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

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Through the Fire Blogs, January 16

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Betti Mace, January 17

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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

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Remembrancy, January 19

Books, Life, and Christ, January 19

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, January 20

My Devotional Thoughts, January 20

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Kat’s Corner Books, January 21

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She Lives to Read, January 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 22

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SPLASHES of Joy, January 23

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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 Blizzard Bride (2020)

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About the Book

wp-1578790368833.jpgBook:  The Blizzard Bride

Series: Daughters of the Mayflower #11

Author: Susanne Dietze

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 15, 2020 (eBook), February 1, 2020 (paperback)

A Blizzard Changes Everything

Abigail Bracey arrives in Nebraska in January 1888 to teach school…and to execute a task for the government: to identify a student as the hidden son of a murderous counterfeiter—the man who killed her father.

Agent Dashiell Lassiter doesn’t want his childhood sweetheart Abby on this dangerous job, especially when he learns the counterfeiter is now searching for his son, too, and he’ll destroy anyone in his way. Now Dash must follow Abby to Nebraska to protect her…if she’ll let him within two feet of her. She’s still angry he didn’t fight to marry her six years ago, and he never told her the real reason he left her.

All Dash wants is to protect Abby, but when a horrifying blizzard sweeps over them, can Abby and Dash set aside the pain from their pasts and work together to catch a counterfeiter and protect his son—if they survive the storm?

Click HERE to purchase your eBook copy!

Click HERE to pre-order your paperback copy!

My Thoughts

The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze is a wild ride. I mean the kind of ride that leaves the reader holding her breath and clinging to the edge of her seat. These Daughters of the Mayflower novels are excellent, and with each subsequent novel, they just keep getting better and better. Just when I think, “Aw, that book was the best!”, another story comes out and blows me away with its awesomeness. The Blizzard Bride packs a serious punch in only 256 pages and is definitely one of my favorites in this series.

Abby, the heroine of The Blizzard Bride, has had a rough few years. The love of her life up and left her with NO explanation, her father was murdered, she and her mother lost everything because of his death — their finances, their home, and their social standing. Eventually, Abby’s mother dies from a broken heart. And, Abby has broken ties with God. If He is going to abandon her, she thinks, then she will abandon Him. In six year’s time, Abby has slowly become a bitter, angry, and spite-filled woman bent on making the villains pay. She has closed herself off — no God, no friends, no loved ones. Abby figures that if she is closed off from everyone and everything she will save herself from getting hurt. But then Abby meets curmudgeonly Mr. Yates and sees a glimpse into what her future will be if she continues her path of anger and isolation. So Abby makes the only choice she can — she befriends Mr. Yates. She recognizes that, like her, Mr. Yates has some serious trauma that’s not been properly dealt with, and so reaches out to him in an attempt to get them both back on the right track.

wp-1578790368864.jpgThis subplot in The Blizzard Bride provides an excellent warning to us all — it is imperative that we deal with our lives with God, or we will end up alone and deeply hurting. This actually makes me think of Psalm 32:2-3 (ESV; my emphasis): “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groanings all day long.” When Abby stops and really takes a look at Mr. Yates she sees dark, deep pouches under his eyes, a permanent downcast to his mouth, tight, crossed arms, and stooped shoulders. Clearly, Mr. Yate’s anger, hatred, and alienation have worn him down and he is wasting away. Abby comes to understand as David does in this Psalm, that unconfessed pain and sin eat at us and hurts our physical and spiritual selves. Abby realizes that she must turn back to God, speak her feelings, confess her sins, and ask for forgiveness. Mrs. Dietze’s subplot beautifully points out that when we turn to the One who can truly heal, we find the real peace we need in order to move beyond the hurts of our past.

As I stated above, this book packs a punch. In fact, it contains multitudes. There are super endearing characters that I won’t soon forget. A winter storm that terrified me. In fact, I didn’t take a full breath for three chapters because the storm is that intense. The romance is sweet and the mystery is captivating. All in all, The Blizzard Bride is a great read I highly recommend. This book is another home run by Susie Dietze.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via her publisher, Barbour Books through NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

An Uncommon Woman (2020) — Release Day, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

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♥♥♥ HAPPY RELEASE DAY ♥♥♥

About the Book

wp-1578193266907.jpgBook:  An Uncommon Woman

Author: Laura Frantz

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 7, 2020

Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa’s long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.

Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand–and heart–are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.

