Saturday, June 25, 2022

Book Review & Giveaway: The Songs That Could Have Been by Amanda Wen

About the Book:

Two couples in love. Two sets of impossible circumstances. One powerful God of grace.

After a devastating tailspin in her late teens, Lauren Anderson’s life is finally back on track. Then a chance meeting with Carter Douglas, her first love and the man who broke her heart, threatens to throw her well-balanced world out of control.

Now a TV meteorologist, Carter is determined to make amends with Lauren. After all, she still owns his heart. But his old demons are forcing him toward the same decision he faced in the past. Is he courageous enough to make a different choice this time around?

When Lauren’s elderly grandmother, Rosie, begins having nightmares about a man named Ephraim--a name her family has never heard before—a fascinating and forbidden past love comes to light. As Lauren and Carter work to uncover the untold stories of Rosie’s past in 1950s Wichita, they embark on a journey of forgiveness and second chances that will change their lives—and Rosie’s—forever. Along the way they’ll learn that God wastes nothing, his timing is perfect, and nothing is beyond his grace and redemption.

Click here to read an excerpt.

My Thoughts:

From the beginning, The Songs That Could Have Been by Amanda Wen held my attention with smooth writing and a second chance romance between Lauren and Carter. I enjoyed the delicious chemistry of this dynamic couple while they addressed their past choices and wounds. As the plot unfolded and tackled difficult topics, a powerful message of healing and undying love emerged. The novel shined as it avoided formulaic answers and addressed the realities of addiction. Although the romantic tension dwindled a bit in the latter half, I loved how the story wrapped up for both Lauren and her grandmother.

The Songs That Could Have Been lands as the second installment in the Sedgwick County Chronicles by Amanda Wen. This novel reads fine as a standalone, but Roots of Wood and Stone (book one) is a fabulous read and two characters from that novel show up regularly in The Songs That Could Have Been. With the romance and emotional depth, it is easy to recommend this novel to fans of dual timeline romances, but I suggest reading the Sedgwick County Chronicles series in order.


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.


What Others Are Saying:


“A reading experience both heartfelt and heart-tugging, a timeless exploration of young and enduring love and the grace found in second chances. Amanda Wen is a rare and remarkable storyteller, and this is a novel I will not soon forget.” –Amanda Barratt, Christy Award-winning author of The White Rose Resists.

“A stunning journey of loss, love, and yearning. . . . Past and present are deftly woven together in this dual-timeline narrative that will leave readers flying through the pages.” – Amanda Cox, author of the 2021 Christy Award Book of the Year, The Edge of Belonging.


About the Author:

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has placed first in multiple writing contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions contests. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist. Her debut novel was a 2021 Christy Award First Novel finalist.

Wen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She also frequently interviews authors for her blog and is a contributor to the God Is Love blog. She is the author of Roots of Wood and Stone and The Songs That Could Have Been.

In addition to her writing, Wen is an accomplished professional cellist and pianist who frequently performs with orchestras, chamber groups, and her church’s worship team. She serves as a choral accompanist as well. A lifelong denizen of the flatlands, Wen lives in Kansas with her patient, loving, and hilarious husband, their three adorable Wenlets, and a snuggly Siamese cat.

To find Amanda Wen’s blog and short stories, visit www.amandawen.com. Readers can also follower her on Facebook (@AuthorAmandaWen), Twitter (@AuthorAmandaWen), and Instagram (@authoramandawen).


Tour Giveaway:



Win a copy of The Songs That Could Have Been by Amanda Wen.


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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Book Spotlight: To Kiss a Wallflower Novella Collection

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: To Kiss a Wallflower
Series: Timeless Regency Collection (Book 19)
Authors: Jen Geigle Johnson, Heather B. Moore, & Anneka R. Walker
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Inspirational Fiction
Publisher: Mirror Press (June 21, 2022)
Length: (305) pages
Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook
ISBN: 978-1952611261
Tour Dates: June 20 – July 1, 2022


BOOK DESCRIPTION

To Kiss a Wallflower is the nineteenth book in the Timeless Regency Collection, a bestselling anthology series from Mirror Press. The book features three novellas from acclaimed historical romance authors whose stories reveal that eventually, all wallflowers will have their chance at love . . . This is where it begins.




