Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Fiction · Romance · WomensFiction

Book Tour and Review of ‘Autumn Skies’ by Denise Hunter

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Welcome to the first stop on the IG/blog book tour for ‘Autumn Skies‘ by Denise Hunter! Thank you @tlcbooktours @thomasnelson & @tnzfiction for my gift copy this amazing book that publishes on 10/20!

Facing the past is easier if you don’t have to face it alone…

The Bluebell Inn is turning a profit, & it’s time for the Bennett siblings to sell it & move on. Only Grace has plans to stay in the small lake town of Bluebell, North Carolina, where she hopes her growing outfitters business will save her from the loneliness of her siblings’ departure & the persistent sense of unworthiness in her life.

A gunshot wound resurrects the past for Secret Service agent Wyatt Jennings, & a mandatory leave of absence lands him in Bluebell. There he must come to grips w/ the tragedy that altered his life 14 years ago. When Wyatt books a room at the Bluebell Inn, sparks fly between him & Grace. She volunteers to be his mountain guide, & he soon opens up to her, drawn to her strength & sense of humor. But both are reticent to talk about the survivor’s guilt they each carry, & when their pasts finally collide, their budding romance might not survive the truth.

From the bestselling author of ‘The Convenient Groom‘ & ‘A December Bride’ (now beloved Hallmark Original movies) comes the third & final novel in the Bluebell Inn series. Book 1 is ‘Lake Season‘ & came out in Nov ’19 & book 2 is ‘Carolina Breeze‘ which published only 5 mos ago in May. All of the books can be read as stand-alones, but I definitely want to read those first 2 books now after thoroughly enjoying ‘Autumn Skies‘.

Lake Season‘: When their parents die in a tragic accident, Molly Bennett and her siblings pull together to fulfill their parents’ dream: turning their historic home back into an inn.
Adam Bradford (a.k.a. bestselling author Nathanial Grey) is a reclusive author with a bad case of writer’s block. Desperate for inspiration as his deadline approaches, he travels to a North Carolina lake town, the setting of his next novel. There he immediately meets his muse, a young innkeeper who fancies herself in love with his alter ego.
When Molly finds an old letter in the walls of her inn she embarks on a mission with Adam to find the star-crossed lovers and bring them the closure they deserve. But the guest she invites along has secrets of his own. Past and present collide as truths are revealed, and Molly and Adam will have to decide if love is worth trusting.

A jilted bride. A struggling innkeeper. And a romantic mountain getaway that changes everything. Rising Hollywood star Mia Emerson is looking for a safe place to land in the wake of a public breakup & scandal, & she finds it in the lake town of Bluebell, North Carolina—the location of her canceled honeymoon. She wants nothing more than to hide & wait for the tabloids to die down.
Soon after her arrival at the Bluebell Inn, Mia meets Levi Bennett, who runs the inn along w/ his two younger sisters. Drawn to one another from the start, Mia trusts Levi to keep her location from the press, & Levi confides in Mia about the financial state of the inn—a secret he’s been keeping from his sisters.
When Mia & Levi discover an old journal that hints at a rare diamond necklace hidden in the inn, they set off on a treasure hunt to find the long-lost heirloom. What they don’t expect to surface are feelings they thought were safely locked away. Mia & Levi must decide if falling in love again is too big a risk—or if it will uncover a treasure of its own instead.
This Bluebell Inn romance takes us to a quiet North Carolina retreat that holds more secrets than it shares.

I live in a little, lakeside town that has several B&B’s, so this book was very easy to visualize & get completely consumed in. Grace is the youngest of the Bennett siblings, w/ the stories about her sister, Molly & their brother, Levi, covered in books 1 & 2. ‘Autumn Skies‘ is an utterly heartwarming, enchanting & beautiful story that will completely sweep you away w/ it’s lakeside atmosphere.

The story has a very nice balance of clean romance, mystery, past tragedy, drama, & witty banter while also touching on some serious issues such as the aforementioned survivors guilt & also debilitating panic attacks. I loved Grace & Wyatt’s story & the building of their relationship & the way the characters in the book were brought to life w/ Hunter’s talented writing.

There’s a reason Denise Hunter’s books have such great ratings & reviews, & this will certainly not be my last book by her. ‘Autumn Skies‘ is a breath-taking, engaging, & well-written story that I highly recommend!

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Purchase Links:

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Connect with Denise:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Denise Hunter is the award-winning author of more than 35 novels, three of which have been adapted into Hallmark movies.
Denise writes heartwarming, small-town romances, peopled with layered characters who have real-life issues. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.
In 1996, Denise began her first novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books contain a strong romantic element, and her husband says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too! Denise and her husband live in Indiana, where they raised three sons, and are currently enjoying an empty nest.

Book Reviews · Fiction · HistoricalFiction · WomensFiction

Book review: ‘Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters’ by Emily Carpenter (pub 10/20)

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Thank you @amazonpublishing #lakeunionpublishing for my gift copy of ‘Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters‘ by Emily Carpenter! (pub 10/20)

The bestselling author of ‘Burying the Honeysuckle Girls‘, ‘Every Single Secret‘, ‘The Weight of Lies‘ & ‘Until the Day I Die‘ returns to uncover a faith healer’s elusive & haunted past.

