Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Author Interview: Jessica Kate on A Girl's Guide to the Outback!

I am so excited to host Jessica Kate here on the blog today! I recently reviewed her novel, A Girl's Guide to the Outback, which releases today. Read my review of A Girl's Guide to the Outback.

About the Book:

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand?

This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly. 

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church. 

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

About the Author:

Australian author Jessica Kate is obsessed with sassy romances.

She packs her novels with love, hate, and everything in between—and then nerds out over her favorite books, movies and TV in the StoryNerds podcast. When she’s not writing or discussing fiction, she’s hunting the world for the greatest pasta in existence.

Her debut novel Love and Other Mistakes released July 2019, while A Girl’s Guide to the Outback hits shelves in January 2020.

Receive her sassy shorts The Kiss Dare and The Kiss Thief  FREE when you sign up for her newsletter at jessicakatewriting.com. 

Connect with Jessica at: 
Facebook and Instagram: Jessica Kate Writing

StoryNerds podcast: Available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and at www.storynerds.podbean.com

Author Interview:

What was your inspiration for A Girl’s Guide to the Outback?

Jessica: I grew up on dairy farms (the fictional Yarra Plains is based on a Queensland property we lived on), so the farming story is full of anecdotes and details inspired from real life.

As for the love story – I just adore stories where they hate each other at the start! When I wrote early drafts of Love and Other Mistakes Sam and Kim both existed, but I had no thought of getting them together. Then I started thinking about my next book and I realized that they already had a great set-up—Sam would have picked Natalie to work with him over Kimberly, so there was already that little bit of friction between them. So I wrote A Girl’s Guide, and then went back and layered some more details into Love and Other Mistakes before it was published. It was pretty cool to get the chance to set them up the way I wanted.

And Jules and Mick and kind of a gender-swapped alternate history of my parents. My Mum’s from the beach and Dad’s a farm boy. They married at 20 and have spent 30 years compromising on where they live, so this ended up kind of being ‘what if they had decided to go their separate ways at 20?’

How long did it take you to write this novel?

Jessica: First draft was about a year, six months for a second draft, then I was publishing Love and Other Mistakes in between and then a whole nother round of edits. I first started A Girl’s Guide in early 2017.

Do you have a favorite character in A Girl’s Guide to the Outback?

Jessica: Mick! The boy is unashamed of his rainbow crocs and is always there for Jules no matter how much she drives him nuts. I love him. 😊

What do you hope readers take away from this novel?

Jessica: I hope people are challenged to look at how their fears are holding them back from the life God intended, and that they learn to rely on God’s love and let go of those fears.

Can you share a book you are currently reading or have read recently?

Jessica: I’m currently reading Rachel Scott McDaniel’s Above the Fold, another love/hate story!

What hobbies do you enjoy when you aren't writing?

Jessica: Watching movies. Discussing books, tv and movies. Making podcasts on books, tv and movies.  I’m a very social person so I love hanging out with friends and going to visit my family, too.

Who is an author that you would recommend to anyone and everyone?

Jessica: Jenny B Jones! She’s hilarious!

Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Jessica! 

Book Links:

Love and Other Mistakeshttps://books2read.com/u/3L06gJ

A Girl’s Guide to the Outbackhttps://books2read.com/u/b570Dl




Monday, January 27, 2020

Author Interview & Giveaway: A Plan for Everything by Beverly Varnado

A Plan for Everything JustRead Blog Tour 
Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Plan for Everything by Beverly Varnado, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


A Plan for Everything by Beverly Varnado Title: A Plan for Everything
Author: Beverly Varnado
Publisher: Anaiah Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: January 21, 2020

Connie’s Coffee and Cones is thriving, and owner Connie Spencer is right on track to realize her dream of expanding into a catering business. She believes she owes her success to her remarkable ability to plan. In fact, she has a plan for everything. At least, she thought she did—until Michael Cole appears in Worthville.

Michael has an agenda of his own—and a competing business—that threatens to derail everything Connie hopes for professionally. And if that isn’t enough, Michael carries a secret that could cause a backlash for both of them. So, why does she find herself attracted to him? When an accident on a rain-slicked highway leaves Michael temporarily incapacitated, Connie is presented with a dilemma she never saw coming—helping the man she’s falling for, or moving ahead with her meticulous plans.

As life spirals out of her control and Connie faces losing everything, she questions whether her plans are enough. But if hers aren’t, whose are? As she searches for the answer, she learns she must come to terms with her deepest hurt in order to embrace a higher plan for her future.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Beverly Varnado, author

Award-winning Southern writer, Beverly Varnado, is a novelist, screenwriter, and blogger who writes to give readers hope in the redemptive purposes of God.

