Friday, February 19, 2021

Book Review with a Review: Bookers on the Rocks by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book:  Bookers on the Rocks

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

If it ain’t broke, why’s she so intent on fixing it?

Tessa Booker hates romance.

For twenty-five years, Tessa Booker has insisted that romance is something Hollywood cooked up to sell books and movies. Yes, she knows the word existed before movies.  She doesn’t care. That’s her story, and she’s sticking to it.

So when Ross gets a gentle nudge from Mallory Barrows to look into what Tessa’s doing every day while he’s at work, he discovers a romance in the works–one that sounds a little too “ripped from the pages” of his life!

Who is this woman, and what has she done with his wife? 

Armed with advice from 101 Ways to Romance Your Wife and a copy of the manuscript he printed while she was napping, he’s determined to figure out what’s up with his wife… and if maybe a little romance wouldn’t be a good thing after all.

In a twist of the “on the rocks trope,” this book introduces the next island in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

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

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Chautona Havig really has a gift of making us see ourselves in every one of her books.  Bookers on the Rocks focuses on Ross and Tessa Booker, a married couple that seems to have it all, until you get in their heads.  It was such a pleasure to get to know Tessa, past the eyerolls and extreme pickiness in her choice of books.  It was funny to watch Ross, Mr. Competent, stare helplessly at the refrigerator and wonder where to find sandwich ingredients.  They each really appreciated the other, but their marriage needed tweaking, and the island setting was the perfect place to do that.

Secondary characters from previous Independence Islands novels provided familiarity for me, but this novel definitely stands on its own.

Readers of Christian fiction will enjoy this novel, and fans of Havig's work will certainly want to add this to their collection.  I recommend it highly.

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

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name. 

More from Chautona

Who Needs Romance? My Marriage Is Great as It Is!

Writing a book about a couple who are in love, devoted to each other, and don’t have marriage problems is… challenging. Let’s face it. Most books about married couples, especially ones “on the rocks,” are going to have fights, an affair (at least of the emotional variety), or some big thing threatening to send them straight to divorce court.

Mine doesn’t.

In fact, Bookers on the Rocks shows what happens when couples become too comfortable in their routines—so comfortable, in fact, that they become blind to each other’s needs. If you asked Tessa Booker if anything is wrong in her marriage, she’d say no. If you asked her if she wanted anything different, she’d say no. The age old, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

Still, if you look at stories in Scripture, you see deep love and even romance in some places. Elkanah, who loved his wife enough to say, “Am I not more to you than ten sons?” Jacob who worked fourteen years to marry the woman he loved. Solomon and his love for the Shulamite woman. While the first two do not make me squirm, Solomon does. That book… oh, that book.

What I think Song of Solomon does is remind us of the Lord’s wooing of His people and how invested the Shulamite woman was in being delighted in her beloved—in all of him. If that isn’t a picture of how we should devote ourselves to our Lord, I don’t know what is.

In Bookers on the Rocks, I explore the possibility that those of us who aren’t naturally romantic might just be missing a vital ingredient in our marriages. A body can look and feel perfectly healthy for years—even decades. But if some essential nutrient is missing in a person’s diet, eventually that body will show it in some way. A lack of calcium can create brittle bones. No one sees the problem until a slight stumble turns into a nasty break.

Did it change how I view my marriage? No… not yet. Then again, yes it did, too. I’m more… aware of what is going on in my marriage these days. I doubt candlelight and roses will ever become a thing in our relationship, but translating what romance might mean and look like to my husband has become something I do think about from time to time. That probably means more Wienerschnitzel and less broccoli, but hey. He did a lot of dishes, dinner, and diapers (my perfect three Ds of romance) when our kids were small. I can endure a hot dog or three thousand, right?

