Friday, October 16, 2020

Review and Giveaway: The Plans We Made by Kathryn Cushman and Lauren Beccue

 


About:

When past secrets hold the only key to hope for the future…

Caroline Chapman is reeling from a broken engagement. Determined to start again, she moves cross-country for her dream job of planning events in the historical mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. Just as her life is getting back on track, she gets an email that shakes her very foundations.

Linda Riley’s life looks picture perfect - a wonderful husband, two great kids, involved in church and the community. Then comes the diagnosis that shatters the facade. In order to save her son’s life, she must reveal secrets that can rip everything apart.

Connected by more than painful circumstances, these two women discover a sacred bond. In this beautiful story of love, loss, and the fight for life, Caroline and Linda experience the reality that life doesn’t always go according to The Plans We Made.


My Thoughts:

The Plans We Made takes a look at the lives of two women who both have realistic plans for the lives they want to live. And both soon discover that the plans that they had made can crumble in the dust due to sickness and loss.

Caroline has her life mapped out. She has her dream man and possible dream job. She soon finds out that both can not coexist. Linda, mother of two teenage boys, is living the busy life of mom. Then a devastating illness touches her family and proceeds to railroad her life.

Now these two will meet for reasons neither saw coming. And as they begin to walk this new journey, both will see that life is more uncertain and yet more beautiful than either ever dreamed possible. The men in their lives also have stories to tell and an old home renovation brings more into the bargain as well.

I really enjoyed this family tale that focuses on mistakes of the past, decisions of the present, and how that will affect the days of the future. This beautiful story was/is a reminder that God is the one who is ultimately in charge and directs our paths. And with him there is always forgiveness, hope, and a future.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Authors:



Kathryn Cushman graduated with a degree in pharmacy from Samford University. After hanging up her lab coat, she shifted her focus toward writing. Her previous works have received multiple nominations for both the Carol Award and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. The Plans We Made is her tenth published novel.
 


Lauren Beccue graduated from Holy Cross with a BA in English and now lives with her family in Santa Barbara. She writes about faith and family, with an emphasis on agricultural passages of the Bible. This is her first novel.

 




a Rafflecopter giveaway






MAKE YOUR PLANS IN PENCIL! 


Now, go buy your copy of The Plans We Made online or at a local bookstore, then be sure to head to Lauren’s website to claim your bonus freebie!
 

THREE CUSTOM PENCILS:

  • Make Your Plans in Pencil
  • The Plans We Made
  • Proverbs 19:21

Just contact Lauren with your name, address, and where you purchased the book, and she’ll send you a set. That's it! (US only and get 'em while they last.)


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Forsaken Island by Sharon Hinck

 



About the Book



Book: Forsaken Island

Author: Sharon Hinck

Genre: Christian Romantic Epic Fantasy

Release Date: September 15, 2020

On an uncharted world, happiness is effortless and constant … but can true joy exist without sacrifice?

The people of Meriel have long believed their island world floats alone in the vast ocean universe, so they are astonished when another island drifts into view. With resources becoming scarce, Carya and Brantley quickly volunteer to search the new land for supplies.

After navigating a barrier of menacing trees, the pair encounter a culture of perpetually happy people who readily share their talents and their possessions. But all is not what it seems. At the core of the island is a horror that threatens everyone, including Brantley and Carya.

Freeing the villagers of the bondage they’ve chosen may cost Carya and Brantley more than they could have imagined. Even if the two succeed, they’ll have to find a way to return to Meriel quickly … or be cut off from their home forever.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Forsaken Island was a fantasy story that for me, was very easy to get caught up into. There is the mysteriousness of another Island that comes on the horizon. It is at once thrilling and scary as the people of Meriel always assumed they were the only ones.

Carya and Brantley are sent across the ocean to see if there are resources that could help their people whose lives have taken a downturn. At first the beauty of the trees and the succulent fruit are beautiful to their eyes. Hope springs anew. But then the Island has plans for our two, their adventure turns into one of survival.

Fantasy is not my go to genre, but this one really captured my interest. I was rooting for Carya and Brantley and their relationship to proceed and for them to find a way back home. But the island and love demands sacrifices and the path they must take is fraught with heartbreak and hard decisions. 

