FRIENDS WITH ISSUES by Meredith Berlin — Featured New Release

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FRIENDS WITH ISSUES

Meredith Berlin


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fwiThree-time-Emmy nominee and former editor-in-chief of “Seventeen Magazine” and “Soap Opera Digest” Meredith Berlin is releasing her debut contemporary fiction, Friends With Issues (January 24, 2023, Warren Publishing), which follows three glamorous, self-made women in their 40s who gamble with love, sex and their careers in NYC and L.A., as one charismatic man captivates them all. 

Friends With Issues follows Brooke, Elizabeth, and Susan, three friends who have made their mark on Manhattan but who now struggle with the daily balancing act of career, friendship, and intimacy. Brooke thought she married the man of her dreams, but now she’s questioning her marriage as she embarks on a new venture to Hollywood. Elizabeth’s sex life is incredible, but only on her husband’s terms–and after a shattering diagnosis, she attempts to remake herself in order to recover some semblance of her identity. Susan should be ecstatic when her media mogul husband catapults them into financial security, but as her uncertainty about their relationship grows, she opens a Pandora’s box of new passion by finally admitting that her sexual and romantic preferences do not lie exclusively with men.

In Meredith Berlin’s provocative debut, these women discover that their relationships to sex, love, friends, and personal identity can transform at any age–and money doesn’t protect you from the unimaginable. Fans of Big Little Lies, The Manhattan Girls, Valley of the Dolls, and novels by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Jessica Anya Blau will devour this absorbing drama to its powerful end.

Buy Links:

Amazon          Barnes & Noble          Kobo


ABOUT MEREDITH

Meredith BerlinMeredith Berlin was the editor-in-chief of several magazines, including Soap Opera Digest and Seventeen. Her freelance articles and profiles have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines. Meredith is a three-time Emmy-nominated executive producer and has been a regular on-air contributor to television news and entertainment shows. Like a few of her characters, she worked as a jeweler and lived in the northern suburbs of New York City. Meredith was diagnosed with MS over twenty years ago. She has been active on MS boards and feels privileged to advocate for others who have the disease. Meredith has been married for over thirty years and has three adult children and one perfect granddaughter. Like many former New Yorkers, she currently lives in Florida. This is her first novel. Read more at meredithberlin.com.

Follow Meredith Berlin on social media:

Instagram: @meredith_berlin | Facebook: @meredithberlin


AN INTERVIEW WITH MEREDITH

  • How has your professional life, working as editor-in-chief for Seventeen Magazine and Soap Opera Digest, influenced your writing? 

Soap Opera Digest not only taught me about that particular community of actors and actresses. More importantly, it taught me about the art of storytelling. Daily soap scripts are the length of most movies. No reruns. Soaps are where writers learned about arcs and long form storytelling. They’ve been around since the early days of radio. Seventeen, is considered a national treasure. A girl’s first real magazine. It taught me about fashion, respect for teens, what is current and on the minds of girls. It taught me how to capture a reader and not let go.

  • How has your MS diagnosis impacted you and your writing?

MS taught me that I have to respect my body. It’s a disease that doesn’t allow you to “push through” When you need to rest, you must rest. Because I look fine, with no outward symptoms, it’s also called on me to be more of an advocate for myself. My disability is not seen but I must communicate that I have one, IF the situation calls for it. It’s taught me about self advocacy in general.  I have learned to accept what my body tells me and listen to it.

  • What made you decide to return to writing, and how has your life changed since you have?

I saw a movie on TV 20 years after I wrote the book and said, “That’s my book!” Of course it wasn’t, but the relationship between the women, the fact that they were wealthy but also self made, had strengths, weaknesses, love problems, children problems and relied on each other, made me realize that my book’s themes were evergreen. I was enthused to return to it. And finishing the book became a fever goal. My family pushed me on. 

  • Let’s talk about your characters. You mention that people are not just “one thing”. How does this show up in your characters?

I can expand more fully! If you see a well dressed, wealthy woman, you can come up with an idea of what kind of life that person lives. If you talk to someone who’s confrontational, and rude, you want to stay away. If you meet someone with a wrenching disease, you imagine that their life is a struggle. But you don’t know their backstory. It’s only by listening and investing the time in someone else that you might learn, ie, that the confrontational person, ie, has been severely emotionally crippled in their past and it colors what they say and do. Listening, giving people second chances and believing that everyone has a story is, for me, a more connected way to live. Doesn’t mean you have to like them. It’s just interesting to remember that most of us have layers and reasons for what we do. 

  • How does this book show the truth of life – that we all struggle and have to adapt? 