She has written a nonfiction memoir as well as several novels and screenplays, one of which was a finalist for the prestigious Kairos Prize in Screenwriting. Her work is also included in several anthologies and periodicals. As an artist, her work was recently chosen for exhibit at a State University gallery.

She lives in Georgia with her husband, Jerry, and their chocolate Aussiedor who is outnumbered by several cats. Beverly is Mom to three children and Mimi to two grandchildren.

Read her weekly blog One Ringing Bell, peals of words on faith, living, writing, and art at oneringingbell.blogspot.com.

CONNECT WITH BEVERLY: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Did a person or anything specific inspire A Plan for Everything?

Beverly: Connie Spencer showed up in the first book in this series, The Key to Everything. She was such an intriguing character, I wondered what her back story was. So I began to pursue that. My friend, Terry Kay, who wrote To Dance with the White Dog and The Valley of Light, both turned into Hallmark movies, says “We don’t write to tell a story. We write to discover a story.” The story I discovered in A Plan for Everything when I began digging into Connie Spencer’s past was she carried a deep hurt―one that fueled so much of how she lived her life. This hurt is what brings her to a moment of decision.


How long did it take you to write this novel?

Beverly: It took around six months for the first draft.

Do you have a favorite character in A Plan for Everything?

Beverly: Ah, that’s a hard one. To choose my favorite character would be like choosing between my children.

What do you hope readers take away from this novel?

Beverly: If readers struggle with trying to surrender their future to God, I pray they find hope in Connie’s journey.

Do you have a favorite quote from this novel?

Beverly: I like one by Tim Bouvier who is a funny character in the book but also one of wisdom, He says, “I lost my plan, but God gave me His.” The book challenges us to embrace the reality that God really can give us His plan when ours falls apart.

Can you share a book you are currently reading or have read recently?


Beverly: I am currently reading a midcentury autobiography by historical fiction writer Eugenia Price. I love reading biographies because they inspire ideas for characters.

What hobbies do you enjoy when you aren't writing?
 

Beverly: I am also an artist and enjoy painting in oil and watercolor. I’m a member of an arts foundation and through that have had amazing opportunities to participate in juried shows including several at a state university gallery. I have a small Etsy store where I sell notecards of some of my paintings.

Who is an author that you would recommend to anyone and everyone?


Beverly: Jan Karon. She has been a huge inspiration. At one point, we even exchanged letters and she encouraged me to write a book.


Thanks for sharing with us, Beverly!


TOUR GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive an A Plan for Everything inspired giveaway including a Jeremiah 29:11 planner, coffee mug, Starbucks coffee, and a $15 Amazon card!

A Plan for Everything JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 23, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on January 30, 2020. US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. 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!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Book Review & Giveaway: Above the Fold by Rachel Scott McDaniel












About the Book

Book:  Above the Fold
Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: December 3, 2019

Confined behind a secretarial desk at her father’s struggling newspaper, Elissa Tillman longs for her father and the world to take her seriously—not just as a suffragette, but also as a full-fledged journalist.

Cole Parker regrets the day he’d abandoned Pittsburgh to chase a high-profile journalism job in New York, but now he’s returned to the steel city to amend his mistakes and win back the woman he once spurned.

The murder of a millionaire offers the perfect chance for Elissa to nab the headline and prove her skills. But there’s a catch. To get her story above the fold, she must compete for it. Her rival is none other than Cole Parker, the very man who shattered her heart.

Click here to get your copy.

My Thoughts


In Above the Fold, Rachel Scott McDaniel offers readers a complex historical romance novel. At first, the setting and romantic tension between Elissa and Cole were the elements that captivated my interest. But as the story progressed, more layers added on to the story create an intricate blend of mystery, character development, and relational conflicts.

I especially enjoyed Elissa’s character growth in Above the Fold. This novel explores perfectionism versus resting in God’s love and acceptance. Elissa traveled a rough road as she learned that perfectionism is not a healing balm for wounds of the past, nor is success the measure of one’s value. The ending paragraph in which Elissa reflects on being defined by God’s love was absolutely beautiful. One of the loveliest endings I’ve read recently.

Above the Fold is Rachel Scott McDaniel’s debut novel and I’ll give it a solid four stars. I’ll be on the lookout to read more books by this upcoming author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this ebook. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the Author



Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. She currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two kids. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms.  


More from Rachel

What does the classic movie His Girl Friday, famous mystery writer Agatha Christie, and my husband’s grandfather all have in common? They were all used as inspiration for my debut novel Above the Fold.