“The Wallflower’s Dance,” by Jen Geigle Johnson

Lottie Hughes likes people, as long as they aren't too close. Does it bother her that no one asks her to dance? Yes, but she's not sure how to drum up dance partners when she has almost no dowry, no title, and freezes up when anyone tries to talk to her. When she suddenly inherits a huge amount and is the new center of attention all over London, her secret dreams might come true but also her worst nightmares. Suddenly everyone wants to talk to her. Men ask her to dance. And she is inundated with interested suitors. She fights to stay close to the few friends she knows are true. One man saw her before her life changed forever. But does she want to accept his help when he, too, might be insincere?


“Letters to a Wallflower,” by Heather B. Moore

Ellen might be beautiful and considered a diamond of the first water by Society, but she is so very tired of the pressure to marry a titled gentleman so that her beauty won’t go to waste. When her cousin Dinah dares Ellen to attend a ball with no frills and to stand with the wallflowers, Ellen takes on the dare. What’s in the wager for her? The prize cuttings of her aunt’s extraordinary roses. But what Ellen isn’t expecting is Lord Ravenshire to engage her in the most interesting conversation. When she confesses to him of her opposition in marrying for a title, he confesses his distaste of the London scene. They strike a bargain together, one which will either push them apart or lead to a future sweeter than either of them could have imagined.


“To Marry a Wallflower,” by Anneka R. Walker

Charlotte Winters is destined to spinsterhood until she turns down an unwanted proposal and everything changes. With gossip rampant, her father attempts to salvage her reputation by betrothing her to another. Soon she is sent off to her aunt’s to meet Lord Templeton, her intended. Anxiety-ridden, Charlotte begs her aunt to let her observe Lord Templeton from afar before their introduction. She never planned to pretend to be her fictional cousin to learn more about him, or to fall in love with Lord Templeton’s friend in the process. Lord Templeton dreads returning to the empty halls of Newcliff Manor. When his father’s old friend, Mr. Winters reaches out for assistance, Lord Templeton finds himself returning home engaged to a woman he has never met. Desperate to learn more about Miss Winters, he befriends her cousin. He wouldn’t have spoken to her, or lied about his identity, if he’d known the quiet woman would sneak into his heart.


EXCERPT FROM THE WALLFLOWER'S DANCE 

CHAPTER ONE

Despite Lottie’s mother, who wished to know and be known by all and sundry, Lottie was still of the opinion that few people were required for happiness. Three things were needed: her closest friends, a good book, and lovely walks in the park.

And perhaps a husband.

Someday.

If he too preferred little company, books, and walks in the park.

She brought her brush, thick with paint, over the wood of a new table. She’d found a particular shade of lavender and knew it would go well in her sitting room. The lovely rich color covered the white beneath it completely.

Lottie smiled. Once this coat dried, she could add embellishments, flowers, a trailing vine of green, whatever she liked.

Her mother peeked her head in the door to her art room. “Lottie.” The higher-pitched energy that exuded from her mother any time of day only felt companionable when Lottie too was full of energy. Which was usually reserved for the late hours of a ball. Something about the middle of the night filled Lottie with adventure. By then, her mother was typically nodding off in a corner somewhere.

“I’m painting, Mother. Come see this shade of purple. It’s like nothing I’ve ever used before.”

To her credit, she stepped into the room and glanced at the painting. “Very nice. Now. If you could take a break, we need to be stunning, absolutely beautiful for a walk in the park.”

Lottie perked up at walk, but when the gleam in her mother’s eyes sharpened and Lottie paid attention to stunning and beautiful as requirements, she knew this was going to be less about walking and more about being seen. “Perhaps you and your friends could go without me this morning? I’m hoping to finish up this coat.” She knew her excuse sounded weak and her mother did too, judging by the dismissive wave of her fingers.

