Valentine Gold (2019)

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About the Book

Valentine GoldBook:  Valentine Gold

Author: Danielle Thorne

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 13, 2019

A Second Chance Clean & Wholesome Romance with Small Town Charm

Her chances of finding a Valentine are about as good as striking gold, but an old cabin, a new neighbor, and the mountain of Good Hope just might shift the odds.

When Natalie Boyd inherits an old cabin in the north Georgia mountains, she thinks it could be the answer to all of her problems. She’s ready to start over after a heartbreaking divorce, and the cabin on the banks of a river once mined for gold is the perfect hideaway for her new, reclusive life.

No sooner does she settle in, and Natalie realizes that living in the shadow of Good Hope Mountain isn’t what she expected. Her new neighbor, Jonathan Wilby, has plans for his property as soon as winter’s over, and that means noise, traffic, and people. To make things worse, he’s drop-dead gorgeous and could charm the skin off a snake.

Natalie braces herself to do battle over the land and to resist Wilby’s charms, but her healing heart, an incredible discovery, and unexpected friendships along the way bring a gold mine of change she never expected – and just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I’ve only read one book by Danielle Thorne — A Pirate at Pembroke — and I loved it. When I saw Valentine Gold and read the premise, I knew I needed to purchase this novel ASAP. What a great read! I enjoyed everything about this book: the sweet characters, the chemistry, the slight disdain for Valentine’s Day, and the thematic discussion on not getting caught up in gossip. Valentine Gold is a sweet clean romance I highly recommend this Valentine season.

wp-1581173515789.jpgGossip is such an easy trap to fall into. I hate gossip because it’s nine-times-out-of-ten just busybodies being mean. It’s so pervasive, gossip can infiltrate even the most innocuous of conversations. Natalie Boyd, the heroine of Valentine Gold, is not a fan of gossip but falls prey to it. Someone says something. Words are overheard and taken out of context. Those out-of-context words are spread like wildfire and feelings get hurt. To make matters worse, Natalie makes a judgment and a decision based on these out-of-context words and major conflict ensues. This is all good for a fictional tale — novels thrive on conflict. But in real life, real people can be really hurt by gossip and its effects. In the Bible, we are actually directed to stay away from gossipers: Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler (Proverbs 20:19). God takes words very seriously and we should too. Don’t be a simple babbler! I appreciate Ms. Thorne’s warning on gossip. It’s a great reminder for me today to be a bit more careful with my words.

Valentine Gold is not your typical lovey-dovey Valentine’s novel. This fun and unique story has depth and feeling and substance. I enjoyed this story from start to finish and will miss my time with these endearing characters. I highly recommend this story. Purchase a copy today to enjoy this Valentine season!

I purchased a review copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon on January 19, 2020. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Star Rising (2020)

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About the Book

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Book:  Star Rising

Series: Coastal Hearts #4

Author: Janet Ferguson

Genre: General Fiction/Contemporary

Release Date: January 4, 2020

Star Youngblood has always been a fighter-a necessity after her mother married a monster of a man. Now, she’s finally on the path to the stable life she’s always wanted. Her employer, Priscilla Kelly, is a sweet woman ravaged by rheumatoid arthritis, and Star will do anything to help her. Even if that means going toe to toe with Mrs. Kelly’s neglectful son.

After being betrayed on the mission field and devastated by the tragic death of his father, Paul Kelly gave up on God. He lives life on his own terms, biding his time as a corporate pilot until he can save enough money to begin his own flight school closer to home. His mother is all he has left, and he wants to be near her. He just didn’t expect her health to decline so quickly. When he discovers his mother has taken in a stray–a woman he’s not at all sure can be trusted–his protective instincts kick into high gear. Paul’s handled a lot of turbulence, but he’s never gone up against a force like Star.

As Paul and Star strive to protect his mother in their own ways, they soon find their hearts are at the greatest risk.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Janet Ferguson is quickly becoming one of my favorite storytellers. Star Rising is a seriously great book. I loved everything about this story. The dislike-at-first-sight trope is my favorite Romance trope, and Ferguson utilizes it perfectly in this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and found it not only highly engaging but extremely fast-paced as well. Pages were flying by. And, I found Ferguson’s themes timely and thoughtful. Overall, Star Rising is a homerun!

