Monday, September 30, 2019

Month in Review -- September

  • Wrote 5752 words
  • Sculpted 0 babies
  • Tatted 0 crosses
  • Sewed 0 sock monkeys  
  • Knit 0 hats (crocheted a bunch of amigurumi things)
  • Exercised 20 days
  • Read in the Bible 30 days
  • Wrote up 0 backlogged book reviews 
  • Thursday, September 26, 2019

    "The Trouble with Nancy" by Chautona Havig -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

    About the Book

    Book: The Trouble with Nancy
    Author: Chautona Havig
    Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Western
    Release Date: July 18, 2019
    HAVIG_Nancy-smHer reputation precedes her, whether the bad guys realize it or not.
    Nancy Harrison has finally stepped out of her prissy box and tried to do something helpful–but did she go overboard in her first self-less act?
    She can’t ride, she hates horses, and she’s terrified of being alone. What’s a girl to do?
    Join the Pony Express, of course.
    When Nancy Harrison’s family receives a tax bill they can’t pay, there’s only one option open to them. Her brother, Lewis, will have to join the Pony Express and earn the money that way.
    It would have worked, too, if ruffians hadn’t attacked him and broken his leg.
    She doesn’t want to do it, of course, but what choice is there? Lose everything or ride a stupid, smelly horse for a few weeks? Nancy decides that she’ll chop off her hair, take to the dusty overland trail, and prove that she isn’t a “flighty little thing.”
    But things go from bad to worse as she discovers that riding astride is worse than sidesaddle—especially when you’re not used to it.
    Can’t she just go back home to balls, teas, and the hope of a suitor before her twentieth birthday? Sans her hair, of course, because that’ll entice the fellows. Sigh.

    My Thoughts
    "The Trouble with Nancy" is "Gold Diggers Collection One Book Two", but the stories are not connected with each other in any way other than the presence of gold in each story. I really liked the story premise of the Pony Express. It was very interesting to get a peak at what life for Pony Express riders might have been like. The mystery of what was going on at the house added a nice layer to the story. I liked Nancy and Bruce and seeing character growth through the story. The book didn't flow that well for me. It took more effort to focus on what was going on (and I really didn't need to know about Nancy dealing with "woman issues" on the trail, even though I realize she would have had to) but I still enjoyed reading the story.

    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.

    Video Chat with Chautona

    Blog Stops

    Daysong Reflections, September 25
    Quiet Workings, September 25
    Blossoms and Blessings, September 26
    Pause for Tales , September 27
    For Him and my Family, September 27
    Texas Book-aholic, September 29
    Mary Hake, September 29
    Locks, Hooks and Books, September 30
    Emily Yager, October 4
    Batya’s Bits, October 4
    Older & Smarter?, October 5
    janicesbookreviews, October 6
    Betti Mace, October 6
    A Reader’s Brain, October 7
    Wishful Endings, October 7
    Lots of Helpers, October 8
    She Lives to Read, October 8


    To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of the book and a Pony Express book cozy!!
    Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

    "The Trouble with Nancy" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Gold Diggers Collection One (Book 2)
    • Paperback: 325 pages
    • Publisher: Independently published (July 12, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 109596707X
    • ISBN-13: 978-1095967072
    • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 2791 KB
    • Print Length: 327 pages
    • Publisher: Havilah Press Publications (July 18, 2019)
    • Publication Date: July 18, 2019
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07R5B4BP1
    I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

    "Landmark" by Pamela Poole --Author Interview, Blog Tour, and Giveway

    About the Book

    Book: Landmark
    Author: Pamela Poole
    Genre: Inspired Southern Fiction
    Release Date: July 2019
    A daydream. A dance. A dangerous rendezvous.

    After graduating college and arriving home to Painter Place in the summer of 1960, a young bachelor named Wyeth Painter dreams of living a quiet life. But his father sends him to London to teach an art class where he meets and falls for model Chrissy Carnet, an American from D.C. By the time he discovers the stunning young lady’s father is a fearsome international spy who brought them together, Wyeth’s heart is in chaos.
    But Chrissy is determined to follow him and daydreams of creating a home on his island. With the Island Summer Dance looming ahead, Wyeth tries to protect Painter Place from any danger her presence might bring. Will Wyeth force himself to get over her, or can both their dreams intertwine and come true?