“Oh come, word has it that Prinny will make an appearance, which suddenly turns a casual walk in the park into a major event of the Season. This is your chance for more introductions, more doors opened to you. Who knows, you may even meet a duke!” The wide, hopeful eyes at the doorway were evidence that Lottie was not going to be able to avoid the park. She left her brush in water and stood, wiping fingers on her apron.

“Should I wear the violet?”

Mother was about to give Lottie’s maid very detailed instructions as to her appearance anyway, so she might as well ask her before choosing a dress herself.

“No, too dark and bold for a walk in the park. Wear a pastel. But a colorful bonnet. Don’t worry, I’ve instructed Dorothea in all the particulars.”

Dorothea, Lottie’s maid, very obviously worked for her mother. She could never be convinced to alter the prearranged instructions on Lottie’s presentation. But no matter. Lottie moved obediently to her bedroom and the preparations began, starting with an intricate hairstyle that would be hidden underneath her bonnet. But Lottie knew better than to discuss her opinion on the particulars. She watched Dorothea in the mirror. Perhaps they would be able to have some entertainment to enliven them both. Entertainment in the form of another maid, reading aloud their latest favorite novel. Lottie’s eyes met Dorothea’s. “Will Penny be able to slip away?”

“I believe so, miss.” Dorothea smiled. She enjoyed the books as much as Lottie, and if Lottie was to be sitting in this chair for hours, they may as well be entertained.

Lottie had discovered the rare occurrence of a servant who knew how to read. Even though she sometimes stumbled, she did less so now that she’d been tasked with the very important assignment of reading to Lottie while she prepared for the day. Penny slipped in through the servants’ entrance. “I’ve just come from the kitchen.” Her mischievous smile made Lottie laugh.

“Are they missing you?”

She waved a hand. “Not at all. Cook has an army of people in there, helping. I’ve finished all my other chores.”

“Excellent and, of course, I called for you. That should help.”

Both servants shared a look, which she took to mean that she had little clout in the servants’ eyes. Well, no matter. “Please start at the beginning.”

Penny nodded, her eyes gleaming with the same hopeful expectation Lottie herself felt. And then she began to read.

“The Family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex.”


ABOUT THE SERIES

Since 2015, Mirror Press has been presenting the Timeless Regency Collection, a curated anthology of novellas and short stories featuring bestselling authors from the contemporary and historical romance genres. The collection has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Amazon.com. Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website.  


ADVANCE PRAISE

·         “5 STARS - I loved the unique twists that each author used in their stories and how they tied them into the theme.”— Julie Carpenter, Goodreads

·         “What a great set of stories! If you have read any of these three authors you know you are in for a treat. If you aren’t familiar with them, prepare to add their names to your list of favorites.”— Shauna Jones, Goodreads

·         “I thoroughly enjoyed all three of these novellas. They were lighthearted, fun, and took me away from my worries for a while.”— A Bookish Romantic, Goodreads


PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS


AUTHOR BIOS

 Jen Geigle Johnson

An award-winning author, including the GOLD in Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards and LDSPMA Praiseworthy's top award for Romance, Jen Geigle Johnson has more stories circulating in her brain than can possibly be told. She discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager. History is her main jam. Her literary heroes include the greats: Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. But she has modern sensibilities as well.

She loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure.

WEBSITE |  TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

 

Heather B. Moore

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestseller and award-winning author of more than seventy publications. She's lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States, including Hawaii, and attended school abroad including the Cairo American College in Egypt, and the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel. She loves to learn about anything in history and, as an author, is passionate about historical research.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

 


Anneka R. Walker

Anneka Walker is an award-winning author raised by a librarian and an English teacher turned judge. After being fed a steady diet of books, she decided to learn about writing. The result was a bachelor's degree in English and history. When she isn't dreaming up a happy ending for a story, she is busy living her own with her husband and adorable children.

