Finally Accepted by Toni Shiloh: Promo Review Tour with Celebrate Lit

Finally Accepted

Finally Accepted Back Cover Blurb –

There’s only one thing Chloe Smith has ever wanted: family. Yet the DNA results she’s received have thrown her life into a tailspin. Her utmost desire has ended up being the catalyst for shaking her faith. She doesn’t even know who she is anymore, and she’s certainly too messed up for her longtime crush to give her more than a second glance.

Darryl Jones is struggling between his past and the grace God so freely offers. His sins feel too big for him to handle, let alone expect the woman of his dreams to accept. Chloe is the only woman he’s ever wanted and the one he doesn’t deserve.

As they form a tentative relationship and examine their faith, Chloe and Darryl ache to know they are finally accepted and fully loved.

Book Review:  finally accepted meme 1

Where to begin, oh, where to begin…that’s a good kind of hesitation because there are so many wonderful things to say about Finally Accepted. I know everyone is just dying to know if the characters were realistic and if the setting was described down to the flowerpots on the sidewalk and did the plot make sense…the answers to those questions are yes, yes, and yes. Good, now we can move on to the fun part.

Finally Accepted is the first book by Toni Shiloh that I have ever read. It is also part of a series, and it’s not book one of the series. I know, I know! I created a wormhole in the book world by jumping into the middle of a series. Don’t flog me yet, there is a method to the madness. You see, I’ve learned something since I started reviewing books. You can learn a lot about an author’s skill by jumping into the middle of a series where you have no idea who anyone is or what has happened. If they can catch you up and make you love the characters from the middle of the series, then you’re golden. Not all authors can do that…

Toni Shiloh hit it out of the park, in my opinion. There were several characters that I had to get to know, and she introduced them in a way that immediately felt natural and helped me grasp the who’s who of Freedom Lake. Chloe and Darryl are the highlight of Finally Accepted as they work through the brokenness of growing up without parents. Their heartache was real, and it was powerful. Emotions jumped straight off the page.

For me, a good Christian Fiction book makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. A great one challenges me to be a better Christian while running my emotions through the gauntlet. Finally Accepted is a great one. In other words, it’s getting five stars.

Buy links –  finally accepted meme 2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GKKG1L5
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finally-accepted-toni-shiloh/1129309883
Book2Read: https://www.books2read.com/u/meAqYZ
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/finally-accepted
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1427627571
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=zhppDwAAQBAJ

Short Buy links –

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2wblC2C
B&N: https://bit.ly/2PgZKeT
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2MsahVP
iTunes: https://apple.co/2MPyHpq
GooglePlay:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41150978-finally-accepted

Author bio –  Toni Shiloh

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian contemporary romance author. 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.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

You can find her on her website at http://tonishiloh.wordpress.com.

finally accepted meme 3

Social media links –

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authortonishiloh
Twitter: www.twitter.com/tonishilohwrite
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/tonishiloh
Instagram: www.instagram.com/tonishiloh
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/tonishiloh
BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/toni-shiloh
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cmNFKD
Blogs I’m part of: http://puttingonthenew.com  ; http://heartwingsblog.com  ; http://diversitybetweenthepages.wordpress.com

 

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Courting Mr. Emerson by Melody Carlson: Book Review

He marched to his own drummer. If it made people uncomfortable, they could simply keep their distance..png

Title: Courting Mr. Emerson

Author: Melody Carlson

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 5, 2019

Blurb: 

When the fun-loving and spontaneous artist Willow West meets buttoned-up, retired English teacher George Emerson, it’s not exactly love at first sight. Though she does find the obsessive-compulsive man intriguing. Making it her mission to get him to loosen up and embrace life, she embarks on what seems like a lost cause–and finds herself falling for him in the process.

A confirmed bachelor, George vacillates between irritation and attraction whenever Willow is around–which to him seems like all too often. He’s not interested in expanding his horizons or making new friends; it just hurts too much when you lose them.

