Love Among the Lilacs (Book Review, Blog Tour and Giveaway)

Love-Among-the-Lilacs-216x300About the Book

Book title: Love Among the Lilacs

Author: Jenna Victoria

Release date: April 4, 2017

Genre: Sweet Romance

Bookkeeper Mollie Wright knows about living on the streets, and her purchase of sweet Lilac Cottage is a dream come true. She is determined to stay and fight when a legal error puts her ownership at risk. Attorney Sean Grady never wanted his great-aunts to sell their cottage in Westchester County, New York, so when a paperwork snafu puts the deal on hold, he moves swiftly to evict the pretty, feisty squatter. Mollie finds unexpected allies in Grady Cove neighbors and a member of Sean’s own family but knows the clock is ticking. Will a theft and her past secrets force a showdown to heartache, or will Mollie and Sean discover home is truly where your heart is?

Purchase ‘Love Among the Lilacs’

 

 profile-photo-jpg-50My Thoughts:

“Mollie’s merry-go-round had chipped wooden horses that inflicted splinters and a calliope organ that played only unhappy tunes.”

 I love happily-ever-afters. I really do!

Both Molly and Sean have good reason to be mistrusting of other people and relationships. To expect that those they get close to will eventually betray them. Jenna Victoria writes beautifully, adding just the right amount of conflict and suspense, with a healthy dose of humor. I love the lilac theme, which wafts its way throughout the entire book. In fact, I found myself ‘googling’ and researching the various types of lilacs. Wasn’t I pleasantly surprised – so gorgeous. I am hoping they will grow where I live.

All of the characters are well developed and rounded, even Alma who isn’t physically around for long. I love Emily Rogers and Maria but absolutely adore Aunt Genevieve. She is full of wisdom but at the same time such a hoot. As I read Jenna’s lovely story I was frequently in stitches of laughter. It is sad that we weren’t able to know Aunt Alma better, however, Ms. Victoria gives us many hints and clues, from which we can only deduce, she was a beautiful soul. Quite often the true heart of a person isn’t fully revealed until after they have passed away. Jenna Victoria portrays this well. The analogies throughout were perfectly done.

“Life did not often go in Mollie’s favor, yet the entire real estate closing process had unfolded as seamlessly as a bolt of well-made silk”.

“Never look back”.  “For the first time, her mantra represented a flower unfolding in the sunlight, rather than one cut off at the root.”

I found myself just about unable to put this sweet book down, reading it over two sessions. I’d have read it in one go if chores and other commitments hadn’t taken priority. Yes, the ending was perfectly beautiful (not apologizing for ‘unnecessary’ use of adverbs). Mollie and Sean’s relationship came to a satisfying conclusion after so many bumps in the road. All of the loose ends, for all characters, were neatly and fragrantly tied together by the end of the book.

My only misgiving about this book is that it had to end. A sequel would be nice *hint hint*.  Would I read ‘Love Among the Lilacs’ again sometime? That’s a resounding ‘yes!’.

This is the first book penned by Jenna Victoria that I have read, but I guarantee I will be looking out for more. What a gem!

For its portrayal of human weaknesses, the assumptions we often make about others, and the importance of anticipation and forgiveness, all married together by fragrant love, I have given this book 5 stars.

I received this book as an ARC from the author via CelebrateLit at no cost. I was under no obligation to give a positive review, just an honest one. All thoughts are entirely my own.

Please feel free to jump on board and read the other blog stops along the way. It is always a wonderful opportunity to discover the sites of other writers and bloggers, and of course, offer invaluable support to the author.

Past Blog Stops

May 25: Pause for Tales

May 25: Avid Reader Book Review

May 26: Carpe Diem

May 27: Ashley’s Bookshelf

May 28: Live.Love.Read.

May 29: Lane Hill House

May 29: Christian Bookaholic

May 30: Moments Dipped in Ink

May 30: Karen Sue Hadley

You are here May 31: Josephine-AnneWrites

Blog Stops Still to Come

June 1: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 2: Have A Wonderful Day

June 3: Inklings and Notions

June 4: A Baker’s Perspective

June 5: Caffeinated Reads

June 6: His Grace is Sufficient

June 7: my site/autism mom

beth-head-shot-smaller-300x300About the Author

Ever since her grandfather co-created Twinkies, Snowballs & Hostess cupcakes for Intercontinental Baking Company, circa 1955, Jenna has yet to taste a cake she hasn’t liked.
Jenna writes books for readers who enjoy sweet & compelling romances, and also for those who look for her “fiction that feeds your faith” titles – happily-ever-after romance & romantic suspense stories with a Christian worldview. Her stories emulate those she enjoys reading…with a heroine who is in grave danger & a hero who is smart enough to get out of her way as she kicks butt and takes down names… and those that feature satisfying fairy-tale-endings.
Her clean romances won’t put you into a diabetic coma, and her faith-based romances aren’t preachy or unrealistic. It is her glad purpose to glorify God and His sacrificial love through His Son, Jesus Christ through books that illustrate hope & peace in unbearable situations. Her first triple negative breast cancer diagnosis in 2012 has led to surgeries, radiation, reoccurrences and incurable metastasis. Still, Jenna continues to praise God and trust His oversight in her life; and continues to write more books.