Intense, evocative, and laced with intricate historical details that bring the past to life, An Uncommon Woman will transport you to the picturesque and dangerous western Virginia mountains of 1770.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Tessa Swan is an amazing woman. She is bright, passionate, and strong-willed. She is also beautiful, compassionate, and hard-working. But, Tessa is also just like every woman who’s ever walked the face of this earth — she, too, has insecurities and fears and doubts. While it is clear that Clay, the fabulous hero of An Uncommon Woman, is very attracted to Tessa for a plethora of reasons, Tessa still worries that she is not good enough for him. I completely understand Tessa’s feelings, as unfounded as they may be. For the most part, I’m pretty confident in the woman God has made me, but every now and then I, too, struggle with thoughts that I’m not good enough or pretty enough or skinny enough or smart enough for my husband. In Tessa’s case, she knows that Clay has access to genteel, upper-class women, women who have access to the best clothes money can buy and are always put together daintily and prettily. These women definitely do not have grime under their nails from working the land. Tessa has a blessed life — she’s educated where most are not, she has a loving family, and her needs are definitely met — but Tessa works for a living. Her hands are not pristine and her clothes are workworn. How could she ever compare to a back-east belle?

What I love so much about Tessa is she refuses to give in to these depressing thoughts and comparisons. In fact, a verse from Proverbs 31 comes to mind, which “renews her courage and straightens her shoulders” (113). She acknowledges that she may not be fancy like the ladies back east, but she does have the Bible to strengthen her. Tessa understands that God has made her a woman of strength and honor no matter how humble her circumstances (113). Isn’t this so beautiful? And it’s super encouraging too. Our worth as women is established by the loving Creator who made us, not by fickle society. Tessa’s example of going to her Bible to be reminded of how God sees her is the BEST message, and a reminder I think a lot of us ladies need today. The next time I’m feeling a little uncertain in my skin, when I’m feeling a little down or frumpy, I’m going to do what Tessa does — I’m going to go to God so He can remind me of my true value.

An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz is a beautiful illustration of a Proverbs 31 woman hard at work. Tessa Swan is a superb heroine, and I am really going to miss her. She is a heroine I will remember long after finishing this book! If you are looking for a story that is well-crafted and beautifully penned, that takes you on a journey during a tumultuous time in our American history, and that is delightfully romantic, I highly recommend An Uncommon Woman. It’s truly a breathtaking story!

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the author via her publisher, Revell. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

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I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz. My giveaway begins today, 1-7-20 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Saturday, 1-11-20 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Patty R.!

You have won this giveaway. Thank you for participating. I appreciate your support!

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.

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

The Perfect Christmas (2019)

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About the Book

wp-1577409270791.jpgBook:  The Perfect Christmas

Series: Winter, Montana #2

Author: Bell Renshaw

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction

Release Date: October 2019

Will the perfect Christmas be enough to convince Beau that a life with Ansley could be equally perfect?

Born and raised in Winter, Montana, Beau Bradley can’t imagine life anywhere else. During the holiday season his coffee shop, Mountain Grounds, is as busy as ever and now that his girlfriend is back in town, things finally seem to be lining up—until he gets a call that could change it all.

Ansley Strauss is back in Winter after a nine-month art intensive in Canada and she’s ready to celebrate the Christmas season in the tried and true Winter-style. There’s only one problem: her boyfriend lacks the Christmas spirit. Her solution? Make this Christmas perfect to remind Beau just how special this time of year is.

Set on a course for ultimate Christmas joy, Ansley and Beau find that life doesn’t always work out the way they hope it will. Beau faces the reality that plans can’t account for everything and Ansley will have to come to the realization that no matter how perfect things are, it’s the imperfections in life that make it worth living.

It’s another Christmas in Winter, Montana where the coffee is always hot and the mistletoe beckons lovers to share a kiss.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

The Perfect Christmas by Bell Renshaw is a sweet, romantic page-turner filled with well-crafted characters who are unique and endearing. The setting is lovely Winter, Montana, a place that makes one long for a cozy blanket, a cup of hot cocoa, and a warm fire. The timely themes in this sweet story definitely get the reader thinking. And, the various accidental mishaps of Ansley and Beau had this reader laughing out loud. Truly, The Perfect Christmas has it all, and I am leaving my time in Winter, Montana quite the satisfied reader!

wp-1577409270821.jpgBeau loves Ansley very much, but he has allowed fear to overtake his heart and his life. Beau has become emotionally paralyzed. Ansley is one of the most patient characters I have ever read, but that is what makes her such a great character. While Beau is busy painstakingly planning each and every second of their future, making sure nothing bad happens, Ansley just loves her man. Things do come to a crossroads, however, and Beau needs to make a choice — life with Ansley or without? It is during a brilliant conversation with Ansley’s brother, Ky, that Beau wakes up to his truth. Ky lost his young wife to an illness and has been a single father for the past two years. But, Ky has recently found new love. This all confounds Beau, whose number one goal in life is to never feel pain again. Beau asks Ky if he is scared to love again. Ky explains that he does feel a little afraid, but “there’s a difference between recognizing fear and giving in to it.” Ky refuses to give in to fear and instead lives life knowing that love is a risk worth taking. Beau realizes that he has let fear rule him and this is not how he wants to live. He comes to understand that life lived in fear is no life at all. I very much appreciated this message. Too many times in my life I have let fear dictate my life, and because of that, I know that I have lost out.