Yes, it’s a good subject to expand on. Well, the most recent example of that is that my entire family has come down with CoVid and I’m on deadline. I’m here in Massachusetts, meant to take care of my granddaughter, while being slayed with the virus. Didn’t plan on it. I’m exhausted, anxious, worried. I want to push through but I can’t. So what to do? Ask for help, lower my expectations, believe that I will still show the world the best book I can write and rely on family and friends to support me when I tell myself a million times a day, “Oh God, what if I can’t?”

  • As somebody who has interviewed a lot of celebrities – who was your most interesting interview?

The first interview I ever conducted was with the most famous man in the world — Muhammad Ali. It was also the easiest because he did all the talking. I was 20 years old and scared to death! I was also paid the “ridiculously high fee” of $25 for for writing the story for my local newspaper. How I got the interview and why Ali said yes is a story of persistence, fear, and the generosity of an incredible boxer.

  • What do you want readers to take away from your book?

I want them to relate to my characters. I want them to see themselves or someone they know in them. I want them to know that we–as humans–have inner strength to get us through the worst. I hope they see that humor, love and support can help us through the good times and bad.

THE YEAR OF CECILY by Lisa Lin — Featured New Release

the year of cecily

THE YEAR OF CECILY

Lisa Lin


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This is the year of Cecily Chang.

San Francisco attorney Cecily Chang is ready to tackle the New Year heads on. So, she makes a list of resolutions that will guarantee it’ll be the best year ever. Doing her filial duty, she prepares to head back to her Brooklyn family home to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Cecily prepares herself for nosy meddling relatives, stuffing herself with food, and the chaos family togetherness can bring. All she asks is that she avoids the boy next door-the one who broke her heart ten years ago. So of course she runs into him. Literally. Which really wreaks havoc with her resolution to avoid drama.

Jeffrey Lee has always regretted how he ended things with Cecily ten years ago. But seeing her again at New Year’s, he’s sure that this is a sign, and is ready to do whatever it takes to persuade Cecily to give him, and them, another chance. Now a successful screenwriter, he will need all the help he can get to make sure this love story gets the Hollywood ending it deserves. Will he be able to convince Cecily that her list of resolutions won’t be complete without him and that love is a resolution worth keeping?

Buy Links:

Amazon          Apple          Barnes & Noble          Kobo 


ABOUT LISA

Lisa LinLisa has been an avid romance reader and fan since she read her first Nora Roberts novel at the age of 13 after wandering the aisles of her local bookstore. Lisa loves that romance has the power to inspire, and believes that HEAs are for everyone.

Lisa writes light contemporary romantic comedies with a liberal dash of snark and banter. She enjoys delving into the complexity of Asian and immigrant family experiences, and celebrates female friendships in her trademark dry, witty style. As an Asian-American author writing own voices Asian American stories, Lisa hopes that her books will show the diversity of the Asian-American experience, and the importance of every reader being able to see themselves represented on the page.

Having grown up in Pennsylvania and helping out at her parents’ restaurant, Lisa has never bothered to learn to cook. She has two liberal arts undergraduate degrees and a J.D, and in her former life she was an intern, then Legislative Assistant for a PA State Representative. She also worked as a paralegal at a boutique law firm. Lisa is a politics junkie (don’t get her started on the wonder that is The West Wing!), indulges in naps whenever possible, and believes Netflixing in her pajamas and ordering take out qualifies as the perfect weekend. As a self-described Twitter addict, you can tweet her @laforesta1!


REVIEW

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To follow.


FINDING MY DESTYNEE – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

FINDING MY DESTYNEE
Rafter O Ranch, Book 3
by
NATALIE CLINE BRIGHT & DENISE F. McALLISTER
Holiday Romance / Country Music Romance / Wholesome
Publisher: CKN Christian Publishing
Publication Date: October 18, 2022
Page Count: 245 pages

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True heart’s desire cannot be ignored.

Destynee Olsen has always done what her mother asked, but the road to stardom could mean leaving behind a piece of her heart.

Travis Olsen tries desperately to honor his vow to support his wife. Watching their son grow up without a mother is asking too much and his resentment builds. A marriage alone and single parenting is not what he signed up for.

The line has been drawn between a woman who has been told that her destiny to be a star is more important than she is and a cowboy who refuses to destroy his wife’s dream. Destynee and Travis have to decide what’s important. Can they discover the life they were meant to have at the risk of denying their own hearts?

PRAISE FROM AMAZON REVIEWERS:

“The dialog brings the story to life, and the stage scenes are intriguing and vivid as Destynee decides just how much fame is worth, and the cost to her heart and family.”

