My Fall Reading Stack

Yes, it is officially fall, and I have so many books to read. Usually, I share all the print books that I have in a huge stack in my room. Today, I want to begin with two eBooks that I am presently reading. For the past two years, I have spent as much or more time reading on my iPad, yet they don’t make my quarterly TBR (to be read) blog.

The two eBooks are by friends of mine. Seasoned Grace by Melissa Wardwell is part of the Independence Island Series. The first two pages of this contemporary novel engages the reader in an emotional journey of healing. The second book is Great Lakes Light by Kari Trumbo. Her words reach into a world of great loss. I’m looking forward to this historical sojourn.

It’s time for a few Christmas stories. Pepper Basham has a beautiful novel, The Mistletoe Countess, taking the reader to 1913 with this question “Can the wrong bride lead to the right romance?” Garrett, a novella by Izzy James, is a time travel event back to 1769!

 Somehow, I missed reading Restoring Fairhaven by Carolyn Miller. It is part of the Independence Island Series. I look forward to going back to Merriweather Island. Next is a princess novel by Jody Hedlund, Beguiled. This is a Snow White Story!

C.D. Sutherland’s The Dragoneers will take the reader to a world of dragons and an imaginary world blended with fact and fiction. Finally, I have my hands on Setting Two Hearts Free by Janet Grunst. This historical fiction brings to life a period in our American history that is vital, the American Revolution.

What are you reading this fall?

Review and Giveaway Dinah’s Dilemma

About the Book

Book: Dinah’s Dilemma

Author: Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: August 15, 2020

Will she have to run from the past for the rest of her life?

Dinah Simpkins has no chance of making a good marriage. Her outlaw brothers and her father’s gambling addiction have ruined the family’s reputation. Then the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency provides an opportunity for a fresh start. After Dinah arrives in Nebraska, she discovers her brothers played a part in the death of her prospective groom’s first wife.

As a former Pinkerton detective Nathan Childs knows when someone is lying. The bride sent by the matrimonial agency may be beautiful, but she’s definitely hiding something, and he has no intention of marrying her until he uncovers the truth. But an easier solution may be to send her packing. Then his young daughter goes missing. He and Dinah must put aside their mutual hurt and mistrust to find her.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

1870—Combining a mail order bride with secrets and an ex-Pinkerton agent gives the reader ample opportunity to experience drama on a Nebraska farm. The Civil War is over, leaving a trail of grief and upsetting memories. But mush is at stake, including the well-being of an innocent three-year-old girl.

None of us can choose our families, nor can we guarantee the mischief that individuals cause will not affect us. Yet, each of us is a separate, individual child of God, responsible for our own actions. Even if no one else can separate the good members from the bad, God can. He is capable of turning a miserable situation with ugly strings attached, waiting for the wrong person to pull them, into a beautiful, purposeful life. Follow Dinah into her world of flight across the country, hopefully far away from trouble.

Linda Matchett never disappoints.

About the Author

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a former trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

More from Linda

Dear Reader,

As a novelist, I write about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. And to me, nothing is more extraordinary than leaving all that you know to travel a great distance (often thousands of miles) to marry a man you’ve never met. Don’t you agree?

During the initial settlement of the American West, the population was primarily composed of men. Men who went in search of gold, to seek new opportunities in farming and ranching, or to make a fresh start where land and resources seemed unlimited. Eventually, loneliness set in for those who were single, yet there was a dearth of suitable women to marry.

The conundrum for the men was how to meet and court a woman without leaving for fear of someone taking their land or claims. Some of the bachelors wrote home asking friends and family for referrals to single women who would make a good wife. Courtship would take place via correspondence until the couple decided they were suited to marry. The more common scenario was that of mail-order brides.

Ads were placed by the men in eastern newspapers. They would tell a bit about themselves and what traits they were seeking in a wife. Interested women would reply, and the advertiser would respond to the applicant he thought was a good fit. As with those men who wrote home to find a mate, the process was much the same with courtship occurring through letters.

Most of the time, the marriages went smoothly, with the couple falling in love, resulting in a long and happy relationship. However, there are stories of marriages that did not survive because of abandonment, abuse, death, or the discovery of a still-living spouse. A few incidents are recorded about mail-order brides whose groom paid her railway passage, only for her to marry someone else because he seemed a better prospect. Fortunately, those instances seem to make up a small percentage.

I hope you enjoy Dinah’s Dilemma: A Mail-Order Bride Romance.

Blessings,

Linda Shenton Matchett

Blog Stops

Blossoms and Blessings, September 14

Mary Hake, September 14

Labor Not in Vain, September 15

Texas Book-aholic, September 16

Inklings and notions, September 17

For Him and My Family, September 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 21

Connect in Fiction, September 22

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Vicky Sluiter, September 25

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 25

Connie’s History Classroom, September 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 27

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of a Book Journal, Floral Book Plates, Bookjigs Bookmark, a $25 Visa Gift Card, and an autographed paperback edition of Dinah’s Dilemma!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11826/dinah-s-dilemma-celebration-tour-giveaway

What do you like best about reading?

I finished an awesome book recently—The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin. It has left a unique impression on me with all of the truisms about books and readers. A question in the book from one character to another is “What do you like best about reading?” This question in the novel comes from a non-reader to someone who devours books as an avid pastime. I loved the question so much that I posed it on a social media group. The answers were inspiring and as individualized as the individual.

How do you answer that question?

There is no way I could give just one answer. I’ll satisfy your curiosity or spark your own list with a few of mine:

** adventure

** love story

** information

** historical journey

** dreams

** fairytale life

** royalty

** heroes and heroines

** reality check

** inspiration

** second chances

** mystery

** escape

** entertainment

** relaxation

Maybe I left a few for you to consider. Why do you read? Let me know in a comment.

Blessings and happy reading!

Multi-author Giveaway Back to School

Hello Readers!

Kids are heading back to school, and the weather is turning cooler which means there is more time for reading!

I have partnered up with Celebrate Lit Publicity to do an amazing giveaway where you can win a spectacular prize of over 50 books or a $500 Amazon gift card to buy books you love to build up that TBR pile! 

Be sure to enter Celebrate Lit’s Back to School Multi-Author Giveaway going on now through September 18. 

Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/112d2/3rd-annual-back-to-school-multi-author

My giveaway is a copy of Surround Me. I hope you enter! I wish I could….

Review and Giveaway Save the Date

Save the Date

About the Book

Book: Save the Date

Author: Hallee Bridgeman  (Author), Kari Trumbo  (Author), T.K. Chapin  (Author), Chautona Havig  (Author), Shoshanna Gabriel  (Author), Dori Harrell (Author), Liwen Y. Ho  (Author), Lisa M. Prysock (Author), Camy Tang  (Author), Jan Thompson  (Author), Marion Ueckermann  (Author), Jaycee Weaver  (Author)

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release date: October 12, 2021

