Sunday, September 27, 2020

Book Review with a Giveaway: Scrumptious Independence by Melissa Wardwell


About the Book

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

And so is Beth’s cooking! It’s a good thing, too. After a lifetime of her family’s smothering embrace, a whole new world opens to her with the passing of her beloved grandmother.

Armed with an inheritance she never expected and orders on how to use it, Beth sets off for Merriweather Island and fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams.

Or so she hopes.

What she didn’t hope for was what most women would—a man who fills her thoughts at the most wonderfully unwelcome times. She doesn’t have time or space for a relationship, but how do you tell love to just go away?

Of course, starting over in a new place is never easy, especially as an outsider in a small community. Add to that a mayor who has her dander up and a woman bound to make her life miserable, is it any wonder that Beth begins to doubt God’s and Gram’s plans?

With her heart betraying her resolve and challenges to her faith, Beth finds it takes bravery she didn’t know she had to discover just how scrumptious independence can be.

This “Merriweather book” is the second in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Book Two in the Merriweather Island series is a delightful novella.  The island setting that feels like home, and seeing a sweet friend from Book One helped draw me in quickly.  The novella entirely stands on its own, yet I am motivated to continue the series in order to learn even more of Beth & Scott's story.

It was a pleasure getting to know both Beth and Scott.  Scott was still a servant of those in need after having grown up as a pastor's kid.  Beth was trying to find herself after years of verbal abuse from her family.  She had been a lot of fun as a teen, and that side of her was slowly coming back.  My favorite character was Beth's gram, who had been diligent to mentor each of them as she taught them life skills, especially how to cook.

I was pleased with the character development and the plot, and recommend this book to readers of Christian fiction and romance.

I received an e-ARC of this book from the author, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband Jonathan, three children, a cat, and two pitbulls.

Besides writing, she enjoys reading, having coffee with friends, and spending quality time with her husband kayaking and fishing.

Melissa likes to joke about the voices in her head, but it is those voices have inspired her to write several romance novels such as “I Know the Plans” (a story based in her hometown of Owosso) and “Finding Hope in Savannah”. When she is not penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books on her blog, Back Porch Reads.

To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit


More from Melissa

“Lord, I don’t know how I can keep doing this.”

That was my prayer one evening in 2019 as I made my way to praise practice. I knew that writing was something God had called me to (because He never seems to call you to do something you enjoy) but the finances were just not there to publish another book. I felt lost in the uncertainty of the path moving forward and I needed a light. I had just shared all my concerns with my parents and left with my dad’s words ringing in my head. Are you writing to gain notoriety or are you writing for God?

The next morning, CelebrateLit had a post looking for submissions for a new and innovative series. Hope burst within me and I know I needed more information. I followed instructions and spoke with Sandy Barela and Chautona Havig. The more I was told, the more excited I became because I knew I needed to be part of this collection.

Ideas were hatched, characters began to talk, and a book proposal was sent. I continued to work on the development of characters and the mobile business knowing in my heart that God had given me this opportunity. I wouldn’t do things halfway. And when the confirmation email came, I was ready to share the beautiful story and characters that developed.

Beth is a food truck proprietor, so that means she spends most of her time cooking. In an effort to grow her recipes, I have been making videos of me cooking some of our family’s favorites as well as raiding my mom’s recipe box. The result is some amazing food to share.

Every book, pre-order card, and my YouTube channel has recipes on it. And so will this tour.

With it being summertime, our family doesn’t want those heavy meals so sometimes chips and sandwiches are all we need in the evenings. One favorite is my chicken salad.

Now, this recipe is easily substituted with other things like however, you like your chicken.

Melissa’s Chicken Salad

Feeds 4 (unless you have big eaters.)

2 cans of chicken (you can use cooked but this is quick and easy

1/2 cup of red grapes – halved

1/2 cup celery – diced

Make sure you rinse all of this well as you prep the salad


1 1/2 cup of miracle whip (you can use mayo)

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp of sugar

Mix everything together and serve on your favorite bread option or on a bed of lettuce. I like mine in a pita pocket or on lettuce. This time it was with a pita pocket with a side of lightly salted chips and a pickle.

Now, just a little side note, you can add what ever veggie or fruit you like. Apples and cucumbers would be a great addition as well. So, don’t feel like you have to do things exactly like I do. Make it your own.

Bon appétit!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 21
Soulfully Romantic, September 21
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 21
Sara Jane Jacobs, September 21
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 22
Texas Book-aholic, September 22
Inklings and notions, September 22
For Him and My Family, September 23
deb’s Book Review, September 23
Artistic Nobody, September 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
She Lives To Read, September 24
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 24
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 24
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 25
Quiet Workings, September 25
21st Century Keeper at Home, September 25
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , September 26
Older & Smarter?, September 26
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 26
Blogging With Carol, September 27
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 27
Batya’s Bits, September 27
Emily Yager, September 28
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 28
Stories By Gina, September 28
Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 28
CarpeDiem, September 29
Christian Bookaholic, September 29
Cultivating Us, September 29
Aryn the Libraryan, September 30
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 30
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30
Connect in Fiction, October 1
The Collaborative Press, October 1
Livin’ Lit, October 1
Simple Harvest Reads, October 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
The Meaderings of a Bookworm, October 2
Godly Book Reviews, October 2
Joanne Markey, October 3
Captive Dreams Window, October 3
Vicky Sluiter, October 3
Blossoms and Blessings, October 4
Splashes of Joy, October 4
Pause for Tales, October 4


To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. Thank you for taking the time to read Scrumptious Independence and share your thoughts. I am happy that you enjoyed it.

    1. You're welcome, Melissa. We were in Michigan last week, visiting family, so I loved the recipe for coney sauce with Koegel hot dogs!

  2. I enjoyed your review, thank you for sharing