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author


Award-winning author of The Sword of Lyric series, Sharon Hinck writes “stories for the hero in all of us” about women on extraordinary adventures of faith. Her novels are praised for their authentic characters, strong spiritual themes, and emotional resonance. For this series, she drew on her experience as a ballet teacher, dancer, and choreographer.

 

 

More from Sharon

Inspiration Behind Forsaken Island

In the first book of The Dancing Realms series, we learn about a floating island world guided by the work of dancers. The assumption of everyone on Meriel is that their island IS the world—the only existing place on a vast empty ocean.

But in this second book, currents have pushed a new island into view. Our intrepid dancer Carya, and her stenella-riding friend Brantley, set off to explore, hoping to find resources for their world of Meriel.

The story was influenced by some of my favorite classics in the adventure/exploration genre. Jack London (particularly The Sea Wolf), or Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Or anything by Jules Verne or Robert Louis Stevenson. As the characters explore a new world, we experience both wonder and danger with them. I love that sort of story, so I set my two beloved characters of on an adventure to see what they would discover.

But of course, the book is also about the developing relationship between Carya and Brantley, and the conflicts they confront. And once again, an undercurrent (no pun intended) of spiritual themes is at play. The island holds dark secrets, and time is running out for the opportunity to find their way home.

I love the verse from Psalm 94:14. “For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.” Even on a “Forsaken Island” – the Maker of His people finds a way to reach out and bring hope.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, September 30

Fiction Aficionado, September 30

Wothy2Read, October 1

Texas Book-aholic, October 2

deb’s Book Review, October 2

Inklings and notions, October 3

For Him and My Family, October 4

April Hayman, Author, October 4

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 5

Daughter of Increase, October 5

For the Love of Literature, October 6

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 8

Blogging With Carol, October 8

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Artistic Nobody, October 10 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Simple Harvest Reads, October 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 11

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 12

Emily Yager, October 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 13

Pause for Tales, October 13

 

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Sharon is giving away the grand prize package of a Forsaken Island book bag, a personalized and autographed hard cover copy of Hidden Current, book marks, and some decorative goodies on a plant-life theme!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10195/forsaken-island-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Review: Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White

 

About:

He sees patterns in what she deems chaos.
She sees beauty in a world he thought destroyed.

Zivon Marin was one of Russia's top cryptographers until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee to England after speaking out against Lenin, Zivon is driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits. But never far from his mind is his brother, whom Zivon fears died in the train crash that separated them.

Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and re-creating photographs. With her father's connections in propaganda, she's recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove if she ever found out.

After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily that soon takes over their hearts. But both have secrets they're unwilling to share, and neither is entirely sure they can trust the other. When Zivon's loyalties are called into question, proving him honest is about more than one couple's future dreams--it becomes a matter of ending the war.

My Thoughts:

The Codebreaker series has been one of faith, family, and love in the midst of war, ugliness, and in this one disease. Lily Blackwell is a photographer, and a really good one. So much so that she is needed in the war effort. However, her mother sees things differently. I did like the closeness that this military family showed- Lily's mother, father, and sister Ivy. 

Zivon is also a family man. He has lost his parents and he is desperately looking for his younger brother and whether he is alive or dead. He is from Russia and is a great asset for the codebreakers. I enjoyed the different ways he and Lily looked at life and situations and how that complemented both of them and made for a great match. The author gives us great visual cues in the describing of their demeanors and even the way they moved.

Author White gives us a bit of the views of Russia and what was happening as this war dragged on and some wanted changes. They no longer wanted their nobility, but the way they went about the change was very ugly. In many ways mirroring our own current culture. 

Not only was the war going on, but the Spanish influenza had come and was affecting the entire world. Sometimes it seems so much has changed and yet 100 years later, like nothing has changed.

This was a bit of a heart wrenching novel and I would suggest having tissues nearby.

I received a copy of this novel from publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.


About the Author:



Roseanna M. White (www.roseannamwhite.com) is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. She pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of numerous novels, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to Edwardian British series. Roseanna lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.roseannamwhite.com.







Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Texas Troubles by Caryl McAdoo

 



About the Book



Book: Texas Troubles

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: September 2, 2020

 

Brothers are for conflict; and he who finds a wife has found a good thing.