But as the summer progresses, George feels his defenses crumbling. The question is, will his change of heart be too late for Willow?

With her signature heart and touches of humor, fan favorite Melody Carlson pens a story of two delightfully eccentric characters who get a second chance at life and love.

Book Review:

The first thing you should know is that the main characters are in their fifties. Although that did not bother me, it might be a deal-breaker for some. If you’ve seen the movie with Jack Nicholson, “As Good as it Gets”, then you have a good idea of what you’ll find in this book. I was rather confused as to why George is retiring from his teaching position when he is only fifty-five. Even though he’d been teaching for thirty years, fifty-five seems young for retirement since he truly loved his job. That’s really beside the point. Let me get back on track.

George and Willow might be the stars of the show, but the secondary characters make quite an impressive appearance which helps to broaden the scope of the story. In the beginning chapters, George tells us that his students have likened him to Rowan Atkinson’s “Mr. Bean” character. Since I have been a fan of Mr. Bean for several years, the connection endeared me to George from the get-go.

Enter Willow, the sweet, quirky, widow who is determined to pull George out of his stuck-in-the-mud ways. Willow has her own problems, including a grown daughter with narcissistic tendencies. Willow’s messy life is the opposite of what George wants. With his OCD tendencies and need to escape the things that overwhelm him, George finds himself trying to keep his distance while wishing he could step closer.

It was interesting to see the interactions between Willow and George. She pushes and he runs. She apologizes and they do it all over again. Slowly, George begins to accept some changes. I have to say it, it’s been bugging me and causing a nervous tic. George is an English professor with OCD…having the title on the book written the way it is (in all lowercase) would have sent him off the rails.

Overall, I thought Courting Mr. Emerson was a very sweet read. With a simple, engaging plot and minimal romance, it kept me entertained. I had a few eyebrow lifting moments over their discussions of religion, but I’ll leave my personal feelings out of it and let you make up your own mind.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to leave a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron

Book Review:

There was so much to love in this book. I was afraid the three timelines would be difficult to follow, but I quickly honed in on the characters of each time which made it easier to keep track. I found it rather ingenious how the author was able to keep each timeline settled in their own story while weaving them into each other.

We have to talk about the setting, I mean, Ireland! I’ve long had a fascination with Ireland and Castle on the Rise was almost as good as being there myself. The descriptions were so well done I could smell the pears in Maeve’s hands, hear the guns firing as Issy ran for her life, and see the ruins through Laine’s eyes. The characters stamped themselves on my heart, and I’ll likely never forget any of them. Each character had their own strengths and weaknesses, their own problems, and their own way of moving through their problems.

There is more here than the romantic happily ever after. Castle on the Rise, for me, was more about finding the fairy tale in everyday life. God’s plan, God’s timing is perfect. Even when we would have things go differently, God knows what He’s doing. Through heartache, pain, sickness, and loss, God is there and He will not leave us alone. That is what I took away from Castle on the Rise. 

I marked several quotes from the book. I can’t share all of them because that would risk spoiling the story, but I’ll leave what I can. This one hit me particularly because it is at our worst times that God feels so far away when, in fact, he has never been closer. “I need to know if God sees us in the middle of our worst moments.” – Laine

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews: Book Review

Daniel stared into the cold eyes of truth and felt the utter helplessness of captivity..png

Book Review:

Let me preface this by stating that in the past I have had trouble reading Biblical Fiction. Thanks to Mesu Andrews and Of Fire and Lions, I will be giving it another chance. Biblical Fiction is so easy to take liberties with, but not here. I found Of Fire and Lions to hold true with my beliefs while following a fictional storyline. I say fictional storyline because we cannot know for sure exactly how Daniel’s life played out, but the pertinent facts can be found within the pages of this story.