WEBSITE | PINTEREST | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Monday, June 20, 2022

Blog Blitz & Giveaway: Impending Strike by Sami A. Abrams and Lynette Eason

Impending Strike JustRead Blog Blitz 

Welcome to the Blog Blitz for Impending Strike by Sami A. Abrams and Lynette Eason, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Impending Strike

Title: Impending Strike 
Series: Elite Guardians Collection #2
Author: Sami A. Abrams and Lynette Eason
Publisher: Sunrise Publishing
Release Date: June 28, 2022
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Protecting him just might cost her everything… 

Elite Guardian Charlie Lee knows that there is no future with the woman he loves—fellow Guardian Lizzie Tremaine. And, he gets it—as a single mom, Lizzie has to protect her daughter. But more than anything, he wants the chance to prove himself. 

Then, the unthinkable happens—while working undercover, Charlie is seriously injured…and his memory of the past four years is lost. Could it be the fresh start that he didn’t realize he longed for? 

Despite a friendship that’s turned flirtatious at times, Lizzie Tremaine has held Charlie at arms’ length. She’s lost all the men she’s ever loved, and is unwilling to risk her heart again. Still, she’s glad to keep an eye on him—as his bodyguard—and while she’s at it, help him put the pieces of his past together, including discovering who attacked him, and why. 

But Charlie seems to have forgotten their agreed-upon professional distance—and suddenly, all the rules are off the table. She’s seeing a side of Charlie she could possibly let into her heart. Problem is, the closer he gets to uncovering his memories, the closer he gets to trouble. 

It’s her heart…or his life. What will protecting Charlie cost her? 

Another edge-of-your-seat Elite Guardians thriller!

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | ChristianbookBookBub


MORE BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

Driving Force Defending Honor


EXCERPT FROM IMPENDING STRIKE


Each planned drug buy raked on Charlie’s nerves. The lifestyle wore on him. After a year of setting up his presence in the drug scene and five weeks of full work undercover, he wondered how much more he had in him to continue.

He shoved his hands in his pockets and fiddled with his burner phone. His touchstone. His lifeline to the safe world. No names, only speed dial numbers of his Elite Guardians Agency teammates and Quinn. The women had insisted that he include their numbers. He’d resisted, not wanting to put the members of the agency in danger. But they’d reminded him that’s what a team did. They had each other’s backs. He was honored to be included among the top bodyguards in the nation, even if he was the only male. Not that he had a problem with that. He trusted them more than he trusted the police officers he’d served with on the Atlanta PD. And that said something.

Knowing that God was watching over him and that the team was a phone call away allowed him to maintain his calm demeanor and play the part of the cocky, confident dealer of his alter ego, Rod. He left the phone in his pocket and strolled down the sidewalk like he owned the neighborhood.

“I can do the hit.” A gruff voice drifted on the night air.

Charlie froze and scanned the area, searching for the source of the words.

“Not so fast,” a second man argued. “You can’t mess this up. We have one shot at killing her, and if we miss, they’ll close ranks.”

The hair on the back of Charlie’s neck rose. He ducked behind a row of trash cans next to an apartment building, grimacing at the strong garbage odor, a mixture between fish and rotten eggs. Forcing himself to focus, he strained to hear the conversation, but the men moved out of earshot.

Charlie slipped from his hiding spot and clung to the shadows on the edge of the street, following his targets. His ratty shirt and stained jeans, not to mention his unkempt hair, gave him the ability to blend into the neighborhood, but a hinky feeling of being watched crept in and stayed.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS


Sami A Abrams 

Sami A. Abrams grew up hating to read. It wasn't until her 30s that she found authors who captured her attention. Now, most evenings you can find her engrossed in a romantic suspense novel. In her opinion, a crime plus a little romance is the recipe for a great story. Sami lives in Northern California, but she will always be a Kansas girl at heart. She has a love of sports, family, and travel. However, a cabin at Lake Tahoe writing her next story is definitely at the top of her list. Visit her at http://www.samiaabrams.com.