Save the Date cover

Weddings for every season and occasion. Adventures, mishaps, and dream destinations—this collection has it all!
As our guest of honor, you’re cordially invited on a journey through twelve heartwarming and inspirational novellas that will take you from small-town America to romantic Paris, from the sunny shores of Hawaii to New Zealand. Office romances, friends-to-lovers, second chances, and more await you in these stories full of forgiveness, redemption, laughter, and love.
Say “I do” and claim your copy of this limited-time anthology by your favorite USA Today and bestselling Christian romance authors!
January Hope by Kari Trumbo
Clothing historian Cleo goes on the hunt for an 1880s fashion magazine wedding dress. Discovering it’s part of a museum collection, her biggest obstacle is handsome curator Lowel. Unfortunately, his no-touch policy just might put a stop to her hunt and her heart.
A Valentine for Veronica by Lisa Prysock
Veronica purchased her dream wedding dress though she’s single. When an encounter with a former peer—now a wedding magazine photojournalist—entices her into doing a special feature, the pressure is on to find a husband. Will Veronica’s pride be her downfall, or will her faith lead to love?
I Take You by Marion Ueckermann
Since childhood, Kaia has dreamed about her fairy-tale wedding. But when her father’s choices crush Kaia’s dreams, her fiancé is left scrambling for a solution to their dilemma. Kaia doesn’t want to delay their wedding, and neither does Leo. He’s waited a lifetime to make Kaia his wife.
Adoring April by Chautona Havig
Whoever heard of a church expecting an incoming minister to marry their only single member as a condition for employment? Legality aside, what kind of woman would possibly agree to such a crazy idea? What’ll it take for Jesse to go from avoiding April to adoring April?
A Change of a Dress by Hallee Bridgeman
Belle struggles to bury the past and grasp her elusive future. Scarred by an incredible act of heroism, combat veteran Vince longs to courageously walk the road less traveled as an army chaplain. The two unknowingly cross paths time and again until meeting changes everything.
Time for Me by Jan Thompson
When Sheryl tries to get a world-famous sculptor to display his artwork in her gallery, she doesn’t expect him to fall in love with her in this friends-to-more romance.
The Wedding Dress by T. K. Chapin
Alexa Anderson doesn’t want to wear her mother’s wedding dress when it’s time to marry the love of her life, Brad Jackson. Little does she know, the wedding dress has a story of its own to tell…
The Wedding Kimono by Camy Tang
A tomboy massage therapist and her boss discover a mysterious message hidden in her grandmother’s wedding kimono. Can her family legacy help her to see her inner beauty and open herself up to love?
One Vow for September by Liwen Ho
She’s a writer with an unconventional assignment, he’s the jaded coworker playing her husband; together they’re one odd couple about to find out how real love is.
Braver with You by Jaycee Weaver
She’d follow her childhood sweetheart anywhere, but first they’ll need all her courage and all his support to make it through the wedding their mothers have planned.
Grateful for You by Dori Harrell
Jeans-only Libby hasn’t spoken to lawman Jamie since she turned down his proposal. But when she sees a frothy gown in a store window, she knows he’s the guy for her. But winning him back might mean landing herself in jail.
Countdown to Her Cowboy’s Christmas Wedding by Shoshanna Gabriel
A handsome rancher. The girl next door. A childhood promise comes due that could change their lives… for better or worse. When their Christmas wedding preparations bring out painful memories of heartbreak, will Kate be able to forgive Jay—and herself—so they can finally be together?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I’ve anticipated this book from early this summer. I am not disappointed! I have found new authors to follow. Congratulations to these ladies who have contributed to sharing contemporary, loving relationships in a new fresh light. The world offers confusion and chaos with its drama and constant uncertainty. But love? It still exists and thrives on the unraveling of the unnecessary packaging to expose the wealth of purity and faithfulness within.

Save the Date. Save the book. Save the time to read something special and heartwarming. Finding love at any age is beautiful and meaningful. God has a plan for every stage of life. I want to be the woman who grabs that plan with gusto. Here you will meet women, and men, who take the challenge to grow. Bravo!

About the Authors

The authors of Save the Date joined together for this limited-time collection as an opportunity to bring their readers an excellent reading experience. From California to Kentucky, South Africa to Idaho and everywhere in between, these authors live and write the stories on their hearts to touch the hearts of their readers.

More from Chautona

Why One Epic Wedding Set Is about More Than “Just” Romance

“Oh, they say when you marry in June… you’re a bride all your life…”

When my kids were little, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was a favorite movie, although they used to call it “Dah-dah-dump-dum.” If you’ve never heard “Goin’ Courtin’” then that won’t make sense, but what can I say? Kids. Considering I had seven daughters, it’s no wonder that my kids loved that song sung by girls wearing pantaloons and camisoles the most. My boys never seemed to get that they were watching girls dancing around in their underwear. Much to my relief.

But you know, I’m a desert rat and not a fan of June weddings. Summer weddings are… HOT. I love outdoor weddings and receptions, and they’re miserable here in June, July, August, May… September… To be fair, there are maybe six whole weeks of the entire year that wouldn’t be—too hot, too cold, or just blasting with wind.

The authors of Save the Date all chose their months for different reasons. December, June, and February were obvious favorite choices, but I had three options that called to me. Either April, May, or June. Why? Well, my book title. I needed a woman’s name!