Through the first battle to the end of the Civil war, partners Aaron Van Zandt and Rich Worley fought on opposite sides. The women who loved them lived in prayer and learned to trust God even more to maintain sanity. While their men battled each other, best friends Josie Jo Worley and Cass Andrews struggle with jealousy, worry, and regret. Experience the war as one left behind in this epic romance. See how they cope . . . and if you’re able to stop turning the pages. 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:


Texas Troubles is a story that revolves around two women and two men, before and during the Civil War. Rich and Josie Worley are brother and sister and are each in love with the other's best friend. Rich loves Cassie, but Cassie and Josie both love Aaron. Rich a widower, was married to Cassie's older sister, but he has his heart and priorities in the right place. Aaron, on the other hand, is a bit of a rogue when we meet him and not really the best man for either girl. But can one of them love him enough despite his many sins?

Not only do we have the drama of romance and family, but the country is about to explode into a war. The national tensions (like today) reached down into all parts of their lives and nothing is left unscathed. After the war where will we find these four? This is their story and reading like an epic drama we watch as the events unfold. The insight into each of their characters shows especially in their letter writing where they open up their hearts.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author



Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling stories—over fifty published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her; you may listen at YouTube. Sharing four children and nineteen grandsugars with Ron, her high-school-sweetheart-husband of over fifty years, she lives in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

 

 

More from Caryl

The families in the Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga have embedded themselves into my heart. This story takes them through the Civil War, and not everyone comes home to Texas. Josie Jo, born in book one of the series is ready to confess her love because he’s leaving . . . and she may never see him again.

Her best friend Cassandra shouts her love for the same man and her brother loves her friend! I love to see how God untangles our messes! He walks with them through every trial, all their pain, and the waiting, waiting, waiting for the end of the war, news of their beaus, and to be married.

 

The title TEXAS TROUBLES came from an incident that occurred in North Texas just prior to the Days of Aggression. In the scorching July heat, reported one hundred and ten degrees on that fateful day, three downtowns—Dallas, Denton a little to the north, and Pilot Point, more of a hamlet—went up in flames.

Immediately word spread that slaves and pro-union abolitionists were responsible, and justice came swiftly at the hands of the vigilante committee. Three slaves, one a preacher, hanged the following day on the banks of the Trinity River which then was nearest the land now known as Dealy Plaza, made famous by President Kennedy’s assignation there.

Though it proved to be an extraordinarily hot summer—water wells dried up and crops withered in the fields as the hundred-degree days went on and on. On the 8th of July, 1860, many residents of Dallas sought refuge at Wallace Peak’s downtown drugstore; that’s where the fire started.

Flames spread quickly from one business to another, blown by the hot winds from one to the next. By the time the fire was extinguished half of Dallas’ business district was gone. Now, phosphorous matches are said to be the culprit through spontaneous combustion for the fires as they all started in establishments carrying the highly flammable fire-lighting sticks.

Many say the incident called the Texas Troubles precipitated the Southern States’ cessation and even the Civil War itself. Mainly because of the FAKE NEWS spread by a young editor at the Dallas Herald. He sent letters to newspapers in Houston, Austin, and others across the state blaming a slave up rise for the fires and warning that the slaves were rising up.

Guess we aren’t the first Americans to deal with fake new! Before it was all over, at least a hundred men had hanged, slaves and their white abolitionist advocates. The panic never truly abated because too soon, the war between the states that pit brothers against brothers began.

This is where TEXAS TROUBLES, book five in the Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga begins. One brother went the way of the vigilantes, the other traveled north to join the Federalists. I think you’ll love this story of love and the most terrible times our country has ever experienced.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 3

Inklings and notions, October 4

Betti Mace, October 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 6

Splashes of Joy, October 7

Pause for Tales, October 7

For Him and My Family, October 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 9

Connie’s History Classroom, October 10

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 11

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 11

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 12

Texas Book-aholic, October 13

lakesidelivingsite, October 14

Artistic Nobody, October 14 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

deb’s Book Review, October 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 16

 

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/101a1/texas-troubles-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Phoebe's Secret by Sydney Tooman Betts

 



About the Book



Book: Phoebe’s Secret

Author: Sydney Tooman Betts

Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Mystery

Release Date: June 20, 2020

In April of 1843, Phoebe’s family hears about a murder while they are traveling to their new home in the Shenandoah Valley. They arrive to learn the victim attended the church her father has agreed to pastor and the crime took place on a leading church member’s plantation.