CONNECT WITH SAMI: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

Lynette Eason

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Life Flight and the Danger Never Sleeps, Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master's degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com

CONNECT WITH LYNETTE: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a signed copy of Impending Strike and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Impending Strike JustRead Giveaway 

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight June 20, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on June 27, 2022. 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.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Author Interview & Giveaway: Wonders in the Deep by Chuck Carr



About the Book


 
Book: Wonders in the Deep

Author: Chuck Carr

Genre: Christian Fiction, Inspirational

Release date: April 29, 2021

Love. Loss. Hope. Heroism. Is there safe passage through the torrents and storms of life?

Wonders In the Deep is a dramatic illustration, an emotionally charged depiction of the elements that keep us human, fuel our spirit, and give us the courage to continue.

The life of eighteen-year-old Brandon Lawrence is one riddled with questions. Pained sore inside, he seeks answers that have been swallowed deeply by his own grandfather, whom he lovingly calls Pap. How did his parents and grandmother die? Why does his grandfather resent Natalie, Brandon’s best friend since childhood? Why is he forbidden to step foot on a boat, to ride the waves of the sea? Will he ever find answers?

Pap’s journals. Could they hold the secrets?

Set in the rocky and rugged coastline of Maine, the story uncovers Brandon’s world in the summer of 1998. The 1930s and 40s of his grandfather’s world are now over, along with the flat plains of a corn-belted Illinois town he had decided to leave as a young man. What had happened to cause a man to run from a life he couldn’t handle? What had turned Pap into a man withdrawn from life? A man holding tight to the secrets of his life.

Sitting alone on the same weathered dock Brandon had come to with Pap every Thursday growing up, he tries to piece together the puzzle of an unspoken life. Face to face with the only solution he knows, he must choose between honor and answers; an act of thievery plagues him hard, haunting and jolting his conscience. If his grandfather is too brokenhearted to speak of such things, could Brandon steal the answers he needs from the journals?

Wonders In the Deep is a soothing balm, medicine to a hurting and wounded soul. Faced with the harsh realities of grief and loss, two men embark on a great journey to find healing in the deep and uncertain oceans of life. As you journey with Brandon and Pap, you may identify with their struggles.

Is there true triumph over adversity? How far will one go for answers? How far will you go?

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author



Inspired by life events, Chuck Carr takes lessons learned over his years and forms them into words and phrases meant to lift others from the same hardships he has faced himself. He wraps and weaves the essence of what life is all about into this, his fourth book, a novel. Filled with his own energy, blood, and tears, Chuck combines this powerfully lifting message with one of his greatest passions in life¾his passion for the sea. As a former youth pastor, Chuck Carr has influenced hundreds of people throughout his life. He desires to help others live effectively despite hardships, as his testimony proves that sufferings can be changed into blessings. Losing a spouse in 2008, he strives to help those hurting from the same pain. A life altering accident in 2018 left him with a traumatic brain injury, and his vision and life goals have been refocused to help others heal from devastating traumas. He is a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, publishing The Convergence, Navigating Grief, and All That the Locusts Have Eaten, which carry the message that one can live the abundant life God desires for us regardless of hardships and shortcomings we face. His audience at www.Chuck-Carr.com has been blessed by inspirations about topics such as Christian faith, overcoming loss and grief, and achieving purpose in life. Now remarried to a woman of shared life goals, Faerie, he has chosen to live with purpose despite his injuries, being an inspiration to others, residing in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.


Author Interview with Chuck


Q: What was the inspiration behind this novel?

Chuck: My inspiration for Wonders In the Deep is twofold. First of all, I’m a travel nut. I love to see the world, and I figure there is no better way to do it than by sailboat (author smiles from ear to ear). I suppose people might wonder . . . Do you really know how to sail? Yes! I love to sail. It is a passion I hold inside, and as far as I’m concerned, the coastline of Maine is one of the most spectacular places to sail that the whole world has to offer! There is a charm and beauty to it unlike any other, as one could get lost in the breathtaking scenery, the history, the allure of maritime legends, and of course, the seafood. I started this book on the heels of one particular trip that I took with two sons, when we hauled our kayaks to Maine and island hopped enjoying the pristine and undisturbed nature that surrounded us in every direction.

