Waltz in the Wilderness (2020) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

About the Book

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Book: Waltz in the Wilderness

Author: Kathleen Denly

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: February 4, 2020

She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help.

Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.

Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancé is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.

When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Kathleen-Denly-Headshot-3-286x300Kathleen Denly lives in sunny Southern California with her loving husband, four young children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

More From Kathleen

As Valentine’s Day nears, stories of how couples met seem to be everywhere. Many of those stories share a common element: “The second I saw him/her, I just knew I would marry him/her.”

Every time I read or hear these stories, I chuckle. Not because I don’t believe them but because it reminds me of my own meet-cute.

“Not my type.”

These were the first words to enter my mind when I met the man who would later become my husband. In hindsight, they are hilarious because I know that God worked things out for our good. After more than eighteen years of marriage, I can honestly say that I am more in love with my husband than ever.

However, just a few months prior to meeting my husband, I’d suffered a terrible breakup with another man whom I thought had been considering proposing to me. I had no idea the breakup was coming and that left me devastated and confused. The truths we learn in hindsight don’t help much when we’re in the midst of such circumstances. When we think we know the future before us and something happens to upend those plans it can feel as though our world has turned upside down.

This is what happens to Eliza Brooks in the first chapter of my novel, Waltz in the Wilderness. Though not romantic in nature, a major shift occurs in her world that leaves her feeling betrayed and disoriented. She’s still struggling to right her world when Daniel Clarke enters her life in the worst way possible. Misunderstanding leads to a humiliating confrontation that sets these two at odds with one another before they have a chance to truly get to know each other. Fortunately for Eliza and Daniel, God works their foolishness for good just as He did in my own true love story.

This Valentine’s Day, whatever your romantic relationship status, remember that you are not alone. You are loved. And the God of all the universe loves you and has a plan for you—plans to prosper you and bring you hope.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

My Thoughts

I have been a fan of Kathleen Denly’s BLOG for almost three years now, so when I heard she was releasing a novel I knew I had to read it immediately. Boy, am I glad I jumped at the chance to read Waltz in the Wilderness. It is fantastic. I was captivated from the very beginning and the pages kept turning at lightning speed. I am a native So Cal girl; been here my entire life. I have traveled to San Diego many a time, so getting to learn some history about the early days was fascinating and fun. I very much enjoyed Eliza and Daniel’s characters. I found them to be perfectly crafted and they come off very relatable and genuine. And, I found the themes of Waltz in the Wilderness thoughtful and plentiful. In my humble opinion, this beautiful novel would make an excellent choice for any book club. All in all, I loved this adventurous, wild romance and feel it is a 2020 must-read for sure!

Eliza’s character arc is superb. At first, I didn’t like Eliza’s character at all. She is petulant, self-righteous, and volatile. It was hard for me to root for her, and I often found myself feeling frustrated by her as Daniel, the hero, does. But as the narrative progresses, her volatility calms down and I found that Eliza grew on me. Her walls come down a bit and I began to understand her actions a little better, which led me wanting to root for her. By the end of the novel, if Eliza were a real human, I would have wanted to be her friend. What I gleaned from this excellently crafted character arc is to never judge based on first appearances alone. I judged Eliza and found her wanting, but I didn’t know anything about her. How many times have I done that in real life to real people? How many potential friends have I lost because of my initial, knee-jerk judgments?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:1-2 not to judge others because by the measure we judge others we will be judged. Instead, He shows us that we need to illustrate grace, mercy, and kindness towards others. Shamefully, I often forget this, especially in our crazy day and age. I’m grateful for Ms. Denly’s reminder that I need to be less judgemental and more patient and understanding. I was ready to completely write Eliza off at the beginning of this story and wasn’t willing to give her much of a chance. What does that say about my heart?! 😫 Thank you, Ms. Denly, for holding this mirror up for me and allowing me the opportunity to see where I need to make corrections. I can definitely say God has used Waltz in the Wilderness to convict my heart.

