Thursday, January 21, 2021

Book Review & Giveaway: Still the One By Susan May Warren and Rachel D. Russell

Still the One JustRead Blog + Review Tour
Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Still the One by Rachel D. Russell presented by Susan May Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Still the One

Title: Still the One
Series: Deep Haven Collection #1
Author: Rachel D. Russell presented by Susan May Warren
Publisher: Sunrise Publishing
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

It’s never too late to finish a love story… 

Cole Barrett, former Army Ranger, has a new mission objective. Sell his grandfather’s house and put Deep Haven, a place that holds too many hurts, in his rearview mirror as fast as possible. Recently divorced, single, and unattached, Cole just wants a new life as a US Marshal. One where he can forget the past and start new. 

Unfortunately, there’s a tenant in the garage apartment who’s refusing to move. Even worse? It’s his childhood crush, Megan Carter, and her son. 

Wedding planner and single mom Megan Carter loves Deep Haven. To her, it’s the place where she makes dreams come true—at least, everyone else’s. Her big dream is to purchase the Black Spruce Bed & Breakfast to turn it into a premier event venue and, if she can stay booked for enough weddings over winter, she’ll have the needed funds to buy the inn, move out of Grandpa Barrett’s garage apartment, and finally give her nine-year-old son, Josh, the life he deserves. She just needs four thousand dollars in the next thirty days. 

Still, she’s oh, so close…until Cole Barrett returns to Deep Haven. Even if he’s not back to fulfill a silly childhood promise to marry her, but she never expected him to evict her! The last thing she needs is more expenses. Or for another man to walk into her heart…and break it. 

When a blizzard strikes Deep Haven, and Megan is overrun with wedding catastrophes, it takes a former Ranger to step in and help. Besides, the more he comes to her rescue, the sooner she’ll be able to move out…and he can move on. And that’s what they both want, right? 

Return to Deep Haven with this magical tale about the one who got away…and came back.

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



Still the One by Rachel D. Russell and Susan May Warren kickstarts the Deep Haven Collection Series. Although it functioned as a stand-alone, I recognized the Deep Haven setting and the Christiansen family members from Susan May Warren’s original Christiansen family series. This novel had its own characters to love, but brought back Darek, Ivy, Casper, Raina, and a few others. Rachel D. Russell’s writing style felt akin to Susan May Warren’s current style.

I enjoyed reading Still the One and stayed interested throughout the story despite some plot points feeling formulaic and predictable. The second-chance romance was clean and included a relaxed level of tension (not the I-can’t-put-it-down kind). I could relate to both Cole’s wrestling with unforgiveness and Megan’s struggle to trust God with situations.

Still the One is a solid debut novel by Rachel D. Russell that fuses romance, spiritual issues, and life situations into a story that points to the God who can redeem all things. Readers who have enjoyed Susan May Warren’s prior Deep Haven novels will likely enjoy Still the One by Rachel D. Russell and Susan May Warren.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


Susan May Warren presents Rachel D. Russell

Susan May Warren is the USA Today best-selling novelist of 80 books. With more than 1.5 million books in print, she is beloved by reviewers and readers around the world. Visit Susan at

CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | FacebookInstagram | Twitter 

Rachel D. Russell is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and My Book Therapy’s Novel Academy and is a regular contributor to the Learn How to Write a Novel blog. The mother of two teenagers, she often interrogates her husband on his own military and law enforcement experience to craft believable heroes in uniform. The rest of her time is spent cantering her horse down the Oregon trails. Visit Rachel at

CONNECT WITH RACHEL: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

Merging the creative energies of best-selling authors Susan May Warren and Lindsay Harrel, Sunrise Publishing is the matchmaker for established authors who want to build on their current success for future growth and aspiring authors looking to break out, build an audience, and hone their writing skills.


(1) winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card + 3 Still the One ebooks (one ebook for the winner and two to give to friends)!

Still the One JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight January 18, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on January 25, 2021. 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!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Author Interview & Giveaway: Being West is Best by Monique Bucheger

About the Book

Book: Being West is Best
Author: Monique Bucheger
Genre: Contemporary Middle Grade

Twelve-year-old BFFs, Ginnie West and Tillie Taylor, are matchmaking geniuses. Together, they maneuvered Ginnie’s widower-dad into proposing to Tillie’s divorcee-mom. Sweet! Certain they are well on their way to sisterhood, each girl is floored when Tillie’s lousy-excuse-for-a-father puts in an appearance after a six year absence. Too bad “lousy dad repellant” doesn’t come in a can.