Eager to make new friends, Phoebe forms a unique relationship that propels her into the middle of the mystery, and she begins to question several acquaintances’ motives. Will she uncover their secrets before the plantation owner’s charming son discovers hers?

 

Click here to get your copy today!

My Thoughts:

Starting in a new place and a new home is stressful enough when all goes well. But for Phoebe and her family, from the very start things were not going well. Before they even leave the train her mother has to go back due to a family emergency and the rest of them are moving into a town that has just had a murder.

There were a lot of characters to get used to, but I imagine it was the same for Phoebe. She and the reader are kind of just dropped into the middle of this situation and I could certainly relate to Phoebe as she now has to step into her mother's role of getting the house in order. A woman's job really is never done.

Phoebe's father is the new pastor and he is thrust right into his position as well, leaving Phoebe looking after her very mischievous younger brother, Augie. He was a trip though and he proved he was just as much a sleuth as Phoebe. Between the settling in, the new acquaintances (some odd and others secretive), a murder investigation, and the hot button of slavery- Phoebe and her family have a lot to contend with.

This was an interesting historical read through the eyes of a seventeen year old young woman in 1843. Since this is just the first mystery, I am curious what else Phoebe will find herself in.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author


Sydney Tooman Betts resides with her husband near the extensive cavern system that inspired the setting for several chapters in her series The People of the Book.

While single, Ms. Betts (B.S. Bible/Missiology, M.Ed) took part in a variety of cross-cultural adventures in North and Central America. After marrying, she and her husband lived in Europe and the Middle East where he served in various mission-support capacities. Her teaching experiences span preschool to guest lecturing at the graduate level.

Before penning her first novel, A River too Deep, she ghost-wrote several stories for an adult literacy program.

 

More from Sydney

Proverbs 25:11 says, “Words spoken fitly are like apples of gold in settings of silver.” I was not a great reader as a child, but I loved stories. We remember stories, whether told through movies, good sermon illustrations, parables, or simple  novels.

Think of something you’ve read in the Bible. Did an instructional verse, a narrative, or a parable leap to mind? Stories have power because we can relate to them. We see ourselves in the shoes of the main character and ask what we might do in the situation. Mysteries, a new genre for me to write, are a little different. You are in the puzzle with the main character, working out the solution as you both come across the clues. I hope you will enjoy joining Phoebe in her first mystery as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 

Recipe:

Sally Lunn Bread

1 cup water
1 cup milk
¼ pound unsalted butter
8 cups of high-gluten or bread flour
⅔ cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
¼ cup yeast
6 eggs

In a saucepan, combine water, milk and butter. Heat until the butter is very soft.

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients with half the flour. Add the warm liquid, and mix well to form a smooth batter.

Add 3 eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Add another cup of the flour, and mix well. Add the second 3 eggs, one at a time. Add the remaining flour, and mix until the flour has been incorporated and the batter has formed a smooth ball. The dough should be less firm than bread and more firm than a batter.

Put the dough in a clear bowl with a little oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Proof until double in volume. Divide the dough between two bund pans or two loaf pans, or one of each. Proof again until risen and doubled in volume.  Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. Makes 20 servings.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 29

deb’s Book Review, September 30

Inklings and notions, October 1

For the Love of Literature, October 2

Blogging With Carol, October 2

For Him and My Family, October 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 4

Mary Hake, October 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 5

Artistic Nobody, October 6 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Pause for Tales, October 6

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 7

Connie’s History Classroom, October 8

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 8

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Splashes of Joy, October 10

Lighthouse Academy Blog, October 10 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Betti Mace, October 11

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 11

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 12

Maureen’s Musings, October 12

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Sydney is giving away the grand prize package of $25 Amazon gift card and a softback copy of Phoebe’s Secret!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10194/phoebe-s-secret-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, October 5, 2020

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: White Stick by Jacqueline Middler

 



About the Book

Book:  White Stick

Author: Jacqueline Middler

Genre:  Memoir

Release Date: May 13, 2020

When a positive pregnancy test upends her carefree coed life, Jacqueline Marie decides to end the life of her unborn child. That abortion and the one that followed not only destroyed two lives but also wrecked Jacqueline’s soul.