In case you didn’t know, Of Fire and Lions is essentially Daniel’s story. It’s not quite what I could classify as a split timeline, but it does go back and forth between two timeframes using memories. Most of the story is told from Abigail’s perspective. Something you have to watch out for, a lot of people go through name changes throughout the storyline, but the author provides you with a directory in the front of the book in case you have trouble keeping them straight.

Mesu Andrews is a master at drawing you into Daniel’s world. Abigail’s trials were heartrending. I mourned, worried, and celebrated with her through every page of her history, and we don’t know that she even existed. We see more of Abigail’s journey than we do Daniel’s, but I believe that could be because Abigail is in need of redemption where Daniel never once wavers in his faith. I would like to have seen more of the things Daniel went through that made him so faithful. Faith like that does not grow overnight.

Of Fire and Lions is heavy on the biblical front, as I hoped it would be. It basically boils down to one thing. What would you do if you were the only person who believed in a one true God in the midst of a nation who praised false idols? Would you be able to stand strong as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Would you still openly pray to God when to do so meant you would be thrown into a den of lions? Those were the situations God’s people faced, and those are the stories that you will read in Of Fire and Lions. At times, it gave me chills, and it strengthened my resolve to hold on to God with both hands despite whatever might be going on around me.

I received a copy of this book from the Waterbrook and Multnomah Book Launch Team. I was not required to leave a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

Interview with Lynne Tagawa and her book: The Shenandoah Road

Today I have the pleasure of sharing an interview I conducted with Lynne Tagawa. But before that, I have to share her gorgeous book cover! You can purchase your copy here: The Shenandoah Road

Now for the interview. Thank you for joining us, Lynne!

shenandoahroad-tagawa-ebookweb

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Simple. Read!!! I also teach homeschool co-op classes and tutor individual students.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? Was there a defining moment?

After I wrote a Texas history curriculum for a small Christian school. You see, I wrote Sam Houston’s Republic in narrative form, trying to make it as interesting as possible. It’s only a small jump from narrative nonfiction to fiction. But this was late in life, and I sometimes feel intimidated by those who have been writing since they were eleven.

What is your writing style? Are you a planner or a pantser?

More a pantser, I think, although I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some kind of plot sketch, even if it’s only mental. I got into trouble with my debut novel, A Twisted Strand, because I didn’t have anything written down at first. Like most people, I’m positively allergic to Roman numerals and endless subheads like they teach you in school. But I do have a list of critical scenes and plot points. Kind of like using a map. Get on the interstate, go east fifty miles, stop at this certain town. You have to have a general idea of where you are going.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I love research, but really, it’s the writing itself that is addictive. You get into your protagonist’s head and experience his world. If I can somehow get that onto the page in words and phrases and sentences my reader will comprehend, then he or she will experience that too. How amazing!

Do you have a favorite character, either from your own work or from someone else?

Hard to pick just one! From To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch. Because the protagonist takes her father for granted in a normal, childlike sense, we almost miss the heroism and Christ-like character of this man. From my own writing, I’m in love with the hero of The Shenandoah Road, John Russell. He’s got his faults and struggles, but I’ve given him the best qualities of the ethnic / religious group he is a part of: the Scots-Irish Presbyterian immigrants who settled the backcountry in the 18th century.

If you could travel anywhere in the world to research a location for a book, where would you go?

Easy-peasy. Virginia. What a treasure of stuff! Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, the Shenandoah Valley, and Mount Vernon, all close together by Texas standards.

 

Lynne, I love your answers. And the fact that you’ve named one of your heroes John Russell. I don’t have a John Russell in my family, but my cousin is named Josh Russell and he’s a redhead. I love when coincidences like that show up in books!

About the author:  LynneTagawapic

Lynne B. Tagawa is married and the mother of four sons. She attended the University of Hawaii where she met her husband and obtained a degree in secondary education. The Tagawas live in Texas where she teaches part-time.

She writes fiction, educational materials, and Christian devotionals; she is especially inspired by the lives of great men and women of faith.