Thursday, August 19, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong

About the Book

How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she's handed a strange present at the latest wedding--a 1950s magazine article of "ways to get a husband"--she decides there's nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can't get any more single, can she?

Her brother's roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love--Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it's an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she's looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.

My Review

This was such a fun book to read!  It's very hip, with relatable characters.  It is fairly lighthearted, yet characters dealt with real hurts and insecurities.  I loved the laugh-out-loud humor.

Meri takes a chance on Kai's YouTube show, and makes the reader fall in love with her fun and quirky personality.  Kai knows his way around filming and editing, and puts together a series that garners thousands of followers, in pursuit of his dream job.  It was their revelations about themselves, and what they really wanted in life and in relationships, that gave this book depth.  The alternating POV in each short chapter kept me turning pages.

I recommend this book to readers of contemporary Christian romance who want fun and depth in a well-crafted story.

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

About the Author

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there's nothing else she'd rather write about.

She is the author of the Resort to Love series and the CafFUNated mysteries. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. Finding Love in Big Sky was recently filmed on location in Montana and will air soon. Her latest release is Husband Auditions.

Strong also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho and teaches as an expert online at Write That Book.

Learn more at, and follow her on Facebook (Angela Ruth Strong Fan Page), Twitter (@AngelaRStrong), and Instagram (@ang_strong). 


Click here to enter to win a copy of this book!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: The Last Gasp by Chautona Havig


About the Book

Book:  The Last Gasp

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: July 6, 2021

At the pinnacle of his Hollywood career, Garrison Prince’s reign ends tonight.

As plain old Gary Prinz, he can pursue his Bible education, buy a bungalow in Pasadena, acquire a few chickens, and marry the girl of his dreams. He just never imagined trading the silver screen for a pulpit would wreak such havoc.

A cigarillo girl, Lucinda Ashton spends her days with her boyfriend, Gary, and her evenings selling candy and “gaspers” to the Hollywood elite at the Taj Mahal Theater.

However, when gunshots ring out just as intermission begins, Lucinda finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a brouhaha that leaves three dead, and no one has a clue why.

All the police know is that the evidence points to Lucinda as the killer and Gary as the intended target.

Four new friends, one young orphan, and a potluck of clues that don’t seem to fit anywhere leave the police baffled, Lucinda in fear for her freedom, and Gary ready to trade in his acting shoes for gumshoes if it’ll save his “Cinda.”

The first book in the Ever After Mysteries combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries, The Last Gasp. This Cinderella retelling blends a murder with enough crime and story clues to keep you on the edge of your seat.

 Click here to get your copy!

My Review

First in a series of fairy tale retellings, The Last Gasp by Chaurona Havig is worth picking up.  It was a fairly quick read, but I enjoyed the characters, the look into 1920s Hollywood, and the mystery.

Gary and Lucinda were still shy in their relationship to each other, but both were sweet and of good character.  I really appreciated how Lucinda was so careful to follow the rules at work and at her boardinghouse.  Gary and Lucinda's caring nature was refreshing, especially in a time and place where selfishness tended to be the rule.

The mystery investigation was interesting, and it just seemed strange how they went about it.  Not every detail was wrapped up, but enough so that our main characters could get on with their lives.

Those who enjoy this setting and like mysteries should read this book.  I enjoyed it, and am looking forward to others in this series.

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

Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, 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

What Beautiful, Unexpected Parallel Did I Find Writing this Mystery?

I bought it at Pic-n-Save when I was eleven—an 8.5×11 paperback book of traditional fairy tales. I learned another side of the age-old stories that you don’t see from Disney. Rapunzel? Yeah. That was the story about the queen who was craving rampion (a salad vegetable) so much that she promised to give up her child for it. Rampion—Rapunzel. It’s a thing.

It’s also where I learned Cinderella’s name as “Aschenputtel.” Look, those Brothers Grimm were… well, they were German and that should explain everything. “Puttel” just sings of German, doesn’t it? That tale was also a bit gruesome. The one sister cut off her big toe to make the shoe fit because her mother said, “You won’t have to walk anywhere if you’re a queen. Who needs it!” So the idiotic girl did. Same for the other sister and her heel. Seriously, didn’t she learn from her older sister?

Oh, and it’s the one where mother and stepsisters get their eyes picked out by birds. It reminded me of Proverbs 30:17. “The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.”

Talk about bringing Scripture to life for kids there. *Gulp*

True confession, our kids used to sing that verse to the tune of “All Hail the Pow’r of Jesus’ Name.” You should have heard the lusty voices of our children in our Grand Marquis station wagon (may the wonderful beast rest in peace) singing, “The ravens shall pick out his eyes and eeee-agles eeee-eeaat the saaaammmme!”

I digress.

Cinderella—I mean, Aschenputtel—really wasn’t my favorite story, though. I liked other stories from other books. Like the Ten Brothers—a Chinese folk tale. You know. Fairy tale.

Know which fairy tale I liked even less than Cinderella?