Even though Tillie’s dad has sobered up and is determined to make amends, Tillie would rather he just disappear again. If he stays, “Operation: Secret Sisters” may need to be renamed “Operation: Not Gonna Happen.” I

If that’s not bad enough, the biggest bully in seventh grade comes over often and wishes he could call the West’s farmhouse “home.” When the bully’s abusive dad shows up as well, Ginnie thinks it’s time to change her family’s motto from “When you’re here, you’re family” to “There’s no more room at the West’s.”

Click here to get your copy! 

About the Author

When Monique isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events.

Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, twelve grand-darlings, too many cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of several books in three series and hopes to write many more.

Author Interview

What was the inspiration behind this novel?

Monique: I am a former foster mom of over 100 kids. I want kids to know that they have a right to be treated well by those around them--and that they shouldn’t have to be afraid of the people in their lives--especially the people in their families or bullies at school. If there is something going on that shouldn’t be--it’s ok to tell a trusted adult like a teacher or principal. Trouble Blows West and Being West is Best are great books to start conversations in classrooms or families about what bullying or child abuse are and how to deal with both issues from a variety of perspectives--as an abused or formerly abused child, as a friend or acquaintance of child you suspect is being abused. Knowledge is power--and knowing you are not alone (if you are being abused) or that you can make deliberate, good changes and that the past doesn’t have to dictate your future are powerful messages.

What was the most surprising thing you discovered while researching and writing this novel?

Monique: One of my characters refused to be written the way I had planned to write him. But it’s all good--the book is better because I wrote it HIS way. :)

What do you hope readers take away from this novel?

Monique: Family can be who you choose to spend time with--not just who you are born too.

In what setting do you enjoy writing the most? 

Monique: I enjoy writing on my bed, with quiet, and a vanilla Dr. Pepper. ;)

How many bookshelves are in your home?

Monique: Not enough.

Where can readers find out more about you and your novel?

Monique: My website:

More from Monique

Hello Everybody,

Welcome to the fourth book in my published series: BEING WEST IS BEST: A Ginnie West Adventure. This book is the 4th installment of the Ginnie West Adventures, but NOT the last book in the series. Book 5 will be ready to publish in 2021, followed quickly by Book 6.

BEING WEST IS BEST is a redemption story and while it has the same family flavor of the preceding books, it does have an intensity that younger readers may benefit from reading this along with trusted adult teachers or family members as a catalyst for discussing some hard issues—though still in an age appropriate way. 

As a former foster mom to over 100 foster kids, one of my goals as I write the GINNIE WEST series is to give a voice to kids who feel voiceless and invisible. There are some intense scenes in this book as Tillie, a formerly abused and abandoned child (by her birth dad—NOT her birth mom—who is a rock in Tillie’s world) She meets with her birth dad for the first time in 6 years.

I allow Tillie to say things to him that he needs to hear so that other kids, who will only have such a meeting vicariously thru Tillie and her dad, Jasper, can heal—and possibly form a bridge from a broken past to a happier future.

However, reuniting every formerly abused child with their abuser is NOT always a good idea.

In Tillie’s case, her birth dad left to fight his demons safely away from her. He returns after making some powerful changes so that both of their lives are better. Even so, Tillie is resistant to allow him back in her daily life. It is to this end that each will need to bend a little—and show the other compassion and kindness to truly heal.

Because Tillie is a child, I make sure this meeting is in a place where she feels safe and with adults who have her best interests at heart, who can protect her if need be. I would never suggest such a meeting without these safeguards in place. I am careful to allow Tillie the opportunity to advocate for herself—something that is not always possible in real life.

Being West is Best is a story that explores some hard realities in a necessary way, leaving my readers and characters uplifted and empowered. It also contains some fun times, interesting shenanigans, loving family relationships, imaginative solutions to some tricky problems, and a horse who is as playful as her owner.

Whether you’ve read the entire series or are joining this tour with this book, I hope you will be willing to join Ginnie and Tillie on this journey. There are plenty of opportunities to laugh, a few to cry, but more importantly, to take a stand and make deliberate decisions in your own life.

Laugh lots, love much, write on!!

Monique Bucheger

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, January 11

Splashes of Joy, January 12 (Author Interview)

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, January 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 14

Artistic Nobody, January 15 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

deb’s Book Review, January 16

Texas Book-aholic, January 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 19

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 20

Beauty in the Binding, January 21 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, January 21

Blogging With Carol, January 22

For Him and My Family, January 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 24


To celebrate her tour, Monique is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Apple, or Google Play!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Book Review: Blue Moon by Jenny Knipfer

About the Book:


The year is 1885 and unwed Vanessa Gulet must surrender her newborn son to her married twin sister, Valerie, to raise. A seed of bitterness grows in Vanessa. When the opportunity arises for her to have what she's always wanted, Vanessa takes it despite the consequences to her family, getting more than she bargained for.