Secondly, I lost a spouse in 2008. She was my college sweetheart, were married eight years, and she died in her late twenties. It was really hard on me. Losing someone close like that changes the course of the rest of your life. Years later, I finally felt like it was time to write something that could take what I learned from my journey through grief and loss and pass it on to someone else who needed it. That’s what life is all about, right? Helping someone else? I figure story is the best way to send a much-needed message, especially if it is a hard one, and the message of Wonders In the Deep could help a ton of people if I could get it on paper. The drive to reach out and help someone else inspired me to write.


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

Chuck: This book builds while you read it. Some books are action thrillers. This one is layered, with deep insights, one upon another. It builds into a crescendo that takes the reader to a place of discovery. It did for me. And as I went on that journey writing it, hitting that point of deep reflection sparked me internally, even as the author of the book. That’s how my books are, I guess. They are very meaningful. I write with a clear and defined purpose with each one. And when I rode that sailboat with Alan, and I breathed the same sea breeze with him, his discovery was important to me, too. I suppose I learned a lot by putting thoughts on paper with this one.


Q: Do any of the novel’s characters hold a special place in your heart?

Chuck: Of course, they all do! If you don’t want to end up in a book, don’t hang around any authors! All joking aside, when I write my novels, I have the tendency to strongly attach myself to the characters I’m writing about. I study them. I think about them long and hard. I try to figure out how they would act and react, talk, and think. After we hang out a while, meet each other, shake one another’s hands, and tell stories, we become such close friends that it’s tough to disassociate with them. Their voices sooner or later pop up in my head during ordinary life outside writing. Their thoughts and actions sound a lot like my own. Their characteristics take on a mirror image of some of the best and worst of some of my favorite people in life. Without spoiling anything, I’ll share a few of my favorites. For this story, I love the spunk and quirkiness of Natalie Rose. It is attractive to me. I also find it admirable that Alan is so strongly determined, that Brandon is a man of integrity, and that Bonnie’s life impact is so great.


Q: Do you have a favorite quote from this novel?

Chuck: (Excerpt taken from Wonders In the Deep)

“Go on, take it. It’s not going to bite. Take it. Please. Go on, before I change my mind.”

Bonnie smiled that spry smile that only belonged to her. Al knew she was capable of pulling his leg every second for the rest of their life.

“Go on, Al. The sock is clean.” She took his hand, turned his palm up, and planted the old green sock into it, like a kernel of Illinois seed corn, folding the soil of his fingers overtop.

This is my favorite passage of the book. Specifically, the excerpt’s last sentence. I suppose that it brings back my farming roots living in a farming community. Perhaps it is the cry of my heart, as I intentionally put this scene into the book to illustrate how beautiful it is when lovers wait until marriage to give each other their wedding gift. Whatever the reason, like a kernel of Illinois seed corn, folding the soil of his fingers overtop is my favorite line of the entire book, hands down.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from this novel?

Chuck: I wrote this book with a clear purpose, out of a deep and personal conflict that I wrestled with internally for many years. When I lost my spouse in 2008, we were young, and she died in her twenties. In my recovery from losing her, one of the greatest struggles that weighed on my shoulders was the great question of "should I love again?" Being young, so many expected it of me. Some others actually expected the opposite. It was a lot of pressure on me as a man. I felt tossed in the ocean of a no-win situation, one that beat me up and churned me about. Should I love again? Would it be honorable? Would it be respectful? Would it be healthy for me?

Looking back, I want to help those who are in a similar boat. There really is no right or wrong answer. What works for one person is not the right answer for another. I wanted people to see that in that position, they should be free to choose and choose well. Without spoiling the novel, Alan and Brandon chose different paths yet each was the perfect path to take.


More from Chuck

There was never a time in my life so confusing, so emotionally raw and puzzling as when my first spouse passed away in her twenties in 2008.  She had to say goodbye to our two boys ages 5 and 3.  The event changed everything about me in one way or another.  The things I was forced to face since that day are things that unfortunately so many other people are also forced to face as well.  It isn’t fun.  Thus, the birth of my desire to help those who know what I’m talking about.

