Sabotaged Christmas

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About the Book:

In Sabotaged Christmas, author Carole Brown has constructed a page-turning story with memorable characters and a unique plot with plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing almost to the end.

Peg Phifer, author

To See the Sun Somehow Christmas Will Come

Carole Brown has done a wonderful job of balancing romance and mystery, keeping her readers engaged while at the same time entertained. This book is a good read for anyone who loves curling up with a good book, one that will cement your faith in happy endings.

–Barbara Derksen, author of the

Wilton/Strait and Finder Keepers Mystery series

Sabotaged Christmas involves sabotage on the work site, romance, and dysfunctional families … how could that combination result in a warm, fuzzy Christmas ending Characters I loved and wanted to have their dreams come true. Others, I wanted to keep my distance from and hoped they would get their just deserts. Plot twists I didn’t see coming kept me reading past bedtime! I especially liked the ending with all the threads tied together! Well done, Carole.

Carol A. Brown (the other Carol Brown)

Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity

Highly Sensitive and The Sassy Pants Series.

Retired Educator.

In Sabotaged Christmas, Carole Brown weaves an enticing web of intrigue, romance and faith guaranteed to keep you reading until the very last page. Though set in the dead of winter, this book is sizzling with action, mystery and down-to-earth characters that will keep your imagination spinning and the questions flowing. With its focus on family and the idea of building new relationships, this book is a great example of “love conquers all.”

Dana Rongione, author

The Giggles and Grace series

The Delaware Detectives Mystery series

About the Author:

Carole Brown’s debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, is a 2015 Book of the Year in General Fiction from Christian Small Publishers, a RWA Oklahoma International Digital Award 2nd place winner, a Clash of the Titles top three finalist, a Selah Award finalist in debut novels, and a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, she enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband have ministered and counseled across the country. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

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My Review

Sabotaged Christmas was a fun mystery! Yes, it was a mystery, with lots of angles I did not predict, but it was fun because Toni DeLuca finds love with a very difficult man – Perrin Douglas. Toni is a successful construction owner who becomes the target of a sabotaging. Her business, and her life, are in jeopardy. Although she is dealing with this problem, she is still pushing ahead to get the jobs her and her crew have started on.

Perrin Douglas and his son Blake, are new to the town. Their house is way too small for the two of them so Perrin hires DeLuca Construction to come and add on to the house.  Little does Perrin know that the company he has hired is owned by a woman.  Perrin had a difficult marriage and finds it very difficult to trust women.  That is, until he meets Toni.

This story is exciting and keeps you guessing.  One point I will give away is that one night, the person who is sabotaging Toni breaks into her house and hits her on the head.  How’s that for excitement? The characters are wonderful and Brown adds just the right amount of God into the picture.  The story is wholesome mixed in with a lot of mystery.  It can be read at any time of year because it’s not Christmas that it’s set around, but in trying to find the culprit behind all the sabotage.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

I give it ♥♥♥♥

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Shadows of Deception

Shadows of Deception

About the Book

“Get to work cowboy or you’ll be too late to the table to get any pie.”

A short getaway to a nice Texas ranch isn’t why Tiffany is at Colorado’s home. She is a seasoned LA PI and used to the fast paced life. The problems on the ranch are different from what she is used to but she is determined to solve them one way or another. There is one slight problem—a tall dark and handsome cowboy distracting her and occupying more and more of her thoughts.

“…I would hate for anything to happen to remove you from my favor…or organization.”

Danger on the ranch is real and escalating quickly. Colorado doesn’t know who to trust or what is coming next. The thing he does know is Tiffany Reiley is the woman he wants for the job.

Thinking the case will be quick and easy to solve, Tiffany doesn’t anticipate the depth of the horrors she has stepped into.

As Colorado and Tiffany’s attraction grows, the danger gets closer. Will God guide them to the answers they are so desperately searching for?

About the Author

Author Ashley Dawn was born and raised in rural Arkansas where she developed her love for writing while helping in her parent’s office. She graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Central Arkansas but is currently working as a legal assistant.

Ashley has been writing professionally for the past twelve years and has four published books. Her Shadows Series include Shadows From The Past, Shadows of Suspicion, Shadows of Pain, and Shadows of Deception. She is currently working on multiple projects including the fifth in her ‘Shadows’ series entitled “Shadows in Black and White” and also a standalone suspense titled ‘One of Their Own’. She an­­d her family make their home in Texas.

Ashley Dawn Author Pic

Guest Post by the Author

Shadows of Deception was a fun book to write.

I love writing my Shadows books because the characters have become so ‘real’ for me. The Reiley family is a large, close family. Each of the siblings is their own person with their own life, but they will always be there for each other.

Deception focuses on Tiffany Reiley. Tiffany loves her family completely, but in such a big family, feels like she has to prove herself. She isn’t looking for a man, and certainly not a man like Colorado. Her story honestly didn’t unfold as I had planned, I wrote it one way but it felt forced and like I was making my characters do things that didn’t fit their personalities. Letting the story just ‘flow’ and the characters be themselves was scary and thrilling at the same time.

There is a touch of difficult subject matter, but for me the story is more about how God is in our lives no matter what. God is always there and His love for us, even when we don’t feel loveable or deserving is ours for the taking. When we don’t understand why things are happening, He does. My hope is no matter what someone gets from the book, they see God’s love through it.

My Review

I am a huge mystery buff!!  I cannot get enough of them, so when I saw the synopsis for Shadows of Deception I knew I needed to read it.  I was NOT disappointed!!  I’m only sad that I didn’t know that there are three more books in the series, but that’s okay because I will read them.