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 10
Livin’ Lit, February 10
lakesidelivingsite, February 11
Sara Jane Jacobs, February 11
She Lives to Read, February 12
Texas Book-aholic, February 12
Book of Ruth Ann, February 12
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 13
Rebekah Reads, February 13
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14
Batya’s Bits , February 14
Inklings and notions, February 15
Simple Harvest Reads, February 15 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 16
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 16
Robin’s Nest, February 16
Lots of Helpers, February 17
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 17
Splashes of Joy, February 18
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 18
Artistic Nobody, February 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 19
For Him and My Family, February 20
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 20
CarpeDiem, February 20
deb’s Book Review, February 21
Connect in Fiction, February 21
Locks, Hooks and Books, February 22
Blogging With Carol, February 22
Blossoms and Blessings, February 23
Godly Book Reviews, February 23
Pause for Tales, February 23


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and 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.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

 About the Book:

All her life, Boston-born Moira Doherty has relished her mother's descriptions of the Emerald Isle. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira is compelled to fulfill her dying wish--that she become the teacher in Ballymann, the beloved village in Donegal, Ireland, she's heard so much about.

After an arduous voyage, Moira begins a challenging new job in an unfamiliar and ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira's mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she's journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends--and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced--as she seeks to navigate a life she'd never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review:

A Dance in Donegal by debut author Jennifer Deibel is a wonderful book that I highly recommend.  

From the descriptions of the Irish countryside, the nearby ocean, the quaint village and its people, it wasn't long before I felt like I was there.  Deibel made all of my senses aware of the setting of this story.

Most characters were lovable, yet some were despicable.  Moira's journey in this new, yet familiar town was documented in such a way that I felt deeply her uncertainty, despair, and joy.  Her character development was believable and on point.  I fell in love with those surrounding her, as well.

The story was paced well, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  With the beautiful setting, heart-stirring emotion, and the sounds of the Irish language and music, it would make a great movie.

For anyone who loves historical fiction or the Emerald Isle, this book is for you!

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Revell, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.  This post is also part of the Read with Audra blog tour.

About the Author:

Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher whose work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and other publications. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their three children.

You can find her online at, Facebook (@JenniferDeibelAuthor), and Instagram (@jenniferdeibel_author).

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: Roots of Wood and Stone by Amanda Wen

About the Book

This historic home holds the keys to their destiny . . . and their hearts.

Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn’t expect much from the common artifact . . .until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary. Now she’s on the hunt to find out more.

Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother’s historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer’s, he can’t afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who’s fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.

A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love—and a God who faithfully carries her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.

This warm, beautifully written split-time novel will resonate with readers looking for stories that reveal the beauty of God’s plan for our lives, and how our actions ripple for generations.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review

Debut author Amanda Wen knocks it out of the park with Roots of Wood and Stone, the beautiful opening of the Sedgwick County Chronicles. I loved this book!  I was immediately drawn into the story, and the author's comforting writing style made me feel like I belonged there.  In this dual-timeline story, the characters were very distinct in their personalities, and it was wonderful to experience the ties between them.  I cared for each of them right away.  As both stories progressed, the theme of hope in times of distress carried through, facilitated by prayer and listening to God's leading.  Wen truly, masterfully, weaved the two stories together to produce a very satisfying read.

Those with an interest in history and genealogy will be delighted to read this book, and I highly recommend this book to readers of historical romance and contemporary romance, as well.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Kregel Publications, through Audra Jennings PR, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has placed first in multiple writing contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions contests. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist.

Wen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She also frequently interviews authors for her blog and is a contributor to the God Is Love blog. Her debut novel, Roots of Wood and Stone, releases from Kregel Publications on February 2, 2021.

In addition to her writing, Wen is an accomplished professional cellist and pianist who frequently performs with orchestras, chamber groups, and her church’s worship team. She serves as a choral accompanist as well. A lifelong denizen of the flatlands, Wen lives in Kansas with her patient, loving, and hilarious husband, their three adorable Wenlets, and a snuggly Siamese cat.
To find Amanda Wen’s blog and short stories, visit Readers can also follower her on Facebook (@AuthorAmandaWen), Twitter (@AuthorAmandaWen), and Instagram (@authoramandawen).


Enter to win a copy of Roots of Wood and Stone by clicking here.