In Colossians 3:23 Paul tells us, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” If I’m truly honest, I struggle with this verse. Not the working part — I do that in spades. I think my job is trying to kill me with all the work they are putting on my plate. I struggle with the heartily part, and that often takes my focus off God. My work becomes burdensome and I feel trapped trying to please all of my bosses. Then bitterness and resentment infiltrate into my heart, and I find myself wanting to give up. I get mad at God because I don’t understand why He’s forcing me into a job that’s trying to kill me. In this sense, I really related to Paul, the hero of Star Rising.

wp-1580442019163.jpgPaul, at the start of this novel, is seriously jaded. He hit a really rough patch earlier in his life and he allowed that to turn him into a very angry and bitter man who has walked away from God. Over the course of the novel, with quite a few hilarious bumps along the way, Paul comes to realize that his work for God was never actually work for God. Paul was working at Christian things to please his earthly father and to heap honor and glory upon himself. Once Paul understands his erroneous ways, he is able to ask God for His forgiveness and is able to realign himself to God’s will. Paul learns how to work heartily for God, and I found this to be an excellent reminder for me. I need to check my motives. Why is work becoming a burden? Am I working for God heartily? Or am I working for myself and my bosses? Do I need their approval or God’s? All of these are excellent questions I need to remember to ponder from time to time so I don’t end up jaded like Paul was at the start of this fabulous story.

Star Rising is a stellar novel that I just cannot recommend enough. I am going to miss my time with these characters, but I very much look forward to all Janet Ferguson has in store for her readers in the future. If you are looking for an excellent Contemporary Christian novel check out Star Rising. You won’t be disappointed that you did.

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

More Than We Remember (2020)

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About the Book

wp-1580007329729.jpgBook:  More Than We Remember

Author: Christina Suzann Nelson

Genre: General Fiction/Contemporary

Release Date: February 18, 2020

One night changes everything for three women.

When Addison Killbourn’s husband is involved in a car accident that leaves a woman dead, her perfectly constructed life crumbles apart. With her husband’s memory of that night gone and the revelation of a potentially life-altering secret, Addison has to reevaluate all she thought she knew.

Emilia Cruz is a deputy bearing a heavy burden far beyond the weight of her job. Her husband is no longer the man she married, and Emilia’s determined to prevent others from facing the same hardship. When she’s called to the scene of an accident pointing to everything she’s fighting against, she’s determined to see justice for those wronged.

Brianne Demanno is hiding from reality. She was thriving as a counselor, but when tragedy struck a beloved client, she lost faith in herself and her purpose. When her neighbors, the Killbourns, are thrown into crisis, Brianne’s solitary life is disrupted and she finds herself needed in a way she hasn’t been in a while.

As the lives of these women intersect, they can no longer dwell in the memory of who they’ve been. Can they rise from the wreck of the worst moments of their lives to become who they were meant to be?

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

More Than We Remember by Christina Suzann Nelson is exquisite. This is a story that got under my skin, pierced my heart, and left me cheering. This story made me talk; I may have bugged my husband every couple of hours with random thoughts and questions: what is forgiveness? What does grace actually look like? What if…? I absolutely adore when a book gets me thinking and makes stop in my reader tracks to have an immediate conversation. I truly love everything about this book — the superb writing style, the endearing, multi-faceted characters, the conflicts, and the thought-provoking themes. I didn’t know who Christina Suzann Nelson was before reading More Than We Remember, but I do now and all I can say is I want MORE stories penned by this fantastic storyteller!