Tiffany Reiley is not your typical girl.  She is a famous PI and loves her job.  She has a big family who all adore one another and are there to help at any time.  Colorado Wiley is a real-live cowboy whose ranch and farmhands are being threatened.  He knows of Tiffany’s reputation and wants her to solve this case.

The story kept me wanting more.  The opening chapter alone pulled me in.  I knew from that chapter that this would be a good book!  There was a lot of suspense, with a little love forming.  I appreciated that Ashley Dawn made the love match sweet and pure and that it didn’t take away from the mystery of the story.  At one point, I had come to the end of a chapter where Tiffany had found a bloodied locket and was actually upset because I had to get ready for work and couldn’t read on to find out what was going on! 

I could not figure out who the culprit was, which I love!  I was actually afraid for all the characters’ safety because, well, you just never know what authors are going to do in their stories.  If you enjoy mysteries, you will enjoy this book.  I give it five (5) stars!!

I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Summation

♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 4

Bukwurmzzz, December 4

Blogging With Carol, December 5

A Baker’s Perspective, December 5

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, December 6

Real World Bible Study, December 7

Godly Book Reviews, December 8

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 9

Janices book reviews, December 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 11

Pause for Tales, December 12

Carpe Diem, December 12

A Good Book and Cup of tea, December 13

The Mimosa Blossom, December 14

Bibliophile Reviews, December 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 15

Texas Book-aholic, December 16

Bigreadersite, December 16

Bigreadersite, December 16

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 17

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Ashley is giving away a grand prize of a $25 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/d8a3/shadows-of-deception-celebration-tour-giveaway

Love’s Christmas Blessing

About the Book

Winter’s Treasure

Paris Kauffman believes she is about to embark on her family-tradition birthday treasure hunt, but for the first time ever, her daed is sending her to various businesses and homes in the community. Little does Paris expect that when she enters the bakery to collect her gift, the bus will drop off none other than her old crush, Aquila Stutzman, the man she’d done everything except cartwheels and handstands to get his attention. And failed. Of course, Quil doesn’t remember her.

Quil was offered employment working on his grandparents’ new tree farm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Since he’s recovering from a broken heart when his longtime girlfriend Priscilla up and married his cousin, a move Quil never saw coming, he decides to take the job. This will give him time to separate himself from the hurt and maybe, eventually, move on.

Paris and Quil have sparks from the beginning, especially since his appearance causes a vicious rivalry between friends. But who can resist when a chance meeting beginning with donuts and coffee ends with a missing person, puppies, a skunk, and a sleigh ride—not to mention a trip the Amish young people plan to Niagara Falls. Could it also involve falling in love?

Mistletoe and Miracles

Daniel Graber has spent years caring for his aging parents. Now Daed’s in rehab with a broken hip and a bad case of irritability. He snaps at the workers and complains about doing physical therapy, so Daniel is grateful for the new aide, Fern Chupp, who uses her sweetness and charm to convince Daed to cooperate. Turns out, Daed isn’t the only one she charms.

As a widow, Fern is grateful for her new job at Fairview Rehab Center, even though it meant relocating to Ephrata, Pennsylvania, with her nine-year-old daughter, Lyddie. But Lyddie is grieving the recent death of her grandfather and dislikes leaving her Ohio home. Lyddie’s shyness also makes it difficult to make friends or recite school lessons.

When her class goes to the rehab center to interview patients, Lyddie’s too scared to do her assignment, so she runs away. During the hunt for her missing daughter, independent Fern learns to accept and appreciate Daniel’s help and support. By the time they discover Lyddie, she’s made a very unusual friend, and Fern and Daniel have developed a . Can four lonely heart create special bonds to make it a Christmas to remember?

 

About the Authors

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

Laura picture

Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. The author of several Amish romance series, she grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for many of her stories. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.

Rachel’s Amish series include Sisters & Friends (Charisma House & Harlequin), Love & Promises (Hachette/Grand Central), Hearts of Amish Country (Annie’s Book Club), and the forthcoming Surprised by Love (Kensington). She also has several anthologies in print as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Book.

To learn more about Rachel, visit her at www.racheljgood.com.

rachel good

 

My Review

These were two very sweet love stories!  Both are Amish based and clean love stories that will melt your heart.  Winter’s Treasure takes the reader on a treasure hunt where Paris is celebrating her birthday with her best friend.  The two come across Quil, a young man whom Paris grew up with and had a major crush on, coming off a train.  He winds up spending the day with the ladies and falls head over heels for Paris even though he’s just had his heart broken.  Paris believes an untruth about Quil and tries desperately to keep her heart guarded.  The story has excitement and is perfect for the Christmas season!

Mistletoe and Miracles  is about a young woman who has recently moved to town with her nine year old daughter.  Fern works in a rehabilitation center and meets Moses, a grumpy old man.  She steals his heart and eventually, so does her daughter.  Moses’ son, Daniel, becomes very smitten with Fern, but makes assumptions about her that could ruin everything.  The story brings in sadness, but through the unlikely relationship between Moses and Lyddie (Fern’s daughter), a familial bond will ensue.  This story brought me to happy tears.  I loved this story!!

