A Spring of Weddings

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About the Book

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

Authors: Toni Shiloh & Melissa Wardwell,

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Release Date: March 30, 2017

A Proxy Wedding

Carly James values loyalty and friendship above all, so when her best friend calls asking her to be a proxy bride, she says, ‘yes.’ How hard can it be to say ‘I do’ so that her best friend can be with the one she loves? Only, Carly never counted on the feelings that began to swirl around with the proxy groom.

Damien Nichols likes life lined up from A to Z, but when his best friend calls in a favor, disorder begins to reign. Instead of taking a quick flight to the proxy wedding, he must take a road trip with the proxy bride. Carly’s free-spirit attitude bumps heads with his meticulous approach to life. As Damien discovers the woman underneath the carefree façade, his emotions become involved.

Will love become real at A Proxy Wedding?

Hope Beyond Savannah

Lily Allman and Nikotemo (Nik) Lagatuo were the poster children for the term “opposites attract.” He was an evangelist and CEO for a non-profit from Samoa who grew up in a large loving family. She was a blond bombshell with a funky style and no family to call her own. Two of the most unlikely people meet in the most unlikely of places, but God had a plan when He brought them together. They never let their differences deter them from the love they had for each other, but when Nik’s mother comes to the States for the wedding, the idea of wedded bliss is shaken. Can prejudices be over looked, insecurities overcome, and hope for a better future be restored so that these two can have all that was promised?

My Thoughts

The first thing I thought when I finished both stories is that they were refreshingly different from most reads. While they were light-hearted romances, they each possessed a unique aspect that I really appreciated. Trying to explain without spoilers is difficult, but I think I can summarize by saying that one ends with a beginning and the other begins in the middle. While this may sound off at first, in my opinion, it made for more realistic and believable stories; with contemporary romances it’s hard to have a believable storyline covering the meet cute to the wedding and these two stories do a great job of diving into two seasons in a relationship not as covered in Christian Fiction.

 

In A Proxy Wedding I was intrigued by a premise of a proxy wedding. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. And what a great way to throw two characters together in a contemporary setting. Toni was able to provide surprising depth and character development in the length of a short novel.

 

In Hope Beyond Savannah, I enjoyed getting to know the Samoan culture. This story was shorter than I thought it would be, which left wanting to know more about these characters before and after this story. Melissa does a good job with the heroine still struggling with wounds of the past while also healing and moving forward. For me the story wrapped up a bit quickly, but I still very much liked it.

I received this book free for promotional purposes. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

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

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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 spring time, 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, 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 color our skin is or what our past contains, we are all God’s creation and we are beautifully and wonderfully made.

Blog Stops

April 25: Blossoms and Blessings

April 25: Lighthouse Academy

April 26: A Baker’s Perspective

April 26: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

April 27: Blogging With Carol

April 27: Avid Reader Book Reviews

April 28: Moments Dipped in Ink

April 28: Mary Hake

April 29: Reading Is My SuperPower

April 29: The Power of Words (Spotlight)

April 30: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

April 30: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

May 1: Quiet Quilter

May 1: Kristin N. Spencer

May 2: Kat’s Corner Books

May 2: Karen Sue Hadley

May 3: Books. Books. And More Books.

May 3: History, Mystery & Faith

May 4: Jeanette’s Thoughts

May 4: A Greater Yes

May 5: Carpe Diem

May 5: Christian Bookaholic

May 6: These Splendid Sentences

May 6: Just Jo’Anne

May 7: God is Love

May 7: Ashley’s Bookshelf

May 8: Autism mom

May 8: Caffeinated Reads

May 9: Bibliophile Reviews

Giveaway

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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! https://promosimple.com/ps/b614

Mom’s Monday Mysteries #2 – Reading Up a Storm

I grew up without computers so I still enjoy holding a good book.  Enjoy the flopping of the pages and the smell of the paper and ink.  Lately, I moved near a used book store and picked up a cozy mystery to read. Not only was it at half price but was also on clearance.

Reading Up a Storm by Eva Gates was perfectly situated in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  The Bodie Island Lighthouse is home to a library and Lucy Richardson, the librarian, along with her feline companion, Charles.  In my opinion a book can only be made better with a cat, in this case, a Himalayan.