In this collection, you’ll find a couple of marriages of convenience, a friends-to-more, a destination wedding… you name it, we’ve got it. Each author has a meaningful story around the wedding dress, and through the course of each one, we have something especially beautiful.

Love.

I’m not speaking just of love between two characters. In sets like this, beautiful friendships are forged as we write, share, and celebrate. There’s a camaraderie that fills the group with every idea, every milestone, and every frustration.

You’ll also witness one more kind of love—love of craft. See, authors do the long, hard, sometimes tedious work of writing for a reason. We love the creation of characters, settings, and stories that weave all three into a picture that stirs the heart and feeds the soul. You could argue that they are a cheap imitation of the stories God writes on our lives, but because they are an offering to the Lord, they are also beautiful, rich, and a “sweet savor,” or so we hope.

We pray you’ll enjoy your time among the brides of Save the Date. We hope you’ll be blessed.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 4

Texas Book-aholic, September 5

Inklings and notions, September 6

By the Book, September 6

For Him and My Family, September 7

deb’s Book Review, September 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 9

Back Porch Reads, September 9

Connect in Fiction, September 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 11

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 11

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 14

CarpeDiem, September 14

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 15

She Lives To Read, September 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 16

Simple Harvest Reads, September 16 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 17

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Save the Date authors are giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11816/save-the-date-celebration-tour-giveaway

Ten-Thousand-Year Plan

So, the title, Ten-Thousand-Year Plan, is a bit daunting. Who does that? I am a planner, I confess. Positive or negative, it must be in my DNA. I cannot go a day without a plan to accomplish something. Now, before you label me a workaholic, my plans might be to read a few chapters in a book or to make a neglected phone call. I know how to rest and relax. So, what if I have to plan to kick back. I do some of that every day.

When I read a devotional about having a ten-thousand-year plan, I anticipated something I could grab hold of and use. The scripture content is I Corinthians 3. In a concise paraphrase: The only things that really count are those that contribute to others’ knowing Christ and being set free by His grace and love.

As a planner, I make lists for what has to get done like the laundry and meals and work. Which never make it to a list. But on my to-do list, I need to convert my thoughts from day-to-day trivialities that offer stress to the ten thousand year thought process. Here is a question to get me started.

What do I focus on and talk about?

If only what I’ve done for the Lord matters, what about all those other things that prompt me to anger or stress or disfunction? Is there any way to tame those bothersome thoughts into the ten-thousand-year plan? If not, I question if they need to be on my lists. Life is full of the mundane through important daily chores. Do I need to add things that in the long term are not important?

If I can (with some practice), I will let go of the trivialities of my day and get on with the plans that make a difference.

How do you separate the trivial from the important?

Dog Days of Summer

Typically, the hottest days of summer in my part of Louisiana are the months of August and September. I never thought about the expression the dog days of summer, until I watched our rescue dog, Tully, during these months. Lots of dog expressions crept into my language such as whoa doggy, doggy bag, It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and His bark is worse than his bite.

But now, as I face another hot month, the dog days of summer have affected my actions too. It’s not Tully’s fault. His lethargic attitude reflects mine. I understand the expression now that I visualize it every day. Tully and I are both longing for a breeze, a reprieve.

My dog day characteristics that mimic my Tully are: laziness, resting mode, low energy, drained, dead tired. I see canine, fur baby and want to spread out on the couch and twitch as I cream under the fan. But I pry my eyes open, stretch, and carry-on in my working persona. Yet, oh to be a dog! (I say the same thing about my cats who sleep sixteen hours a day!)

Although the expression makes total sense describing the hottest, most oppressive summer months in the south, the history of the expressions adds a bit of relevant explanation.

The dog days of summer this year were July 3-August 11. They take place during the time when the sun occupies the same region in the sky as Sirius, the bright star visible from any part of Earth and is part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.

Make sense? Whatever the history of the expression, I now have a visual in my Tully as he sleeps during the heat of the day. He and I share the same dreams of catching a cool breeze and chasing a butterfly. He just gets to do it more often than I do.

As the dog days of summer linger, what do you do in anticipation of the fall? I plan, read, organize, and rest in the hammock under the shade tree with my dog. I don’t want him having all the fun.