‘There are things known & unknown, & in between are the doors.“- Althea Cheramie, friend of Dove.

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist & faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the 8 yrs since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—& her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder.

Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And w/ an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made. 

Now: to protect her family, Eve will join forces w/ the investigative filmmaker & one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?

This book continues the story line from Carpenter’s debut novel, ‘Burying the Honeysuckle Girls‘, but it’s not really a sequel. I have not read that 2016 debut, but I really want to now. I never really felt lost while reading ‘Reviving…’ & it can definitely be read as a stand alone novel. The story draws you in from the very first pages & holds your attention w/ Carpenter’s masterful writing, taunt plotting, & compelling characters.

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters‘ is a beautiful blend of southern gothic, historical fiction, suspense/mystery & some magical realism. Told as Dove’s story from the past & Eve’s present day, this atmospheric, slow-burning mystery would make a fantastic addition to any readers fall tbr stack. I’m certainly going to read more of Emily’s other novels.

Click HERE to view more about this book.

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Click HERE to add ‘Reviving the Honeysuckle Girls’ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to visit Emily Carpenter’s website.

Emily Carpenter is the bestselling author of four thrillers: Until the Day I Die, Every Single SecretThe Weight of Lies, and Burying the Honeysuckle Girls. A graduate of Auburn University, Emily has worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for CBS television. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she moved to New York City before returning to the South, where she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family. Visit Emily at http://www.emilycarpenterauthor.com.

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Memoirs · Nonfiction

Book Tour and Review of ‘Breathe Again: Choosing to Believe There’s More When Life Has Left You Broken’ by Stacy Henagan

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Thank you @thomasnelson & @tlcbooktours for my gifted copy of ‘Breathe Again: Choosing to Believe There’s More When Life Has Left You Broken‘ by Stacy Henagan! (pub 9/22)

What Do You Do When It Seems God Hasn’t Come Through for You?

When the miracle-working God whom Pastor Stacy Henagan loved and served did not answer the prayers on behalf of her terminally ill one-year-old daughter as expected, she was left crushed with grief and struggling to understand.

How could a loving God allow this to happen?

What do you do when it seems God has let you down?

Is God trustworthy?

Rather than choosing to remain in overwhelming pain and doubt, Stacy emerged with a much greater belief that God is good and trustworthy, even when we don’t think His plans make sense.

Breathe Again‘ is a honest, deeply moving & raw reflection on experiencing the devastating sense of loss, grief & pain of losing a child to a terminal illness. When we are feeling lost & broken, vulnerable & grief stricken, sometimes letting go of someone we love & giving in to our faith in something greater can be what helps us to get through life’s worst trials & tribulations we experience as human beings.

As a parent of five, Stacy’s story touched my heart & soul & nearly everyone who reads this book will find a way to relate to it in one way or another. You don’t have to be a parent or even a religious person to be profoundly touched by this heart-breaking, yet redeeming, story. It’s beautiful, well-written, genuine & quite thought-provoking.

Click HERE to add ‘Breathe Again’ to your Goodreads lists.

Click HERE to order the book from Thomas Nelson publishing.

Click HERE to visit Stacy Henagan on Instagram.

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About the author:

Stacy Henagan is copastor of Keypoint Church in northwest Arkansas, a multicampus church she founded with her husband, Casey. Stacy also hosts an annual women’s conference and speaks at other events in the United States and overseas. Stacy and Casey have four children: Haven, who is waiting for them in heaven, and Holland, Hayes, and Hudson.

Book Reviews · Fiction · psychologicalsuspense · Thriller

Five-Star Fiction Friday Book Review: ‘Keep Your Friends Close’ by Janelle Harris

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Time for a Five-Star Fiction Friday rec! Thank you @amazonpublishing #lakeunionpublishing for my gift copy of ‘Keep Your Friends Close‘ by Janelle Harris! (pub 10/6)

QOTD: Do you agree with the old saying, “Keep your friends close & your enemies closer.” I agree to a certain point I guess, because if I don’t like someone, I have a really hard time w/ keeping a poker face when that person is around & tend to just ignore them completely or kill them w/ kindness, so to speak. But I’m not sure sure how close I would want to be w/ any enemy of mine.

Darcy Hogan’s perfect life is all over social media. She’s beautiful, she’s successful, & she & her childhood sweetheart are about to become parents for the first time. But behind all the followers & the superficial likes lurks a darker truth…

In reality, Darcy feels isolated & afraid. Her difficult pregnancy has her confined to the house, she’s being harassed online, & out-of-control debt threatens to ruin everything she’s worked so hard for.
When her husband is summoned away on business, Darcy’s cabin fever soon spirals into fear. Who is making mysterious phone calls & knocking on her door? Is it an old friend trying to reach out—or a stranger determined to push in?

As her due date creeps closer, Darcy feels ever more certain that someone is out to get her. She’s desperate to get away—but is she running from the right person?