Monday, February 1, 2021

Book Review With a Giveaway: Faith's Mountain Home by Misty M. Beller

About the Book

Book:  Faith’s Mountain Home

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian historical romance

Nate Long has always watched over his identical twin brother, Aaron, even when it put him on the wrong side of the law. When Aaron is wounded in a shootout, the brothers are taken to Settler’s Fort to recover. As Nate works to make reparations for their past, he marvels at the nursing Aaron receives under the care of a woman with all the reason in the world to resent him.

Laura Hannon knows what it is to start over, and she knows Nate’s newfound faith is real. What she can’t look past is how far he allowed himself to be led astray by his brother’s weaknesses.

As a fledgling trust grows between Nate and Laura, they stumble upon a mysterious cave in the mountains that may not be as uninhabited as it seems.

As they work together for a common cause, will the new lives they seek for themselves include love, or is there too much that stands between them?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Faith's Mountain Home, third of the Hearts of Montana series, focuses on Laura and Nate, who were characters in the previous book.  It was great to read their story, but a new reader needs to know that author Misty M. Beller fills in the details completely, making this book stand alone well.

Laura and Nate both desired to move past their difficult childhoods and recent events, and were making strides to do so.  Laura sought to be useful and live a meaningful life, while Nate worked to pay for his past misdeeds.  Both were growing in their faith and found purpose in helping others.  I found both to be likable characters.

The plot moved forward well, with enough surprises to keep me happily turning the pages.  The author was quite descriptive of the mountain terrain, so I had a picture in my mind's eye that helped me as I read.

This is a wonderful book for those who enjoy Christian historical romance, and a welcome addition to the series, which I recommend.

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

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

More from Misty

Who doesn’t love a good cave?

Well, maybe not everyone, but I have to confess, I love exploring!

While there aren’t many caves near my South Carolina home, I’ve always loved the idea of finding an opening hidden in the rocks. Then venturing in and finding a huge cavern filled with stalactites and stalagmites and a host of other beauties I can’t pronounce!

And dark tunnels? As long as I have a light and a string to unravel as I go so I can get back out, I’m game!

Unfortunately, I’ve never found a large cave in real life that had never been explored, but in Faith’s Mountain Home, Nate and Laura found exactly that! Although…turns out, it had been discovered by someone already. I won’t give you (too many) spoilers, but let me just tell you there’s a precocious Native American girl involved, and a few other things not so delightful.

The good news is, you can enjoy the story without actually entering the pitch black cavern!

Last summer, I had the opportunity to tour a cave with many features like Nate and Laura discovered in their hidden cave. The Caverns of Sonora in Sonora, Texas was a fantastic experience! As you can imagine, it’s hard to get good pictures in solid darkness, but here are a few of the amazing formations still growing in those two miles of underground tunnels.

Blog Stops

Artistic Nobody, January 26 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Connie’s History Classroom, January 27
Bigreadersite, January 27
Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 27
Betti Mace, January 28
Connect in Fiction, January 28
Texas Book-aholic, January 28
Lighthouse Academy Blog, January 29 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
lakesidelivingsite, January 29
Bizwings Blog, January 29
Through the Fire Blogs, January 30
Locks, Hooks and Books, January 30
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 31
Fiction Book Lover, January 31 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Inspiration Clothesline, January 31
Wishful Endings, February 1
Life of Literature, February 1
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 1
deb’s Book Review, February 2
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 2
Blossoms and Blessings, February 2
For Him and My Family, February 3
Splashes of Joy , February 3
Simple Harvest Reads, February 3 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Blessed & Bookish, February 4
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 4
To Everything There Is A Season, February 4
Older & Smarter?, February 5
Sara Jane Jacobs, February 5
Pause for Tales, February 5
For the Love of Literature, February 6
Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 6
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 6
Remembrancy, February 7
Inklings and notions, February 7
Hallie Reads, February 7
She Lives To Read, February 8
HookMeInABook, February 8
Genesis 5020, February 8


To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize package of the entire Hearts of Montana series, plus a “Faith Moves Mountain” sign!! (See Here:

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