“…an emotional read about a young couple, each trying to survive their marriage. The storyline brings heartache, forgiveness, and reconciliation as God works to bring peace and contentment back to their marriage.”

“Another great read with excellent characters.”

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Discerning God’s will is never easy. For young couple Destynee and Travis, following God’s plan becomes a struggle when separated by distance and ambition. That they’re miles apart during the holidays, having their faith–in God and in each other–shaken by doubts makes Finding My Destynee an affecting read.

Ms. Bright and Ms. McAllister created realistic and sympathetic characters in Destynee and Travis, infusing them with both insecurities and resolve. I couldn’t help but feel for them, young and misguided though they were at the beginning. I appreciate how much they’ve grown at the end of the story. They were at times frustrating but I found myself rooting for them to overcome their problems, which happen to reflect real life.

The supporting characters, for the most part, were wonderful, especially Travis’s family. Baby Wyatt was a particular favorite of mine, having been described in the most adorable way possible by the authors. The one I had trouble with was Destynee’s mother Julee Rae. She was a villainess through and through with no redeeming qualities. I would have liked a stronger argument for Destynee following Julee Rae’s every demand if her mother was shown to really care about her daughter. Unfortunately, she was one-note heinous and that was disappointing.

Another aspect I consider lacking in the story was Romance. Destynee and Travis only had three scenes together. Four, if I count the phone call. In two of those scenes, they were fighting. That is not incredibly romantic. I wish more of their backstory were included here and I don’t have to read the first two books in the series to find out how they got together and fell in love.

What the co-authors got right most was in telling a seamless story.  Readers more familiar with their individual works might be able to distinguish which parts each wrote, but I couldn’t. That speaks very well of their talents.

Finding My Destynee invokes the spirit of Christmas and I am thankful to the authors for the gift of their story and to Lone Star Lit for including me in the blog tour.

Three-half-stars


Texas author Natalie Bright writes novels for kids and adults that combine her passion of the American West with a small-town vibe. She calls the wide-open land and endless sky of the Texas Panhandle home, which inspires her work. Her co-author is a Georgia writer and editor. Denise F. McAllister credits a love of horseback riding and 15 years in equestrian showmanship for her heartfelt connection to all things western.
Natalie’s Social Media & Author Pages
Denise’s Social Media & Author Pages
| Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon |

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Receives the full Rafter O Ranch eBook Series
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CONCRETE EVIDENCE By DiAnn Mills – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

CONCRETE EVIDENCE
by
DiAnn Mills

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Pages: 416 pages

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Categories: Christian Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers

Scroll down for a giveaway!


Bestselling and award-winning author DiAnn Mills delivers a heart-stopping story of a faulty construction job, the discovery of a dead body, and a sinister plot.

On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be …. until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’ just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.

Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.

Praise For CONCRETE EVIDENCE

“* VERDICT Mills . . . delivers another action-packed novel that offers intrigue and an adventurous ride. Recommend to fans of Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason, and Carrie Stuart Parks.” – LIBRARY JOURNAL, Shondra Brown

“The confident plotting keeps the mysteries coming, and red herrings will have readers guessing the culprit through to the satisfying conclusion. Fans of Colleen Coble and Susan Sleeman will savor this thrilling standalone.” – PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY

PURCHASE LINKS ARE FOUND AT:

https://diannmills.com/books/concrete-evidence


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Action, adventure, danger, excitement. Romance. Faith. Concrete Evidence has them all and so much more. Like the approaching hurricane in the story, the events in this book happen fast and furious with surges of violence and the occasional calm that only portends of more devastating crises to come. It wasn’t until the very end that my heartbeat settled into its normal pace.

…truth is first believed in the heart.”

Suspicious deaths brought construction business owner Avery Elliott and FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins together in the most fraught of ways. Confused and afraid, Avery was on the run after seeing her beloved grandfather standing over a dead man’s body with a gun in his hand. Marc just buried the father who abandoned him when he was a child and was dealing with a mother who didn’t believe her former husband died of a heart attack as the autopsy declared. To top it all, he found out he has a teenage sister now under his guardianship.

Through explosions and shootings, sabotages and storms, these two somehow found themselves falling for each other. As a Romance reader, I approve and appreciate their decision to keep things slow and get to know each other better once the cases are resolved. As a Romance author, I’d have gone in a direction more in keeping with my Carpe Diem brand, but that would be a different story altogether. The choices Ms. Mills made here fit her particular subgenre of Christian fiction perfectly.

None of us have any control of when the good Lord takes us home. What we do control is how much we love and show our love.”