I was given this book to read, free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

My Summation

♥♥♥♥♥

Giveaway

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To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving awayGrand prize of $25 Amazon gift card1st place: Paperback copy of Love’s Christmas Blessings2-4th place: eBook copy of Love’s Christmas Blessings!!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/d8a0/love-s-christmas-blessing-celebration-tour-giveaway

Coconut Potato Fudge Recipe:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain, mashed potatoes, either instant or one medium potato, cooked

1/8 cup finely chopped (or crushed) almonds (optional)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup shredded coconut

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
give3 tablespoons butter

Instructions:

Beat powdered sugar and coconut into warm potatoes; then add the vanilla extract and almonds.

Press into a lightly-greased 8-inch square pan; set aside.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. When melted, pour over top of the potato mixture.

Refrigerate until set and then cut into squares.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Enchanting Nicholette

Enchanting Nicholette (The Everstone Chronicles Book 5) by [Crandall, Dawn]

Synopsis

In this captivating novella by Dawn Crandall, Nicholette Everstone is already a widow at the age of twenty-two: her husband was murdered on their wedding day. She has just returned to Boston after two years of mourning in Europe. Although her husband was loving, the marriage was an arranged one, and Nicholette would like to wed again–this time for love…and to someone safe.

As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette meets someone she can’t help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears of “what if” at bay?

About the Author

Dawn Crandall’s debut Gilded Age Victorian romance, “The Hesitant Heiress,” was a 2015 ACFW Carol award finalist in the debut category and received the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2015 Write Touch Reader’s Choice Award and the 2015 Romancing the Novel Reader’s Choice Award. Her follow-up novel, “The Bound Heart,” received the 2016 Laurel Award from Clash of the Titles. Dawn earned a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University. She’s been balancing books and babies lately as her two sons were both born as the four books of her Everstone Chronicles series were being released from Whitaker House from 2014 to 2016. Dawn lives with her husband and two young sons on a hobby farm in her hometown in northeast Indiana.

Dawn Crandall

My Ideation

This was the second book I’ve read from the Everstone Chronicles and I loved it just as much as the first!!  I love how the story is set in the 1800’s when life was so proper and respectful.  I also love how each book has its own set of characters, but brings in characters from the other books to crossover.  

Nicholette is a very well-developed character.  I liked her immediately.  She had suffered a great loss, but Dawn did not disappoint when she brought Nicholette a handsome gentleman to fall in love with.  She also didn’t disappoint when she put in a twist at the end.  I did not see that coming!!!  It was vital to the story, but I had no idea until I read the end.  I love books that keep me guessing!!

This book can be read alone, but I highly suggest reading them all.  You will not be disappointed by this beautiful story that has tragedy, heartbreak, and secrets intertwined!

Summation

♥♥♥♥♥

No Small Storm

No Small Storm

About The Book

September 1815, Providence, Rhode Island

Thirty-year-old Remembrance “Mem” Wilkins loves her solitary life running the farm and orchard she inherited from her father and has no plans to give up her independence. Especially not for the likes of Mr. Graham Lott. But when Mem is unable to harvest the apples on her own, she accepts the help of the man she despises.

Fresh off a boat from Ireland with his four-year-old son in tow, Simon Brennan secures a building in which to ply his trade as a cobbler. Still healing from the grief of his wife’s death a year earlier, he determines to focus only on providing a good life for his son. But when he intervenes in an argument on behalf of the intriguing Miss Wilkins, sister-in-law of the tavern owner who befriends him, he suddenly finds himself crossways with his landlord, Mr. Lott, and relieved of his lease and most of his money.

With no means of support, Simon takes a job helping Mem with her harvest, relieving her of the need of Lott’s help. But their growing attraction to each other makes them both uneasy. Mem gladly escapes to town when her sister begins labor, and Simon, believing it best to distance himself from Mem, takes his son and leaves.

But neither anticipates the worst gale New England has ever seen—or that the storm will threaten all they hold dear.

 

About the Author

Anne Mateer has loved reading and writing stories since childhood. She is the author of 4 historical novels, 1 historical novella, and a few contemporary short stories. Anne and her husband of 30 years, Jeff, love to visit their grown children and tour historical sites. They are currently living an empty nest adventure in Austin, TX.

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Guest Post by Anne Mateer

I’m always up for a good historical story. It’s what I enjoy reading. It’s what I enjoy writing. But I find that my pleasure in any historical fiction increases exponentially when the story at hand is based on at least a kernel of historical fact. All four of my full-length novels share this trait. So it stood to reason that when turning my mind to a historical novella I would seek the same grounding in truth I’ve sought before.

So what historical fact inspired No Small Storm? It was a combination of them, actually. Which I think always makes for the best tales!

I like an overarching historical event to help frame a story. Things like war or economic crisis or natural disaster. Situations in the historical record which required courage or resilience or sacrifice from the people who lived through them. When I stumbled upon the Great Gale of 1815, which hit Providence, Rhode Island particularly hard, I knew it could provide obstacles for my characters to overcome.

As I began to read about this event—a hurricane before such storms were commonly called hurricanes—I happened upon some first hand accounts of that day. Fascinating remembrances about a storm arriving without much preamble, then departing and leaving bright sunny skies with which to view the destruction.

And destruction there was! Not only from wind and water, but also the fact that both of those things unleashed the ships moored in the harbor and sent them sailing down the main street of town! Can you imagine looking out of the second or third story window of a building which was likely flooded on the ground floor and seeing a ship coming at you?

That, in itself, was dramatic enough. Especially when coupled with the fact that those ships often broke apart, whether from wind and waves or from contact with the buildings and bridges they encountered on land. Then I considered the in those ships? What happened to them? Many were flung into the water, searching for purchase.