His Girl Friday is one of my favorite stories. This movie captures the thrill of the newspaper world—that drive within the reporter’s heart to get the scoop, that hum of activity from the newsroom to the firing of the presses, and that inescapable pursuit to beat out the opposing paper. But what I loved most about this movie was the chemistry between the two main characters. They share a romantic history. In turn, there is major tension, but man oh man is there spark! So this triggered my creative mind. What would happen if I switched the roles and had the heroine be the one that gets jilted? What if I set this story in the 1920s when the profession of journalism was male-dominated? What if I add some more mystery? Cue Agatha Christie.

My husband and I love Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple series. Did you know that she wrote over 74 books? That’s staggering to me. My mind reels at how intricate and varied all her plots are. My husband and I would try to guess who the murderer was at the beginning of a story and more often than not, we were wrong! On one particular night we were watching a PBS version of Miss Marple and an idea struck me. What if I changed my story to go this route? What if I made this person the villain instead of that one? The idea that came to me had nothing to do with the story we’d been watching, but one thing that’d been said flickered a light in me. I love it when that happens! And I also love it when I can incorporate pieces of my personal life into the book. This brings me to the biggest inspiration of the story—my husband’s grandpa.

 Grandpa Jay Lewis had two loves in his life—his wife and the newspaper press. He’d started working for the local newspaper during his early teens and made his way up the ranks until he became the press foreman. Here’s a picture of Jay when he was in his early 20s. The hat shown was made of folded newsprint paper and worn to keep the ink from dripping on his head. But the expression in this picture says it all—the press was his happy place. He’d worked with the presses for over five decades, until he no longer had the strength. In 2004, he passed away, but his legacy lives on in the hearts of many. So in tribute to Jay and his great passion for the newspaper world, I included him in the cast of characters. I only hope I was able to capture his zeal. So there you have it. Inspiration came to me in a myriad of ways, but they all worked together to bring you a story that I pray delights your heart.

Blog Stops

April Hayman, Author , January 14
Robin’s Nest, January 14
Godly Book Reviews, January 15
Where Faith and Books Meet, January 15
Just the Write Escape, January 16
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections, January 16
Through the Fire Blogs, January 17
mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 17
Betti Mace, January 18
All-of-a-kind Mom, January 18
Texas Book-aholic, January 19
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 19
janicesbookreviews, January 20
Emily Yager, January 20
She Lives to Read, January 21
For the Love of Literature, January 21
Inklings and notions, January 22
Life of Literature, January 22
Daysong Reflections, January 23
For Him and My Family, January 23
Stories By Gina, January 24
Jacquelyn Lynn, January 24
Hallie Reads, January 25
Beauty in the Binding, January 25
Back Porch Reads, January 26
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 26
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 27
Batya’s Bits, January 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her giveaway, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of an Autographed Paperback copy of Above the Fold, A Custom Newspaper-Themed Book Cozy, An Above the Fold vintage-style bookmark!!

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

Above the Fold Giveaway

Friday, January 24, 2020

First Line Fridays: Lake Season by Denise Hunter

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 Lake Season by Denise Hunter:

"The house was eerily silent."

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your first line below.  😄

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


About the Book:


A lost letter, a new love, and old secrets beckon this summer at the Bluebell Inn.
When their parents die in a tragic accident, Molly Bennett and her siblings pull together to fulfill their parents’ dream: turning their historic Bluebell, North Carolina home back into an inn. The situation would just be temporary—three years at the most—then they would sell the inn and Molly could get back to chasing her own dreams.
Adam Bradford (a.k.a. bestselling author Nathaniel Quinn) is a reclusive novelist with a bad case of writer’s block. Desperate for inspiration as his deadline approaches, he travels to the setting of his next book, a North Carolina lake town. There he immediately meets his muse, a young innkeeper who fancies herself in love with his alter ego.
Molly and Adam strike up an instant friendship. When Molly finds a long-lost letter in the walls of her inn she embarks on a mission with Adam to find the star-crossed lovers and bring them the closure they deserve. But Adam has secrets of his own. Past and present collide as truths are revealed, and Molly and Adam will have to decide if love is worth trusting.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Book Review: A Girl's Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate

About the Book:

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand?

This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly. 

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church. 

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate. Between the vivid descriptions and the authentic Australian words, it felt like I was in Australia -- the absolutely charming setting for this enemies-to-friends novel!

A Girl’s Guide to the Outback entertained and held my attention throughout. This well-written novel satisfied my romance expectations while diving deep into the hearts of Sam and Kimberly as they worked through the hard issues holding them back in life. True-to-life, the characters struggle as they deal with their insecurities, fears, and unhealthy patterns. Their struggles felt authentic and I was rooting for both of them to overcome.

I recommend A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate to readers who enjoy inspirational contemporary romances. I would not consider it a romcom (romantic comedy), though it did make me laugh occasionally and has a super-cute cover. As a bonus, there are two love stories happening in this novel and I enjoyed them both.