I’m not going to tell you one thing about this book because this story MUST be experienced, but I do want to talk about grace. I want to begin by saying Emilia — one of the three protagonists — drove me crazy. She is 100%, laser-focused on finding and meting out justice. Everything is about making bad guys pay. I’m never against bad guys paying for their crimes, but the phrase “bad guys” isn’t always so black and white. Justice without grace is just vengeance and the Bible is very clear that vengeance is God’s alone (Deuteronomy 32:35). One of the many questions I asked my husband while reading this book was, “What is grace?” He replied, “It’s unmerited favor.” I thanked him, and then thought to myself, “I know the definition, but what is grace, really?”

wp-1580007329779.jpgOnce upon a time, God came down to earth and died for us. He believed, and still believes, that we humans are worth everything. Jesus took the wrath we deserve and defeated Death so we can live with Him in eternity. And He did it for us as a free gift … an unmerited favor so to speak. What Jesus did for us all on that cross was, and is, the ultimate example of grace. If you’re like me, or like Emilia from this novel, you may be asking, “How do I show grace to others especially when others do very bad things that hurt me and/or my loved ones?” Excellent question!!! I will answer that in a minute. But first, the reason why I struggle with Emilia — because she is me! I crave justice too. I hate evil. I hate when bad guys win. It makes my blood boil. And, sometimes I think I verge into actual hate. But, I don’t want to be filled with hate. God wants us all to love. In Colossians 3:12-14 it explains how God dresses us for a life of love. When we accept God as our Lord and Savior He fills us with compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, and discipline. With these qualities, we can be even-tempered and content with whatever God allows our way. And, we can forgive just as Jesus forgave us. This is love. This is grace. We have the power to show others grace when we accept God’s wardrobe, and when we do, we leave the vengeance to God. Does Emilia learn this lesson in More Than We Remember? Well, pre-order a copy of this novel today so you can find out!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, through NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Misleading Miss Verity (2019) + Giveaway

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About the Book

FB_IMG_1575760493384.jpgBook: Misleading Miss Verity

Series: Regency Bride: Daughters of Aynsley #3

Author: Carolyn Miller

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: November 26, 2019

Verity Hatherleigh has a mind of her own—but her actions do not impress her viscount papa. When she gets into one scrape too many, he sends her off to the wilds of Scotland to rethink her headstrong ways.

Anthony Jardine relished his role as curate, but his new duties as laird of Dungally aren’t always to his liking. Though he thought his new inheritance would be a blessing, somehow he’s finding nothing but trouble on these estates. And the intelligent, compassionate, feisty lass who was sent to rusticate in his territory is one of the biggest problems. He’s falling in love with her, but she doesn’t share the faith that’s his foundation—not to mention he’s been lying to her about who he really is. For the truth-loving Verity, that may be unforgivable.

The tangled web these two have woven may spell disaster for their happiness—and for the tenants of Dungally.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I have a difficult time saying goodbye. Whether it’s my favorite aunt leaving after a fun visit or the last twenty-five pages in the final novel of a series, I struggle to let go. Confession time — I’ve had a copy of Misleading Miss Verity sitting on my desk for a while now, but I just couldn’t face saying farewell to a series I have loved and enjoyed SO much. I finally did it though; I devoured the pages in a few sittings, and then took some days to digest all the amazingness that is Misleading Miss Verity. What a fantastic story! Verity and Anthony are excellent characters. Their love story is my absolute favorite of all Ms. Miller’s stories. I was so engaged the entire read I could not put the book down. And the themes are so timely. Truly, Misleading Miss Verity is a superb Regency novel.

Verity pulled at my heartstrings the entire story. I so badly wanted to reach into the pages of this novel and mom-hug her so hard. Like Verity, I have never felt like I belonged in my family. To call me the black sheep would be an understatement. On more occasions than not, I have left my family gatherings devastated. I know God doesn’t make mistakes, but it sometimes feels like I’m the mistake in my family. Verity has always felt like a mistake. If only she were born a boy, then maybe her mom and dad would love her. You see, Verity’s older sisters are perfect. They are exactly who their parents dreamed them to be. But Verity — Verity is wrong in every way. Kind of like me and my brothers. It is very clear that my brothers can do no wrong while I can do no right. But what I love so much about Verity is she doesn’t change who she is to please her family. She knows who she is and she accepts herself as God made her, impetuousness and all. Being OK with who we are is exactly what God wants because He does not make mistakes! If He wanted us to be the way our parents wanted, He would have made us that way.