It was just such a circumstance that brought one man to the window of a young woman. She helped him inside. They were later married. And if finding such a story that isn’t a romance writer’s delight, I don’t know what is!

Finally, as I continued to read about the destruction in the area, I discovered a few lines about area orchards. The hanging fruit was found covered with a dusting of white. When tasted, it was discovered to be salt. Salt from storm surge and sea spray. Salt that saturated, even miles inland. Water and wind—and they salt they carried—ruining fruit crops ready for harvest. What could be more devastating to a farmer than that?

And so No Small Storm was born, with Remembrance and Simon each trying to make a good life for themselves, each trying to trust God as they work hard. Each keeping careful watch over their heart. But sometimes circumstances take things we don’t want to give. And give things we never imagined possible.

Historical fact and spiritual truth. Characters who are a product of their times as well as universal in their struggles and desires. It’s the kind of story I love to read. And the kind of story I’m proud to write.

 

My Review

This was a very heartfelt story!  I loved the characters and how noble they both were.  I though the name Remembrance was unusual and elegant.  I loved how quickly Mem and Simon’s son form a bond.  Mem has no children of her own.  She has three nieces and then a newborn nephew and yet, she is like a mother figure to Simon’s four year old son.

Mem loves her family very much and tries to be very helpful.  Even though her sister has the family that she desires, she appreciates what she does have.  When Simon comes into her life she must fight off her feelings for him because she is afraid of getting hurt again. Simon has his own reasons for fighting off his feelings for Mem.  I must say that it was frustrating for me.  The two seemed perfect for one another.  There was definitely a connection.  Mateer does a great job explaining Simon’s and Mem’s reasons behind their feelings.

When the great storm came about, I found myself tearing up when Mem was trying to save the person who is in trouble.  Not only did Mateer describe the storm tremendously, she made it easy to visualize and feel the turmoil almost first hand.  This was a great book and I highly recommend it!

 

Summary

♥♥♥♥

 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 6

Carpe Diem, February 6

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 7

Reading Is My SuperPower, February 7

The Power of Words, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 8

Inklings and notions, February 9

Blossoms and Blessings, February 9

Kathleen Denly, February 10

History, Mystery & Faith, February 10

Bukwurmzzz, February 11

Views From the Window Friend, February 11

By The Book, February 12

Maureen’s Musings, February 12

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 13

Mary Hake, February 13

proud to be an autism mom, February 14

Connie’s History Classroom, February 14

A Greater Yes, February 15

Janices book reviews, February 15

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 16

A Baker’s Perspective, February 16

Bibliophile Reviews, February 17

Margaret Kazmierczak, February 17 (Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, February 18 (Guest post from Mindy)

Bigreadersite, February 18

Pink Granny’s Journey, February 19

Pursuing Stacie, February 19

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Anne is giving away a grand prize of a reader bag of goodies—including a Pride and Prejudice fleece throw, a “reading” charm necklace from Storied Jewelry, a Secret Garden litograph tote bag, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c604

12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Bleakly Manor COVER

 

About the Book

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.

But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.

What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

 

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of both Regency and Colonial historical romances but also leaped the writerly fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. Keep up with her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookInstagramTwitter, or Pinterest.

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Guest Post by Michelle Griep

Go Green With Victorian Christmas Décor

Guest post by Michelle Griep

Walk in any store and you’ll be bombarded with displays of Christmas lights, gaudy ornaments, and inflatable life-size lawn characters. Commercialization at its worst. 150 years ago, that wasn’t the case. Yearning to decorate in a simpler fashion this year? Here are some ways you can bring a bit of the nineteenth century to your home this Christmas…

TREE DECORATIONS

Queen Elizabeth’s husband, the German Prince Albert, introduced the concept of a Christmas tree to Windsor castle. And you know, if it’s good enough for royalty its good enough for the common folk, right? So, the tradition spread. Generally trees were brought inside on Christmas Eve and taken down on January 6th. Trees were decorated with homemade ornaments from paper or fruits and nuts, strings of popcorn or cranberries, or hanging cookies such as gingerbread men from the branches. And remember, an authentic Victorian Christmas tree would’ve been small, like small enough to stand on a table.

GREENERY

Holly. Evergreens. Mistletoe. Most Victorians couldn’t afford store-bought decorations even were there a commercialized industry at the time (which there wasn’t). So the next best thing was to bring in some free/natural ornamentations. Greenery would’ve been perked up with berries, ribbons, dough ornaments or flowers. Pinecones were also scattered throughout the house.

WREATHS

“Writhen” is the root word where we get the word wreath from. It’s an old English word meaning “to writhe” or “to twist.” While the art of hanging wreaths goes back to Roman times, Victorians continued the tradition.

CANDLES

Candles were primarily placed in one of two spots during a Victorian Christmas. A single candle in a window was lit to show that the house was willing to provide food and shelter to travelers. Candles were also used on each and every branch of a Christmas tree, which meant a huge danger of fire. Usually a servant would stand nearby with a bucket of water just in case the thing started to burn.

DRESDENS

Dresdens are ornaments hung from the tree, from a window, or really hanging pretty much anywhere. These were handmade by cutting out shapes (usually animals or trains) and painted with metallic paint so that they looked like metal.

And that’s about it. No obnoxious Santas or reindeer inflated on the front lawn. No psycho Christmas lights strobing enough to give every passerby a seizure. Just plain and simple decor that made the home feel cozy.