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

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Breathing On Her Own by Rebecca Waters

Breathing on Her Own JustRead Blog Tour 
Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for Breathing on Her Own by Rebecca Waters, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Breathing On Her Own by Rebecca Waters Title: Breathing on Her Own
Author: Rebecca Waters
Publisher: Ambassador International
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: November 5, 2019

An icy road and a sharp turn leave one woman dead, another clinging to life.

Molly Tipton looks forward to a peaceful retirement, but her life suddenly spirals out of control when her oldest daughter is involved in a terrible accident.

While two families grieve, details emerge that shake Molly to her core. As she prepares her daughter for what lies ahead, Molly discovers her oldest child is not the only one injured and forced to deal with past mistakes.

If it’s true that time heals all wounds, what are we to do with our scars?

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

EXCERPT


Molly sat down and picked up a pair of Laney’s high-heeled shoes and hugged them to her chest. Her eyes burned with unshed tears. She chewed her lower lip. A picture of Laney clomping around in Molly’s high heels as a toddler came unbidden to her mind. The blue heels she and Laney had dyed to match her prom dress tugged at her memory. The white satin heels Laney chose for her wedding. 

Shoes tell the story of our lives.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Rebecca Waters

Rebecca Waters has been a writer most of her life. Her first published work was a story in the school newspaper she wrote in second grade. For many years Rebecca used her stories as illustrations in church settings and to entertain her own three daughters. Her professional writing included educational articles and research. Following her retirement as a professor of education from Cincinnati Christian University, Rebecca turned her pen to the world of fiction. She has also published several articles in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Lookout Magazine, and Home Health Aide Digest.

CONNECT WITH REBECCA: Website | Facebook | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive a $10 Dunkin' Donuts eGift Card and signed print copy of Breathing on Her Own (US only) OR a digital copy of the book and $10 gift card (outside the US).

Breathing on Her Own JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 21, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on January 28, 2020. Print copy US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. 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!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: A Promise to Keep by Melony Teague

A Promise to Keep JustRead Blog + Quote Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Quote Tour (and Giveaway!) for A Promise to Keep by Melony Teague, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


A Promise to Keep by Melony Teague
Title: A Promise to Keep 
Author: Melony Teague 
Publisher: Anaiah Press 
Release Date: January 21, 2020 
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

Research librarian Savannah Sanderson wants nothing more than to escape into her happily-ever-after novels with their larger-than-life fictional heroes. But a promise to her late husband has her attending her dreaded twenty-year high school reunion, drinking ghastly punch, and taking desperate measures just to keep her vow, even if she has to hide behind the décor to do it.

Once a reckless troublemaker, Michael McCann fled town after graduation. Now a professional technical rescuer, he’s back for the reunion, but on his trip down memory lane, he soon comes face to face with unresolved issues, namely Savannah.

Before the night is over, a pact between these two old friends will lead them on an adventure into uncharted emotional territory where Michael must confront his past regrets and find the courage to reveal the truth. But can Savannah fly from her sheltered nest and risk her heart on a real-life hero?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

EXCERPT


From Chapter 1


Michael McCann had promised himself he’d never set foot in Point, New York, again, let alone the high school. But May was typically a slow month for him and his team, so he’d made the trip. However, the dread churning in his stomach was worse than when he executed a complex rescue extraction. And not just because Claire had sweet-talked him into helping the setup committee secure all the balloons to the makeshift dropped ceiling in the gym. Once he finished with the decor, he planned to escape for a walk around town.

But now, while roaming the halls in search of the custodian and his ladder, he’d found Savannah outside his senior classroom. He hadn’t meant to startle her, but when he’d called her name, she’d jumped and twirled to face him. Her eyes were as wide as a mama deer caught in the jeep’s headlights. The familiar spike of adrenaline surged in his veins, and he waited for her to recognize him. She was more beautiful than ever.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Melony Teague

Melony Teague writes contemporary romance with a dash of humor, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words, and she believes everyone has a story to tell. Melony is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the co-author of As the Ink Flows, a devotional for authors. Her fiction debut, A Promise to Keep releases, Jan 21, 2020. Melony was born in South Africa and now lives in Toronto with her handsome husband, their two teenagers, and does the bidding of her two adorable cats.

CONNECT WITH MELONY:  Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive a prize package including Mocktails book, 4 pins: 2 x Embrace Life, 2x Be Original, 1 large pretty napkin (tropical flowers), 1 small cocktail napkins (with maple leaves on them), A Promise to Keep bookmarks and an Amazon gift card $10 value!

A Promise to Keep JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 20, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on January 27, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Open to US/CAN 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!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.