blanket - Week 15

Apr 9: 73 Rain from 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Apr 10: 76
Apr 11: 54
Apr 12: 57
Apr 13: 47
Apr 14: 64
Apr 15: 80 Rain 4:30 - 5:30 am

Still not caught up from Spring Break!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Temperature Blanket - Week 14

We went away for Spring Break this week, so I am behind on doing my blanket again. I will add a picture when I catch up again.

Apr 2: 58 Rain from 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Apr 3: 52 Rain from 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Apr 4: 48 Rain 2:00 am - 1:00 pm
Apr 5: 42 Rain from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm & 7:30 pm - midnight
Apr 6: 38 Rain from midnight - 4:00 am, Snow from 4:00 am - 10:00 am, Rain from 10:00 am - 10:30 pm
Apr 7: 54
Apr 8: 61

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "Baggage Claim" by Cathe Swanson

About the Book



BaggageClaimCover
Click to purchase

Book: Baggage Claim
Author: Cathe Swanson
Genre: Christian Suspense/Romance
Release Date: February 14, 2017

There had to be at least one healthy branch on his family tree…
Who can he trust?
Ben Taylor, widower and father of four lively children, enjoys his easy, uncomplicated life. He likes his work and has a competent nanny to manage his household. Everything is good until he decides to seek out his biological parents and discovers a family tree with tangled roots and broken branches.
His comfortable life crumbles when he gets caught up in a criminal network of fraud and conspiracy at his new job. When Ben is forced into a dangerous alliance, he scrambles to find a safe situation and protection for his children before setting out to clear his name—all without getting himself killed in the process.
A nanny with a past…
Becoming a nanny was the perfect solution when Teresa Cooper needed a place to hide ten years ago, but now that she’s no longer in danger, she’s ready to move on and make a new life for herself. When Ben asks her to take the children to an unknown relative in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she finds herself in hiding again, this time with four children in tow.
As the children explore the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula, Teresa begins to wonder about God’s plan for her future. Who is this stranger Ben trusts with his children? Why here? Can a city-bred nanny find joy in this wild corner of God’s creation?

About the Author

catheimageCathe Swanson lives in Wisconsin with her husband of 32 years. They enjoy spending time with their family and being outdoors, kayaking, hiking, birdwatching and fishing, but summer is short in Wisconsin, so it’s important to have indoor hobbies, too. Cathe has been a quilter and teacher of quiltmaking for over 25 years, and she enjoys just about any kind of creative work, especially those involving fiber or paper. She enjoys writing stories with eccentric characters of all ages. Her books will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.

My Thoughts

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book and at first it didn't really seem to have a specific genre. I also wasn't sure how the different parts fit together. I felt for Ben with his search for his biological family. Once the suspense started coming out, it made me wonder what the "bad guys" were up to and wanted to keep reading to see what was going to happen. I thought it was a well written book and kept my attention throughout. Looking forward to reading more books by Cathe Swanson.

Guest Post from Cathe Swanson

When I was in high school, I thought I might like to become an occupational therapist. Instead, I got married, had babies, raised the children and launched them into the world. I took a few years to regroup, and then I started thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
Shortly after that, my dad had a stroke, and when he came home from the hospital, I was fascinated by the work of the visiting therapists. I did some research and learned that physical and occupational therapy assistants make pretty good money and are able to do the best part of the job – the therapy. Therapists are often bogged down in paperwork and periodic assessments. The assistant has all the fun, and it’s just a 5-semester program.
So I trotted on down to the local community college and asked what I had to do to get signed up. The counsellor talked for a while about prerequisites, petitions, waiting lists, internships, and other such things. Eventually I realized she was trying to tell me that I was too old to embark on this career. Too taken-aback to be offended, I went home and wrote a book about it instead. After all, I’d invested a lot of time in research.
I’d been writing stories for years, and already had the bones of Baggage Claim. Once I gave my young hero a job as a physical therapy assistant, the story took on life. My mother’s interest in genealogy had sparked a question: What if a nice, normal person wanted to track down their biological family and it blew up in their face? So that’s where I sent my hero, and as one of my reviewers said, “It was not a Hallmark moment.”
I’m very happy as an author and have no real interest in becoming an occupational therapist. Indeed, that rejection was a turning point for me. I could have pushed forward and got that degree, but instead I went home and wrote. I have no regrets.

Blog Stops

March 29: A Greater Yes
March 30: Genesis 5020
April 1: Quiet Quilter
April 2: autism mom
April 7: Carpe Diem
April 8: Karen Sue Hadley
April 9: Bigreadersite

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cathe is giving away Grand prize themed gift box that will include:
A decorative suitcase box
Earl Grey Tea
A handmade mug rug
A pretty mug
14 handmade all-occasion cards
And a paperback copy of Baggage Claim!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b2c8
"Baggage Claim" is available in paperback:
  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 8, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1540691160
  • ISBN-13: 978-1540691163
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches

or Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 2827 KB
  • Print Length: 408 pages
  • Publication Date: February 14, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01MYT392B
I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received.