There is just so much to love about Waltz in the Wilderness that one review just cannot do this book justice. I highly recommend reading this wonderful novel. I truly believe you will love it as much as I do!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a NEW Kindle Fire HD8, Proverbs 3:5 Paperback Lined Journal, Romans 8:28 Leather Bookmark, Proverbs 3:5 mug, and an Antique Silverplated Spoon made by 1847 Rogers Bros!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f5b6/waltz-in-the-wilderness-celebration-tour-giveaway


BLOG STOPS

A Baker’s Perspective, February 5

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 5

Pause for Tales, February 5

Texas Book-aholic, February 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 6

Older & Smarter?, February 7

deb’s Book Review, February 7

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 8

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 9

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 9

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, February 9

Betti Mace, February 10

Through the Fire Blogs, February 10

Inklings and notions, February 11

Robin’s Nest, February 11

Remembrancy, February 12

For Him and My Family, February 12

My Devotional Thoughts, February 12

Maureen’s Musings, February 13

For the Love of Literature, February 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 15

Blossoms and Blessings, February 15

Bigreadersite, February 15

Emily Yager, February 16

Blogging With Carol, February 16

Mia Reads, February 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impression, February 17

Janicesbookreviews, February 17

SPLASHES of Joy, February 18

Hallie Reads, February 18

Connie’s History Classroom, February 18

Lone Star Ranger (2020) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

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About the Book

Lone-Star-Ranger-Final-200x300Book: Lone Star Ranger

Author: Renae Brumbaugh Green

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: January 21, 2020

Elizabeth Covington will get her man.

And she has just a week to prove her brother isn’t the murderer Texas Ranger Rett Smith accuses him of being. She’ll show the good-looking lawman he’s wrong, even if it means setting out on a risky race across Texas to catch the real killer.

Rett doesn’t want to convict an innocent man. But he can’t let the Boston beauty sway his senses to set a guilty man free. When Elizabeth follows him on a dangerous trek, the Ranger vows to keep her safe. But who will protect him from the woman whose conviction and courage leave him doubting everything—even his heart?

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

renae-green-199x300Renae Brumbaugh Green is a city-girl-turned-country-diva. She’s married to a handsome country boy named Rick, and she’s mom to four nearly-perfect, nearly-grown children, two rowdy dogs, and some ducks. They live in rural Texas where Renae wears overalls, western boots, and bubblegum pink nail polish. She’s a bestselling author of over 30 books, an award-winning humor columnist, and an online English teacher. In her free time, she can be found leaping tall buildings and rescuing kittens from trees. Or, she’d like to do those things, if she had free time.

More from Renae

I’ve been a fan of historical romance from the moment I graduated from The Babysitter’s Club. A friend of mine introduced me to the Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke, and I was hooked. In college, between exams and extracurricular stuff, I read those books like they were M&Ms. That’s why, when I started writing grown-up fiction, I knew historical was my genre.

But there’s another reason—perhaps a more compelling reason—why I had to write The Texas Rangers series. See, my granddaddy was a Texas Ranger. Not the baseball player kind. The gun-toting, cowboy-hat-and-badge-wearing kind. As far as I know, he was not a master of any kind of martial arts, so if you’re a fan of Walker, Texas Ranger, I’m sorry to disappoint.

And he was not alive during the late 1800s, as the characters are in this series. Grandaddy died in 1980 when I was 12 years old. He was a good man, known for rescuing puppies and bringing small gifts and toys to children in stressful situations—i.e. when their parents were arrested. My favorite memory of him is sitting on his lap, falling asleep to the sound of his big, round pocket watch ticking. I have a picture of myself, age three, sitting on his knee while he typed up his reports. I love that typewriter picture and find it significant since I’m now a writer.

Grandaddy was Robert Everett Smith, and Grandmother (yes, I called her that—she was very formal, but also very sweet) was Ellie Marie (Edgar) Smith. The two lead characters in Lone Star Ranger are named Rett (Everett) and Elizabeth, in their honor.

Like Grandmother, Elizabeth is refined and formal, yet strong-headed, with her own lady-like brand of spunk. She hails from Boston and is a little overwhelmed at the grit and gravel of Texas lawmen. But she’s not intimidated—not even by handsome Texas Ranger Rett Smith.

Thanks so much for sharing in my cherished family memories. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!

—Renae Brumbaugh Green

My Thoughts

When I first saw the sweet cover and read the synopsis for Lone Star Ranger I knew I wanted to read this novel ASAP. Boy, am I glad I did. This novel is fun! I found the plot to be stellar — fast-paced and highly engaging. I was turning pages so quickly I would have gotten papercuts if I had read a paperback copy. The characters are darling and quite endearing. And I love the example both Rett and Elizabeth illustrate in regards to a unique and strong prayer relationship with God. All in all, Lone Star Ranger by Renae Brumbaugh Green is a homerun read that I highly recommend. If you are a fan of sweet, clean Westerns then this book is definitely for you!

