Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Book Review, Tour, and Giveaway: "Dance and Be Glad" by Melissa Wardwell

Mike Emerson wants to settle down, but his professional life is a little hectic and he hasn't found the right woman. He thought he may have with Emma Daniels, but when she got back together with her ex-husband, he ended up standing up for Ryan Daniels in the wedding. He wasn't expecting to walk in with his old girlfriend from high school, Jillian Matthews.

Jillian Matthews is a widow with a 9 yr old daughter. She has been putting her daughter and her needs before her own for so long she isn't sure she knows what she wants any more. When she encounters Mike Emerson, she finds herself being drawn to him like when she was in high school. How is she to know what she is feeling is God given or just loneliness?

"Dance and Be Glad" follows "What God Brings Together" and "A Christmas Wedding". It actually overlaps the very end of "A Christmas Wedding" and the first part is before the epilogue of "What God Brings Together" (Which takes place completely after the events of "A Christmas Wedding"). The books are so tied together that I would recommend reading them in order (possibly waiting on the epilogue of "What God Brings Together" until after reading "A Christmas Wedding"). I liked the characters and getting to follow the people we had meet previously. I saw several stories that I'm sure are waiting to be written. I enjoyed seeing Mike progress from not having a clue about how to be a parent, to being secure in his new role as Emily's guardian/parent. The relationships felt real and natural. Being from Michigan, I loved all the references to things here and it felt so natural for the characters to order a "pitcher of pop" at the pizzeria or to wear a blue and yellow U of M shirt. And the snowstorms....One of my favorite lines in the book was "It seemed that Michigan weather couldn't make up its mind on what to do".  I have personally said something just like that! I stayed up too late to read, I laughed, I cried. I look forward to the other books planned for this series.

About the Author
Head shotI am an independently published author of Christian romance.
I wear many hats from one day to the next. I am a devoted wife, basketball and dance mother, teacher, taxi service, friend, caregiver, daughter, sister, and now, published author. Seeing all that is enough to make my head spin. But more importantly, I am the Daughter of the Most High King.
I was raised in and still reside in a little farm town in Mid- Michigan called Corunna. It’s quiet and simple, just the way I like it. If I can’t live out in the country among the corn fields and trees then living in this small town works for me.  My husband and I have been together since high school and have 3 children, all of whom we homeschool. It has been quite the journey, but I couldn’t ask for a better life.
I decided to give writing a try because I needed something to occupy my down time, but after reading my first draft of my first book, What God Brings Together, I then understood that God had a much bigger plan.  God does not give His children a desire just so that it can go to waste. I never anticipated the journey God would put me on through writing, but I am excited to see what He has in mind for the future.
I have always felt a call to reach out to women and mothers, to encourage them in their lives. So naturally, all my 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.
My greatest hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life. Lord, knows we have earned it.

Guest Post from Melissa Wardwell

When I wrote the first book in this series, “What God Brings Together”, it wasn’t supposed to become a series. It has seemed to have a mind of its own and is spiraling into other books.
You met Dr. Michael Emerson in the first book as the third wheel to Emma and Ryan’s crazy triangle. As soon as I finished it and read through it one last time, Mike’s character begged to have his own story. I felt bad giving such a nice guy a sad ending. So an idea formed for a story focused on him but it took me a while to decide on who his other half would be. I was sitting in front of the dance studio two of my kids attend, and it hit me. A Dance teacher and studio owner. From there the story went out of control- in a good way. The dance studio is the actual studio my kids dance at, and much of the descriptions of the location are the same as the space. The town is even the real town this studio is in. It is such a quiet place and I love it.
I live in the area this series takes place. The county has a funny name as it is a Native American name – Shiawassee. It is nothing but small towns and farm land. New Lothrop, the main location for this story, has a population of approx. 600. I spend many hours there because of dance and I have grown to love the quiet little farm town.
I like to bring light to actual business in some of my work, so when I chose to write in Infinity Dance Company I had to include the location. There is also a neat little coffee shop that I talk about in this book that is also an actual coffee shop.
I am all about promoting local business, so if I can plug a cool business in my books, I will.
You will see a bit more of another character from the first book, Tiffany, and you’ll get some insight into her story as well but you won’t get the full picture until the release of “I Know the Plans” which is set to come out no later than next spring – hopefully. I also introduce a new character in “Dance and Be Glad” whose story is heartbreaking but you won’t know much more until book four “Redeemed Through Grace” comes out in 2018.
“Dance and Be Glad” is about finding joy in the middle of uncertainty and the scary moments in life. We can let the sudden changes bring us down or we can look at them as an opportunity to learn something new. I have witnessed a lot of tragedy and sudden losses in my personal life to learn that God still has me in His hands even when I feel like my world is crumbling. My prayer is that each reader can have a similar revelation.

Blog Stops

July 13: Carpe Diem
July 14: Sue Stinnett
July 15: KarensKrayons
July 17: Petra’s Hope
July 17: Splashes of Joy
 July 24: Quiet Quilter


To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away a wonderful package that includes a hand-crafted necklace. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9ec0

"Dance and Be Glad" is available in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 3072 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Melissa Wardwell; 1 edition (June 28, 2016)
  • Publication Date: June 28, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

I received a free copy of this book in order to review it and give my honest opinion for the Celebrate Lit book tour. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

1 comment:

Patty said...

I grew up very near Melissa and would love to read these books set near my hometown!