ebdbd602-34f2-4074-bfbf-e106d8206271-300x157Don’t forget to enter the giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jenna is giving away a grand prize of an authentic, new in unopened gift box Coach zipper accordion leather wallet – from their Disney X Collection (Value $140.00)!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! enter Jenna’s Giveaway here

Guest Post from Jenna Victoria

I am thrilled you will be introducing my newest novel, Love Among the Lilacs, to your readers and visitors through CelebrateLit. I am excited to share this sweet love story with quirky characters who hijacked the plot mid-stream, and took me places I did not anticipate!
So – Why Love Among the Lilacs? I chose the title and a subplot regarding lilacs for one reason – I absolutely adore the scent! The fact that a lilac’s bloom is so fleeting, makes their fragrance that much more memorable and anticipated.

jenna pic 1Mollie Wright anticipates something too – finally buying her own home, Lilac Cottage, after a childhood of homelessness. Genevieve Carter, one of the two elderly sellers, leaves her a note of welcome next to a small bouquet of lilacs in Mollie’s new bedroom, after the closing. This helps readers experience Genevieve’s spirit of generosity. Isn’t the bedroom phone antique? The sisters lived in the cottage for more than 50 years and changed little of its amenities.
How did I choose to write about Mollie? What if a character dreamed and saved and finally bought a house after a childhood of homelessness? Then, due to a real estate closing error and interference by the seller’s great-nephew, her sweet cottage ownership is in real peril. Dare she hope for a positive outcome?

 

Jenna pic 2Attorney Sean Grady didn’t want his maternal great-aunts, who lovingly raised him and his younger brother Mark, to sell Lilac Cottage. After a rookie mistake led to a tragedy when he was an associate at his family law firm, Sean decided to concentrate on elder law. He’s seen plenty of abuse of the elderly in his ten-year career, and something about Mollie Write doesn’t sit well with him.

Mollie finds support from her neighbors – including long retired Emily Rogers (Genevieve’s BFF) who often visits Lilac Cottage’s back garden through this connecting gate. It’s so beautiful! She reveals her profession which is perfectly suited to Mollie’s needs. We see selfless giving and stalwart friendship in Emily’s character.

 

Jenna pic 3Mollie has secrets to hide, and a far away half-brother and Mother who aren’t exactly upstanding members of society.

When her half-brother unexpectedly surfaces, bringing a mountain of trouble with him, the budding love between Sean and Mollie takes a hard tumble.

 

The theft of an antique necklace, Sean’s renewed lack of trust and Mollie’s shame at her past – not to mention the final outcome of legal decisions – pull them further apart.

 

Jenna pic 4The intervention of others gives Mollie and Sean a chance at reconciliation – but is it too late? Can they finally unpack and empty baggage from their past?

 

I hope you enjoy Love Among the Lilacs as much as I did writing it!

 

Happy Reading!

 

p.s. my selected giveaway, an authentic Coach Disney X Mickey Mouse accordion zip wallet in glove-tanned leather was chosen to represent the transformation of Mollie’s negative childhood experiences into memories of acceptance and joy among the trials.

 

Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: “A Spring of Weddings” by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell

About the Book

Book: A Spring of Weddings: A Contemporary Spring Weddings Collection

Authors: Toni Shiloh & Melissa Wardwell,

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Release Date: March 30, 2017

A Spring of Weddings is delightful. Two beautiful novellas encased within one book. Although they are both stories of love, they are entirely different from each other … in an interesting way.

“A Proxy Wedding” by Toni Shiloh

“Just keep it together, Nichols. A few more days in her company before you part ways again and all will be right back to normal.”

Carly and Damien have been asked to stand in as proxy bride and groom by their best friends Brenda and Adam. This ‘proxy wedding’ was to take place in beautiful Montana, so lovely a place that almost anything could happen. Maybe, two strangers could fall in love. But the road wasn’t meant to be easy, both Carly and Damien had their own demons and fears in life. Would they be able to overcome these fears and superstitions, and go on to live a happy life together?

My Thoughts:

What a beautiful story. Toni Shiloh, you had me at the first line.

Yes, I am willing to concede that there was a fair amount of predictability, but if there is to be a happy ending, and I just love a happy ending, then some things are slightly predictable. This was a gorgeously, romantic (sorry about the adverb … not! I love adverbs) story. My heart was a-flutter right the way through. Adequate suspense was provided … was it ever! I couldn’t stop turning (clicking) the pages. Conflict was present in all his shapes and forms. You were kept wondering right until the end … “what is going to happen?”  Now, for those who haven’t read this beautiful story, please don’t assume that ‘happy ending’ means ‘girl gets boy’ or vice versa. These two characters are so incompatible in so many ways. Want to know what happens? Hear all the gossip? You’ll just have to read the story.

 

“Hope Beyond Savannah” by Melissa Wardwell

 “The fringed Atlantic waves crashed onto the sandy shores of Tybee Island as Lily Allman nestled deeper into the arms of her boyfriend, Nik Lagatuo. Wrapped in a cocoon of blankets, they sat on the beach waiting for the clock to strike midnight.”