My mom is amazing. I love her so much, but her criticisms and disappointment in who I am have caused me a lot of emotional pain. I believe her heart has always been in the right place, she does want what best for me. I just wish who I am was good enough for her. Verity’s mom, however, is beyond rough. She is downright mean. The constant negative remarks about Verity wear Verity down. Reading Misleading Miss Verity made me think about how I am as a mom. When I think of my daughter, a smile as big as Texas forms on my face. I love my kid. I think she is amazing. She is so goofy, intelligent, witty, caring, and resilient. She loves so much. I genuinely admire her spunk, creativity, and people skills. I don’t want my daughter to ever feel like a mistake. I know what it is like to be a Verity. I know how crushing it feels to never meet parental expectations no matter how hard one tries. Because of this, I make it a daily concerted effort to remind my daughter that both God and I believe she was made to fulfill an amazing purpose — God’s purpose. My daughter is no mistake, and I always tell her and show her that I love her exactly as she is.

Carolyn Miller is my favorite Regency-era novelist. Her writing style is superb, her characters are endearing and relatable, and her plots are some of the most engaging I’ve ever encountered. Misleading Miss Verity is Ms. Miller’s best novel to date, and I’m really going to miss my time with these fabulous characters. But, I do look forward to all Carolyn Miller has in store for us readers in the future. I’m positive it will be as exceptional as the Daughters of Aynsley series is.

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the publisher, Kregel Publications. I also purchased an eBook copy from Amazon on November 26, 2019, to read and review. 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 Misleading Miss Verity by Carolyn Miller. My giveaway begins today, 12-10-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Saturday, 12-14-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Amy S.!

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 Rebel Bride (2019)

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About the Book

9781643522401__94802.1569954518 (1).jpgBook: The Rebel Bride

Series: Daughters of the Mayflower #10

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: December 1, 2019

Can Love Form Amidst Tensions of War?

During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still, he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger.

Click here to pre-order your copy today!

My Thoughts

I’ve greatly enjoyed the Daughters of the Mayflower series. What I’ve appreciated the most is finding new-to-me authors such as Kathleen Y’Barbo, MaryLu Tyndall, and Shannon McNear. Honestly, all of the authors who have written for this series are amazing, but I have to say that Ms. McNear is a stand-out to me. I was completely blown away by The Cumberland Bride, and now with The Rebel Bride, I can confidently say that McNear is a novelist I will definitely follow. The Rebel Bride is superb storytelling. The plot is outstanding, the conflict is so engaging I couldn’t help but stay up late into the night turning pages, Pearl and Josh’s romance had me swooning, and the history is so artfully brought to life I felt like I was in Tennessee in 1863. Truly, The Rebel Bride is an amazing ride!

To keep things simple, I’ve created a list detailing why I love this book.

  • The conflict between Pearl and Josh is perfect. A Confederate woman falls in love with a Unionist soldier. Talk about compelling the reader to turn page after page! On their own, Pearl and Josh are unique characters. Pearl is feisty and strong and courageous and so hardworking. And her faith! I long to have faith like Pearl. Josh is rugged, handsome, polite, and so strong. And his need to protect Pearl — be still my heart! Separate, as unique characters, Pearl and Josh are great, but together they are an amazing couple. And the chemistry between the two is perfect. I love how their relationship builds over the course of the story — very genuine and realistic.
  • PhotoCollage_20191126_213002842.jpgI love that historically speaking Ms. McNear wrote the truth. She didn’t sugarcoat or romanticize anything. The Civil War was truly awful and it killed thousands upon thousands of men. Not all men for the Union fought to free slaves. In fact, many men in the Union were worried about losing jobs to the now-freed slaves. And, many Southerners found slavery repugnant. What they hated was a government forcing its will upon sovereign states. Isn’t that why America fought against the tyrannous British during the Revolutionary War? What I appreciate about The Rebel Bride is that McNear does an excellent job of illustrating a realistic portrayal of the men and women and children affected by the Civil War. There are no stereotypes in this story, and it really gets the reader thinking.
  • My most favorite aspect of this novel is the illustration of relying on God. Pearl is forced to open her home to the enemy. Not only is she forced to give her enemy food and shelter, but she is also required to care for them and nurse them back to health. On her own, Pearl is incapable of such a task. But with God, Pearl is able to rise above her circumstances and her very real feelings and do what needs doing. At first, it is awful. She goes to God often. She is in prayer every minute she can spare, and her earthly father quotes apt Bible verses to help keep her on track. Over time, Pearl does come to see that her notions about the enemy are mostly incorrect and that the men who have come to her for care are men just like her brothers, cousin, and father. But she never would have been able to get to this point if it weren’t for God.