Lone Star Ranger contains a lot of action right from the get-go. There’s mistaken identity, a murderer on the loose, and a cross-state chase. And, there is a fun romance borne out of misunderstanding, frustration, and hijinks. There is a lot in this little story that would make anyone feel off-kilter and as if the world is nothing but chaos. What I enjoyed the most about this sweet story is that Rett and Elizabeth don’t lose hope when things get crazy, instead, they go to God. Both characters have a unique relationship with God that feels genuine and realistic. I love how both talk to God as if He were their closest Friend and Confidant. I found their honest, heartfelt prayers to be my favorite moments in this story. Rett and Elizabeth are great examples of how to be in relationship with God; and, while there is a ton of engaging action throughout this story, this illustration of relationship with God is what I loved the most.

Lone Star Ranger by Renae Brumbaugh Green is a super fun read that I enjoyed greatly. I highly recommend this story, and very much look forward to future novels in this series.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

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To celebrate her tour, Renae is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f4a3/lone-star-ranger-celebration-tour-giveaway


BLOG STOPS

Among the Reads, January 21

Pause for Tales, January 21

Reading Is My SuperPower, January 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 22

Inklings and notions, January 23

For Him and My Family, January 24

deb’s Book Review, January 24

Texas Book-aholic, January 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 26

Becka Jimenez, January 26

For the Love of Literature, January 27

Connie’s History Classroom, January 28

Through the Fire Blogs, January 29

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 29

Betti Mace, January 30

Wishful Endings, January 30

Maureen’s Musings, January 31

Older & Smarter?, January 31

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 1

Spoken from the Heart, February 1

Blossoms and Blessings, February 2

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 3

Hallie Reads, February 3

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor (2020) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: Read an Excerpt + My Thoughts

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About the Book

Thief of Lanwyn ManorBook: The Thief of Lanwyn Manor

Series: Cornwall #2

Author: Sarah E. Ladd

Genre: Regency Romance

Release Date: January 7, 2020

In this sweet Regency romance, Julia knows Matthew Blake, copper mine owner and very eligible bachelor, is the gentleman she should set her eyes upon. But why can’t she steal her gaze away from his younger brother, Isaac?

Cornwall, England 1818—Julia Twethewey needs a diversion to mend her broken heart, so when her cousin invites her to Lanwyn Manor, Julia eagerly accepts. Lanwyn Manor is at the heart of Cornwall’s mining industry, and as a guest, Julia is swept into its intricate world. It’s not long, though, before she realizes something dark lurks in the home’s ancient halls.

As a respected mine owner’s younger son, Isaac Blake is determined to keep his late father’s legacy alive through the family business, despite his brother’s careless attitude. In order to save their livelihood—and the livelihood of those around them—the brothers approach the master of Lanwyn Manor with plans to bolster the floundering local industry. Isaac can’t deny his attraction to the man’s charming niece, but his brother has made his intentions to court the lovely guest clear. And Isaac knows his place.

When tragedy strikes, mysteries arise, and items go missing, Julia and Isaac find they are pulled together in a swirl of strange circumstances, but despite their own best efforts to bow to social expectations, their hearts aren’t so keen to surrender.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

sarahladdSarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing family and spunky golden retriever.

Website  ℘  Facebook  ℘  Twitter

Read an Excerpt

Click HERE to read an excerpt from The Thief of Lanwyn Manor.

My Thoughts

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor may be Sarah Ladd’s best novel yet. This story has it all — mystery, intrigue, suspense, and romance. This is the kind of story I hated to have to put down. The plot is super engaging. The characters are extremely well written. The writing is stellar; I felt like I was inside the story actively watching everything play out. The Thief of Lanwyn Manor is a story I won’t soon forget.

wp-1579229570635.jpgIsaac Blake is my favorite. He is a dreamboat of a hero — he’s manly and protective, he is handsome and compassionate, and he is honorable and intelligent. He always wants to make the right choice because he never wants to let anyone down or cause anyone unnecessary pain. Unfortunately for Isaac, his sense of never letting anyone down is so strong he sometimes becomes inactive and doesn’t make any decision at all. He gets so caught up in what could potentially go wrong that he becomes stagnant. A pastor I love to listen to — Alistair Begg — once said, “Tomorrow is the devil’s favorite word.” The idea here is that sometimes we put off today what we should do because we allow our fears to get the better of us. When this happens, we’re putting off God’s work. Isaac, because of his fear of failing others, has become very good at saying, “not today.” If God sets things up for us, it is our duty to overcome our fears and worries today so we can accomplish God’s will for us. Easier said than done, I know, but a great reminder for us today for sure. Does Isaac learn his lesson and overcome? Well, you’ll just have to purchase a copy of The Thief of Lanwyn Manor to find out!