And speaking of cozy, how about grabbing a blanket and a cup of hot tea and settling in for a holiday read that’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit? My latest release is 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, a Victorian blend of Dickens and Agatha Christie.

My Review

If you are a fan of the movie Clue, you will love this book!  This book had the interesting characters – some with strange names – a mansion, an absentee host, and some strange situations arising.  They all knew that they were there to possibly win some money, but they didn’t know why they had been chosen.

It was fun learning about the characters and wondering how they would fare in the contest.  This was especially true of Ben, who was “released” from prison in order to partake in this contest.  This was sort of a story within a story.  Clara and Ben are the main characters who have been dealt a huge blow.  They have been told lies about the other, which was the reason for their break-up.  They are now face-to-face with one another and trying to not only figure out what the truth was, but trying to help the other guests so that everyone is safe.

The author does a great job of bringing the 1800s to life.  Her descriptions set the stage for my imagination.  I loved the old-English verbiage she used.  It made me feel as though I were in a different time era.

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card and a signed copy of 12 Days of Bleakly Manor!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5b8

Blog Stops

By The Book, December 14

Bukwurmzzz, December 14

Faery Tales Are Real, December 14

A Baker’s Perspective, December 15

A Reader’s Brain, December 15

Have A Wonderful Day, December 15

Texas Book-aholic, December 16

Carpe Diem, December 16

Cafinated ReadsDecember 16

Just the Write Escape, December 17

A Greater YesDecember 17

Remembrancy, December 17

AllofakindmomDecember 18

History, Mystery & Faith, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 18

amandainpa, December 19

Kat’s Corner Books, December 19

Mommynificent, December 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 20

Bookworm Mama, December 20

Vicky Sluiter, December 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 21

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, December 21

To Everything A Season, December 21

Reader’s Cozy Corner, December 22

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 22

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 22 (Interview)

My Writer’s Life, December 23

Janices book reviews, December 23

For The Love of Books, December 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Red Headed Book Lady, December 25

Raining Butterfly Kisses, December 25

Bibliophile Reviews, December 26

Blogging With Carol,December 26

Mary Hake, December 26

Reflections From my Bookshelves, December 27

Colors of Christmas

Colors of Christmas cover

About the Book

Christmas in Blue
Angela just wants Christmas to be over. Instead, she finds herself in charge of the town’s celebration, and everything goes from bad to worse. Can she rescue Christmas for the town—and herself?

Christmas in Gold
When eighty-year-old Astrid moves into an assisted living community and meets a young woman on the brink of despair, she resolves to stir up Christmas hope one more time.

 

About the Author

Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twenty-something children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where day-lilies grow as tall as she is.

Olivia Newport

 

Guest Post from Olivia Newport

We All Have a Story

 

I’m younger than most of the people I exercise with. It started when I had a lot of pain in my feet and needed low-impact classes with the option of sitting down and learned I didn’t have to be a senior citizen to take their classes at my gym. Then I discovered how tough most of them are. Years later, though my feet are better, these are still my people.

 

A couple of years ago, while we waited for the younger and allegedly-but-not-really-tougher crowd to clear out of the group exercise room so we could invade it, a woman I would not have guessed to be 80, because she could out-cardio and out-lift me any day of the week, mentioned she had been widowed since she was 39. And she’d been widowed the first time at 19. And she’d grown up in Germany while Hitler was intent on destroying Europe and life was not easy.

 

Then the changing of the guard happened and I was left with my mouth gaping. I knew I had to hear this story. The next week after class, we went across the parking lot to Culvers for lunch and I scribbled notes on the backs of a pile of brown napkins while Astrid talked. Later she let me read the account of her life that she had written herself.

 

Astrid faced so many tragic circumstances, but she would be the first to tell you that God was with her even before she knew how to call on him. Many people with her life story would have found plenty of reason to wallow and stagnate. But not Astrid. Truly she is one of the most hopeful people I know.

 

Her story was the beginning of Colors of Christmas, which includes two stories. Astrid’s is “Christmas in Gold,” and the other is “Christmas in Blue.” Astrid inspired me to write about hope for a time of year when the Christian message resounds with hope yet so many people struggle to grasp hope for themselves. I pray these stories will help many recover a sense of hope afresh.

 

Olivia Newport chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where day-lilies grow as tall as she is.

 

My Ideation

Personally, I think Christmas stories are fantastic.  Not only do they bring hope, but they paint a beautiful picture of a wonderful time of year.  Colors of Christmas did that through two different stories.

Christmas in Gold was a true-to-life story.  Astrid has gotten up in years and must move to a retirement home.  Although not entirely happy about it, she understands that the time has come.  In the middle of familiarizing herself with a new home and starting physical therapy, she makes it her mission to figure out what is troubling her physical therapist.  Through her treatments, she tells her life’s story and hopes that Carly will come to know the Lord.

I loved how Newport brought in Astrid’s childhood and marriages into the story.  It helped me better connect with Astrid.  My great-grandma was from Germany so hearing Astrid’s story reminded me of my great-grandma and what her family may have gone through.  Astrid’s character is very loving and godly.  I loved how she put everyone else above herself, which is as it should be.

Christmas in Blue was a little difficult for me.  Angela lost her best friend to cancer.  This was to be her first Christmas without her.  She was not feeling festive in the least bit.  This was my family last Christmas as it was the first since my mom had passed from cancer.

Angela has been “volunteered” to carry on her best friend’s Christmas tradition, in which she is to decorate the town.  Angela is not happy about it.  She is mourning her friend and would rather just forget about Christmas.  Even though she is not happy that she was volunteered, she decides to concede.  Everything starts going wrong until a handsome young stranger comes to town and steps in to help her.  

