About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now enjoy reading to my granddaughter and supporting authors through my reviews!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Scrumptious Independence by Melissa Wardwell: Review & Giveaway with Celebrate Lit

 

                           About the Book


“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

And so is Beth’s cooking! It’s a good thing, too. After a lifetime of her family’s smothering embrace, a whole new world opens to her with the passing of her beloved grandmother.

Armed with an inheritance she never expected and orders on how to use it, Beth sets off for Merriweather Island and fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams.

Or so she hopes.

What she didn’t hope for was what most women would—a man who fills her thoughts at the most wonderfully unwelcome times. She doesn’t have time or space for a relationship, but how do you tell love to just go away?

Of course, starting over in a new place is never easy, especially as an outsider in a small community. Add to that a mayor who has her dander up and a woman bound to make her life miserable, is it any wonder that Beth begins to doubt God’s and Gram’s plans?

With her heart betraying her resolve and challenges to her faith, Beth finds it takes bravery she didn’t know she had to discover just how scrumptious independence can be.

This “Merriweather book” is the second in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to purchase your copy!

MY THOUGHTS.....

"I came down here to find my own way in life and instead I found my faith in humankind and in God while in your care."

This is such a sweet love story and it isn't just a romantic love story. Elizabeth "Beth" Stevens and her grandmother shared a very special bond and Elizabeth Merriweather-Lewis recognized a potential in Beth that her family had never seen. As she sets out to fulfill her late grandmother's last wishes, Beth learns that she can stand on her own and she gains a confidence that she has never known before. Leaving her very critical mother and moving to Merriweather Island offers Beth independence and the chance to create a new existence. It also allows her to reconnect with a friend from her past. Could this friendship turn into something more?

Scrumptious Independence has so many things that I enjoy in a story: great characters, a beautiful setting, family drama, mystery, and intrigue. There is also a sweet romance but I was especially touched by Beth and Gram's remembered conversations that are sprinkled throughout. Author Melissa Wardwell has beautifully captured the special love and wisdom that only grandparents can offer and I was reminded of the special bond that I enjoyed with my own grandmother.

If you enjoy contemporary romance with an inspiring message of hope and faith, you will certainly appreciate Scrumptious Independence, the second book in the Independence Island series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Celebrate Lit. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own opinions.


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


About the Author

Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband Jonathan, three children, a cat, and two pitbulls.

Besides writing, she enjoys reading, having coffee with friends, and spending quality time with her husband kayaking and fishing.

Melissa likes to joke about the voices in her head, but it is those voices have inspired her to write several romance novels such as “I Know the Plans” (a story based in her hometown of Owosso) and “Finding Hope in Savannah”. When she is not penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books on her blog, Back Porch Reads.

To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com

 

More from Melissa

“Lord, I don’t know how I can keep doing this.”

That was my prayer one evening in 2019 as I made my way to praise practice. I knew that writing was something God had called me to (because He never seems to call you to do something you enjoy) but the finances were just not there to publish another book. I felt lost in the uncertainty of the path moving forward and I needed a light. I had just shared all my concerns with my parents and left with my dad’s words ringing in my head. Are you writing to gain notoriety or are you writing for God?

The next morning, CelebrateLit had a post looking for submissions for a new and innovative series. Hope burst within me and I know I needed more information. I followed instructions and spoke with Sandy Barela and Chautona Havig. The more I was told, the more excited I became because I knew I needed to be part of this collection.

Ideas were hatched, characters began to talk, and a book proposal was sent. I continued to work on the development of characters and the mobile business knowing in my heart that God had given me this opportunity. I wouldn’t do things halfway. And when the confirmation email came, I was ready to share the beautiful story and characters that developed.

Beth is a food truck proprietor, so that means she spends most of her time cooking. In an effort to grow her recipes, I have been making videos of me cooking some of our family’s favorites as well as raiding my mom’s recipe box. The result is some amazing food to share.

Every book, pre-order card, and my YouTube channel has recipes on it. And so will this tour.