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor is a highly engaging, well-written novel I highly recommend. Sarah Ladd is a fabulous storyteller, and I look forward to the third installment in this outstanding series.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


BLOG STOPS

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 13

Genesis 5020, January 13

A Baker’s Perspective, January 13

For Him and My Family, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

Inklings and notions, January 14

Bigreadersite, January 15

For the Love of Literature, January 15

Texas Book-aholic, January 15

Through the Fire Blogs, January 16

Pause for Tales, January 16

Wishful Endings, January 16

deb’s Book Review, January 16

Betti Mace, January 17

KarenSueHadley, January 17

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, January 17

Robin’s Nest, January 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 18

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 19

Remembrancy, January 19

Books, Life, and Christ, January 19

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, January 20

My Devotional Thoughts, January 20

Hallie Reads, January 20

Blogging With Carol, January 20

Kat’s Corner Books, January 21

Life of Literature, January 21

Danielle Lozada, January 21

She Lives to Read, January 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 22

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 22

By The Book, January 23

Blossoms and Blessings, January 23

SPLASHES of Joy, January 23

My Precious Bits and Musings, January 24

Mary Hake, January 24

Back Porch Reads, January 24

Daysong Reflections, January 24

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 25

Mamma Loves Books, January 25

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 25

Hookmeinabook, January 26

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, January 26

Simple Harvest Reads, January 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

The Wedding Dress Christmas (2019) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post from Rachel, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

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About the Book

The Wedding Dress Christmas CoverBook:  The Wedding Dress Christmas

Series: The Wedding Collection #3.5

Author: Rachel Hauck

Genre: Romance, Christmas

Release Date: October 22, 2019

December covers quaint Heart’s Bend, Tennessee with a blanket of white and the glitter of Christmas lights.

For JoJo Castle there’s no place like home. It’s her safe place. Her one-time love of adventure ended when life in the big city shattered her hopes and dreams. Now that she’s returned to Hearts Bend, she never wants to leave again.

Buck Mathews, the biggest country singing sensation in decades, has the world on a string – his guitar strings, to be exact. However, when news of his mother’s illness sends him back to Hearts Bend for the holiday season, he remembers how good it can be to live among family and friends.

Working with her cousin Haley in The Wedding Shop, JoJo has no aspirations of love. Leaving home, surrendering her heart again, is just too risky.

When she runs into her friend and high school crush Buck Mathews, she discovers Love might have other plans for her.

Buck’s career is on the verge of an momentous leap. But seeing JoJo awakens feelings he’d buried long ago. Falling in love is easy, but winning her heart will take more than one of his melodic tunes and clever lyrics.

JoJo and Buck want opposite things for their lives, leaving no room for compromise. Can love, especially the kind that touches hearts at Christmastime, overcome her fears and his quest for greatness?

When a very special gown – the wedding dress – begins to make its presence known, JoJo and Buck’s hearts bend in a way neither ever thought possible.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

rachel-hauck-HR-5Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist and a Christy and Carol Award Winner. Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in The Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie. Rachel has also been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically. A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

More from Rachel

Hello Royal Rockstar Readers!

I’m thrilled to share The Wedding Dress Christmas with you. I’ve heard from so many how much The Wedding Dress has touched them, and as I noodled over new story ideas, my thoughts drifted toward the wedding dress and Christmas. What’s more romantic than a Christmas wedding?

This novella is set in Hearts Bend, Tennessee, the fictional town of The Wedding Chapel and The Wedding Shop. Even if you’ve never read one of the books in The Wedding Collection, you’ll enjoy this story, the mystery of the dress, and the women whose lives it changed.

I love weddings. They remind us of the purity and the hope of love, the power of commitment. Something powerful is released when two people pledge to spend their lives together, loving and serving one another in both good and bad times. Every wedding I attend reminds me of the vows I made to my husband and I sign up all over again.

Stories are a powerful reflection of life. Yes, fictional stories are often told with wild hyperbole, but that’s what makes them fun to read.

I also love wedding stories because they remind us of God’s love for us, and that one day there will be the grandest wedding of them all. Isn’t it wonderful that God planned a wedding before He created the earth?

In The Wedding Dress Christmas, JoJo and Buck have their issues, but love proves strong enough to conquer them all.