This is a very sweet story that reveals how powerful love is.  Angela makes some realizations during this time and begins to see things in a different light.  The handsome young stranger shares a bond with Angela and in working together are able to help each other in the healing process.

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a grand prize of a Christmas Bundle Bonanza which includes 7 Jumbo rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, 2 sets of stick-on gift tags, 2 packages of Christmas cards and envelopes, 2 collections of Christmas novellas—18 stories in all, and a signed copy of Colors of Christmas!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c319

 

Blog Stops

Books N Baubles, October 17

Christian Bookaholic, October 17

Bukwurmzzz, October 17

Janices book reviewsOctober 18

Singing Librarian BooksOctober 18

Reading Is My SuperPowerOctober 18

Moments Dipped in Ink, October 18

A Simply Enchanted Life, October 19

G.O. & D’S QUILTS & BOOKSOctober 19

BigreadersiteOctober 19

Reader’s cozy cornerOctober 20

Have A Wonderful DayOctober 20

Reflections from my bookshelves, October 20

Blogging With CarolOctober 21

Just the Write EscapeOctober 21

Zerina Blossom’s BooksOctober 21

A Greater YesOctober 22

Mary HakeOctober 22

Daysong ReflectionsOctober 22

A Baker’s PerspectiveOctober 23

Ashley’s BookshelfOctober 23

Baker KellaOctober 23

Smiling Book ReviewsOctober 23

The Fizzy Pop CollectionOctober 24

It’s Storytime With Van DanikerOctober 24

Remembrancy, October 24

Carpe DiemOctober 25

autism momOctober 25

Bibliophile ReviewsOctober 25

A Reader’s BrainOctober 26

By The BookOctober 26

The Power of WordsOctober 26

With a Joyful Noise, October 27

Pause for Tales, October 27

Splashes of JoyOctober 27

Jeanette’s ThoughtsOctober 28

Christian Chick’s ThoughtsOctober 28

Karen Sue HadleyOctober 28

Vicky SluiterOctober 29

To Everything a SeasonOctober 29

Pursuing StacieOctober 29

Just Jo’AnneOctober 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 30

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsOctober 30

Devil in the Dust

Cover hi rez[11002]

About the Book

June 1933

Their small Oklahoma town is dying. Lillian remembers how acres and acres of wheat once waved under jewel-blue skies. Now the dirt stretches across the flat land as far as she can see.

Emma’s husband is missing. She keeps house, keeps her five children fed as best as she can, and keeps smiling as her hope fades. But when the days stretch to weeks, she faces the possibility that he will never come home. Left with the likelihood of losing their farm, and the ever-present pangs of hunger, she is forced to consider opportunities that, under normal circumstances, she would never contemplated.

Jessie, Emma’s oldest daughter, completes her tasks as if numb. Forced to wear her mother’s shoes to avoid the humiliation of bare feet, she watches the dead, dirt road for signs of life.

And then he comes.

His new car and shiny shoes and generous way with gifts and money catch Jessie’s eye, much to the dismay of her mother … and much to the concern of the minister’s wife, Lillian. He’s too smooth, too willing to help, and much too eager to spend time with a girl less than half his age. But who is to say he is not the miracle they all prayed for?

 

About the Author

Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for a local college. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

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Guest Post from 

Why I wrote Devil in the Dust.

One Sunday after church, we decided to go to lunch with another family. We hadn’t had the opportunity to get to know this couple well, but the conversation was amazing, we laughed until we almost cried, and I’m pretty sure the restaurant manager was glad to see us go.

On the way out, the topic grew more serious, and I mentioned something that worried me. It was maybe a sentence—I was not baring my soul—but the woman with whom we had spent the last couple of delightful hours stopped, blinked, and put up her wall-of-a-Christian-smile. In an instant, I knew I had been judged as negative. You see, for many Christians, the mantras of “the battle is already won,” “faith will get you through,” and the largely American “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” have drowned out the quieter mandate to care.

I went home chased by the feeling that, somehow, I didn’t measure up. And for a time, I dredged that place of overthinking, attempting to float a reason out of that murky pond where insecurity hides.

Of course, I came up with nothing, and decided to put my efforts into deciding what my next novel would be. Unfortunately (or fortunately), at this stage, every little life experience has potential for use.

While I had been undecided on theme, I knew I wanted the setting for the novel to be in the dustbowl in the 1930s. I began researching, and I realized the scope and human impact of this disaster was much larger than I had remembered from history class. More importantly, it lasted an entire decade. For a decade, people dealt with hunger and drought and death from breathing in the ultra-fine soot. Children were lost. Families abandoned their farms. People survived on rations of canned government meat…and that’s when they were lucky. Many felt cursed.

Life was hard. I imagine that smiles were rare, even in the church.

I started thinking about what it would take for a community to survive devastation on this scale. I considered the kind of people who make up a town: merchants, teachers, police, farmers, and ministers. And while merchants and teachers, along with everyone else, would feel the change brought on by the slow death of a drought, for a minister it would be different. A minister’s purpose is to bring people the good news of the gospel. Technically, their job would stay exactly the same, except every phrase they spoke would shift in meaning because the context—the lives of those sitting in the pews—had changed so dramatically.

Growing up as the child of a pastor, I have some knowledge about how a minister’s home works. And in all my research I was left with one question: How could a minister preach every Sunday to a congregation of people who had lost everything with no hope for improvement anytime soon?