    Click here to purchase your copy.

    Author Interview
    1. 1. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?I do a loose plot with a technique Leonardo da Vinci created, called “Mind Mapping.” I start by drawing a circle in the center of a blank page, using the title or theme of the story or novel in the circle. Then, I segment 3 lines out to divide the page into roughly thirds, to mark the Beginning, Middle, and End. From those circles, I will branch out with the main ideas and goals of each third, with the idea that they will all lead to ups, downs, and a satisfying climax to the story before the end. With that in mind, my notebook of research, my character profiles, and prayer for inspiration, I set off to write. I make certain I actually have a satisfying point to the story before spending time wandering around. At this point, ideas may take me places I didn’t expect and dress up the story, but the point of the story is still there waiting for me at the end. I aim for simplicity, writing in Word on my laptop.

    2. 2. Do you pen down revelations and ideas as you get them, right then and there?I carry around a note pad and pen, even in the car, and when I hear a song title or lyric, see a sign, read a wonderful description of something, hear an interesting name, etc., I jot it down. At home, I take these scribbles to a notebook and list them until I can type them up and add them to a binder where I keep research and inspiration.

    3. 3. Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the middle of a cafĂ© full of people and write?  I work best in a place with few distractions and where I can listen to spa-type music or epic movie soundtracks (no words). I can accomplish this with noise-cancelling headphones if needed, but I don’t prefer it. The measured music pace moves me along and encourages a sense of higher aspirations than the world around me.
    4. 4. How long does it usually take you to write a book? It takes me about 9 months to research, write, edit (over and over), and paint the cover painting of a novel for a designer. Truly, it is like having a child! I would be faster, but freaky challenges (spiritual warfare) always pop up in my life when I’m writing a book or teaching.

    5. 5.Do bits of yourself/friends show up in your characters? Certainly. One of the most drilled-in lessons I learned from other authors is to “write what you know.” Since my personality type is extremely rare, about .8% of the population (female INTJ on the Myers Briggs test), I can’t rely too much on my own except for main characters. My stories will never be populated with emotional people and “mercy” is sadly always the lowest on my Spiritual Gifts scores. On the other hand, logic, fierce loyalty, bold stands, creativity, spontaneity, and incredibly deep love will always be present somewhere in my books. These are things I know.
      Fortunately, my life has been rich with both good and bad experiences and people, and I am a keen observer. I must do my best when writing about a secondary character and not all my cast will be convincing. I hope readers will consider them to be props that move the story ahead. For fiction in general, this is something readers should be aware of when they wonder why there aren’t many main characters who are minorities or have physical handicaps, etc. For authenticity, writers are more likely to stick to what they know and what inspires them.
      Like Jane Austen, I love a large cast of characters with a big world to live in! Readers can find character lists in the back of my novels and on my author website.

    About the Author

    Pamela Poole’s Sunflower Hat

    Inspiring Southern Ambiance

    Pamela Poole’s love for the South inspires all her books and paintings. The setting for her novels and short stories in the Painter Place Saga is a fictional island between Charleston, SC and Myrtle Beach. Pamela lives life loving Jesus and her family as a wife, mother, and GiGi, and she is blessed with true friends. She and her husband Mark currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina, but she considers the Lowcounty of South Carolina “home.” Pamela is a member of various author and artist organizations.

    “Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20,21

    More from Pamela

    Hi, I’m Pamela Poole, and I live an amazing life as an artist and author! What makes my life amazing isn’t the things I get to do. It’s the scope of experiences, from devasating to incredibly wonderful, that are used by Christ to weave my story and make it one worth telling and living.
    Have you ever noticed that people entertain themselves at the expense of the sufferring of others? What about the book you’re currently reading? Would you be interested in the story if the author didn’t drag the characters through excruciating ordeals so they could grow into a better person? We tend to pray for protection from trouble for ourselves and loved ones, then we relish reading or watching others as they cope with it. Their stories are the ones we find amazing. What irony!
    In my latest novel, Landmark, I take readers back to the year 1960 to journey with the Painter and Gregoy families as they navigate through trouble on the verge of a tumultuous new decade. Their efforts to do the right things as they walk with Christ will not eliminate the valuable struggle ahead of them. Like other novels in the saga, Landmark is a nostalgic, entertaining, and wholesome story, yet it is packed with meaningful insights that encourage us as we set up our own landmarks to mark the times when Jesus was faithful through our struggles.
    Landmark is the first book in the saga chronologically.