It was obvious to both of them that they were totally infatuated with each other, and those strong feelings had turned into love; but would the differences in culture, upbringing, and individual personalities, allow them to be together forever? More importantly, would Nik’s very traditional Samoan parents ever be able to accept Lily as a member of their family? Lily was definitely not the ‘good Samoan girl’ that tina had expected Nik to choose for his bride.

My Thoughts:

I loved this gorgeous story. I found this story to be going in almost the opposite direction to the first, within this beautiful book. It was New Year’s Eve, the most romantic time of the year, and a time for new beginnings. Two young people were in love, what could possibly go wrong? Suspense held onto me right throughout the story, constantly hoping with all my heart that everything would be okay, differences could be settled, misunderstandings forgiven, and a love so perfect, gifted from God, could become reality.

I loved the imagery throughout, whether on a beach or a backyard deck, the scene was perfectly set. I could visualise myself being with each of the characters as they went through their own private turmoil, and when they were interacting to find solutions. The main characters were very well rounded and I feel that I know each of them personally. The inclusion of a glossary of some Samoan words was delightful. Those beautiful words added to the intensity of the romance.

Several issues to do with intercultural marriage were tackled successfully. Nik and Lily won’t go through their married life problem free, but who does? There will always be some issues and conflicts to be dealt with, as with all marriages, but especially when two cultures join. I loved the fact that they both knew and loved Jesus. This will be the saving grace that keeps them together.

If you are looking for some lovely romance to while away a few hours, then I would highly recommend that you buy “A Spring of Weddings”.  Both stories are superb, suspenseful, well written, and full of good, clean, innocent love.

Giveaway:

To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! CLICK HERE TO ENTER GIVEAWAY

 

 

 

“A Spring of Weddings” is now available on Amazon and Amazon Australia

I was kindly provided with a free copy of this book by CelebrateLit Publishing. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Upcoming Blog Tour Posts:

May 7: God is Love

May 7: Ashley’s Bookshelf

May 8: Autism mom

May 8: Caffeinated Reads

May 9: Bibliophile Reviews

About the Authors

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mother, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honour her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

 

 

 

 

Melissa Wardwell was born and raised in a small mid-Michigan community living there still with her Husband and three children. She enjoys taking pictures, reading, and leisurely rides with her husband on their motorcycle. All her stories revolve around women who are mothers. Single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of her own. Her hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life.

Guest posts from Toni & Melissa

A Proxy Wedding

By Toni Shiloh

Spring is here! I love it because I always think of new beginnings as the flowers bud and then bloom. The trials and tribulation of the winter season are no longer on my mind. My hope that the winter season would not linger begins to become visible as new life takes shape on the bare trees. The seeds I planted in faith of God’s faithfulness sprout up in hope and promise.

When I sat down to write A Proxy Wedding, I had to imagine springtime, because the dreary, overcast skies outside my window were a constant reminder that I was in a season of sickness. One person would get sick, then the next, and the next. By the time the last person got sick, the round would start over. Visits to the doctor were made. Miserable kids were constantly whining in their discomfort.

It. Was. Rough.

It made perfect sense for me to throw my characters into a new situation. One that would make the stretch, take them out their comfort zone, and search for God’s goodness. I wanted to give them a hint of goodness and throw in a trial or two so they could make the decision that sometimes, the risk is worth it. Just as we all react differently to new situations, so did my characters.

Carly was intent on making lemonade from her lemons. She tries to get the handsome broker, Damien, to see the importance of smelling roses and lingering over new adventures. Of course, Damien wasn’t partial to the frivolity. He’s so intent on becoming a success that he had no time to slow down.

In order for them to see God’s handiwork in their lives, I had to remind them that they were not products of their past. That in God, they’re a new creation with new opportunities available to them.

I hope you enjoy A Proxy Wedding. May you think of the Father’s love as you take time to stop and smell the roses.

Hope Beyond Savannah

By Melissa Wardwell

I hope you enjoy this story of love, acceptance and new beginnings. It was a joy to write because there is much more to it than the hope of marriage. It is about the blending of two families who are from two completely different cultures. Researching the island traditions, beliefs, and customs was not only fun but enlightening. Being able to return to my background in bridal as well as the most beautiful city in the United States was just an added bonus.

With Nik and his family being from another country, I gave you a glossary of words and phrases used so you knew what was being said. I found the language to be rather beautiful and to not include it would take away from who these people are. I also give a small explanation as to what Rock-a- billy is. Lily is a funky chick who dresses in a fun and exciting way. When I saw this couple in my head, I knew it would be quite the uncommon match. As you will soon see, they fit together quite nicely.

My point in using a bi-racial couple for this story was based on what we have been seeing in the news lately. It is unlike anything I have ever done but after talking to friends in similar relationships, I knew I had to step out on this limb. I think it is time we begin to look at people through the eyes of God and not man, then we would see how beautiful we all are. It doesn’t matter what colour our skin is or what our past contains, we are all God’s creation and we are beautifully and wonderfully made.