I moved my research to the Bible, and when I did, I came across the story of Lazarus. I have heard and read this story countless times, but in the light of trying to puzzle out what a pastor might do in a situation where it looks like all has been lost, I realized something about the story that I had never considered. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he cried with Lazarus’ sisters. He shared in their grief even though he knew it would end. He stayed there with them in that moment of sorrow.

I came to the conclusion that during times of suffering, our responsibility to others should look nothing like that drought-of-a-Christian-smile that I met outside that restaurant. Rather, it should emulate Jesus’ example. When we make Christianity only about victory, and turn faith into a wish book, we strip it of its most powerful message: hope. Not eternal hope, but the hope of not being alone. More often than not, we lack the ability to change someone’s circumstances. What we can do is come up alongside someone and help carry their burden even if only for a few minutes. Christianity is not a way to avoid suffering, it’s about finding meaning through the suffering.

I wrote Devil in the Dust as an exploration of what it means to be a Christian while standing in the midst of a desert. Told through the voices of three women who endure the quiet shame of poverty, Devil in the Dust is a story about what happens to faith when everything goes wrong.

My Ideation

This is a great story of how people are able to get through difficult times by relying heavily on God.  This once flourishing town has been hit with a drought.  For the past three years there have been no crops.  Heavy winds bring constant dirt into homes and into food.  There is no way to avoid it.  Many families have left the area, either abandoning their homes or losing them.  Luecht does a good job of pulling in the reader.  I could not only picture the dust storms, but practically taste the dirt as well.

When the handsome, rich stranger comes into town, many people do not trust him.  Even though he’s the step-brother of the town’s store owner, there’s just something about him that isn’t right.  He tries to woo everyone.  He donates food to the mom who’s husband has been away for awhile and puts large amounts of money into the offering plate at church.  This man however, has a hidden agenda.  

This story has well-developed characters.  Luecht has done a great job with descriptions.  It is easy to picture the area, the constant mass of dirt, the fear that the residents have.  I was pulled in from the very beginning!

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copy of Devil in the Dust!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c201

 

Blog Stops

Zerina Blossom’s Books, October 10

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 11

Connie’s History Classroom, October 11

The Fizzy Pop Collection, October 12

Genesis 5020, October 12

A Reader’s Brain, October 13

Blogging With CarolOctober 14

Bukwurmzzz, October 15

A Baker’s Perspective, October 16

Books n Baubles, October 17

Inklings and notions, October 18

Mary Hake, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 20

Bigreadersite, October 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 21

Karen Sue Hadley, October 21

Daysong Reflections, October 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 23

 

 

Deadly Proof

Deadly Proof

About the Book

Tapped as lead counsel in a corporate cover-up lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical, Kate Sullivan knows this case could make her career. What really drives her, though, is getting justice for the victims whose lives were ruined by the company’s dangerous new drug. But when a whistleblower turns up dead, it paints a target on the back of everyone involved.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James steps in to handle security for Kate. He’s still haunted by mistakes in his past and is determined never to let something like that happen again. But it soon appears someone is willing to do anything–even commit murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

As danger closes in, Landon can’t help but admire Kate’s courage and resolve–but will her determination not to back down become too great of a risk?

 

About the Author

Rachel Dylan was a litigator in one of the nation’s most elite law firms for over eight years and now works as an attorney at one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers. She is the author of four Love Inspired Suspense novels and lives in Michigan with her husband. She is active on social media, and you can visit her website at www.racheldylan.com.

 

Dylan_Rachel1

My Ideation

This was a great book!  Dylan’s knowledge of the law came through in this story.  It was well-written and sounded very professional where the law was concerned.  Before I knew that Dylan had once been a litigator, I assumed that she had just searched so thoroughly.  I enjoyed the suspense as Kate pushed forth to prosecute MPC.  Even though her life was in danger, she pushed on in an effort to fight against this company that was producing harmful drugs.  I also enjoyed how Dylan brought in Landon, a PI, to not only protect Kate, but to help bring him back to the Lord.  Many wrongs were righted, as well as honor to God.  This story reminded me that when we are wrong we are to go to our brother and confess our sin against them and then to apologize.  I love how Dylan brought this into the story! 

Q & A with Rachel Dylan

  1. The Atlanta Justice series is centered around strong, female lawyers who take on high-stakes cases. What made you want to write their stories?I’d have to say it’s personal! Having been an attorney for eleven years now, I love being able to pour parts of myself into the books. My everyday life as a lawyer isn’t that exciting and is definitely not as dangerous! But I’m able to draw on what I’ve lived through to bring life and authenticity to these characters.
  1. What type of research did you do for Deadly Proof?One of the great things about writing books related to my career is that I know lawyers who practice all different types of law. Deadly Proof focuses on Kate Sullivan, who is a plaintiff’s attorney taking on a big pharmaceutical company. I don’t do this specific type of plaintiff’s work, but I know lawyers who do, and I was able to talk with them. Also, I was able to relate to my characters on the defense side because I’ve done that work for years. It was really fun to write the perspectives of characters on both sides of the case.
  1. Is there a reason you chose Atlanta for this series?Yes! I’m from Georgia and lived in Atlanta, practicing law at a large law firm, for eight years. I wanted to pick a setting I was intimately familiar with to give readers an authentic Atlanta experience—sweet tea and all.
  1. Where do you think Kate’s passion for her work comes from?Kate truly believes that her life’s work is to help those who have been wronged. I believe a lot of her passion stems from her strong faith that has developed over the years. She’s not a lawyer to make big bucks but to change people’s lives for the better.
  1. What is the next book in the Atlanta Justice series about?Book two is about Kate’s friend Sophie Dawson, who we meet in Deadly Proof. Sophie is an Atlanta prosecutor. This story is exciting because it involves a completely different type of legal case than Deadly Proof. But I promise things get just as dangerous!