Unprepared for the emotional wounds abortion inflicts, Jacqueline turns to drugs and alcohol to mask her pain, but nothing she does assuages her deep-seated guilt. When staying with relatives in Florida—intended to give her a fresh start—she hears the gospel message, and while reading the creation story and promises of God, she encounters a God who loves her despite her choices.

As she experiences God’s grace and forgiveness, Jacqueline is able to finally forgive herself. Now a doula and a voice for the unborn, she shares her story to help other women who have had abortions know that healing and redemption are possible through Jesus.


Click here to get your copy!


My Thoughts:

White Stick is a heart wrenching look at one woman's journey through the choices she made, the choices that would wound her and scar her and she would have to live with them. Yet she was pursued by the love of her heavenly Father, and He did not give up on her.

This was a difficult read to get through. The agonizing choices that the author made broke my heart. I am sorry that it did not seem that there was anyone around to lead her on the right path. Especially when she was looking for guidance. I also completely understood her need to please everyone, and how that never worked out either.

I am glad the author wrote about her experience with women's choice and the whole it is my body. This book as the author states is not political. She just gives you the story of what it is like after the choice is made.

But there is always hope with God. He loves and pursues and forgives like nobody else. Thank God he rescues us out of the miry pit and sets our feet on solid ground. (Psalm 40:2)

I received a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own. Thank you for sharing your journey.

 



                                                                                                        

About the Author


An avid reader and devoted mother of three, Jacqueline Marie gives voice to the women who have had abortions and live with the regret and shame of that decision. White Stick is her debut work, birthed from the years-long journey to healing and redemption and her desire open the eyes of the world to the harm this choice brings to women. She has a degree from Johnson & Wales in marketing, with concentrations in English and psychology.

 

More from Jacqueline

White Stick was written in hopes of freeing women from the bondage of shame and guilt that comes with the choice of Abortion. This book’s purpose is to shed light on the after effects of what this choice does to a women’s soul and life. This choice is not the quick decision or the “easier choice” that the media portrays but can effect every one of your choices after for the rest of your life. Only Gods love and Jesus’s grace can free you. I was a Christian many years before I was able to forgive myself. Until you forgive yourself it is hard to walk in the plans God has for you. You the reader are able to walk with me through my abortion to redemption. This is a raw honest look at the devastation this choice brings.

Blog Stops

Artistic Nobody, September 22 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Rebecca Tews, September 23

My Devotional Thoughts, September 24 (Author Interview)

Maureen’s Musings, September 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 25

Texas Book-aholic, September 26

Inklings and notions, September 27

For Him and My Family, September 28

Stories By Gina , September 29 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 30

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 2

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 5

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Jacqueline 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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10103/white-stick-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Jack by Chautona Havig

 



About the Book

 

Book:  Jack

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre:  Historical Western Romance

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Women are trouble—lying, cheating, untrustworthy bundles of trouble.

Jack Clausen doesn’t need anyone but his horse and a boss who won’t interfere in his personal life—or lack of one.

Sure, he’s a lonely cowboy, but better lonely than brokenhearted.

If only he hadn’t met a girl who made him hope that honest and true women do exist. Maybe he wouldn’t be riding off into a snowstorm with a fresh determination to avoid women—indefinitely.

When Hazel Meissner sees a cowboy risk life, limb, and horse to save a child, she knows he’s someone special. When he finally gives her his heart, she considers herself the most blessed woman alive.

However, when he rides off without a word, she wonders if her heart will survive the loss.

One broken man. One trusting woman. One orchestrated misunderstanding that tears them apart. What’ll it take to bring Jack home again?

It’s Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing mashed up with the old ballad, “Cowboy Jack.”  Don’t miss a cast of characters inspired by the Bard himself—especially Dirk and Deborah (Benedick & Beatrice).

Jack: a lot of hullaballoo on the prairie.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Thoughts:

Jack is a cleverly written retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing with a cowboy ballad thrown in just to make it it's own unique story. Taking place in the old west on the prairie with cowboys, true love, and all the characters that made the original story memorable.