When a former resident returns after he has made good strange things begin to happen and then he is found dead.  What had happened so long ago that would make someone want to kill now?

This is an easy to read book and has chapters just long enough to read during a coffee break at work.  I do want to pick up the first two in the series and see what brought Lucy back from Boston and to also find out how her love life continues.    So I guess you could say I am hooked.  All in all I would recommend this if you are a cozy mystery lover like I am.

And just in case you are a light house lover, go visit the real thing. The Bodie Island Lighthouse is in Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It is a fully functioning lighthouse and if you wish to see the spectacular view you are welcome to climb the two hundred fourteen steps to the top.  And no, it is not a library.  That part, like this book, is fictional.

 

 

ReadingUpaStormMisfortune blows into North Carolina’s Outer Banks when a dead body in a boat on the shore leaves local librarian Lucy Richardson racing to solve a strange new mystery….

After a successful party at Bodie Island’s Lighthouse Library, librarian Lucy Richardson is ready to curl up with her cat, Charles, and a good book. But her R and R is cut short when she notices some mysterious lights leading a small boat to crash into the coast.
 
The two shipwrecked seafarers survive the ordeal—but one of them shows up dead ashore a few days later. Lucy finds herself again roped into a murder investigation and navigating a sea of suspects, all of whom had motives to deep-six the deceased. And this time, she has a sinking feeling that finding the real killer won’t be so easy…

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The Courting Campaign

The Courting Campaign is the first in the series by Regina Scott. I actually read this series completely out of order, so this was the last book I read. Each story stands independently but shares some common characters (including lovable match-making servants), making all of the books thoroughly enjoyable even out of order. Regina’s stories vary in their faith content, from not mentioning God at all to having it as a large part of the character’s life. This story includes a focus on faith but never overwhelms the story.

One aspect that I really love of the storyline is the focus on natural science and the development of a pivotal invention that had never occurred before to me, but was so important to a major industry. Vague enough? I’m trying not to give anything away! Nicholas goes through several experiments and I think Regina does a good job of describing them. He is certainly singularly focused, to the detriment of his relationship with his daughter, which is where Nanny Emma come in. During a period of time where “A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word,” Emma shines as STEM beacon. (For those not familiar with the term? Here’s a good article.)

Overall this was an enjoyable story that I’ll read again. It was a good way to spend some enjoyable hours; light-hearted, but with enough depth and character development to give it some levity.

 
CourtingCampaignEmma Pyrmont has no designs on handsome Sir Nicholas Rotherford—at least not for herself. As his daughter’s nanny, she sees how lonely little Alice has been. With the cook’s help, Emma shows the workaholic scientist just what Alice needs. But making Nicholas a better father makes Emma wish her painful past didn’t mar her own marriage chances. 

Ever since scandal destroyed his career, Nicholas has devoted himself to his new invention. Now his daughter’s sweet, quick-witted nanny is proving an unexpected distraction. All evidence suggests that happiness is within reach—if only a man of logic can trust in the deductions of his own heart.

 

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Safe in the Fireman’s Arms

safeinthefiremansarmsI just finished this book last night, but it “hit the spot,” as they say. So much so, that I was eager to share it with you today! Safe in the Fireman’s Arms by Tina Radcliffe is a clean, light-hearted read perfect for a weekend escape from it all. Lately I’ve been reading some HEAVY drama and while they’re great stories and great authors, I was in a funk. So, I did something very rare in my world, I put down not just one, but two books. I plan on returning to them in a couple weeks, but I could tell I was consuming too much drama and that on top of life lately was just a bit much. What I needed was an escape that would give me some smiles. Some look down on this type of fiction and call it fluff or slush or another negative term, but ya’ll, it was the perfect solution.

I headed to the library Sunday afternoon and browsed Harlequin’s Love Inspired, which my branch thankfully keeps altogether on a shelf. I chose very scientifically; I read the backs and picked the ones with animals on the cover. This one had a cat. Can’t go wrong with that, right? Almost every story I’ve read with a furry friend at least provided a few smiles and this story didn’t disappoint. More predominately featured was a Collie named Chuck, but a kitten enters the story to liven it up and make you go “Aw.” But it’s not an animal book. It features two people who are ready to move on from their past;a woman who is perpetually involved in incidents of one kind or another and the man the rescues her. I highly recommend it.

