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.

Life After E.L.E. by J.C. Morrows

My Review:

download

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!

I’ve just discovered another favourite author, there are quite a few on my bookshelf and on my Kindle.

Life After E.L.E. is a young adult, post-apocalyptic, dystopian story, but anyone from sixteen to one hundred and sixteen would enjoy reading it. Thirty years after a rogue moon had crashed into the earth, leaving a frozen world in its wake, we learn about how the human race had only just escaped extinction, and how they had to revert to living as cave people, the harsh systems that had been put into place by an unrelenting government, and the many secrets and conspiracies that would make daily life extremely difficult and dangerous.

The story reeled me in from the get-go. From page one I was hooked on every word, wanting to know what would happen next. About one-third of the way through reading this book, the mystery and suspense had built to such an extent that I just couldn’t put the book down. Not bad for someone who didn’t previously enjoy fantasy/Sci-Fi or Speculative Fiction. Just as Eve was starting to become more suspicious and paranoid about the circumstances surrounding her father’s death … so was I.

… and the young people who had been executed, what had they done to deserve such a harsh punishment?  What secrets had Eve’s father entrusted to her before his untimely death? I found myself wishing she would divulge those secrets, because I wanted to have some answers too, and the suspense was killing me … but in a good way.

Life, it seemed, wasn’t too dissimilar to how it would have been thousands of years ago, after all, they had to start from scratch and rebuild their world, such as it was. Celebrations were rare in the caves, within the compound. Families had even been restricted to having two children. Times were tough, however, what seemed to make things worse was the fact that as only thirty years had passed since E.L.E., many had fond memories of how life on earth used to be.

downloadSome good Christian values were subtly introduced. There were regrets. Just as Eve was angry with her father for ‘not trying harder to survive’, her mother regretted being angry with her husband the last time she’d seen him. ‘The last words I spoke to your father were in anger. I’m not going to do that to you.’  Gently reminding us of the importance of forgiveness, love and understanding, no matter what.

Although the kissing scenes may have been a little overdone for strict Christian taste, I loved them. Why? Because it meant that these poor people were just as human as anyone else. Under such difficult and confusing circumstances … life after the event, and with the new, cold, and harsh world they now found themselves in, love could and would still blossom. It had to I guess, for life to continue.

Even now after E.L.E., it would seem that human beings had learnt nothing from their past. There were the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’, and the ‘haves’ were just as greedy, jealous, suspicious and malicious as their fore-bearers had been. Life was survival of the fittest, although in the animal kingdom more decorum would have been displayed. Very little if anything had changed.

Rules around what couples could/couldn’t do in public unless they were ‘bound’ were similar to the strict cultural laws of various countries in the old world. Great emphasis was put upon how our actions in any situation, would affect not just ourselves, but all of those around us. Eve’s compassion and caring nature towards others, even when she was in pain, was extraordinary. What a world we’d have if everyone’s heart was like Eve’s.

‘If only the people on the moon base had survived … If the government had gone on the way it was supposed to after that rogue moon had hit earth …’

Many wonderful things will happen in life, but there will always be equal devastation. Our lives seem to be full of “what if’s” … but isn’t hindsight a glorious thing?

I love how Morrows describes the world by the use of dialogue, both spoken and in thought. I felt my mind connect with some of the characters, and it was as though their thoughts were my own.

My only real complaint about this book was the enormous cliff-hanger of an ending … darn it JC! Now I just have to wait with baited breath for the next instalment.

One of the discussion questions for book club readers intrigued me.

‘If you found yourself in a post-apocalyptic world, how do you think that would affect your faith? Would you hold on tighter to God – or would you maybe begin to question His plan?’

cI gave this question some thought, and I don’t believe it would make much difference. Our current world is made up of believers and non-believers, and even those who either believe something entirely different, or nothing at all. Often we hang on to our faith out of sheer fear of what might happen if we don’t … a kind of insurance if you will. What do you think? How might you answer this question?

What a riveting, enthralling adventure reading this book was. JC I love your work!