I could go on and on about how excellent this novel is, but I won’t because I don’t want to spoil a single thing. Suffice to say, The Rebel Bride is an excellent novel — one I cannot recommend enough. Purchase a copy for yourself today. You will not be disappointed!

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

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

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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

The Death of Mungo Blackwell Blog Tour

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About the Book

9781782642916Book: The Death of Mungo Blackwell

Author: Lauren H Brandenburg

Genre: Inspirational Fiction

Release Date: October 18, 2019

We all need to know what’s missing in our lives. At a funeral, someone stands and describes everything a person has accomplished in their life. But what if they missed something? What if there was one thing they never got to do? And what if they had a chance to go back and do it?

The Blackwells are a family with an extraordinary history and astounding traditions, which include attending their own funerals before they die! Their ways are questionable and their stories about deceased relatives are as bold as their red hair, but it is their eclectic wares that keep tourists coming back to their market in the town of Coraloo.

Charlie Price, whose world has come crumbling down after a lapse in judgment leaves him unemployed, finds himself flung into the chaotic world of the Blackwells when he relocates to Coraloo with his socialite wife, Velveteen, and shy son, Gideon. Here Charlie attempts to make a living as a ‘picker’, reselling under-priced items he picks up at the market. Some of the Blackwells welcome him with open arms, but others resent pickers and want him thrown out of the market. Charlie soon finds this new way of life under threat and his quest for simplicity seems to be crumbling. Perhaps it’s time for Charlie to have a funeral of his own!

This charming story of hope will warm your heart and make your imagination soar.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Author Photo ColourLauren H. Brandenburg is an inspirational speaker, mentor, and author from Nashville, Tennessee. Her fourth book in The Books of the Gardener series, Orlo: The Created, was a 2017 finalist for the Selah Middle-Grade Novel of the Year. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Georgetown College, is the president of the Middle Tennessee chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers, and an active participant with the writers of Realm Makers.

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An Excerpt from The Death of Mungo Blackwell

Tofts were not welcome at the renowned Coraloo Flea Market. The Blackwells made certain of that. On the brick wall, the sign outside the once-prosperous shoe factory proclaimed, NO DOGS OR TOFTS – GRANNY BITES! Reading these words, Charlie Price scratched his thinning blond hair, musing over the long-standing rivalry he had read about between the Tofts and the Blackwells. Today was Thursday; the market was closed, but there was nothing stopping Charlie from exploring. The scent of old leather and lavender lured him – as it did countless others – through the stone archway into the still, quiet building, carrying with it the promise of unearthing a hidden treasure or memorable trinket. Inside, the shops, each specific to their wares– antique books, hand-dyed ribbons, flowers, freshly pressed olive oils, leather goods, and an occasional antique dealer – lined the perimeter like tiny homes. These, Charlie knew, belonged to the Blackwells. The center, reserved for paying vendors and hungry shoppers dining on Granny’s delicacies at hand-hewn tables, was empty today.

He peered through one of the storefront windowpanes. In front of a faux mantel, two armchairs were arranged in such a way the shop almost looked livable. Charlie moved on. The next shop appeared promising – less orderly, no décor. He spotted a French horn, dented and in need of a polish. Music is money – a mantra he heeded when considering a purchase. He’d come back and make an offer in the morning, but he would have to arrive early if he wanted to turn a profit – especially at the Coraloo. Pickers arrive early.