Thanks for going on this little tour with me and The Wedding Dress Christmas.

Yours,

Rachel

My Thoughts

I have not read any of the books in the Wedding Collection series, and I think that may be part of why I struggled with this story. Don’t get me wrong, The Wedding Dress Christmas has all the signature awesomeness fans of Hauck’s novels love and expect. The novella is well-written, the setting is pleasantly whimsical, and the characters have relatable facets. This novella also has gobs and gobs of Christmas magic perfect for our current holiday season. The mysterious, other-worldly man in purple is my favorite. He may have brought a tear or two to my eyes a couple of times. And, I absolutely adore the concept behind the wedding dress. What a fun and meaningful way to pass down history and a shared sense of female camaraderie!

But I did struggle with the pacing. Everything in this story moves at lightning speed. One second JoJo and Buck are discussing their maybe feelings for one another, and then they are making out. I actually got confused twice and had to re-read whole sections because I felt like I missed some sort of passion build-up. But, I didn’t miss anything. This novella just moves that fast. It actually makes me wonder if I missed some set-up for these two characters in previous novels.

Overall, I do recommend The Wedding Dress Christmas. It does get the reader into a romantic, Christmassy mood. Just be aware that the pacing for this story is super, duper fast. You blink and you’ve read the entire book. If you are in the mood to read a cute Christmas story in one sitting, then this is definitely the book for you!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

The Wedding Dress Christmas Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a print copy of The Wedding Dress Christmas and a Visa gift card for $25.

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f1fe/the-wedding-dress-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway


BLOG STOPS

The Avid Reader, December 18

Through the Fire Blogs, December 18

Livin’ Lit, December 18

Robin’s Nest, December 18

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 19

By The Book, December 19

Wishful Endings, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 19

Among the Reads, December 20

Genesis 5020, December 20

Life as Lanhams, December 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 21

Daysong Reflections, December 21

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 21

Bigreadersite, December 21

Simple Harvest Reads, December 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 22

Britt Reads Fiction, December 22

She Lives to Read, December 23

Empowermoms, December 23

Inside the Wong Mind, December 23

Mia Reads Blog, December 23

Splashes of Joy, December 24

Christian Bookaholic, December 24

Hallie Reads, December 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 25

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 25

Blogging With Carol, December 25

For Him and My Family, December 26

Hebrews 12 Endurance, December 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 27

My Devotional Thoughts, December 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 27

Mamma Loves Books, December 27

Betti Mace, December 28

Batya’s Bits, December 28

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 28

Quiet Quilter, December 29

mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 29

janicesbookreviews, December 29

A Reader’s Brain, December 30

Inklings and notions, December 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 30

Carla Loves to Read, December 30

Back Porch Reads, December 31

CarpeDiem, December 31

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, December 31

Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole (2019) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

Darling Hedgehog FB Banner

About the Book

Darling HedgehogBook: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down A Foxhole

Author: Auralee Arkinsly

Genre: Early reader chapter book

Release Date: September 13, 2019

Darling Hedgehog learns about the animal nature of things in high humor and carefree, cute, and winning episodes. This childhood story reads a bit like Aesop’s Fables or a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, for children 4-8 or preschool and kindergarten, as a read-to-me picture book, and first grade and second grade as a chapter book.

Pictures similar to the Mercy Watson series are characterized and painted in full-color, though the pages are set up like a chapter book.

This book helps to train children in natural wisdom, analysis, and discernment. It helps to balance the teachings of acceptance of everyone and friendliness to all. There may be good purposes for everyone to exist under heaven, yet all purposes may not be good for a child. So, beware, be discrete, and flee from crafty foxes especially when they are holding your parents in the pantry.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Auralee ArkinslyAuralee Arkinsly writes in good humor about serious subjects because kids of all ages can learn a lot from laughing. She is a strong believer in right and wrong but knows that getting onto the right path can mean falling down a slippery slope. She reckons if she can save some from the bumps and bruises, then she has done her job.

More from Auralee

I’m so excited to launch my children’s book, Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole with the Celebrate Lit crew!  You are a river of hope for a new author.

So, here’s the story behind the story.

My friend and fellow author, Kathy Joy, left me a small hedgehog in a tutu as a going away gift on her guest bed after she had been visiting. I put it on the windowsill in my bedroom, and every morning, I would see it when I awoke.

I don’t know if you can relate to this experience, but I often wake up from a good night’s sleep with the gift of a problem being solved.  Sometimes, I wake up with a creative idea.  Well, one day, I awoke to find that I had the beginnings of a child’s story about where the hedgehog found her tutu.