    Blog Stops

    Moments With Mercy, September 17
    My Devotional Thoughts, September 19 (Author Interview)
    Pause for Tales, September 21
    Texas Book-aholic, September 23
    janicesbookreviews, September 24
    Maureen’s Musings , September 25
    Blossoms and Blessings, September 26 (Author Interview)
    A Reader’s Brain, September 27
    Just the Write Escape, September 28
    Inklings and notions, September 29
    Godly Book Reviews, September 30


    To celebrate her tour, Pamela is giving away a grand prize package containing a Kindle, unique coastal kitchen towel, and an original 4×4 mini painting, “Atlantic Tides” (painted by the author)!!
    Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

    Tuesday, September 24, 2019

    "Foremost" by Jody Hedlund -- Book Review

    About the Book

    A second princess. Another key to the treasure. And a cruel king desperate to squelch the growing rebellion.

    Raised in an isolated abbey, Lady Maribel desires nothing more than to become a nun and continue practicing her healing arts. She’s carefree and happy with her life…until a visitor comes to the abbey and reveals her true identity as one of the lost princesses.

    When he was a young boy, Edmund Chambers helplessly watched King Ethelwulf murder his family. Edmund escaped and has lived in the abbey ever since, uniquely trained to work with wild animals. Secretly, he loves Maribel and desperately hopes she doesn’t complete her holy order vows.

    When King Ethelwulf’s army arrives at the abbey to capture Maribel, she flees with Edmund across the desolate Highlands in an attempt to reach Adelaide’s rebel army. Edmund can no longer hide his love, but can Maribel give up her dreams of becoming a nun to love him in return?

    My Thoughts

    I was excited to read "Foremost" after reading the prequel novella "Always" and the first book in the series "Evermore". "Foremost" does do some mentioning of things from the other two books to sort of catch you up if you haven't read the other books, but it is highly recommended to read the books in order to give the full story. I found the book to be well written and once I started it, I didn't want to stop reading. (Who needs sleep, right?) I liked how that even though the basic premise of Maribel needing to flee from King Ethelwulf's men was the same as in "Evermore", the adventures and difficulties that Maribel and Edmund encounter are not the same as the ones that Adelaide and Christopher encountered. I appreciated the message of the book that if you are doing God's will, that is the best place to be and He will bring about greater things than you could ever imagine. I anxiously await the release of the final book in the series.

    About the Author

    Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.
    Jody Hedlund. Web - CopyJody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
    When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.
    "Foremost" is available in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 3829 KB
    • Print Length: 210 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: Northern Lights Press (September 24, 2019)
    • Publication Date: September 24, 2019
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English

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

    Sunday, September 22, 2019

    Enclave Scavenger Hunt --Stop Two -- "Knife" by R.J. Anderson

    Celebrate Lit is excited to partner with Enclave Publishing to feature 13 of their authors in a fun scavenger hunt. Stop by each of the blog stops to check out the author interview and to collect their special word.  Once you have collected each word, put all the words together into a sentence to enter into the giveaway for additional entries.
    Most of all have fun learning about new authors and their books!

    About Enclave Publishing

    Enclave is the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction. Whether it’s Christian science fiction you love, or fantasy, time travel, steampunk, alternate history, spiritual warfare, superhero, or technothriller—if it’s speculative and it comes from the Christian worldview, Enclave is the place to go. Enclave strives to get Christian speculative fiction directly into the hands of the fans who love and devour great stories.

    An enclave is a group of like-minded people in a place where they are surrounded by those who are not like-minded. It is not a place to hide, instead Enclave is a place where authors and fans of Christian Fantasy and Christian Science Fiction can come together and then go out and make a difference through worlds of words. Our stories can seem strange but underneath they contain powerful expressions of Redemption, Truth, and Hope.