I enjoyed seeing how the author pays homage to Shakespeare's characters and yet made the story her own. The spiritual aspect was refreshing and the lessons on forgiveness were poignant. One of the things that drew Jack to Hazel was his ability to ask forgiveness from those he wronged and to make restitution of the sins he committed against others. Jack had the right attitude...almost. He needed to learn to forgive as well. Such a hard lesson for all of us, that is why it is so important. And so Jack and Hazel's journey to love takes on a deeper understanding on what it means to forgive as you have been forgiven.

Dirk and Deborah kept me chuckling with their oh so witty banter and their tentative love/hate relationship. If you like cowboys and Shakespeare this is one tale that is worth picking up and enjoying.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions 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 chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

 

More from Chautona


The Inspiration I Hate to Love


The plaintive notes of a ballad filled the living room. People sat on couches and chairs or stood in the doorway, listening. Three steps up the staircase, out of view of most of the room, a little girl sat, chin in her hands, listening.

If you looked close, you’d see freckles dotting her nose and crooked teeth that never were too large for her mouth like most children’s were. Just a bit closer, and you’d see wide, hazel eyes riveted to the man with the guitar seated on the hearth. To his right, a cup of coffee and sometimes a shot of whiskey.

With a voice like Jim Reeves (the non-twangy Reeves, mind you), the songs told stories, like all ballads do—a little blind girl praying for her father’s future happiness, a girl of thirteen who barely escaped a massacre in 19th century Wyoming. “Hazel eyes,” the man called her. California Joe—he was a real man, although not as good of one as the song made out.

Sometimes the man sang happier songs, but most of them were slow, western ballads that could keep Nicolas Sparks writing for decades.

And the little girl loved them all—especially California Joe and one about a cowboy who left his sweetheart alone on the prairie after a quarrel. One called “Cowboy Jack.”

As you’ve probably surmised, I was the little girl, and that man who sang and stirred the hearts of our family at nearly every gathering was my father.


How I miss those days.


For years, I wanted to give Jack a happier ending. See, the song goes like this. A lonely cowboy (with a heart so brave and true) meets and falls in love with a maiden (with eyes of heaven’s own blue). Alas, as with all good romances, the couple quarrel and Jack rides away. He finds a new band of cowboys and would have been just fine, but someone asks him to sing a song to “drive all cares away.” Alas, the song he devises is one about a “lonely maiden who waited for her Jack.”

Of course, he rides off to ask forgiveness. It’s all his fault. He arrives too late. She died of a broken heart on the “lonely prairie where skies are always blue.”

After I began writing, the idea came to me to turn those songs Dad sang—old ones that had been passed on and down through many different versions—into novels. I’d write all the subtext the songs left out.


I’d give them happy endings.


Of course, that’s easier said than done. One by one, I figured out how to do it, but Jack… well, I didn’t want to change the stories. I just wanted to leave on hope instead of despair

Shakespeare to the rescue!

I was watching Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado about Nothing adaptation, and the answer came to me so clearly. It had the solution I needed. So, I smooshed the song and the play together. Inside, you’ll find the characters Shakespeare created (including Dirk and Deborah and their biting repartee—they steal the show!) in the setting and with the elements of the ballad, too.

Dad’s older now. His hands are gnarled with age, swollen with arthritis. His mind is slipping away. Today, you’ll find his guitar at my house. My son now owns it, but he doesn’t know the songs I heard played on the old Goya. Still, when I take it out of the case, tune it up, and pluck the strings, everything shifts. Suddenly, I’m nine years old again, sitting on my uncle’s stairs, just out of sight, watching. Listening. Heart breaking.

See, I’ll never hear my father play again, and I can’t play either. So, the songs will have to live on with stories of Mary, Jethro, Maggie… and of course, Jack.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 21

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 21

Connie’s History Classroom, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 22

For the Love of Literature, September 23

Bigreadersite, September 23

Texas Book-aholic, September 24

lakesidelivingsite, September 24

Inklings and notions, September 25

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 25

For Him and My Family, September 26

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 27

Hookmeinabook, September 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 28

Artistic Nobody, September 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 29

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 30

Lots of Helpers, September 30

She Lives To Read, October 1

Mary Hake, October 1

Daysong Reflections, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Spoken from the Heart, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10101/jack-celebration-tour-giveaway