A little about the author:  JC Morrows, author of the bestselling young adult dystopian series: Order of the MoonStone and the new Frozen Earth series (Post-Apocalyptic with a Dystopian edge), spends her days writing, arguing with her evil computer, juggling two kids, and wishing someone would invent a coffee IV.

A storyteller in the truest sense of the word, JC has been telling stories in one form or another her entire life, and once her mother convinced her to write them down, she simply couldn’t stop.
And . . . as a true believer, she gives God all of the glory for her talent and ability!
“And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” Habakkuk 2:2

Giveaway: To celebrate her tour, JC Morrows is giving away a themed basket including the book and swag and some specially chosen surprises!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b0fd.

Link to purchase this book: Life After E.L.E. JC Morrows Amazon

I was generously provided with a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Lakwi’s Lament: a short story (Tamrin Tales Book 2) ~ by Jeannette O’Hagan

My Review

 lakwis-lament‘Lakwi would love to read the books in the Royal library, but girls aren’t allowed inside. Her passion for books attracts the attention of her dashing older brother, Prince Rokkan, and her suave (but cunning) cousin, Lord Haka. Will her drive for knowledge lead her into more trouble than she can handle?’

Although this story is aimed at Middle-Grade to Young Adult readers, I believe any age group would love it.  Previously I haven’t been a huge fan of fantasy, but after reading some of the other writings of Jeanette O’Hagan that is fast changing.

Lakwi’s Lament is charming, suspenseful, and informative with a powerful message. This lovely story first appeared in ‘Like a Girl Plan Anthology’ (Far Horizons, 2015). Like a Girl celebrates and supports education and opportunities for girls and women.

Princess Lakwi is thirsty for knowledge in a world where only the males are considered worthy to gain an education. ‘Girls and puppies weren’t welcome in the library.’ Girls and women are present in this life to cook, sew, and arrange flowers among other things, and ultimately bear children for their husbands.

It was fitting that this sweet story was included in ‘Like A Girl’ because this message of equality and fair rights of the female gender to educate themselves and receive support in doing so, is portrayed well here.

Jeanette’s descriptions of the surrounds, the Palace … and many details right down to the colourful, elegant clothing worn by the individual characters, enable the reader to clearly visualise this different, but interesting world.  ‘Once Papa had taken her into the tiered room with its large skylights and rows and rows of entrancing scrolls and books.’  Her analogies throughout are brilliant … ‘his eyes like chips of ice.’

Lakwi’s Lament is a follow on from Jeanette’s story ‘The Herbalist’s Daughter’ (originally published in Tied in Pink, Anthology), both set in the world of the ‘Akrad Legacy Series. I am looking forward to reading the complete series when it is published. I believe Book One is to be released later this year.

Ms O’Hagan is a masterful storyteller, who entices you to read, and keep reading until the final page. I loved this eBook, and I’m certain you will too!

I received a free copy of ‘Lakwi’s Lament’ in return for an honest review.

Daystar – The Days Are Numbered by Anne Hamilton

My Review

download-2I’ve never been a huge fan of the fantasy genre. Why? I really don’t know. I read Jeanette O’Hagan’s ‘Ruhanna’s Flight’ which was published in ‘Glimpses of Light – Anthology and was absolutely delighted. Then I read Ms O’Hagan’s ‘Heart of the Mountain’ … Wow! I loved it. I had seen Anne Hamilton’s ‘Daystar’ earlier on and had put it on my ‘to read’ bookshelf on Goodreads, thinking maybe one day I’ll have time. Well, once this delightful book turned up on my doorstep, with a beautiful card inside from Anne Hamilton, I just had to read it, didn’t I?

I think I am becoming addicted to fantasy … we’ll have to see. I’ve read ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ and also Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I haven’t read any previous books written by Ms Hamilton, so my mind was fresh, and I didn’t have others to compare it to. Perhaps that’s a good thing as I enjoyed this book, for itself, immensely.

‘Daystar – The Days Are Numbered’ is a gorgeous story, in some ways similar to C. S. Lewis’ ‘Narnia’. In fact, ‘Narnia’ was mentioned within the pages. Fern, who is obviously from the same dimension as myself, is awkward and unhappy in her life, ever since her mother left her step-father, Nick. Fern’s greatest desire is to be invisible. At the blow of a whistle, Fern is transported to another dimension where the race for good to overcome evil isn’t too dissimilar to that of Fern’s world.