‘Keep Your Enemies Close’ is a dual-narrated, psychological suspense/thriller by the author of ‘Under Lying‘, ‘See Me Not‘ & ‘No Kiss Goodbye‘…3 books I will surely be checking out because I loved this one so much! Darcy’s whole story is pretty fascinating & held my interest throughout the entire book. The book is fast-paced, expertly plotted, easy to follow timelines/narration, gripping & twisty. I would highly recommend this book to any suspense/mystery/thriller lover, & even if you manage to figure stuff out, it is still an entertaining & quite enjoyable read!

Look for ‘Keep Your Enemies Close‘ this Tues, 10/6, at your local indie bookstore or online wherever books are sold.

Click HERE to add ‘Keep Your Friends Close‘ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit Janelle Harris at her website.
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Janelle Harris lives in Kildare, Ireland with her husband and young family. Janelle enjoys books that screw with your head and mess with your heart. She hopes her books offer her readers a taste of that world.
Janelle rarely checks Goodreads but she does love to chat, so if you would like to get in touch check out www.janellebrookeharris.com

Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · MurderinoMonday · Nonfiction · True Crime

It’s Murderino Monday! (and this one’s a tough one to read/write about…)

It’s Murderino Monday! Thank you @stmartinspress for my gift copy of ‘The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All -American Family & a Shocking Murder’ by John Glatt (pub 7/21) ** Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & give it some LIKE love!**

In The Perfect Father‘, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt reveals the true story of a Colorado family whose storybook life turned into a nightmare….

In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at her Frederick, Colorado home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By the next day, Shanann and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, had been reported missing, and her husband, Chris Watts, was appearing on the local news, pleading for his family’s safe return.

But Chris Watts already knew that he would never see his family again. Less than 24 hours after his desperate plea, Watts made a shocking confession to police: he had strangled his pregnant wife to death and smothered their daughters, dumping their bodies at a nearby oil site. Heartbroken friends and neighbors watched in shock as the movie-star handsome, devoted family man they knew was arrested and charged with first degree murder. The perfect mask Chris had presented to the world in his TV interviews and the family’s Facebook accounts was slipping–and what lay beneath was a horrifying image of instability, infidelity, sexual ambivalence, and boiling rage.

In this first major account of the case, bestselling author and journalist John Glatt reveals the truth behind the tragedy and constructs a chilling portrait of one of the most shocking family annihilator cases of the 21st century.

You guys, this is a really tough story to write about for obvious reasons. It’s been 2 yrs since Watts murdered his family & for several mos. after, you could still see Shannan’s IG page w/ her smiling face, her adorable little girls & her seemingly doting husband, who is truly a heinous, cheating, vile POS. I did look at her IG page & the video of 4 yr old Bella singing in her sweet voice about how wonderful her daddy is & how he is a hero still haunts me & brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

Glatt compiled 18 mos of research, evidence, & interviews into this fast-paced, true story. Friends, co-workers & many family members gave interviews & insight on the young Watts family, the debt they were in [even though you would have never guessed it given their lifestyle], Chris’s quiet nature compared to Shannan’s outgoing, social media presence, the bickering parents of both C & S, & just so much more. At times I did feel that there was some victim shaming/blaming going on & making it look like “Poor Chris, he got over-shadowed by his successful wife, so he had an affair, snapped & killed his whole family”, but not necessarily by the author, more so from others.

As a parent this book became especially difficult to read once I hit Part 3. I had to take breaks every couple pages or so & just go do something mundane like wash dishes, get a drink of water, fold some laundry, etc. I’ll never begin to understand how a husband can murder his wife, but I cannot even fathom how a parent can take the lives of their children: innocent, little humans that they themselves helped to create. And even though I knew how this tragic story ended, the last chapter of the book left me w/ a pain in my heart, tears in my eyes, a veritable gut punch. My husband was home, thankfully, & I just had to hug him tightly right away, as if to sanitize the memory from my brain.

What Chris Watts did to his wife & three children (don’t forget, Shannan was pregnant w/ their son to be named Nico) is unthinkably horrific, cowardly & selfish. But the book, ‘The Perfect Father‘, is an unputdownable, chilling, & utterly riveting book that readers will never forget. I will definitely be reading more of John Glatt’s other 21 true crime books in the near future, but I’ll need a break from these sort of books for a couple weeks or so.

Click HERE to add ‘The Perfect Father‘ to your Goodreads lists.
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Photo by Enrique Pastor

English-born John Glatt is the author of Lost and FoundSecrets in the CellarPlaying with Fire, & many other bestselling books of true crime. He has more than 30 yrs of experience as an investigative journalist in England & America. Glatt left school at 16 & worked a variety of jobs―including tea boy & messenger―before joining a small weekly newspaper. He freelanced at several English newspapers, then in 1981 moved to New York, where he joined the staff for News Limited & freelanced for publications including Newsweek & the New York Post. His first book, a biography of Bill Graham, was published in 1981, & he published For I Have Sinned, his first book of true crime, in 1998. He has appeared television & radio programs all over the world, including Dateline NBC, Fox News, Current Affair, BBC World, and A&E Biography. He & his wife Gail divide their time between New York City, the Catskill Mountains & London.