The Perfect Christmas is another home run by Bell Renshaw. The plot is highly engaging and fast-paced, the characters are relatable and endearing, and the messages are timely. If you are in the mood for a romantic and sweet Christmas novella, then The Perfect Christmas is the book for you!

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

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

Love You, Truly (2019): A JustRead Reviewer Tour

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About the Book

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Book: Love You, Truly

Author: Susan L. Tuttle

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release Date: December 15, 2019

Blake Carlton, the camera-shy son of Hollywood’s Darling, dodges the invasive limelight and scripted relationships that so often accompany fame. But when his mother’s popularity declines and she falls into a depression, he offers himself up as the next bachelor on a reality show, hoping to reignite interest in her career while creating a way for them to finally connect.

After her fiancé dumps her for her best friend, aspiring photographer Harlow Tucker is done with romance—until her beloved, disabled sister requests her aid to start a nonprofit. Harlow agrees to do whatever is needed to raise funds, even reluctantly costarring on a dating show with a notorious womanizer who distrusts anyone behind a lens.

As Blake and Harlow navigate the superficiality of a reality show, their preconceived notions of love are challenged. Deciding to trust each other feels like the ultimate risk, but taking that chance could lead to a love truly picture-perfect, worth both of their hearts.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Love You, Truly by Susan L. Tuttle is one of the BEST contemporary Christian romances I have ever read. I devoured this book in just under 24 hours as I could not put this marvelous story down. I love that the plotline seamlessly weaves my two favorite tropes: the “two worlds collide” trope and the insta-hate trope. As soon as I got through chapter 1, I knew Blake and Harlow were going to be characters I would want to root for the entire time. I also very much enjoyed the many settings. Love You, Truly is a novel I could escape into as I got to visit Michigan, California, Budapest, and Austria. Of the places I got to “visit,” Austria was my favorite! I loved researching the touristy places Blake and Harlow saw. It sort of felt like I was there with them. While I heartily enjoyed the plot, setting, and characters, what I really appreciated are the timely themes. I must admit that there were a few moments Ms. Tuttle had me in tears because her themes resonated deeply in my heart.

There’s so much to talk about with this story it’s really difficult to pick just one focus, but the message that really struck me is Tuttle’s illustration of control. In very unique ways, both Blake and Harlow are control freaks. For Blake — a man constantly in Hollywood’s limelight — his form of control is to build up walls and never allow the types of relationships that require one’s heart to be involved. Blake refuses to be vulnerable because vulnerability can lead to disappointment, pain, and heartbreak. Instead, Blake becomes superficial, and in this, he can control his environment and heart. Harlow, like Blake, does not want pain, rejection, or heartache either, so her go-to self-preservation is to control literally EVERYTHING — her weight, her eating, her sister, her job, her sister’s foundation, etc. The girl won’t eat popcorn with butter or allow cream in her coffee. And she always says no to chocolate. This is how controlling Harlow is, she never says “YES” to anything. This strong need to control everything in their lives leaves both Blake and Harlow exhausted, sad, and lonely. And, over time, both realize that this need to control boils down to one fact — they don’t trust God.

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Boy, did this message smack me up-side the head! In this, I saw a lot of myself in both Blake and Harlow. When bad happens, when chaos occurs, my knee-jerk reaction is to clean and fret and work harder. I feel like if I can just create order in one part of my life I can gain control over all parts of my life. But, like Blake and Harlow, I just end up ragged, lonely, and sad. By the end of this novel, God was flooding my brain and heart with trust verses. Proverbs 3:5 repeated itself in my brain a couple of times — “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Watching Blake and Harlow attempt to be their own god and control every facet of their lives was a great reminder for me to check myself, and then go to God to ask for forgiveness for all the ways I try to lean on my own understanding.

Love You, Truly is more than I could ever put into words. I know this review doesn’t do it justice, which is why I highly recommend you purchase a copy today so you can experience all the amazingness that is Love You, Truly. If my review hasn’t convinced you to purchase your own copy, then the breathtaking kisses alone should be enough reason to buy this book now! LOL!

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