I really liked the characters’ names and personalities. Talking animals always intrigue me. The fact that the seven heroes of this story were children, was delightfully encouraging considering the age group the book is aimed at. I loved the quaintly illustrated capital letters at the beginning of each chapter, and their relevance to the musical notes, which were explained further into the book. It took me a wee while to immerse myself in the book, due to the small print, however, Ms Hamilton kindly sent me a PDF copy, and then it was difficult to put down my smartphone.

The subtle injection of humour was delightful, and the entire theme held my interest until the end. The only slight quibble I had was that I felt there were an awful lot of ‘big’ words for a middle-grade reader to grasp. Overall I found Daystar to be beautifully written, with just the right amount of wit and humour, adventure, and intrigue.

With the use of musical score, numbers and days, the plot gradually fused together like a well-designed jig-saw puzzle. I would love to read a sequel to Daystar and see what Ms Ashe, Golliath, Hector, and Fern will face next … and what dimension will it take place in?

I would like to thank Anne Hamilton for providing a free copy of Daystar in return for an honest review.

Originally posted at 

https://josephineannegriffiths.blogspot.com.au/

November 2016

A Review of Imogen’s Chance by Paula Vince

My Review

download“A regretful past, a hopeful future.”

Imogen Browne desperately wants things to be okay in her world, but also that of others. An unfortunate accident of fifteen years ago has left in its wake, far too many consequences for friends and loved ones.

All of the characters in this beautiful story are believable and sincere. They pretty much react the way I would expect myself to react under similar circumstances.

‘People who are told they are going to die, always tell the truth.’

Paula tackles more than one important and sensitive issue within this book, and she does it flawlessly. She includes lots of different emotions, conflict, romance, and more than adequate suspense to keep you intrigued until the end. Paula’s characters are skilfully developed and rounded. She uses the technique of ‘showing rather than telling’ very well.

Paula’s talent addresses the topic of Christian healing, both spiritual and physical in such a way that it is easy to comprehend. The themes of repentance, forgiveness, and healing flowed superbly throughout. The story of Imogen and Asher is not over the top, or too preachy. All Biblical references are accurate and appropriately used. Also, our human inability to recognise some of the most important gifts that God has bestowed upon us, and misinterpret them as flaws, was approached with wisdom.

I fell in love with Imogen from the beginning. Every time I thought I had it all sorted in my mind, there was another surprise, another revelation. Imogen’s secret is so enormous that it holds the keys to many sub-plots within the book.

‘With every step they took, she was stomping over the painful, regretful memories, and replacing them with something new and wonderfully special.’

These elements of suspense and surprise are what was required to keep me turning the pages, and bring this book to a delightful finish.

This was the second time that I read ‘Imogen’s Chance’. I enjoyed this read even more than the first. I didn’t think that would be possible.

‘A rock solid base of truth gripped onto by unwavering faith, made the building blocks for an unshakeable reality.’  ~ Paula Vince

Imogen’s Chance is a delightful book, which would be enjoyed by everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike. Another of Paula’s books that I would highly recommend is Best Forgotten  My review will follow soon.

Originally posted at

https://josephineannegriffiths.blogspot.com.au/

October 2016

A Review of Critical Condition, An Escape to the Country #4 by Nicki Edwards

My Review

critical-condition-by-nicki-edwards“Liam O’Connor wants a wife. Problem is, the type of woman he’s looking for doesn’t exist.”

I absolutely love “Critical Condition”!

Having read Intensive Care, the first book in this series, then reading The Peppercorn Project, a standalone novel, I was pleasantly surprised to realise that Critical Condition could also be read as a standalone, even though it is the fourth and final book in this lovely series. I am currently reading the second book Emergency Response, which I shall follow up with the third treasure, Life Support.