One of the things I love about this book is the fact that faith is observed and practiced, not merely paid lip service. Many of the characters’ actions are driven by their belief that a higher power will reveal truths and deliver them to safety. This gave them the courage to face dangers head-on. Some of their actions could be considered reckless which could potentially frustrate readers or have them chalk it up to adding suspense. I’m in the latter camp that found the intrepidity of the main characters acceptable.

What frustrated me is the ease with which I guessed who the main villain is. Ms. Mills provided plenty of red herrings and cast suspicions on several people but I zeroed in on the mastermind as soon as they were introduced in the story. I wanted to be proved wrong but I wasn’t, hence the slight disappointment. I recognize that it’s a ‘me problem’ and not an issue shared by the majority of readers. As they say, your mileage may vary.

In the note Ms. Mills wrote me, she said, “Expect an adventure.” I expected and she delivered spectacularly. Thanks, Ms. Mills and Tyndale Fiction, for providing me with a copy to review and enjoy. Thanks, Lone Star Lit, for including me in the blog tour.

4 out of 5 stars


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. You can download a list of her published titles by clicking here.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a former director of Blue Ridge Christian Writers, and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She shares her passion for helping other writers be successful by teaching writing workshops around the country.
DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND AUTHOR PAGES:


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FOUR WINNERS:
Each receives a $25 eGift card to their choice of Amazon or B&N.
(US only; giveaway ends midnight, 10/28/22)

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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
OR VISIT THE PARTICIPATING BLOGS DIRECTLY:

10/18/22

Jennie Reads

Guest Post

10/18/22

Hall Ways Blog

BONUS Promo

10/19/22

Shelf Life Blog

Review

10/19/22

Rainy Days with Amanda

Guest Post

10/19/22

LSBBT Blog

BONUS Promo

10/20/22

The Book’s Delight

Review

10/20/22

Rox Burkey Blog

Guest Post

10/21/22

All the Ups and Downs

Guest Post

10/21/22

That’s What She’s Reading

Review

10/22/22

Reading by Moonlight

Review

10/23/22

It’s Not All Gravy

Guest Post

10/24/22

The Plain-Spoken Pen

Review

10/25/22

Stories Under Starlight

Guest Post

10/25/22

StoreyBook Reviews

Review

10/26/22

Forgotten Winds

Review

10/27/22

The Clueless Gent

Review

10/27/22

Carpe Diem Chronicles

Review

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THE LOST MELODY by Joanna Davidson Politano – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

THE LOST MELODY
by
Joanna Davidson Politano
Historical Romance / Christian Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 384 pages
Publication Date: October 4, 2022
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

When concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant’s father dies, he leaves to her the care of a patient at Hurstwell Asylum. Vivienne had no idea the woman existed, and yet her portrait is shockingly familiar. When the asylum claims she was never a patient there, Vivienne is compelled to discover what happened to the figure she remembers from childhood dreams.
The longer she lingers in the deep shadows and forgotten towers at Hurstwell, the fuzzier the line between sanity and madness becomes. She hears music no one else does, receives strange missives with rose petals between the pages, and untangles far more than is safe for her to know.
But can she uncover the truth about the mysterious woman she seeks? And is there anyone at Hurstwell she can trust with her suspicions?
Joanna Davidson Politano casts a delightful spell with this lyrical look into the nature of women’s independence and artistic expression during the Victorian era–and now.

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:

“Haunting. Riveting. Filled with hope. The Lost Melody is all these things and more. Author Joanna Davidson Politano delves into the dark world of Victorian mental health, and it’s the reader who comes out the winner after being enchanted by this tale of identity lost. After you read the last page, the characters will live on in your mind. Truly a fantastic read!” — Michelle Griep, author of Lost in Darkness

“Joanna Davidson Politano’s stories go on my bookshelf as a favorite! The stories she pens entice my Gothic-loving senses, thrill my literary soul, and inspire the dark romantic inside my spirit. I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I adore each story from this vivid and insightful author, and how badly I wish for all readers to experience her tales!” — Jaime Jo Wright, author of The Souls of Lost Lake, and Christy Award-winning The House on Foster Hill

CLICK TO PURCHASE:

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An incredibly gripping symphony of music and faith, The Lost Melody held me in thrall from its darkly dramatic beginning to its gentle, hopeful finish.

Music opens up what we once believed lost.”

This book is unlike anything I usually read with its highly unromantic setting of a lunatic asylum and its emotionally broken characters. But having read and enjoyed a couple of Ms. Politano’s works in the past, I was enticed to give this one a try and I don’t regret immersing myself in this highly original story one bit.

Ms. Politano has an unparalleled talent for interweaving music and scriptures into a story in a way that is authentic and intrinsic. Music and scriptures are the means by which Vivienne proved her identity, survived her ordeal, and fulfilled her mission to save many lives. They also brought her true friendship and the unexpected promise of love.

There is no such thing as hopeless cases. Only those who have lost hope.”

The images Ms. Politano painted about the situations of several patients in the asylum were quite stark, woeful, and sometimes downright scary. The abuse Vivienne suffered enraged me at times and ensured that I’d root for her to gain her freedom. I don’t know how anyone who read this book wouldn’t be affected by her, Bridget, Dr. Turner, Violet, Otto, Anna, Philippe, Rose, and many others.

The spotlight on mental health in the distant past is enlightening and at the same time disheartening in the sense that we still don’t have a full understanding of it in the present.

Sometimes when you live among storms, you become a rock to endure the waves.”

If I have any cavil at all, it’s the insignificant presence of romance in the story. It’s there but not central to the plot and there’s a happy-for-now ending. Both combined barely meet the requirements to be considered part of the genre. I’ll say this is Christian Fiction with Romantic Elements rather than straight-up Christian Romance.

What people say about closed doors is true. If the way is barred to you, simply find an open window to go through instead.”

This book thoroughly engaged me. It made me feel and think. I recommend reading it in one sitting with lights ablaze.

Huge thanks to Lone Star Lit for the opportunity to join the blog tour and to Revell Books for the gift of a copy to review. The Lost Melody has probably one of the loveliest covers I’ve ever beheld. It would make a great gift for any occasion.

4 Four-half-stars


Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears, A Rumored Fortune, Finding Lady Enderly, The Love Note, and A Midnight Dance. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story. She lives with her husband and their children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.

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ONE WINNER!
Receives a Sterling Silver Treble Clef pendant necklace
+ Copy of The Lost Melody
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, October 14, 2022.)

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LOVE AND THE DREAM COME TRUE by Tammy L. Gray– Book Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

LOVE AND THE DREAM
COME TRUE
State of Grace Trilogy, Book 3
by
TAMMY L. GRAY
Contemporary Christian Fiction / Clean Romance
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 368 pages
Publication Date: August 2, 2022
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY

The Anticipated Series Finale to the 2021 Carol Award-Winning Novel, Love and a Little White Lie

Their faith will face its toughest test yet.

Four years after getting the biggest break of his life, Cameron Lee’s music career has taken a nosedive, leaving him two options: become a sellout or give up on his lifelong dream. He reluctantly returns home for his sister’s wedding, hoping to avoid his past and find his love for music again.
Single mom Lexie Walters has suffered her fair share of tragedies and setbacks, but she has finally scraped together the money to achieve her dream of going into business with her cousin as an interior designer. When Lexie’s life is at an all-time high, she runs into her teenage crush, Cameron Lee.
Lost in the emotional turmoil of failure, Cameron is immediately drawn to Lexie and her infectious smile and optimistic spirit. Moreover, he adores her mouthy, no-holds-barred daughter. But fantasies only last so long, and soon Lexie and Cameron must face the real world, the one fraught with heartbreak, disappointment, and questions that sometimes can only be answered by a leap of faith.


“Cameron and Lexie’s chemistry is palpable, and readers will root for their happily ever after. This tender tale hits all the right notes.” Publishers Weekly

CLICK TO PURCHASE

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Achingly poignant, uncomfortably true-to-life in many parts, and subtly spiritual, Love And The Dream Come True is a truly touching read.
Music is heart and soul and pain and loss.”
I came into this book not having read the two previous stories in the series and I think that worked for me. I was able to meet the characters, especially Cameron Lee, without forming expectations or opinions that may have affected my experience of reading about them.  When we meet Cameron at the beginning of the story, he is a mess. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. He takes panic pills, hides from family and friends, and is overwhelmed with unexpressed feelings. His path to redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation with his faith and his estranged friends, and healing through love is wonderful to witness.
Don’t fear anything but chances not taken.”
In contrast to Cam’s grump, Lexie is sunshine. She’s a bit scattered but she is bright and optimistic despite taking on a huge home renovation project and dealing with the angst of her teenage daughter Morgan at the same time. Her light balances the heavy in Cam’s storyline. Not to say that she doesn’t have her dark moments, particularly when it comes to the subject of her sister Annie. But she handles those with maturity and a natural tendency to love generously.
There is no surviving hardships without faith.”
Another bright spot in the book is Morgan. Having a thirteen-year-old kid myself, I immediately took to her and related with Lexie on the intricacies of parenting her. It’s often difficult to portray children in books, but I think Ms. Gray succeeded in creating a real, multi-dimensional character in Morgan.
 … life is made up of a whole bunch of should’ves … My advice is to learn. Learn from every moment and hope that as you do, the should’ves get further and further apart.”
While the story and the characters engaged me thoroughly, there was an aspect of the writing that distracted me and, in many ways, disappointed me. It’s the casual and repeated use of ableist language. Words and phrases that reference physical disabilities and words and phrases based on neurodivergence are scattered throughout the book. Perhaps unknowingly as these are everyday words. However, they’re expressed in a negative manner and oftentimes could have been substituted with more appropriate language.

… be grateful for the little things in life. That when you add them all together, they are much grander than the big things we think we need.”

This book made me cry. It also made me laugh and sigh. Huge kudos to the author for invoking strong reactions from this reader and I’m sure from many other readers as well.
Thanks to Lone Star Lit for including me in this blog tour and to Bethany House for providing me with a copy to review.
Three-half-stars

Tammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas. Her nine modern and true-to-life contemporary romances include the 2017 RITA Award-winning My Hope Next Door. When not taxiing her three kids to various events, Tammy can be spotted crunching numbers as the financial administrator at her hometown church.
Bethany House

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ONE WINNER:
Complete STATE OF GRACE SERIES in paperback!
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 9/2/22.)
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, OR VISIT THE PARTICIPATING BLOGS DIRECTLY:

8/23/2022

The Page Unbound

Guest Post

8/23/2022

Hall Ways Blog

BONUS Series Spotlight

8/24/2022

Book Fidelity

Review

8/24/2022

LSBBT Blog

BONUS Promo

8/25/2022

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

Notable Quotables

8/26/2022

Carpe Diem Chronicles

Review

8/27/2022

The Clueless Gent

Excerpt

8/28/2022

All the Ups and Downs

Excerpt

8/29/2022

Librariel Book Adventures

Review

8/30/2022

Rebecca R. Cahill, Author

Deleted Scene

8/31/2022

StoreyBook Reviews

Review

9/1/2022

Chapter Break Book Blog

Review

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SOPHIE GO’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB by Roselle Lim – Featured New Release

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SOPHIE GO’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB

Roselle Lim


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Sophie Go


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Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club is my new favorite of Roselle Lim’s books so far. This early, I’m declaring it as one of my Top 22 Reads of 2022.
Weaving filial piety, magical realism, found family, friendship, the Beatles, food, and romance into a cohesive story requires mad skills and loads of talent. Ms. Lim has those in abundance.
Sophie Go is relatable, sympathetic, and lovable. Her interactions with her parents made my heart ache and helped me appreciate my own more, especially my mother who is as loud in declaring how proud she is of me as Irene Go is in denouncing her daughter.
20220807_031030927_iOSSophie’s long-distance friendship with Singapore resident Yanmei resonated loudly with me as I have similar tight friendships in the same country, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The kind of brutally honest, steadfast support they have is something to aspire for.
The slow build-up of her romance with a certain Mr. who hired her to matchmake for him was sweet and almost satisfied my romantic requirements in a story. I say almost because I always want more. Can never have enough romance.
Finally, the most entertaining, the most heartfelt, and the best part of this book–Sophie’s connection with the Old Ducks, the seven septuagenarians who became her matchmaking clients, her friends, and her family. Ms. Lim gave each man such wonderfully distinct personalities, they really came alive in my mind. I think someone should adapt this book into a movie just to showcase these amazing characters.
4 Four-half-stars

FANCY by Linda Broday — Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

FANCY

Love Train Multi-Author Series, #10

by

LINDA BRODAY

Western Romance /Sweet Romance/ American Historical Romance
Pages:          190 pages
Publication Date:     August 15, 2022

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY!


A stolen baby
An orphan child
A bargain struck
Told her baby died in childbirth, Fancy Dalton grieves for her son. But in the midst of a raging storm, a shadowy figure appears and tells her that he’s alive and well! He was stolen! Now she has an address and a name. From despair comes hope.
One thought drives her—finding and getting him back. Selling everything she owns, Fancy buys a one-way train ticket to Denver. Nothing and no one will stop her. In a mad dash to board the train, she collides with Jack Coltrain. As fate would have it, the rugged cowboy, on a mission of his own, sits next to her. Experience has taught her to be wary of men. But when her bag is stolen, he gets it back and earns a small piece of her trust.
As the iron wheels roll, taking her closer to her two-year-old son, Fancy and Jack discover an orphan girl who needs their help and open their arms to her. Ten hours from their goal, Fancy and Jack strike a deal—her help for his. Desperate times for both call for creative solutions…but marriage, even in name only? However, nothing is off the table. She’ll do whatever she must to save the orphan and get her child back. Still, giving Jack her heart…that’s not part of the bargain.
Click to purchase!

PRAISE FOR FANCY:

“I have loved every Linda Broday book I have read, but I must say this one touched my heart.” Cricket (Goodreads)

“Linda Broday waved her magic wand when her turn came and gave us one of her most profound heroines she’s ever written. Fancy wrapped her tragic story around my heart and transported me into the late 1800s.” Tonya (Goodreads)

“Linda Broday has always been able to weave her characters together like a mix-match patch quilt, but the end results are amazing.” Rose Ann (Goodreads)

“…Her ability to convey the goodness of their souls will leave the reader wanting more.” Sally (Goodreads)

From its heart-wrenching start to its sigh-worthy ending, Linda Broday’s Fancy takes the reader on a highly evocative ride.
The devastating prologue had me in tears, ensuring my emotional connection with Fancy Dalton right away. Her will to make a fresh start after her mother’s death and her determination to find her stolen son even with her meager resources also earned my admiration.  With Fancy, Ms. Broday created a title character who is easy to root for and wish for only good things to happen to her.
One of those good things is Jack Coltrain. The epitome of a Broday hero, Jack is bold, valiant, and kindhearted yet prepared to act with violence if necessary to defend those he promised to protect and care for. The speed of their getting together through a marriage of convenience is totally understandable, even necessary, considering the fraught circumstances they found themselves in. Their happy-ever-after is inevitable and well-deserved.
Fancy, life is a journey. Not one trip, but hundreds. We have to keep going and proceed with courage each and every day as long as we have breath.”
One of the signatures of Ms. Broday’s stories is found family and that theme is central in this story through Fancy and Jack’s care for Piper, an orphan girl whose sad plight stroke a familiar chord within Fancy’s heart. This little girl is another character who made me cry with her exceptional pluck and maturity beyond her years.
Fast-paced and eventful, Fancy is a fantastic read for those who are looking for something quick but with depth, has sympathetic characters, is well-written, and sweetly romantic.
Thanks to Lone Star Lit for including me in this blog tour and to Ms. Broday for the early digital copy of the book to review.

I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty historical western romance novels and short stories. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and early cowboys once roamed, and at times if the breeze is just right, I can hear their voices whispering in the wind. Texas’s rich history is one reason I set all my stories here where cowboys still remain caretakers of the land. I’m inspired every day by their immense dedication and love for the wide-open spaces. I combine those men with the love of family in all my stories and hope to continue to give readers books that entertain and fulfill.

Giveaway! Giveaway! Giveaway!

FOUR WINNERS!

One winner:
$25 Amazon gift card plus Kindle copy of Fancy
Three winners:
Kindle copies of Fancy
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 8/19/2022.)

FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:

8/9/22

Excerpt

Forgotten Winds

8/9/22

BONUS Promo

Hall Ways

8/10/22

Review

Librariel Book Adventures

8/10/22

BONUS Promo

LSBBT Blog

8/11/22

Character Spotlight

Chapter Break Book Blog

8/12/22

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

8/13/22

Notable Quotables

Shelf Life Blog

8/14/22

Character Interview

All the Ups and Downs

8/15/22

Review

Carpe Diem Chronicles

8/16/22

Sneak Peek

Stories Under Starlight

8/17/22

Review

Boys’ Mom Reads

8/18/22

Review

Writing and Music

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A SHOT IN THE 80% DARK By Amber Royer – Book Blitz and Giveaway

A SHOT IN THE 80% DARK
Bean to Bar Mysteries, Book 4

by
AMBER ROYER
Cozy Mystery / Culinary Mystery / Woman Sleuth
Publisher: Golden Tip Press
Date of Publication: July 15, 2022
Number of Pages: 285 pages
Scroll down for Giveaway!

Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop is thriving. Despite everything she’s been through with the murders she’s helped solve, Felicity is ready to take on new challenges. So when a local museum offers her a contract to create a chocolate replica of a gigantic sailing ship sculpture for a gala celebrating Galveston’s history, she jumps at the chance to combine chocolate-crafting with art.

The project is fun – right up until there’s not just one but two dead artists on the scene, and Felicity has to change gears back to detective. Logan, Felicity’s business partner and previous bodyguard, and Arlo, Felicity’s ex who is now the cop investigating the case, are split on which victim they think was actually the intended one. Felicity may have to take some chances, both emotionally and in luring out a killer, to determine the truth.

Can she find out how Galveston’s history relates to the murders, unmask a killer, and prepare 2,000 chocolate desserts for the gala all at the same time?

CLICK TO PURCHASE!


Amber Royer writes the Chocoverse comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series and the Bean to Bar Mysteries. She is also the author of Story Like a Journalist: a Workbook for Novelists, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She also teaches creative writing and is an author coach.