Initially, it was a simple story about Darling Hedgehog finding a foxy friend who helps Darling find her calling.

I wrote out the story and then asked a talented neighborhood girl if she would like to draw the pictures for the tall tale. Having seen a lot of Julia’s sketches as she grew up, I thought that she might like to know what it felt like to earn money from her talents and at the same time, learn about the process of creating a book with an author to propose to a publishing company.

She agreed. Julia was in ninth grade. She was at the age where she was beginning to think about high school jobs and even to make plans for college and a career.

The same day we wrote out our contract, Julia sent me her first image of what she imagined Darling to look like. It clearly was not a mistake to hire this young artist!

When I awoke another morning, I believed God had given me another bit of advice. I needed to do better research on the nature of hedgehogs and foxes, their habitats and their characteristics. The outcome caused the story to take a turn towards intrigue.  It became a fable. It became an action-adventure animal story. It became better.

A librarian encouraged us to continue with it no longer as a picture book for very small children but as an early reader chapter book for second graders learning about similes.

I hope that we can teach children to notice facts and objective truth as they are being trained for life. So, I’ve accepted that my child’s fantasy had to grow some legs of gravity and wisdom.  I’ve trusted my editors and beta readers that this is true, but I’m not above being told off.

My Thoughts

This review is going to be a little different than my normal posts. Today, you are getting a two-for-one — one mini-review from my point of view and one from my 7-year old, Bella!

Mom’s Review: I love two things about this children’s chapter book. First, I adore the illustrations. They’re colorful, they’re bright, they add a nice touch of humor, and they help tell a good story. The second thing I appreciate, as a mom, is the lesson this book teaches children. “Not every stranger can be a friend” is a solid, unfortunate truth that ALL kids need to understand in this day and age.

But, I have two issues with this story. My first issue is that I do not appreciate the set-up for this story. I found it creepy. Darling, the protagonist, falls into a stranger’s house. That stranger gives Darling gifts, and without hesitation, Darling accepts. Then, Darling tries in several ways to come up with a gift for the stranger so that she and the stranger can be friends. I found this interplay very dangerous and very disturbing. Since my child had the capacity for cognitive understanding I have hammered into her that she is NOT allowed to take “gifts” from strangers unless mommy or daddy say it’s OK. As a mommy, I was disturbed from the beginning because this character acts the exact opposite as I’ve taught my child. Yes, things are later figured out, but I struggle with Darling’s blind acceptance of gifts from a creepy stranger.

My second issue occurs when Darling’s father later tells her that she was always safe from the fox because her hedgehog spines would keep her safe. I didn’t understand the value of this because while hedgehogs do have sharp spines to protect them, small children do not. Children are only as safe from predators as parents and trusted adults make them. I don’t understand how a child could relate to Darling’s character. Was this explanation supposed to be metaphorical? Is the author just attempting to teach the reader about the nature of hedgehogs? This response from Darling’s dad took me out of the story, and I found it odd. Sort of like a false sense of security.

Overall, I think Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole is a story a parent must read with her children so some explaining and clarifying can be done. It definitely is a good “talking point” book to use as a teaching tool with one’s kids.

Bella’s Review: I like the hedgehog because she is cute. I do not think the fox is cute because she tries to eat Darling’s parents and friends. I think kids should read this book because it teaches a lesson to stay far, far away from strangers and to not take stuff from them. This book has safety rules to stay away from strangers. I like this book. I think this is a great book to read to kids. I hope you like this book too.

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback and eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


darling hedgehog giveawayGIVEAWAY

To celebrate her tour, Auralee is giving away the grand prize of a set of Darling Hedgehog greeting cards!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f33e/darling-hedgehog-goes-down-a-foxhole-celebration-tour-giveaway


BLOG STOPS

A Baker’s Perspective, December 11

A Diva’s Heart, December 11

Girls in White Dresses, December 11

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 12

For Him and My Family, December 12

Older & Smarter?, December 13

Emily Yager, December 13

For the Love of Literature, December 13

Just the Write Escape, December 14

Blogging With Carol, December 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 15

Bigreadersite, December 15

janicesbookreviews, December 15

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 16

Blossoms and Blessings, December 17

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 17

A Reader’s Brain, December 17

Aryn The Libraryan 📚 , December 18

Lights in a Dark World, December 18

Remembrancy, December 19

Inklings and notions, December 19

Lighthouse Academy, December 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 20

Live.Love.Read., December 20

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 21

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 22

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, December 22

Maureen’s Musings, December 23

With a Joyful Noise, December 23

Texas Book-aholic, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

The Dating Charade (2019) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: An Excerpt + My Thoughts

The Dating Charade FB Banner

About the Book

The Dating Charade coverBook:  The Dating Charade

Author: Melissa Ferguson

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction, Romantic  Comedy

Release Date: December 3, 2019

Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.