With it being summertime, our family doesn’t want those heavy meals so sometimes chips and sandwiches are all we need in the evenings. One favorite is my chicken salad.

Now, this recipe is easily substituted with other things like however, you like your chicken.



Melissa's Chicken Salad

Feeds 4 (unless you have big eaters.)

2 cans of chicken (you can use cooked but this is quick and easy

1/2 cup of red grapes – halved

1/2 cup celery – diced

Make sure you rinse all of this well as you prep the salad

Dressing

1 1/2 cup of miracle whip (you can use mayo)

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp of sugar

Mix everything together and serve on your favorite bread option or on a bed of lettuce. I like mine in a pita pocket or on lettuce. This time it was with a pita pocket with a side of lightly salted chips and a pickle.

Now, just a little side note, you can add what ever veggie or fruit you like. Apples and cucumbers would be a great addition as well. So, don’t feel like you have to do things exactly like I do. Make it your own.

 Bon app├ętit

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 21

Soulfully Romantic, September 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 22

Inklings and notions, September 22

For Him and My Family, September 23

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Artistic Nobody, September 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

She Lives To Read, September 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 25

Quiet Workings, September 25

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , September 26

Older & Smarter?, September 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 26

Blogging With Carol, September 27

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 27

Batya’s Bits, September 27

Emily Yager, September 28

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 28

Stories By Gina, September 28

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 28

CarpeDiem, September 29

Christian Bookaholic, September 29

Cultivating Us, September 29

Aryn the Libraryan, September 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

Connect in Fiction, October 1

The Collaborative Press, October 1

Livin’ Lit, October 1

Simple Harvest Reads, October 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

The Meaderings of a Bookworm, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

Joanne Markey, October 3

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Vicky Sluiter, October 3

Blossoms and Blessings, October 4

Splashes of Joy, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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/10105/scrumptious-independence-celebration-tour-giveaway

View all my reviews

Friday, September 25, 2020

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Edge of BelongingABOUT THE BOOK

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee her late grandmother's estate sale, she soon discovers that the woman left behind more than trinkets and photo frames--she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy's adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.


Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he's ever loved.

In this dual-timeline story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth--both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others--takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.

Revell Publishing September 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:


MY THOUGHTS.....

As I read this book, I was amazed that a debut novel could touch me so deeply. From the first paragraph, when I met Harvey James for the first time, until the closing lines, I was mesmerized by this story. The Edge of Belonging is told in dual-time, alternating between 1994 and the present, but these times blend together so that I felt like I was seeing a movie unfold. Harvey James, who felt like he had never belonged, grabbed my heart when he found a newborn baby abandoned in weeds along a busy highway and decided that this baby would be treasured as he himself had never been. Move to present day and the story focuses on counselor Ivy Rose and newly discovered secrets of her past that will forever alter her future.

Author Amanda Cox has created a cast of remarkable characters, including Harvey, Ivy, Pearl, Rose, and Reese and she tells their stories with memorable words that often made me cry.

"Those people in children's services, they try to do a good job. But it's not the same as being loved by a mom and dad. It's not love when you can be given back when it gets tough."

"Above all, Christ called her his and was gracious enough to give her people to remind her if she lost her way."

"I think...I still can't believe I get to watch this beautiful life of yours unfold."


Cox tackles some heavy topics, such as abandonment, abuse, addiction, and depression but she buffers them with love, hope, and the realization that a family unit can be created by more than blood ties. She also shows that there is mercy and grace through the power of God's love.

If you enjoy contemporary Christian fiction, you absolutely need to read this book. I predict that Amanda Cox and The Edge of Belonging will be mentioned quite often in the months ahead and I wish that I could give it more than 5 Stars!

I received a copy of this book from Revell. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amanda Cox is a blogger and a curriculum developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, but her first love is communicating through story. She holds a bachelor's degree in Bible and theology and a master's degree in professional counseling. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers.

Learn more at her Website     Facebook      Twitter      Instagram '