The way Ms Edwards’ books flow, make it possible to read them out of order, which is lucky for me as I am always doing things in the wrong order. With beautifully constructed descriptions, one can imagine being right there in the orchard.  Ms Edwards gradually introduces the characters from her previous books, until eventually, we have a wonderful picture of who’s who, and where they fit in the scheme things.

As soon as I read the first page, I was drawn in. This sweet and engaging story begins at the orchard of Lexton Downs, through the eyes of Liam and Kate who are attending an engagement party, which turns out to be a surprise wedding, “under the banner of blue skies and glorious autumn sunshine”.  It was, a gorgeous day, and the bride, Liam’s little sister looked absolutely stunning. Liam was pleased to see Emily happily married, but inside his own heart, he yearned to find that elusive one, that perfect woman, that angel he could spend the rest of his life with. “But, if Liam was honest, the green-eyed monster was attacking him”.

Then along comes Poppy, a seemingly confident young woman with the world at her feet. Originally fleeing life in Australia, and building a new one in New York, she was now living the dream. Or was she? How well did she really know that handsome boyfriend of hers? Was everything as it seemed?

Her father’s untimely death makes a return trip to Australia necessary. A trip which will bring with it many surprises, but an equal amount of angst as she tries to come to terms with her past life, and even her current one. Behind Poppy’s mask of high self-esteem and devil may care attitude, is an extremely troubled young girl.

Both Liam and Poppy are searching for something … someone … maybe.

Poppy is far from Liam’s idea of perfect. Or is she?

She has enough baggage to fill up every bag carousel at an international airport!

But maybe some things are just meant to be. Will they be able to smooth over any rough edges, and form a lifelong partnership? Both of their lives, but especially Poppy’s are complicated.

Nicki Edwards has such a beautiful, natural writing style. You are able to visualise people and their surroundings so well, that it’s almost as if you were there. I would go as far as to say ‘you are a part of the story’.  The characters have become like family.

If you love good, clean romance, with oodles of suspense, just the right amount of conflict, and of course a beautiful, happy ending, then this is the book for you.

Thank you, Nicki Edwards, for nailing it again. You are the queen of rural, medical romance.

Pre-release copy kindly provided by Pan Macmillan Australia/Momentum Books through NetGallery, in return for an honest review.

Originally posted at

https://josephineannegriffiths.blogspot.com.au/

September 2016

“The Holy Grail of Book Launching: Secrets from a bestselling author and friends. Ultimate Launching Companion and step-by-step guide” By Mimi Emmanuel and Elaine Roughton

My Review

Want to self-publish your very own ‘Book Baby’? Yes? Then you NEED to own this book!

download-1Back in February 2016, Mimi Emmanuel, wrote and published “How to launch your eBook easy-peasy, with diary notes of 31-day count-down and to-do overview”. I must say this book is a little gem. How to launch your eBook easy-peasy, describes the process by which Mimi produced her very first book, in November, 2015 “My Story of Survival: The ultimate low-reactive diet for allergies, gut problems, food intolerances and chemical sensitivities”; an extremely, informative book.

Now we have the holy grail! This fabulous book is actually three books in one. Each one as valuable as the others. I knew that self-publishing was an enormous venture to impart upon, and had made up my mind that when my book arrives the publishing stage, I would need to find a traditional publisher, or just accept the fact that I would never become a published author. This incredible book has given me a different viewpoint. Even though I still want to be published the traditional way, I now see no reason why I couldn’t self-publish while I am waiting, and of course get my name and brand out there in the marketplace.

The Holy Grail of Book Launching is the absolute ‘bible of book launching’ (no disrespect to the Holy Bible). It is filled with easy to follow steps, and numerous, helpful links … an absolute wealth of valuable information and process. Mimi writes in such a way as to take away any fear one may have of this whole self-publishing journey. And it is indeed a journey, filled with angst and hard work. However, through her personable style of writing, Mimi makes this journey seem so much more approachable. In fact, once I have re-read this book, visited the numerous helpful links, and watched all the videos related to it, I know without question, I will be able to publish my own book. I have given Mimi’s book five stars because I just love, love, love it!

I graciously received an advanced reader’s copy (ARC) from the author, in return for an honest and fair review.