But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.

No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?

Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Melissa FergusonMelissa Ferguson lives in Bristol, Tennessee, where she is an adjunct professor at King University and pens books that make her laugh and grow. She used to have hobbies like running and backpacking the Appalachian Trail outside her door. Now she and her husband are outnumbered, and her hobbies include diaper changes, chasing toddlers in parking lots, and admiring the Appalachian Trail out her minivan window while singing “Winnie the Pooh.” She survives by Jesus, rom coms, and roughly two espresso shots a day. The Dating Charade is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt

You can read an excerpt from Melissa Ferguson’s The Dating Charade here.

My Thoughts

I’m blown away that The Dating Charade is a debut novel because it reads like one penned by an expert, well-published author. I thoroughly loved every minute spent reading this book. The plot is highly engaging. One minute I was laughing hysterically, the next I was bawling like a blubbering baby. The characters are superb. I 1000% related to Cassie — to her ideals, to her naivety, to her well-meaning intentions, and to her insecurities and total fails. Jett is a swoony heartthrob who made me laugh so hard. I was rooting for him from the first moment he appears in the story. And, the themes in this novel are so thoughtful and timely. The Dating Charade is a true #MustRead story that I cannot recommend enough!

PhotoCollage_20191215_092520894.jpgAs I mentioned above, I really related to Cassie’s character. Cassie works with teen girls and has wanted to be a mother for as long as she can remember. Because Cassie loves kids, and because she is so naturally good with her girls from Girls Haven, she foolishly believes she is natural parent material. To Cassie’s way of thinking because she loves kids and is good with them parenting for her will be easy. I had to chuckle several times. Not at Cassie, but because once upon a time I was Cassie. Eight years ago I was pregnant with my one and only child. I knew with every fiber of my being that I was prime parent material. You see, in my family, I was called the baby whisperer. I adored children and had the canny ability to calm any child down. As a high school teacher who was really good at her job, I also knew how to speak teen. And, like Cassie, I had wanted to be a mom since I was a toddler. Naturally, all of this meant I was destined to be an excellent mom. Then I had my daughter and realized that I knew NOTHING and that I stunk real bad at the mom thing. It did not come naturally to me at all. It became very clear to me very quickly after my child was born that parenting is no joke and should never be entered into willy nilly. Like me, Cassie learns this lesson in spades and it was hilarious and heartbreaking to watch her receive her education.

The Dating Charade is a superb debut jam-packed with so much goodness I could not put this book down. I could go on and on in this review about the wonderfulness of this book, but I don’t want to spoil a thing. Suffice to say, The Dating Charade is a novel you need to get ASAP. Purchase your copy today. You will not be disappointed that you did!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, December 16

Genesis 5020, December 16

Kat’s Corner Books, December 17

Robin’s Nest, December 17

EmpowerMoms, December 17

Reflections From My Bookshelves, December 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 18

For Him and my Family, December 18

Carla Loves to Read, December 19

CarpeDiem, December 19

Cultivating Us, December 19

Quiet Quilter, December 20

Through the Fire Blogs, December 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 21

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 21

SusanLovesBooks, December 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 22

Texas Book-aholic, December 22

A Reader’s Brain, December 23

janicesbookreviews, December 23

Just Your Average reviews, December 23

Emily Yager, December 24

Vicky Sluiter, December 24

Hallie Reads, December 25

Remembrancy, December 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 26

Just the Write Escape, December 26

Simple Harvest Reads, December 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 27

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 27

Pause for Tales , December 27

As He Leads is Joy, December 28

A Rup Life, December 28

Batya’s Bits, December 29

With a Joyful Noise, December 29

Inklings and notions, December 29

Lake Season (2019) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: An Excerpt + My Thoughts

Lake Season FB Banner

About the Book

Lake SeasonBook: Lake Season

Series: Bluebell Inn Romance #1

Author: Denise Hunter

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 12, 2019

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 (aka bestselling author Nathanial Grey) 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.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Hunter DeniseDenise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including A December Bride and The Convenient Groom, which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Carol Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest.

