Book Review and Giveaway, Toby’s Troubles

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book Title: Toby’s Troubles

Author: Carole BrownTobys-troubles-195x300

Genre: Romantic Mystery, Cozy Mystery

Release date: July 1, 2018

Everyone loves Toby Gibson. A co-owner of Undiscovered Treasures, a unique shop of antiques, collectibles and junk, Toby is friendly, generous to a fault, the director of the local plays in Appleton and supports his church’s youth functions. But the minute his sister, Caroline and her new husband, take off for their honeymoon, a “ghost” begins to haunt the shop—or maybe it’s just an intruder. If so, Toby has no idea for what he is looking. To add to his troubles, he suspects Amy, not only is bidding for the property he’s wanted forever, but is in love with him. And he’s not interested.

Amy Sanderson who owns the only flower shop in Appleton—Bloomin’ Life—is drawn into capturing Toby’s “ghost” when her own business is damaged by a destructive intruder. Having loved Toby from childhood, she’s more than willing to join forces with him. But she has no interest in being his best friend or like a sister to him. And if she has to resort to schemes of outbidding him at his frequent auction attendences to get his attention, then so be it. She can be just as stubborn as the man who’s determined to ignore her love.

In between the break-ins, destruction of property, thefts and personal competitions against each other, Amy and Toby work together to find the thief who seems so determined to find a valuable item, he’ll stop at nothing.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown Carole-Brown-169x300enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

 

Guest Post from Carole Brown

Antique Shops, A Thief, the Community Theater, and Love

Toby’s Troubles, Book Four from the Appleton, West Virginia Romantic Mysteries series

I knew when I wrote this book who Toby was. But capturing Toby’s personality and presenting it in the right way, was a challenge for me. Readers can see his teasing, fun-loving character when he labels the person who’s breaking into his shop as a ghost. But Toby is also serious, smart and successful. The side of him who has had plenty of girl friends, but who’s never gotten serious with any of them, is prominent too. But I didn’t want him to seem frivolous and uncaring, because he isn’t that. With a focus on his interests, love has never—as of yet—been a primary concern, so when Amy Sanderson strolls into his life, she turns out to be his confidant in the time of his troubles. The question is: can she not only have a place in his life as a best friend, but also capture his heart?

Let’s talk about:

Antique Shops

Who doesn’t love a place filled with valuable items, interesting history, and hard-to-find items? Undiscovered Treasures—a shop of antiques, collectibles and junk—could be described as the town gathering place. Everyone loves browsing there. Deciding on such a place for the business of brother and sister, Toby and Caroline Gibson, was a fun choice. From grandfather clocks to unique shaped vases, it’s a shop where treasure hunters could just find what they’re looking for.

A Thief:

There are way too many new people visiting Appleton, West Virginia, so how is someone like Toby suppose to guess what the thief is after? The thief definitely knows what he’s looking for, just not where. He’s tall, thin and a fast runner, especially when escaping across a rooftop. But then, maybe it’s not a new person in town. Maybe the thief is Toby’s part time help, who has a mystery all of his own. It makes things interesting, and a bit terrifying for everyone.

The Community Theater:

One of Toby’s loves is directing and overseeing the community theater. Caroline Gibson writes some of the plays, the actors are usually taken from the West Virginia area, and all proceeds go to charities. But when their main actors, of the current play, elope and leave the play desolate, someone has to step in to fill the gaps. Toby struggles with decisions he doesn’t want to make.

Love

Toby is smart, funny, and a resourseful man. He’s also busy with his community theater activities and his business. Known as the one man in town who’s not interested, at the current time, in getting married, his reputation of loving and leaving is in danger of being wrecked by one small woman. Can she sabotage his well-laid plans and help him realize it’s now or never? Could it be the time when real love is captured by two people, even when one of them seems doomed to ignore what God’s put in their hearts?

I love creating characters. Developing them into real people with real desires, moods, troubles

My Review

Five stars for Toby’s Troubles

Toby’s Troubles is the fourth installment in the Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery series. After reading this one, I want to read the first three to complete my relationship with these unique characters. I love a mystery when it involves the melding of different personalities having to work together to solve odd occurrences. For Toby that includes “the ghost” that has decided to haunt his shop full of antiques, from collectibles to junk. He has no interest in adding any kind of relationship to his bowl of troubles. So what can he possibly do to halt any involvement with Amy, a local flower shop owner in Appleton?