The Little Mermaid. Seriously, I didn’t like the original (Sorry Mr. Andersen… I just didn’t), and I can’t stand Disney’s. But when we first began planning the Ever After Mysteries, I knew which one I wanted to do. The Little Mermaid had everything going for it. Houdini and a water tank. Can’t you just see it? It would have been great. But a friend asked who was writing about the “cigarillo girl” (as I mention in THIS post), and well… the rest is history. Or at least, it’s set back in history.

But there’s one truth I discovered as I wrote this mystery.

Mystery… that’s a good word for this truth, actually. Cinderella is a beautiful picture of Jesus as our prince. We can be His bride and put on the shoe He has fashioned only to fit us, or we can try to snatch it up and make it suit our wills and hold our overgrown egos (work with me here). He takes us out of our ragged, dirty lives and brings us home… to Him. To His Father.

Is there anything more beautiful? I don’t think so.

In The Last Gasp, Gary knows Cinda long before she knows him—truly knows him. He loves her just as she is. Is it a perfect retelling of the beauty of Christ’s love for his church? Not hardly. It wasn’t intended to demonstrate that relationship at all. But there are tiny nuances that do. And that’s pretty cool.

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, August 2
For Him and My Family, August 2
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 3
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 3 (Author Interview)
Lots of Helpers, August 4
Inklings and notions, August 4
deb’s Book Review, August 5
CarpeDiem, August 5
Locks, Hooks and Books, August 6
Connect in Fiction, August 6
Texas Book-aholic, August 7
Blogging With Carol, August 7
She Lives To Read, August 8
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 8
Connie’s History Classroom, August 9
Simple Harvest Reads, August 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 10
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 10
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 11
The Meanderings of a Bookworm , August 11
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 12
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 12
Splashes of Joy, August 13
Mary Hake, August 13
For the Love of Literature, August 14
Back Porch Reads, August 14
Through the Fire Blogs, August 15
Mamma loves books, August 15


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

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

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: The Scarlet Pen by Jennifer Uhlarik

About the Book

Book:  The Scarlet Pen

Author: Jennifer Uhlarik

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release date: July 2021

Engaged to a Monster

Book 12 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Enjoy a tale of true but forgotten history of a 19th century serial killer whose silver-tongued ways almost trap a young woman into a nightmarish marriage.

In 1876, Emma Draycott is charmed into a quick engagement with childhood friend Stephen Dee Richards after reconnecting with him at a church event in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. But within the week, Stephen leaves to “make his fame and fortune.” The heartbroken Emma gives him a special pen to write to her, and he does with tales of grand adventures. Secret Service agent Clay Timmons arrives in Mount Pleasant to track purchases made with fake currency. Every trail leads back to Stephen—and therefore, Emma. Can he convince the naive woman she is engaged to a charlatan who is being linked a string of deaths in Nebraska?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

The depravity of man.  The goodness of God.  The contrast between the two was clearly evident in this final True Colors book by Jennifer Uhlurik.

Stephen Dee Richards was entirely depraved.  He was impatient, selfish, and easily irritated.  He was a sweet talker, but he consistently used people for his own purposes.  What most people considered horrible, he took delight in.

Emma Draycott was loving, trusting, and faithful.  She saw the best in others and was always ready to share Scripture, and she consistently prayed for those she loved.  She was a bit willful, but was able to learn and grow through her mistakes and experiences.

Clay Timmons was dedicated to faithfully fulfilling his duties as a Secret Service agent.  He was kind and intelligent.

Being a true crime book, there were parts that were hard to read.  But the power of God's word was evident as the story played out.  Overall, I enjoyed the story and recommend it to those who enjoy this genre.

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

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a preteen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a BA in writing, she has won five writing competitions and was a finalist in two others. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenage son, and four fur children.

More from Jennifer

Hello, Readers! For all who might never have read one of my stories or come across me, it’s great to meet you! I’m a wife, a mom, a (young!) grandma, and an author—among many other things. My author tagline is “Where Grit Meets Grace.” If you’re familiar with my writing at all, you’ll know that most of my stories at least touch on a bit of the difficult side of life. Death, abandonment, war, addiction, or who knows what else you might find. The Scarlet Pen is no different. 

Given that this novel is the final installment in Barbour’s True Colors series, the story revolves around a true crime from history—in this case, the murders of serial killer Stephen Dee Richards—AKA the Nebraska Fiend. Anytime you’re dealing with someone so depraved as he, you’ll find plenty of “grit” to write about. But that’s only half of my tagline. Remember, it’s “Where Grit Meets Grace.

While I love a story that delves into difficult topics and, in some cases, pushes the characters right to the edge of what they can handle, I also love a truly redemptive story. When I was asked to write for this series, the ideas that drew me the most were the ones that had something redeeming in the actual history. There were plenty of interesting historical killers I could’ve chosen where I could have manufactured a positive, even happy ending through the fictional characters in the book. In the case of Stephen Dee Richards, there was no manufacturing needed. The “grace” part was already written. The end of Stephen’s story is precisely why I chose to write about him. I hope you’ll find it as though-provoking and compelling as I did. Happy reading!