Amber and her husband live in the DFW Area, where you can often find them hiking or taking landscape/architecture/wildlife photographs. If you are very nice to Amber, she might make you cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes, of course! Amber blogs about creative writing technique and all things chocolate.

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With its increasingly diverse and representative cast of characters, absolutely amazing competence porn, exciting and fascinating whodunit cases, mouthwatering food descriptions, and excellent sense of place, Amber Royer’s Bean to Bar Mysteries is quickly becoming my favorite cozy mystery series to read of late.

There’s a lot going on in A Shot in the 80% Dark, all of them good.  Somehow, Ms. Royer is introducing the entire fifty thousand population of Galveston into her stories and she’s managing to make each of those characters distinct, memorable, real, and relatable. I especially admire her utilization of notoriously difficult side characters — pets and kids– to further the plot. Renoir, the museum’s cockatoo, is a scene-stealing star.

I am in awe of the displays of expertise and artistry in this series. From 3-D printing to Vietnamese coffee preparation, to SCUBA diving, and to sugar work using isomalt, I learn so many new things that I may be able to apply to practical use in the future. The author’s exhaustive research on various competencies and historical details leap off the pages of the book.

Naturally, I appreciate the procedural aspects of crime solving, but that is a basic requirement of the genre so I won’t dwell on that. What I really love to highlight is Ms. Royer’s deep knowledge of Galveston and how she completely transports the readers to the coastal resort city with her words. Traveling through books is never more true than in this story.

Life is too short to walk around waiting for relationships to solidify themselves.”

The only thing I’m not one hundred percent on board with is the love triangle between Felicity, Arlo, and Logan. It was handled well here and there seems to be forward progress so it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.

Huge thanks to Lone Star Lit for the opportunity to be in the tour and to Ms. Royer for providing me with a digital copy of the book to read and review.

4 Four-half-stars


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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
TWO WINNERS
Autographed copies of A SHOT IN THE 80% DARK
(US only. Ends Midnight, CDT, July 28, 2022)

BETTING ON LOVE by Mary Beesley – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

BETTING ON LOVE

by
MARY BEESLEY
RomCom / Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: March 24, 2021
Number of Pages: 193 pages
Scroll down for Giveaway!

Tempest Swan is out for revenge. Billionaire Leonard Allred’s software program has put her out of a job. She makes a bet with a friend that she’ll get Leonard to take her on a date so she can get retribution, but a fortuitous accident with an adorable nerd might just derail her vengeance.
Leonard has reasons for hiding his identity from the public. It’s worked well for him so far, until he starts falling for the honest and witty Tempest. But how can he destroy their budding romance by admitting he’s actually the guy she hates?
PRAISE FOR BETTING ON LOVE:
“If I could give Betting on Love more stars I would because 5 stars aren’t enough.” -Jacky, Goodreads reader
“BEST BEACH READ!! Witty and fun and it was super hard to put down.” – Katherine, Goodreads reader
“It had just enough spice to make you feel the sparks.” – Rebecca, Goodreads reader
CLICK TO PURCHASE!
Amazon

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A light, slow-burn, trope-y romance, Betting On Love will delight fans of romcoms and, if adapted into a film, would fit perfectly in the programming lineup of a certain greeting-card channel famous for their holiday tv-movies.
The twists and turns Ms. Beesley put Tempest and Leo through are more than enough to create a two-hour show– mistaken identity, a little deception, groveling, misunderstandings, best-intentioned plans gone awry, forced proximity (there’s only one tent!), almost-kiss, longing looks, cute speeches, and finally a carpe diem risk-it-all move.
The author infused the characters with realness and relatability that I liked. They are not perfectly likable, even annoying at times. I loved that they make a conscious effort to forge strong family ties. I also loved the tight bonds of friendship and sisterhood in this story.
What I didn’t love was the overabundance of push and pull. Tempest and Leo taking turns in ignoring each other for various reasons made for a frustrating read and didn’t really build up the relationship. The leap from cold shoulder to risking-it-all needed a better transition than what was on the page. Maybe Blair’s book (hint, hint) will take a different approach to the journey to happily-ever-after she rightfully deserves.
Thanks to Lone Star Lit for the inclusion in the blog tour and to the author for providing a digital copy of the book for review.
4 out of 5 stars

Mary Beesley is a Whitney Award Nominee and received a Crowned Heart of Excellence Review and a 5-star Reader’s Favorite Award.
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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
THREE WINNERS!
1st: Signed copy of Betting on Love + $25 Amazon Gift Card;
2nd & 3rd: signed copies of Betting on Love

(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 6/24/2022)