 

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the tour, Bethany House is giving away four Suspense Novels and a $25 Starbucks Gift Card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04912/

 

Kerfuffle

Kerfuffle Front Cover v3

About the Book

Olive’s best friend needs her now more than ever, but can she piece together everything in time to help him?

When an anonymous email circulates through Normandie High, everything Olive knows about her family, church, and friends will change. In the midst of controversy, Olive finds she has been entrusted to protect her best friend and his secrets, though revealing them would make her life much easier. Meanwhile, she struggles to figure out what the Bible teaches about homosexuality while the members of Revive church lobby accusations back and forth, threatening to cause a church split.

In a twist that even Olive couldn’t anticipate, family relationships waiver as Olive tries to decode her mother’s mysterious behavior. When the past stirs up new accusations against Olive’s family, she learns that some secrets are more painful to reveal than others.

Though a helpful guy in Spanish class has her attention, Olive realizes that boy problems are the least of her worries. Can she balance drama, schoolwork, and still be the supportive friend and daughter God wants her to be?

 

About the Author

Kristin N. Spencer is an American expat living in a 68 square meter flat with her husband and three kids near the Aegean Sea. When she isn’t wifing, mothering, counseling, discipling, or writing, she enjoys sewing cosplay costumes for her family, baking, and hanging out with other geeks. She writes whatever she wants, including Non-Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy. Her favorite person is Jesus and her favorite X-men character is Jean Grey. Kristin studied Comparative World Literature at California State University, Long Beach and received a Bachelors, which she fondly calls a degree in reading.

Kristin Author Photo 2017

 

Guest Post by Kristin N. Spencer

Retrospective thoughts are so powerful, aren’t they? Now that I’m an adult I often look back on my adolescence and think, “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” As a YA author, I read a lot of books in my own genre, and I’ve noticed a pattern. Though many of the secular YA authors are brave enough to talk about the tough stuff, not many Christian authors go after the real world difficulties that face our young people. The passage of time constantly rips through generations creating new problems and situations. The world that my children are growing up in is very different from what I experienced, and the challenges that they face as Christians are also different. The Desires & Decisions series was born out of the need for me to able to address these controversial topics with my own children. Olive, a teenage girl growing up in Southern California, serves as the lens of perspective as we see almost everything from her point of view. Her world provides a safe, fictional place for Christians to flesh out these thoughts and think through what the Bible teaches about topics like racism, bullying, loving one’s neighbor, what real love is, and addiction.
 
Kerfuffle specifically explores the complex emotions associated with the Church and the temptation of same sex attraction. We get to experience the conflict Olive feels and also witness the varied reactions from different generations through Olive’s parents and other members of Revive Church. This issue isn’t going away, and as a Church we must be able to talk about it without alienating ourselves from those that struggle with this temptation. There is hope for every person through the blood of Jesus Christ, whether you struggle to love those who experience same sex attraction or you struggle with that temptation yourself. I hope Kerfuffle encourages you as you seek to walk closer to Christ.

My Review

I must honestly say that I wasn’t really sure about this book in the beginning.  It is more for a teenager, but I am not above reading teen books.  I just had no idea how it would pan out.  I’m so glad that I pushed forward and finished it!

This is a story that touches upon real life tragedies.  Just because a person is born again doesn’t mean that they will never encounter homosexuality or abuse.  It may not happen in their home, but they can encounter it among family members or friends.  This is the case for this Olive’s family.  

Olive’s family are church goers who fear the Lord.  They speak openly about God, pray for one another and as a family, and have Bible study in their home once a week.  Olive is a freshman in high school who wakes up early every morning to do her devotion and prayer.  Whenever there is an issue, the family prays right away. When Olive and her family learn that her friend Adam is attracted to boys, they pull together to support him.

Adam makes the choice to NOT get into a homosexual relationship because of his love for the Lord.  Even with this decision, however, he is ridiculed in his own church and is accused of sinning even though he has not sinned.  This is a very heavy story about how Christians can be too quick in hating a sinner who really, only sins differently than they do.

Kristin N. Spencer does a great job of putting scripture within this story that is a reminder that we are to love the sinner, not the sin.  We are not to judge and condemn others, but love them as ourselves.  When a Christian becomes self-righteous, not only is he sinning, but it can cause division within the church.  As Galatians 5:14 states, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I received this book for free for an honest opinion.

Summation

♥♥♥♥

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Kristin is giving away a grand prize of all three of her books: Newfangled, Flummoxed, and Kerfuffle and a T-shirt of your choice from the WritersLife Artist Shop ( https://writerslife.threadless.com)!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bb66

 

Blog Stops

August 15: Bukwurmzzz

August 16: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

August 17: Ashley’s Bookshelf

August 18: Blogging With Carol

August 19: Just the Write Escape

August 20: Carpe Diem

August 21: A Reader’s Brain

August 22: Remembrancy

August 23: Margaret Kazmierczak

August 24: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

August 25: Baker Kella

August 26: Avid Reader Book Reviews

August 27: The Power of Words (Spotlight)

August 28: JosephineAnneWrites