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, July 29
Genesis 5020, July 29
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 29
For Him and My Family, July 30
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 30 (Author Interview)
Christian Bookaholic, July 30
Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 31
Inklings and notions, July 31
Britt Reads Fiction, July 31
Remembrancy, August 1
Locks, Hooks and Books, August 1
Betti Mace, August 2
Rebecca Tews, August 2
deb’s Book Review, August 2
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 3
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 3
Blogging With Carol , August 3
Older & Smarter?, August 4
Connie’s History Classroom, August 4
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 4
Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 5
Bigreadersite, August 5
Godly Book Reviews, August 6
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 6
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 6
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 7
Back Porch Reads, August 7
Mary Hake, August 7
Through the fire blogs, August 8
sodbuster living, August 8
Connect in Fiction, August 8
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 9
Texas Book-aholic, August 9
KarenSueHadley, August 9
Pause for Tales, August 10
For the Love of Literature, August 10
Blossoms and Blessings, August 10
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, August 11
Spoken from the Heart, August 11


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Scarlet Pen!!

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

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: Regaining Mercy by Carolyn Miller



About the Book

Book:  Regaining Mercy

Author: Carolyn Miller

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: June 29, 2021

A mom ready to do anything for her son. A man determined to win the woman he loves.

Going on Love at First Glance had seemed like such a good idea. She didn’t care about finding Mr. Right. No, Mindy Murray chose the reality TV show for more mercenary reasons.  A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do when it comes to feeding her son.

When Mindy returns to Elnora, the girl from the “wrong side of the island” just wants a chance to rebuild her reputation. Too bad the folks at church don’t practice what the preacher preaches.

Enter Dermott Reilly. The interim boss at Greener Gardens has always had a soft spot for Mindy and her son, but with his new responsibilities, an important garden competition, and a few other concerns, he finds it difficult to prove himself to her.

A tropical storm and a missing child prove that sometimes grace appears in the most unusual ways.

Regaining Mercy concludes the Elnora Island romances of 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

Things couldn't get worse for Mindy.  Her difficult past, and choices she had made continued to beat her down.

But Dermott Reilly stepped in to defend and encourage her, and that was a turning point for her.  Handsome, strong, and a man of integrity, he kept showing up.  

Mindy did her best to take care of her young son, but found that she needed to depend on the Lord and the help of others.  She slowly began adding people to her circle that could encourage her, and that prompted her to believe in herself and utilize her skills and experiences to make dreams come true for herself and others.

This was a fun story to read.  There was plenty of heartbreak, joy, and excitement throughout.  I recommend this latest book from the Independence Islands series for readers of contemporary fiction and Christian romance.  It's a great beach- or anytime- read!

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

Carolyn Miller is an Australian author of inspirational romance, particularly that of the Regency era, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds where flawed people can grow in faith, hope and love through stories that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives.


More from Carolyn

Have you ever wondered what might happen if a failed TV reality star was to return home to her narrow minded community? What if she’s been tarred and feathered with disgrace?

In our world of insta-fame, selfies and fakebook, I find it fascinating that so many people are entranced by so-called reality TV, with its editing and narratives and shiny-eyed hopefuls chasing money, love and dreams. But what if it doesn’t work out? What happens next? How do you resume ‘normal life’ when you’ve been living in a very artificial world?

I enjoy writing fiction that is grounded in reality, with realistic, flawed characters who are on a God journey to find faith and freedom. My contemporary and historical novels often see characters struggle with the choices they’ve made (don’t we all?), which is exactly what single mom Mindy is dealing with.

Combine Mindy’s challenges with those faced by gardening expert, Dermott, a man whose stone wall building skills are better than his way with women, or his inability to hide his attraction to his former co-worker’s younger sister.

Regaining Mercy encourages us to see ourselves as God does, to not let the labels of the past to shape our future. Along the way, readers will enjoy the honest portrayals of family, friendship and faith.

I’m so glad people are really enjoying my new contemporary books, where I can bring my love of gardens (& my horticulturalist hubby’s expertise!) to a new audience. Want to see what’s growing in my garden? Check out my website – and you might even see some of my husband’s famous stone walls!

If you enjoy stories of hope, heart and humor, then you’ll be sure to enjoy this novel about a prodigal and the patient gardener who helps her find God’s mercy – and renewed hope for her heart.

Happy reading!


Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 21
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 21
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 22
Labor Not in Vain, July 22
lakesidelivingsite, July 22
She Lives To Read, July 23
deb’s Book Review, July 23
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 24
CarpeDiem, July 24
Texas Book-aholic, July 25
Splashes of Joy, July 25
Connect in Fiction, July 25
Inklings and notions, July 26
Blogging With Carol, July 26
For Him and My Family, July 27
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 27
Aryn The Libraryan 📚 , July 28
Older & Smarter?, July 28
Lots of Helpers, July 28
Locks, Hooks and Books, July 29
Simple Harvest Reads, July 29 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, July 30
Lis Loves Reading, July 30
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 31
Kayem Reads, July 31
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 1
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 1
Cultivating Us, August 1
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 2 (Author Interview)
Daysong Reflections, August 2
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 3
Blossoms and Blessings, August 3
Joanne Markey, August 3


To celebrate her tour, Carolyn 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.