I easily stepped into this WV town and became a part of the quaintness, wanting to stay a bit and become involved. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good mystery sprinkled with romance. I will read more of Carol Brown’s novels.

 

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, August 21

Godly Book Reviews, August 21

The Avid Reader, August 22

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 22

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, August 23

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 23

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, August 24

Two Points of Interest, August 24

Connect in Fiction, August 25

Blogging With Carol, August 25

Bibliophile Reviews, August 26

Splashes of Joy, August 27

proud to be an autism mom, August 27

A Baker’s Perspective, August 28

Maureen’s Musing, August 29

Mary Hake, August 29

Janices book reviews, August 30

Pause for Tales, August 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 31

Lighthouse Academy, September 1

Texas Book-aholic, September 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 2

Carpe Diem, September 3

Bigreadersite, September 3

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Carole is giving away a grand prize that includes winner’s choice of one of the two attached mugs, winner’s choice of a print or kindle copy of Toby’s Troubles and a tote bag!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d1c2/toby-s-troubles-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Claim your mountain!

Don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment..They keep you safe on your way.” Proverbs 3:21-23

IMG_0304My daughter and I had planned our dream trip to France for over six months. We envisioned a three week road trip to places we each wanted to revisit or to explore for the first time. Any adventure I had like this in the past included my husband as the designated driver. But this time, I was the sole driver for the 21 days. Oh course, I questioned my ability to navigate in France, but we made sure we had a European GPS. Therefore, what could be amiss. I’m a great driver, at least in the United States and more specifically Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.

As we planned, I don’t recall being overly concerned about the French terrain. My concerns centered around navigating the cities and the tiny roads in the villages. Why didn’t I think about the hills and the mountains? Possibly because I don’t confront them often at home. The Rockies I have left to my husband’s driving skills. And the Appalachians were not so imposing on many trips to Virginia.

IMG_3222Now, I had to face my mountains alone–challenges I put in front of myself and accepted by the lack on my part of dwelling on the obstacles the Pyrenees and the Alps might cause. And there they were…

The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord gave me. Acts 20:24

IMG_0377I had to conquer the Pyrenees upon entering Andorra. These rugged mountains with a high point of 9,652 feet forced me to calculate my proximity to cliffs and to curves where other vehicles seemed awfully close.

I did it even when I had to back down the mountain half a mile due to construction. I hope never to have to do anything like that again….

IMG_3855The most impressive sight on our whole trip was our introduction to the Alps when leaving Italy for France. Slowly the range crept closer, immense and imposing. My mountains, my challenge. I laughed instead of shaking in fear or crying. How did I get in this situation?

Mont Blanc, 15,781 feet of solid mountain, the highest mountain in the Alps, looming, challenging, drawing me near. Praying for a calmness that I didn’t feel.

IMG_3854This mountain, like many challenges, had a way through it–an 11.6 km tunnel (at a hefty cost of $55.) God is like that too. So often He provides a detour or a reprieve in the midst of the hardships or challenges of life.

I conquered and claimed my mountains in the literal sense last month giving me a visual of how to face my other challenges ahead of me.

IMG_3864What mountains are you facing or have you faced where God gave you a way through, a reprieve?

We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield…Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone. Psalm 33:20-22

 

 

 

Château de Chenonceau

IMG_0107.JPGMy FAVORITE place on earth–the Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley on the River Cher in France. This fairytale castle captured my heart and imagination forty years ago and draws me back often. My most recent visit took place in July. My heart dances at the thought of it.

IMG_2726Built in the 16th century, this “small” rather magical place has housed many flamboyant characters from kings and queens to mistresses and philosophers. The stories vibrate from the tapestries, paneled rooms, tiled floors, stone staircases, and treasures displayed throughout the rooms.

And oh, the stories going around in my head! One will become a novel, a part of my Gardens in Time Series (yet to be published.) Book #3 will take place in Chenonceau during the Age of Enlightenment in France around 1750. The historical characters will be Louise Dupin who surrounded herself with poets, writers, scientists, and philosophers as well as those on the political scene. Her salon became infamous as a stage for debates and ideas prior to the American and French Revolutions.

IMG_0110The fictional characters of my novel will interact with those who question traditional authority and ways. Lisette, possibly the name of the heroine, has always lived on the farm connected with the castle and now supplies the flowers and ornamental foliage that perfumes the salons and enhance the guests’ experience. Christophe performs the role of a guard acting on behalf of the king keeping the grounds safe. How will their lives change as the ones within the walls of the castle deem it necessary to change the world? The gardens of the castle act as a perfect backdrop for intrigue, love, good food, beauty, secrets, peace, and dreams whether royalty or commoner, educated or illiterate.

IMG_2644Today the grounds of the Château de Chenonceau in France are a gardener’s delight. They have been maintained with their original structure and intent in place. Each time I visit there is more improvement and much more to explore. The formal gardens of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médicis are manicured to perfection in all seasons. I explored the Labyrinth with my daughter as well as a huge garden divided into plots full of all the vegetation used for decorating the chateau. Hundreds of varieties of flowers, fruit, and vegetables occupy the area, giving the visitor a visual of what it might have been like a few centuries ago. Also, there is a 16th century farm complete with stables, houses, pond, and storage rooms.

My mind was overloaded with ideas and images as I walked on this historic ground one more time. I hope to write this novel soon and send it on its way.

Is there a place that you want as a setting for a novel? (I have so many!!)

Book Review and Giveaway: Kingdom of Ruins

Please join me in welcoming D.C. Marino and the release of her new novel Kingdom of Ruins.

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Title: Kingdom of Ruinswa1YUJLg (1)

Author: D.C. Marino

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: July 27, 2018

In the Lands Within, history does not rest. Each archaeological layer communicates with the living generation, choosing its friends and enemies—and its kings. But an alliance has been struck no one could have anticipated, and an ancient evil is soaking into the soil. History is being erased, purchased and re-written at a terrible price. And a kingdom that shouldn’t have been forgotten is fading from memory.

In the Lands Without, archaeologist Lori Brickland has found a pottery shard with a heartbeat. The pulse might be a trick of the mind, or it might be the first sign of life in a world of ruin. An exiled traveler will say she shouldn’t search for the truth, a calculating ruler will say she’s the one he’s looking for. And the kingdom? The kingdom will need her before the end. It’s time to accept what she’s always known…

This isn’t archaeology.

This is war.

Click here to  purchase your copy!

About the Author

D.C. Marino is a dedicated reader of history books and fantasy novels, both of which DC Marinooccupy an equal amount of space on her bookshelves. But it wasn’t until she realized how one breathed life into the other that she became addicted to finding the intersections of the real world and the fairy story. Still more: what those intersections about us as a creative, curious people. Kingdom of Ruins is her debut novel.

 

Guest Post from D.C. Marino

Hi everyone!

I’m so excited to share Kingdom of Ruins with you! This story has been on my heart and mind for over ten years now, so this feels a bit surreal. I’d love to tell you a bit about why I wrote this book. But in order to do that, I need to tell you why I almost didn’t.

Fantasy. It isn’t real. Why should I spend time writing a story that doesn’t grapple with the actual issues of the day? Why not speak plainly, instead of inventing another world to explore the real one? These were the questions I asked myself every night before I fell asleep. I adored fiction that transported me to factual events, or introduced me to historical figures, but every time I picked up a pen, the fantastical wiggled out of it.

I was afraid I was writing the wrong story.

This story oddly (or not so oddly) enough began with Lori, an atephobic archaeologist. Meaning she had a passion for archaeology, but a phobic fear of ruins. Why would she shrink back from the work she loved? Because no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t make whole the broken. Life ends in dust, and that’s all there is to it. I felt the same way. Not only was I writing something I wasn’t sure would be relevant, but could it mend anything? Make a difference? Or was it futile, like trying to resurrect the past?

What I found was exactly what Lori begins to find in Kingdom of Ruins. That even though things seem unfixable, it isn’t the end. The world Lori enters is full of darkness and peril, but it also holds a chance for her to heal from more than just her fear. While I wrote, and especially as I neared the last chapter, I realized she and I had both overcome a great challenge. I won’t tell you her conclusion, but I will tell you mine:

I wrote the right story.

I hope you enjoy every bit of the journey as I did, dear reader.

D.C. Marino

 

                 My review of Kingdom of Ruins                  by D.C. Marino

5 stars for Kingdom of Ruins

This fantasy tale is refreshing with colorful characters in another world worn with mysteries and secrets, begging for answers and hope. History is alive. Ruins breathe and yearn to tell their stories. I enjoyed the journey wanting for the hope of life to replace the tombs of death.

Lori is a present-day archaeologist who feels the past through items or places she finds. Her career threatens to end as she develops, or permits, her atephobia (fear of ruins) to prevail.  As she slips into the past, she discovers a hidden part of history that releases clues to possibly prevent more ruin.

Can she prevent anything with her presence and her acute sense of life in pieces of history? Or will it all slip away into a past never to be remembered?

Personally, I have felt how an inanimate object can seem to breathe and beg to be noticed, call for its story to be told again and again. I’ve experienced an old house suffocating from lack of a living being’s love. Then, I’ve felt it breathe as windows were opened and humans with their love and care entered the boundaries of its walls. As a house that is abandoned and begins to decay, history needs to be remembered before it falls to ruin.

I enjoyed the details of this fantasy as the characters attempt to revive a bit of the past before it is too late.

Blog Stops

Be sure to stop by the different blogs to enter for your chance to win prizes. Don’t forget to make comments on the blog stops.

Carpe Diem, July 31

Remembrancy, July 31

Inklings and notions, August 1

Fiction Aficionado, August 2

Multifarious, August 3

Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 3

Connect in Fiction, August 4

Bigreadersite, August 4

Bibliophile Reviews, August 5

A Reader’s Brain, August 6

Just the Write Escape, August 7

Margaret Kazmierczak, August 8

Aryn the Libraryan, August 8

Simple Harvest Reads, August 9 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Blogging With Carol, August 10

proud to be an autism mom, August 10

Texas Book-aholic, August 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 12

Janices book reviews, August 12

A Baker’s Perspective, August 13

Giveaway

$50 Amazon

To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!https://promosimple.com/ps/ced0/kingdom-of-ruins-celebration-tour-giveaway

Deadlines, endings, and beginnings

Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Colossians 3:23

Work as if you were serving the Lord, not as if you were serving only men and women. Ephesians 6:7

IMG_4632I am a list maker. I admit it and claim it! Deadlines, chores, to-do, writing, reading, grocery, goals, financial, exercise, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. I love lists. And luckily, I don’t mind having an item reappear because I didn’t complete it on its assigned day. I’m flexible to a degree.

IMG_4631Right now I am facing the end of my summer break. It’s time for me to go back to work. As a teacher I give my energy to my students and vocation for ten months and enjoy the two months off in the summer. My energy is then spent on other non-working goals. So, the summer is ending and takes with it my detailed lists of home projects, writing, reading, movies. Next week, shorter versions of those lists will appear, for I can’t imagine giving up reading and writing just because I work outside my home.

Deadlines inspire me instead of intimidating me. Presently, I have editing deadlines before my novels can be released. Deadlines dominate my teaching days as I strive to complete and distribute information in an enlightening way to my students within a certain period of time. I put deadlines in every area of my life. My favorite ones are the ones that have a short-term ending date–two weeks, six weeks, a semester. It’s hard for me to concentrate on a deadline two years away.

IMG_4634Endings are bitter-sweet. I strive on the feeling of achievement and accomplishment. Yet, the end of a great book or the end of a restful summer comes with a sigh of wanting it to continue just a bit longer. But, vacation will come again as will the next awesome book.

Beginnings have the air of hope and anticipation, even of mystery. So many unexpected blessings wait around the corner. For example, this school year or even this next week will introduce me to some exceptional students and colleagues who end up teaching me so much about life and relationships as well as technology and facts.

Remember to enjoy your deadlines, endings, and beginnings as you do the work God has given you to do.

What deadlines, endings, or beginnings are you currently facing?