To learn more about Denise, visit her at:

Website  ♥   Facebook  ♥   Twitter  ♥   Instagram

Read a Premium Excerpt

You can read a premium excerpt from Denise Hunter’s Lake Season HERE.

My Thoughts

Disclaimer: This novel was an exceptionally cathartic read for me. My review today is highly personal, but my point is not to be highly personal. My point is to express how deeply I agree with one of Ms. Hunter’s themes discussed in this novel. The best way to get this point across is to tell you my deeply personal story. If you are not in the mood to read my story I am 100% not offended. Let me just say, before you leave my blog, Lake Season is an absolute gem of a novel. I highly recommend it!!!

Ten months ago, I lost my stepdad, Mike. He was killed in a car accident. When one loses a loved one so violently and unexpectedly a pain unlike anything ever experienced is born. Immediately, the first thing that sprung to my mind was the last words I ever spoke to my stepdad. The last day I saw Mike was two weeks before he died. My mom and I made plans to have dinner at a local Mexican restaurant we liked to frequent. My daughter and I met my mom at the agreed-upon time, and much to my surprise Mike was with her. I was so happy to see him! You see, Mike was a fire captain. With all the fires happening in Southern California we didn’t get to see him as much so for him to be at this impromptu dinner was a big deal. We had an amazing time! We told funny stories, we laughed a lot, and we ate great food. It was awesome. When we were saying goodbye, my stepdad gave me a big hug and kiss, and I told him that I loved him. He told me, “I love you too, kid!” We got in our cars, and he smiled at me and gave me a wink. He and my mom went their way, and Bella and I went ours. That was the last time I would ever see or speak to my stepdad.

In Lake Season, the heroine, Molly, has also recently lost her parents to a car accident. Unfortunately, Molly’s last encounter with her parents wasn’t like mine. Molly blew her parents off never thinking she wouldn’t get to see or speak to them ever again this side of Heaven. Her final phone call with her parents leaves Molly with such guilt it becomes a heavy burden she carries daily, and she becomes a bit obsessed with making sure she never leaves a conversation unfinished. Of the characters in Lake Season, I heavily relate to Molly and her pain. Losing someone dear to you unexpectedly is like a repeated blow to your heart. It’s crushing, and painful isn’t a good enough word to describe what you are experiencing. The only thing that separates me from Molly (aside from the fact that I’m not fictional) is the magical, fantastic final dinner God orchestrated for me — I know with every fiber of my being that that last meal was truly God’s doing. I would have felt Molly’s guilt too if it weren’t for this one meal. God gave me a gift, and I will be forever grateful.

Lake Season is an excellent novel for so many reasons — the highly engaging plotline, the superb characters (especially Adam!!!), and the resonating themes. But Lake Season is one of my most favorite stories this year because it reinforces how important it is to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us in the here and now. Dear reader, do not leave your love under a bushel for you may not get a tomorrow. With everything that’s happened since my stepdad’s death, I cannot stress enough how important it is to tell your loved ones how you feel. Not a single one of us is promised a tomorrow. Read this novel because it is a great read, but read it also because it is a great reminder to not take those we love and care about for granted.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


BLOG STOPS

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 12

My Devotional Thoughts, November 12

The Power of Words, November 12

A Baker’s Perspective , November 12

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 13

Mia Reads, November 13

Back Porch Reads, November 13

Carla Loves To Read, November 14

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 14

Among the Reads, November 14

Genesis 5020, November 14

Wishful Endings, November 15

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 15

CarpeDiem, November 15

Older & Smarter?, November 16

Cultivating Us, November 16

Inside the Wong Mind, November 16

Blossoms and Blessings , November 16

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 17

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 17

Avid Reader Nurse, November 17

Through the Fire Blogs, November 18

For Him and My Family, November 18

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 18

Splashes of Joy, November 18

Robin’s Nest, November 19

Mary Hake, November 19

Baker Kella, November 19

Simple Harvest Reads, November 20 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 20

SusanLovesBooks, November 20

Lights in a Dark World, November 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 21

Vicky Sluiter, November 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 21

Quiet Quilter, November 22

Andrea Christenson, November 22

Pause for Tales, November 22

Just Your Average Reviews, November 22

Hallie Reads, November 23

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 23

To Everything There Is A Season, November 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 23

Texas Book-aholic, November 24

janicesbookreviews, November 24

A Reader’s Brain, November 24

Inklings and notions, November 24

Batya’s Bits, November 25

Livin’ Lit, November 25

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 25

Remembrancy, November 25