Initially, I was attacked with the obvious, the daunting question of “why.”  It never fails.  We all ask it.  Sooner or later, that single question begs our attention, and how we answer it will determine our outlook on everything else in life.  It is an unavoidable roadblock that cannot be dodged or taken lightly.  If not properly handled, that monster will bite you from behind and consume you¾it is a foe one cannot play around with.  But not all things are black and white.  Another thing I learned out real fast, was that some things don’t have a right or wrong answer in life.  Yes, I avoided it like the plague.  Almost a certainty, those who meant no harm would bring it up and shove it in my face unknowingly.  It came with incredible pressure, the prod or question no survivor ever wants to look at.  “You’ll find love again.”  Maybe.  But should I love again?  The prompt comes in various forms, yet none look pleasant to the one who has tasted loss.

These two insurmountable difficulties are what prompted me to write the novel Wonders In The Deep: A Tale of Healing.  I wanted others to learn that the “why” is a tremendous opportunity for us if we allow ourselves to go on the journey God promises to walk beside with us.  Only there¾in this incredibly intimate and personal space¾can we understand the richness of a God whose heart is broken right along with ours.  I also wanted to show readers that some may choose to honor those they have survived¾and that is ok.  Some, choose to love again.  It is a deeply personal choice that is extremely hard to navigate.  This book illustrates it well, a way to sort out feelings one might not be able to do alone.

Wonders In The Deep.  A place where one can cross the great divide of heartache to healing.  A journey of a lifetime.  One I hope you will cross with me.


Blog Stops


Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 3

Through the Fire Blogs, June 4 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 4

Texas Book-aholic, June 5

Inklings and notions, June 6

For Him and My Family, June 7

deb’s Book Review, June 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 9

Bizwings Blog, June 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 13

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, June 14 (Author Interview)

Rebecca Tews, June 14

Blogging With Carol, June 15

Beauty in the Binding, June 16 (Author Interview)


Giveaway


To celebrate his tour, Chuck is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card & signed copy of the book!!

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

Link for giveaway: https://promosimple.com/ps/1e7e2/wonders-in-the-deep-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Book Review: To Tame a Cowboy by Jody Hedlund

About the Book: 

They share a passion to heal what is broken, but it's their own hearts that need to be made whole.


Brody McQuaid is a broken man, and he knows it. While his body survived the war, his soul did not. Besides loving his little niece, his only sense of purpose comes from saving the wild horses that roam South Park. Ranchers in the area have taken to killing the horses, which are competing with their cattle to feed on the open grass.

Savannah Marshall is a veterinarian on her family's Colorado ranch. She longs to keep her father happy following the tragic death of her older brother, including marrying a man of his choosing. But days before her wedding, she gets cold feet and disappears to South Park. As she learns more about the destruction of the horses, she joins Brody in an attempt to save the wild creatures. But when Savannah's family and the resentments of the area cattlemen catch up with them both, Brody and Savannah will have to tame their fears if they've any hope to let love run free.

Read an excerpt from To Tame a Cowboy by Jody Hedlund on the publisher's website.


My Thoughts:

To Tame a Cowboy by Jody Hedlund lands as the third novel in the Colorado Cowboys series but reads well as a standalone story. To me, this book is the best one so far in the series. The plot clips along without meandering which kept me interested and turning the pages. The romance between Savannah and Brody contributed tension and some delicious romantic moments without the crazy-in-lust mindset present in the prior novel of this series.

Beyond the romance in To Tame a Cowboy, Brody and Savannah are highly likeable characters in need of personal healing. Savannah has boundary work to do while Brody suffers from war-related PTSD and uncontrolled anger. Savannah’s sweet spirit and gentle way with animals lands her a veterinarian job, but she brings an outside-of-the-family perspective that Brody desperately needs. The dynamic between Brody and Savannah included romance, but also a mutually beneficial relationship that pushed them both toward mental health, even when they didn’t realize or expect it.