Meanwhile, Valerie, overcome with loss and grief, faces a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Will she and her husband, Felix, forge through their trials together, or will these upsets cause them to drift apart?

Will Vanessa and Valerie remain at odds, or will they allow the power of forgiveness to heal their strained relationship?

Love seems to bloom in the most unlikely of places in Webaashi Bay for an old friend of Jenay's and a woman who owns the local dress shop. A parallel tale of love, forgiveness, and reuniting lost things is spun by a local author adding another dimension to the tale of the Gulet twins and their saga.

My Thoughts: 

Blue Moon by Jenny Knipfer stands as the second novel in the By the Light of the Moon series. I highly recommend reading Ruby Moon first as the setting and characters from the first novel carry through in this story. Having read Ruby Moon, I knew to expect Blue Moon to be filled with multiple character POV’s. The story and the characters are complicated. While Vanessa and her relationships take center stage, other characters received plenty of page time. I confess that I did not like Vanessa right away. Her actions were questionable, especially in the beginning. However, I came to understand her and her situation more as the deep hurt she struggled with was exposed.

I recommend Blue Moon to readers who enjoyed Ruby Moon and want to continue with the series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Hamlin Stoop Series (Day 3)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We're celebrating the release of the third book in the Hamelin Stoop series, The Ring of Truth! Today, the author is sharing an excerpt from book three. If you missed his post about the inspiration for the series, you can check that out HERE, and he shared about the storybook world for the series HERE. There's also a giveaway to enter below, if you haven't already. Enjoy!

The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge
(Hamelin Stoop #1)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 332 Pages
November 15, 2016 by 12 Gates Publishing

Afraid of being caught by trackers from another world, a young mother abandons her baby boy in a tomato box inside the screened porch of a children's home. The staff at the orphanage name him Hamelin Stoop, but he grows up longing to learn his real name, find his parents, and thus discover his true identity.

Life is not easy for Hamelin. He belongs to everyone, though in some ways to no one fully. And the people he is closest to leave him one by one. A letter from an older friend advises Hamelin to "keep waiting and keep hoping." Bitter experiences force Hamelin to wait, but he has to learn how to hope.
When the children's home forgets his eighth birthday, he sneaks away at night. He soon discovers that he isn't just running away -- he is being summoned by the Ancient One. Guided by the Great Eagle through a mysterious cave, Hamelin must pass a dangerous test of courage before he can find his parents.

Hamelin's failures, fears, and hopes become part of a larger story, a story of a great struggle between worlds and kingdoms where the old myths of magic, evil contracts, and enslaved children turn out to be real.

(Affiliate links included.)

The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna
(Hamelin Stoop #2)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 304 Pages
February 7, 2017 by 12 Gates Publishing

Hamelin finally makes it across the footbridge only to learn that his quest to find his parents and learn his true identity will not be quickly done or easy to fulfill. The Great Eagle leads him through the dangerous Waters of Death and Life and into the Land of Gloaming, where Hamelin is thrown into the midst of a war already being waged between the evil Chimera and the mysterious Ancient One. He must help two new friends find a kidnapped princess and recover a stolen jewel, tasks for which they have special gifts that must not be misused: a scarf of sight, shoes of speed, and a sword of death. But these quests are only part of the larger story, a story including Chimera’s plan to use Hamelin—a child of two realms—to seize the kingdoms on both sides of the Atrium of the Worlds.

(Affiliate links included.)

The Ring of Truth
(Hamelin Stoop #3)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 580 Pages
December 29, 2020 by 12 Gates Publishing

Will Hamelin be summoned again?

Hamelin suspects that his friend Layla is the lost princess from the Land of Gloaming. As he describes his daring adventures to trusted friends at the children’s home, an intricate tapestry of stories emerges. Layla admits that she has had dreams – or are they memories? – of another world with faded light. The orphan boy is not alone in his struggle to learn the truth, search for family, and question the Ancient One's purposes.

Meanwhile, dangerous forces continue to pursue the boy of both worlds, but the evil Chimera gives his agents an additional task: find the fourth princess, the missing daughter of Carr, and stop her. She must never return home.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt from Hamelin Stoop: The Ring of Truth, Chapter 7

The snake wasn’t still either. Its head, initially facing mostly toward Mr. Kaley and Bryan, stretched up and shook side to side, clearly taking in Layla as well. Then about two feet below the head, its upper body somehow divided into several neck-like cords, and from behind its big head, six smaller heads spread out like a fan, each of them with a two-foot neck that could extend its head in different directions.