    For my post, I get to tell you about Knife by R.J. Anderson. Don't forget to pick up the word from this stop.
    About the Book  
    Forget everything you think you know about faeries. . . .
    Creatures full of magic and whimsy? Not in the Oakenwyld. Not anymore. 

    Long ago the faeries of the great Oak mysteriously lost their magic. Robbed of their powers, they have become selfish and dull-witted. Now their numbers are dwindling and their very survival is at stake.

    Only one young faery—Knife—is determined to find out where her people's magic has gone and try to get it back. Unlike her sisters, Knife is fierce and independent. She's not afraid of anything—not the vicious crows, the strict Faery Queen, or the mysterious humans living nearby. But when Knife disobeys the Faery Queen and befriends a human named Paul, her quest becomes more dangerous than she ever imagined.
    Knife is a gripping, award-winning bestseller full of lost magic, high adventure, and surprising friendship in which the fate of an entire realm rests on the shoulders of one brave faery rebel.

    About the Author 
    Nebula Award-shortlisted author R.J. (Rebecca) Anderson writers books about magical adventures, weird science, and the numinous in the modern world. She lives in Ontario, Canada. To learn more about her writing, visit
    Social Media:         
    Twitter: @rj-anderson

    Buy the book here:

    Blog Stops

    By the Book, Stop One
    Lukewarm Tea, Stop Three
    A Reader’s Brain, Stop Seven
    Wishful Endings, Stop Ten
    Vicky Sluiter, Stop Eleven
    Texas Book-aholic, Stop Twelve
    Artistic Nobody, Stop Fourteen


    Saturday, September 21, 2019

    "The Words Between Us" by Erin Bartels -- Book Review

    About the Book 

    Robin Windsor has spent most of her life under an assumed name, running from her family's ignominious past. She thought she'd finally found sanctuary in her rather unremarkable used bookstore just up the street from the marina in River City, Michigan. But the store is struggling and the past is hot on her heels.

    When she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father's scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the long-lost summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. That book--a first edition Catcher in the Rye--is soon followed by the other books she shared with Peter nearly twenty years ago, with one arriving in the mail each day. But why would Peter be making contact after all these years? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she's about to be exposed all over again?

    My Thoughts

    This is the first book I've read by Erin Bartels but I was aware of her since I have attended the same writers conference as her. I was pulled into the story right from the startcand read it in a day. Erin Bartels' writing voice is unique which was refreshing. The story goes between "now" and "then" in such a way that you learn things about the characters as you go along. There isn't much of a spiritual thread, which disappointed me a little. It was mostly the main character questioning if there is a God, but not much else so I would call this a clean read rather than a Christian book. I felt the story was well written and it flowed well. The characters were realistic and flawed. The fact that the book takes place in Michigan, it was fun to have things that I am familiar with mentioned in the book.  I would like to read more books by Erin Bartels.

    About the Author 

    Erin BartelsERIN BARTELS is the author of WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS and THE WORDS BETWEEN US. She lives in the beautiful, water-defined state of Michigan where she is never more than a ninety minute drive from one of the Great Lakes or six miles from an inland lake, river, or stream. She grew up in the Bay City area waiting for freighters and sailboats at drawbridges and watching the best 4th of July fireworks displays in the nation. She spent her college and young married years in Grand Rapids feeling decidedly not-Dutch. She currently lives with her husband and son in Lansing, nestled somewhere between angry protesters on the Capitol lawn and couch-burning frat boys at Michigan State University. And yet, she claims it is really quite peaceful.

    Erin is represented by Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency. Find her on Facebook @ErinBartelsAuthor, on Twitter @ErinLBartels, or on Instagram @erinbartelswrites.
    "The Words Between Us" is available in paperback:
    • Paperback: 384 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (September 3, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0800734920
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800734923
    • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 9476 KB
    • Print Length: 374 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0800737113
    • Publisher: Revell (September 3, 2019)
    • Publication Date: September 3, 2019
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07PYXNC33

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