Looking back at the quotes I marked in To Tame a Cowboy by Jody Hedlund, I found several that demonstrated how caring for animals inspired wisdom. I’ll finish this review with a quote here: “She’d learned over the years that wounded creatures often required more time and patience before being willing to trust. And she sensed Brody needed an extra dose of time and patience.” (Page 35) Readers who enjoy inspirational historical romance will find a story of fresh starts, healing, and new love in To Tame a Cowboy by Jody Hedlund.


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.


Thursday, June 9, 2022

Author Interview & Giveaway: Not Since You by Dulcie Dameron

Not Since You JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Not Since You by Dulcie Dameron, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Not Since You

Title: Not Since You
Series: Secrets of River Hollow #1
Author: Dulcie Dameron
Publisher: Independently Published
Release Date: May 31, 2022
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Sins and secrets are hard to keep hidden in a small town… 

When Claudia Clark was involved in a tragic accident in high school, it set her on a devastating path toward heartbreak. For the past eight years, she’s carefully guarded her heart. With her business now thriving, she doesn’t have time for any unwanted distractions. She’s learned from her mistakes. But when the biggest one of all comes face to face with her again, she starts to question the belief she’s desperately clung to for so long. 

Dorian Vance can’t get over his past—or the girl that it’s wrapped up in. So when a family emergency brings him back to the small town of River Hollow, he decides it's time to accept the truth and confront the girl he left behind. Unfortunately for him, she’s dead set on making him pay for his sins. 

As sparks start flying and well-meaning townsfolk meddle in their affairs, Dorian and Claudia are forced to resurrect old ghosts that lay buried in a mire of guilt and shame. But as they find themselves in the center of a vengeful scheme, the hope and forgiveness they seek seem impossible to obtain.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dulcie Dameron 

Dulcie Dameron is a Christian wife and mother enjoying life in the Midwest with her family and dogs. She loves writing and is a member of the ACFW. Most days you'll find her walking barefoot through her garden, digging in the dirt or snuggled up with a good book- most likely romance!

CONNECT WITH DULCIE: Website | Facebook | Instagram

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Q: What was the inspiration behind Not Since You?

Dulcie: Honestly, SO many things! This book felt like all of my favorite things rolled into one! Romance, faith, a misunderstood “bad boy”, strong family ties, a charming small town, and a fun festival to finish it off.

Q: How long did it take you to write this story?

Dulcie: I wrote the very rough draft of Not Since You in one month. Of course, editing and re-writes took me much longer.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote from this book?

Dulcie: I have many favorites, honestly. It’s too hard to choose just one! But one of my favorite moments was when Prue finds Claudia after she sees Dorian at her shop. It’s where you really get a glimpse into the funny workings of Prue’s mind.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from Not Since You?

Dulcie: I think the biggest thing I’d like for readers to take away from this book is that God doesn’t want you to live with the guilt and shame of your past. We’ve all messed up and done things wrong. But we also serve a God who specializes in second chances. For me, that’s what this book was about. It wasn’t just a second chance for Dorian and Claudia’s love, it was another chance for them both to be redeemed back to a fulfilling Christian life.

Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers would not know?

Dulcie: Hmm. Most readers probably wouldn’t know that I LOVE being outdoors. If I could be outside all day long, I probably would be. But then, I wouldn’t get much writing done that way. 😊

Q: What are you reading now?

Dulcie: Right now, I’m reading a Christian Suspense story by Tawni Suchy. It’s called Secrets, Lies, and Deadly Ties and you can find it in Kindle Vella.

Q: How many bookcases are in your home?

Dulcie: This is a trick question because we JUST recently moved! In our old home, we had shelves along the wall that my husband built in his study. Now, I only have one, lowly bookcase and boxes FULL of books just waiting for their forever home.

Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Dulcie: I love to spend time with my family and friends. My husband and I are active in ministry, too, so we enjoy spending lots of time serving in our local church.

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Not Since You and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Not Since You JustRead Giveaway 

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight June 7, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on June 14, 2022. 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.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

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