Nestled at the top of a rolling green hill in a picturesque town with stone inlaid streets, overlooking curving rows of carefully maintained cedar-shingled rooftops not yet touched by the deluge of tourists or modern construction trends, sat the Coraloo Flea Market. Wayfaring magazine called the market one of the country’s hidden wonders – known for its charm, history, food, and peculiar owners. The writer described it as a place where peace and simplicity dine with the eccentric – a trove for modern-day treasure hunters – keeping watch over a quaint commonality held together by deep ancestral roots and rivalries. It’s why Charlie entertained the thought of moving his family two hours and forty-one minutes southeast of the big city – to start over, to live simply, to shop the Coraloo. He shined his flashlight into the shop – an antique globe perched on a wooden pedestal caught his eye. He doubted they would take less than the asking price, but it was worth a try. Beside it, sitting on top of a pile of yellowing maps, a gold-rimmed teacup sat chipped and out of place. It wasn’t valuable anymore. Somebody had probably tossed it out during a spring clean, along with broken picture frames and melted candles. But regardless of its worth, it had a story. The cup once had an owner – possibly a fan of Ceylon orange pekoe or Earl Grey. Had the vessel been a gift or a souvenir from an unplanned road trip? Had the owner been forced to part with this fragment of everyday life to make room for simplicity?

No… that was his story. With his hands in the pockets of his slacks, Charlie slumped down on an old church pew outside the market shop. Had life really come to this? Had four years at university and a career with a six-figure income dwindled down to sorting through the discarded wares of others? He had been good at his job and never doubted his instincts. He was meticulous, thorough – except on the day the proposal landed on his desk.

A balmy August breeze crept into the brick edifice, bringing with it the sweet aroma of freshly hung tobacco from a farm on the other side of the hill. Charlie closed his eyes and inhaled distant days – memories of a life absorbed by legality and expectation, before the whirlwind of the past year wreaked devastation on his once predictable life.

He remembered the loan. How could he forget? An equipment loan three times what the proprietor needed. His university roommate and colleague, Carl Rogers, had pulled him aside. “This guy is a pal of mine. Everything’s here. Just sign and you’re done.” That should have been his first red flag – slow down, look closer. The plan seemed solid, the client a chef and former restaurant owner. It was a lapse in judgment. A missing document. He should have caught it. With the fragile state of the financial world, there was no room for error. On a wider scale, the newspapers swarmed with rumors of a crumbling economy in response to banks’ over lending to house-hungry newlyweds. Pair that with this class-action lawsuit of press-worthy proportions, and the bank would take a healthy loss, leading to some very unhappy shareholders.

He had called Velveteen. She had said she was mid-foil at the salon and could not meet him for another two hours. He had packed up his office and walked out the front doors of Heritage Financial without looking back. He had needed time to strategize, to carefully word how he was going to tell his wife of eleven years that he was unemployed – not just unemployed, but most likely black-balled from every bank, accounting firm, and food truck in the city.

Stupid food trucks. Charlie let his head fall into his hands, vowing to never eat at a food truck again. The fragmented events leading up to this moment entered his mind, overshadowing the potential of Coraloo.

His rear end was sore from sitting for so long, and he wasn’t sure he could swim in his own guilt and self-loathing much longer. He raised his eyes at the click-clack of high heels.

Velveteen Price arrived with the latest Melba DuMont novel peeking cautiously over the edge of her handbag. He stood and kissed her – a quick peck on the lips. Whenever he kissed her in public, he pretended all of the other men around were jealous. He loved every inch of her, inside and out, and dreaded telling her their life would drastically change. He sensed she already knew something – regardless, Charlie wanted her to hear it from him, so explained every detail, from how Carl, despite being a known idiot, had insisted his street food truck client was an easy underwrite to the fact that when it fell apart, Charlie took the fall. At this Velveteen informed him her friendship with Carl’s wife, Mary Beth Rogers, was over.

“I’m done with that woman. I really am!”

 Charlie had laughed – he used to laugh more.

“But I’m proud of you, Charlie Price.” “For what? Losing my job?”

“No, for making it this far. It’s not over, you know. You’ll find something better. You were almost VP of the country’s largest bank! Somebody will see the value in that… Somebody will see your value! What about Standard? I’m sure they would hire you. I’ll call Rebecca, her husband is pres –”

“I’ve already started putting in applications.” He held up two fingers.

“Two applications already! See! You’re a fighter, Charlie!” “Two rejections.”

“Today?”


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