Bryan shook his head in disbelief as he saw the new heads emerge, but he continued to move slowly into a crouch, his right foot almost imperceptibly shifting back a little.

“No!” said a strong female voice suddenly and with authority. Hamelin looked straight at Layla, who had also taken another step toward the snake! “No!” she said again, louder than the first time, her eyes fixed on the large central head. The snake then twisted its upper body, and all seven heads focused fully on her.

What is she doing? Hamelin thought to himself. He wasn’t sure whether it was the glare of the sun or something he had just never seen before in her, but her skin, always fair, took on a faint glow. Hamelin glanced back to his left, and the sun was almost midway in the sky. He looked back at Layla. Her lips moved faintly.

Is she talking to the snake?

The low hiss from the snake grew, but Layla in her head heard more. She understood the creature’s words: Are you speaking to me?

Her mind answered sharply: Leave my friends alone.

You dare to tell me no? I have heard of you. The stories of your grandmother and your impudent commands have been passed down. Your family—you’ll never see them again.

Layla laughed inwardly. Your prediction is not only wrong but confused! I’ve never known a grandmother, and my parents are already gone, killed by evil men. And I won’t let you hurt my brother and friends.

The snake’s eyes narrowed, and the edges of its mouth widened slightly, its oval face hinting at a sneer.

Layla raised her right arm to about chest high, her elbow slightly bent and the palm of her hand facing outward toward the snake.

About the Author

Robert is married to his college sweetheart, Sue. With seven married children and over twenty grandchildren, they enjoy large family gatherings with good food and lively conversation around the table. Favorite family activities include role-playing games, writing and reading stories, and, of course, storytelling. Robert is also a University president and scholar.

Photo Credit: Joannah Buffington

12 Gates Publishing: Website | Instagram

Blitz Giveaway

One winner will receive print copies of The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge and The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna plus bookmarks and a $15 Amazon Gift Card (US only)

Ends January 18, 2021

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Friday, January 15, 2021

First Line Fridays: All That We Carried by Erin Bartels

Happy Friday! 

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today, I'm sharing the first line from All That We Carried by Erin Bartels.

"Midwesterners do dumb things on the one nice day in March."

Have you read All That We Carried? It just released earlier this month and I thoroughly enjoyed this women's fiction novel. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Check out the book blurb below and read my review

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!

About the Book:

The most treacherous terrain is found within.

Ten years ago, sisters Olivia and Melanie Greene were on a hiking trip when their parents were in a fatal car accident. They haven't seen each other since the funeral. Olivia coped with the loss by plunging herself into law school, work, and a materialist view of the world--what you see is what you get, and that's all you get. Melanie dropped out of college and developed an online life coaching business around her DIY spirituality--a little of this, a little of that, whatever makes you happy.

Now, at Melanie's insistence (and against Olivia's better judgment), they are embarking on a hike in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In this remote wilderness they'll face their deepest fears, question their most dearly held beliefs, and begin to see that perhaps the best way to move forward is the one way they had never considered.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Book Review: A Cowboy for Keeps by Jody Hedlund

About the Book:

Greta Nilsson's trip west to save her ailing little sister, Astrid, could not have gone more wrong. First, bandits hold up her stagecoach, stealing all her money. Then, upon arriving in Fairplay, Colorado, she learns the man she was betrothed to as a mail-order bride has died. Homeless, penniless, and jobless, Greta and her sister are worse off than when they started.

Wyatt McQuaid is struggling to get his new ranch up and running and is in town to purchase cattle when the mayor proposes the most unlikely of bargains. He'll invest in a herd of cattle for Wyatt's ranch if Wyatt agrees to help the town become more respectable by marrying and starting a family. And the mayor, who has promised to try to help Greta, has just the candidate in mind for Wyatt to marry.

My Thoughts:

A Cowboy for Keeps by Jody Hedlund is an entertaining historical romance. The author plays around with several familiar tropes including the marriage-of-convenience. While some predictable situations occurred, Greta’s devotion and determination to help her sick sister added originality and depth.

A Cowboy for Keeps includes Jody Hedlund’s trademark romantic tension. I enjoyed watching Greta and Wyatt’s relationship grow. As they shift and adjust to their new life together, both characters learn life lessons. Greta’s learning to trust in God reminded me to do the same. I appreciated the theme of a person being valuable, not an object to be bartered with. With the romance, an entertaining storyline, and themes to contemplate, I enjoyed this novel and did not want to put it down.

A Cowboy for Keeps is the first installment in Jody Hedlund’s Colorado Cowboys series. Returning fans of Jody Hedlund will likely enjoy this novel. For readers not familiar with Jody Hedlund’s books, this is a good place to start. 4.5 Stars!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.