 
Running away from her sheltered life, Maggie Jones wants to start fresh. Instead, she finds trouble in Paradise, Colorado. Within days she’s on the radar of fire chief Jake MacLaughlin. And when her family starts to play matchmaker, Maggie’s plans for a quiet life are turned upside down. Though he’s the small town’s most eligible bachelor, Jake is far from a playboy. The widower isn’t interested in dating. But when Maggie transforms from mousy to magnificent, and suitors start lining up, the fireman can’t resist a rescue. Pretending to be a couple rekindles their spark for life…and for love.

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The Secret of Pembrooke Park

In general, I’m not a huge drama fan. I read for escape and I prefer those escapes to be happy. But…Julie Klassen is an exception to my do-drama rule. I love how Julie approaches some hard topics in her books that are mostly avoided in Christian Fiction. While this book doesn’t approach a “taboo” subject, Julie doesn’t shy away from the grit of real life. Here’s a summary:

Pembrooke ParkAbigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her–a longtime friend–has fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll’s house left mid-play . . .

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem to know something about the manor’s past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure.

Hoping to improve her family’s financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks…or very real danger?

Oh, my gosh! This book is gripping! I listened to the audio version on a long car trip and there were definitely times that I was gripping the steering wheel. This novel is written in the style of the great gothic novels, but the story leaves you with a satisfying ending, unlike many gothic novels which are endlessly depressing. There are twists and turns, ups and downs, joy and heartbreak. All of the characters have to learn about forgiveness and redemption of both themselves and others.

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Winner of Still Life Giveaway

It’s a fun post kind of day! I have been way too sick the past several days from a stomach bug someone was nice enough to share with me and am finally starting to feel normal. Yay! So, it’s a great time to announce the winner of the Still Life Giveaway that was posted last week. But first, the hubs discovered this hilarious cat book this weekend and couldn’t resist it. It’s called You Need More Sleep, by Francesco Marciuliano. Here are some of my favorite highlights:

If you’re a cat owner, you can definitely relate to these. If you laughed, I encourage you to get the book. There are many many more great ones.

And now…..the winner of the Still Life Giveaway is:

Loraine(momrain)!!!

Loraine, I’ve sent you an email. Please contact me either through email or Facebook to let me know your address!

Thank you to all who have entered and now follow my little blog.

Meow.

 

Still Life and a Giveaway!

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This  past Sunday Dani Pettrey hosted a release party at a local Barnes and Noble. still-life-launch-3Not only did I get to go, but hubs came with since he’s gotten into the series. It was such fun! Dani gave away some fun goodies, gave us all some background on the book, series, and writing life, and answered questions.still-life-launch-2

Here were some fun facts she shared:

  • Dani’s husband has extensive gun knowledge, including the snipers, and took her to the gun range so she could experience shooting for herself.
  • She loves the research for a book.
  • Tends to re-write the whole middle of the book two weeks before deadline and has a very supportive family during this crazy time.

stilllifeAbout the book: Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright–and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead–and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

Review: I could not put this down and neither could the hubs. It was intense, although a couple of the locations were not nearly as creepy to me since I’ve been one of the lucky few inside for my paycheck job (which I also love). But, there were some scary moments. I think the concept of knowing a murder happened because of a photograph but not knowing where the crime scene or the victim are is so intriguing. And the continuing developing relationships of the other characters in the series makes me bite my nails waiting for the next one. It is so much fun for me as a local to read and recognize places in my hometown. Maybe we can convince a local tour company to do tours based on the series!

Hubs review: I never really thought I’d enjoy reading romance until my wife took an opportunity of jury duty to stir the pot (Kat here, he forgot a book to read, so I dropped off Blind Shot. He’s been hooked ever since). Still Life has enough mystery and suspense to keep me intrigued, and I enjoy the local references that shed a good light on Baltimore. (Like a true male, short and to the point. Maybe you too can convince the man in your life that he’ll love it.)

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I’m giving away a SIGNED copy of Still Life along with a few goodies from Dani Pettrey to one of my readers. Due to shipping costs and international regulations, this giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway is subject to Kat’s Corner Books’s giveaway policies which can be found on the Disclosure and Policies page.

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Giveaway open until 3/7/2017 at 12pam. Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway