The Sea Beneath Us by Cathy Slusser with a giveaway

I really enjoyed this historical fiction book based on real people. The characters really did seem more like real people. These people had real depth. I liked Florence the best and Lou. I had troubles liking Henrietta. She was always too sad. I received this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

About the Book

Name of book: The Sea Beneath Us

Author: Cathy Slusser

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: June 20, 2017

Etta just wants a home, a safe haven for her family; her daughter Florence wants to make a positive difference in the world. After suffering tragic loss, Etta walls off her heart. Florence opens hers to love again. Though they do not understand each other, both understand the struggle with cultural expectations of the day for women. They also grapple with personal insecurity and faith. Set in the early twentieth century, the stories of Etta and Florence intertwine as each seeks fulfillment. Follow them from Midwest America to the state of New York; from the Isle of Pines, a tropical spot off the coast of Cuba, to the heart of American power, Washington, DC.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Cathy Slusser is a second generation Floridian who grew up in St. Petersburg, but spent holidays and vacations with her grandparents who lived in Manatee County. She moved to Terra Ceia Island in northwest Manatee County in 1979. Cathy fell in love with history upon reading Eugenia Price novels in Middle School. When she traveled to St. Simons Island, Georgia and saw the places those characters lived, she knew that the subject of history could be alive and exciting. Ever since that time, she has made it her goal to share that message with others. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Furman University and a Master’s Degree in History from the University of South Florida. She has worked for the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court’s Office since 1984 and is Chief Historian. In this role, she supervises five historical sites, the Manatee Village Historical Park, the Manatee County Historical Records Library, and the Florida Maritime Museum, the Palmetto Historical Park, and the Manatee County Agricultural Museum. Cathy has two grown sons, Rob and Tim, a fabulous daughter-in-law, Miranda, and a daughter of the heart, Christina. She has been married to her husband, Glen, a third generation Floridian since 1981. She enjoys dog training, sewing and writing. Cathy is the author of three novels about Manatee County history and the Atzeroth family, first settlers of Terra Ceia Island, published as a trilogy called From A Heavenly Land and a fourth novel, The Sea Beneath Us about her grandmother and great-grandmother. Cathy is passionate about preserving Manatee County’s past and telling its stories to residents and visitors of all ages.

Guest Post from Cathy Slusser

Writing a book about my grandmother, Florence Louise Tichenor Pace was not on my “to do” list. I am one of those people who loves “to do” lists. I enjoy the satisfaction of crossing completed items off my list so much that I add things that I have already done to the list just so I can cross them off! But, I never thought to write a book about my own ancestors.

When I finished the From A Heavenly Land trilogy, a lot of people asked me what was next. I had some ideas, but before I could put fingers to keyboard, I felt compelled to write this story. Maybe it was because every time I look into a mirror, I see my grandmother’s eyes looking back at me. I look very much like her, as does my mother, Emily Pace Bayless. I imagined Grandma saying, “You write about extraordinary women. What about me? When are you going to put my story on paper?”

I could have argued that she had already done an excellent job of that, having left us her handwritten autobiography in a spiral notebook. Once at a historical meeting, participants were asked to bring a memento that we treasured. I brought that notebook. In it, I learned about my grandmother’s tenacity, her creativity and her love of God.

Those characteristics were nothing new to me, having known my grandmother until her death at age 97 in 1992. Grandma was an intimate part of my life. During my childhood, she and Granddaddy travelled once a week to our house where they greeted my sister and me upon our return from school. She made many of the clothes my sister and I wore, including Nehru jackets and pants which were all the rage at the time. She did not like the “loud” colors, but made them anyway because she loved us. I still have a wrap around skirt that she made me in high school.

We spent many holidays and weekend trips with her and Granddaddy at their retirement home on Ware’s Creek in Bradenton and shared a love of books. I knew that I could read all weekend without being told to get up and do something productive. Reading was productive in her eyes. She often gave us books as gifts, but most of the time, we found potato chip crumbs inside, evidence that she read them before passing them along.

One of the stories that most characterizes my grandmother is her involvement with our local health department. She sewed baby layettes that included clothing, blankets and diapers and donated them to the health department for distribution to the poor. She embellished the pastel colored flannel outfits with embroidery saying, “Every baby, no matter what their circumstances should have a pretty, new outfit to come home from the hospital.”

A second story involves me. When I was in girl scouts, I started an embroidered sampler in order to earn my sewing badge. My grandmother taught me the stitches, but it was clear that I was not interested in the work, nor that I would finish it in time to earn my badge. While she finished it for me, she left one flower incomplete as a message that I had not done my part. It is signed FP and CB with both our initials.

My grandmother was a remarkable woman who made a strong impact on me and everyone who knew her. Just recently, I talked to someone who remembered Grandma and told me a story about her even though she has been dead 25 years.

The story she never told us and left out of her autobiography are the details about her relationship with her mother, Henrietta Emily. I sensed some conflict between the two women and wanted to know why. I don’t know for sure that my version of the story is accurate, but it is a good theory.

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 2

Simple Harvest Reads, December 2(interview)

Inklings and notions, December 3

Mary Hake, December 3

Lane Hill House, December 4

All 4 and about books, December 5

proud to be an autism mom, December 6

A Greater Yes , December 7

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 7 (interview)

Texas Book-aholic, December 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 9

Janices book reviews, December 10

Carpe Diem, December 11

A Baker’s Perspective, December 12

Pause for Tales, December 13

Pursuing Stacie, December 14

Bigreadersite, December 15

The Power of Words, December 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away a grand prize of a special quilt handmade by Cathy!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c3e6

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Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel with a giveaway

This was a fun historical mystery. I really enjoyed all the characters but did have trouble understanding Mr. Rudin, who wasn’t sure if he wanted to live or die. That is the sad part of the story but there was a lot of light hearted things going on also. Detective Jasper Hollock was a great detective.and a wonderful guy. He wanted to seem hardened but was soft. I received this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this a five out of five stars.

About the Book

Solve by Christmas Historical Mystery

Name of book: Solve by Christmas

Author: Amber Schamel

Genre: Historical Christmas

Release Date: September 1, 2017

When sabotage threatens the Rudin Sugar Factory, Detective Jasper Hollock believes this will be his first real case. But dear Mr. Rudin—the only father Jasper has ever known—holds a different assignment for his private investigator.

“I’ve struck a deal with God, Jasper, and you’re my angel.”

Mr. Rudin charges Jasper to build a “case” of reasons for his employer to continue his life. If he fails, Mr. Rudin will end it in suicide on Christmas night.

As the incidents at the factory become life threatening, Jasper’s attempts at dissuading Mr. Rudin prove futile, and Jasper is left staring at the stark reality of his own soul. Time is ticking. Jasper must solve both cases by Christmas before Mr. Rudin, the company, and Jasper’s faith, are dragged to perdition. Will this be the Christmas Jasper truly discovers what makes life worth living?

“Amber Schamel’s engaging prose weaves together not one, but two edge-of-your-seat threads in this historical mystery. With the hero racing against time to solve the two cases readers will be kept guessing as they attempt to crack the case. “ ~ Laura V. Hilton author of Christmas Admirer (Whitaker House)

About the Author

Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and has been awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year Award in Historical Fiction. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. Amber is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Pick up your copy here.

Guest Post from Amber Schamel

Thank you so much for joining us on the Celebrate Lit blog tour for Solve by Christmas!! I am so excited you’re here. For this special event, I wanted to share the inside scoop behind the story.

Solve by Christmas is a historical Mystery set in Denver during the great blizzard of 1913. It has a unique storyline, so people often wonder where the idea came from. Honestly, it was one of those ideas that just popped into my head, then took on a life of its own and evolved over several weeks.

I wanted to give my readers a new story before the year was out, but I didn’t have a specific plot in mind. I did know I wanted to write a Christmas story. So, I had that much. Then I decided I wanted something with a firm deadline.” If this doesn’t happen by this date, everyone dies” sort of thing. Then “By Christmas” popped into my head and flicked on a light. What if Christmas was the deadline?

I’ve always loved detectives and mystery stories, and they go perfectly with deadlines. So, then I thought, what if a detective must solve the case by Christmas or death wins?

Sometimes, as an author, there are ideas and thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere. Almost like God dropping a card into your mental mailbox. The next point of Solve by Christmas was that way. What if a detective was assigned a case that he had to solve by Christmas, but it wasn’t a real case –at least not the type of case he wanted—but something completely different? From there, the story began to really take shape.

The next step, of course, is to come up with a character to be the detective. I wanted the story to have a Sherlock Holmes feel, so I started by studying his character a bit. But my story also has a less serious side since it isn’t a murder mystery and takes place at a sugar factory. I wondered…what would happen if you took Sherlock Holmes and meshed him with Barney Fife?

Now THAT would be hard to pull off. But I was determined to try. So, I made a list of Sherlock Holmes traits, and one of Barney Fife’s traits. I began to see that they actually DO have several similarities. They’re both a bit socially awkward. They both have a very similar flavor of pride. And they both have this air of authority…although Sherlock can back his up while Barney struggles in that area. Then I began to pick and choose between the traits that were left, this Barney trait, this Sherlock trait, and pretty soon I had Detective Jasper Hollock forming on the page. Whether you will get a Barney Fife and Sherlock feel when you read Solve by Christmas, I can’t say. But I do believe I was successful in creating a unique, quirky character that will bring this Christmas mystery to life.

There you have it. The scoop behind Solve by Christmas. I hope you enjoy the story, and best wishes in the giveaway! I will be stopping by along with Jasper and Denny (the two main characters) to answer any questions you may have about the story or the characters, so please do leave us a comment.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, December 12

A Simply Enchanted Life, December 12

Connie’s History Classroom, December 13

Bigreadersite, December 13

The Fizzy Pop Collecton, December 14

Genesis5020, December 14

Baker Kella, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15

History, Mystery & Faith, December 16

Karen Sue Hadley, December 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 17

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, December 17

Aryn The Libraryan, December 18

A Reader’s Brain, December 18

Bibliophile Reviews, December 19

Mary Hake, December 19

Texas Book-aholic, December 20

Simple Harvest Reads, December 20

Babs Book Bistro, December 21

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 21 (Interview)

Seasons of Opportunities, December 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 22

Just the Write Escape, December 23

The Power of Words, December 23

Live.Love.Read., December 24

Carpe Diem, December 24

Blogging With Carol, December 25

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, December 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Amber is giving away a grand prize of a Christmas themed basket which will include a paperback copy of Solve by Christmas and The Swaddling Clothes (my two Christmas books) as well as a Christmas terrarium jar, and a Solve by Christmas notepad!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5bb

Christmas Embers by Chautona Havig with a giveaway

This is a hard book to enjoy since it is about such a hard topic. I don’t know how I would handle if I found out my husband cheated on me at any time. This is well done but very sad all around. I know that I liked the ending but I didn’t if you can understand my thinking. This is not a light hearted Christmas story. I found it hard to put down. I received an ebook copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this a four out of five stars.

About the Book

Name of book: Christmas Embers

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Contemporary Christmas

Release Date: November 25, 2016

It’s a truth universally unacknowledged that sin will hunt you down and advertise its presence the moment you try to hide it.

Emily Byrne sits in her daughter’s classroom listening to the deepest wishes of twenty kindergarteners as she sketches them. But when little Joey Cordell breaks down, weeping and insisting the only thing he wants to find is his father, she isn’t sure where her Christmas project will take her.

Davia Cordell came to Rockland for one purpose–find her son’s father before she dies. An ex-prostitute, she’s well aware that the news will cause waves, but what’s a mother to do?

As these women join forces to search for Joey’s father–a Rockland area pastor, no less– Emily learns compassion for a woman who just wants the best for her son and can’t quite imagine that Jesus wants anything to do with her.

Each day, Davia weakens until Emily isn’t confident she’ll find the boy’s father in time–if at all. Doubts form. Should she look? Is it right to risk destroying a family like this–an entire church? The weight of that responsibility crushes her as Davia wastes away before her eyes.

A mother’s love. A boy’s confidence. A family’s faith. A preacher’s failure. Is redemption even possible anymore?

Christmas Embers: a story of love, failure, and redemption.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment.

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

Infidelity to the Tune of Adeste Fideles

“I think my husband is having an affair.”

An explanation followed. Look, I tend to be one who assumes the best of others—to a fault even. I read the “evidence” and frankly could see it going either way. It’s hard to tell across thousands of miles. While others on the message board saw red flag after red flag—and frankly, I did, too—I also saw perfectly innocent explanations for things. It’s a curse sometimes—that ability to see both sides of an issue. I cautioned against assumptions no one would want other people to make of themselves. And I prayed she was wrong.

She wasn’t.

It wasn’t the first time I’d come face to face with infidelity. As a child, there was an extended family member. As a newlywed, one of my wedding party—then another. Then another. The excuses, the justifications. Friends and I went to confront a sister in Christ on her affair with her husband’s best friend. We foolishly asked “what happened?” regarding her marriage. Her words: “We drifted apart.”

I wanted to scream the words that battered my brain and heart. “Then row back together!

But over the years, it just grew worse. One by one, wives and husbands tossed aside vows made to a brother or sister in Christ—vows made before the Lord—in favor of what sometimes were serial affairs. Abuse. Horror.

I’ve prayed women I love through court cases, medical visits, and disclosures from children no mother should ever have to hear. I’ve prayed for men I didn’t even like because of the pain their wives inflicted each time she left them alone with the kids. He knew. He always knew.

Adultery is real. It’s ugly. And there’s absolutely a cure for it. Jesus. 100% surrender to Jesus. But as long as we rely on those little loops on the back of our boots instead of the saving, healing, strengthening power of Jesus, we’re just as vulnerable as the next person.

And that’s why I wrote Christmas Embers. I took every heartbreaking story I’d observed over the years and put in each character for a reason. Every scene, every plot point, every twist—I put them exactly how and where they are for a reason.

They’re there as a warning.

This isn’t your lighthearted Christmas novel. Some have suggested I shouldn’t have set it at Christmastime. But you know what? Over half the disclosures I’ve ever heard of happened between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. I couldn’t get the idea of Joey’s story out of my head. And to write his story, it had to be at Christmas.

Let me say it again. While Christmas may not seem like the optimal time for a hard-hitting book like this, I had to do it. Adultery is reaching epidemic proportions in the church. There’s a solution. His name is Jesus.

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, December 5

A Baker’s Perspective, December 5

Mary Hake, December 5

Moments Dipped in Ink, December 6

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 6

Daysong Reflections, December 6

Fiction Aficionado, December 7

A Simply Enchanted Life, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Blogging With Carol, December 8

The Power of Words, December 8

Bigreadersite, December 8

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 9

A Greater Yes, December 9

Radiant Light, December 9

Just Jo’Anne, December 10

For The Love of Books, December 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 10

Aryn the Libraryan, December 11

A Reader’s Brain, December 11

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 12

Books, Books, and More Books., December 12

Quiet Quilter, December 13

Seasons of Opportunities, December 13

Christian Book Devourer, December 13

Allofakindmom, December 14

Texas Book-aholic, December 14

Pursuing Stacie, December 14

Pause for Tales, December 15

Reader’s cozy corner, December 15

margaret kazmierczak, December 15

Red Headed Book Lady, December 16

Purposeful Learning, December 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16

Janices book reviews, December 17

Christian Bookaholic, December 17

Karen Sue Hadley, December 18

Remembrancy, December 18

Blossoms and Blessings, December 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize of a 6 month Kindle Unlimited Subscription!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c512

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

This is a fantastic read. It flows from present to the past smoothly. I was never confused as to what time period I was reading about. This has a lot of suspense and mystery in the story. I never quite knew what was going to happen next. I did not want to put this book down. I loved learning more about Ivy and Kaine. I received this book from the author for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this a five out of five stars

When Kaine Prescott’s husband died, her pleas for an investigation fell on deaf ears. In need of a fresh start, she purchases an old house sight unseen in Wisconsin. A century earlier, Ivy Thorpe questioned a suspicious death on that same property. When the house’s dark secrets resurface, Kaine must face a terrifying realization!

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

This was such an interesting and enjoyable read. This was a debut novel for Joanna and it was fantastic. There were so many twists and turns. I did not want to put this down. I loved Aurelie and she has an interesting family. I look forward to many more books by this author if they can be this good and unique. I received this book from Revell for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this book a five out of five stars.

Aurelie Harcourt inherits her father’s last manuscript and decides to complete it. She finds he has written his family into the story. She reads and learns about her mother, Lady Jane, and her mysterious disappearance from Lynhurst Manor, the home Aurelie is now living in. There are more secrets about her relatives to be uncovered.

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by BethanyTurner

Very good romance. This tells the life of a writer. Sarah Hollenbeck is a writer better known as Raine de Bourgeois. She starts to write after she divorces her husband. This book has humor and romance and some twists and turns. Sarah grows as a person and learns many lessons. I received a copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this a five out of five stars

Sarah Hollenbeck is a bestselling author of provocative and steamy romance novels.  In her mid thirties, she becomes a Christian and she soon realizes she needs to distance herself from her scandalous reputation. To top it off she starts falling for the pastor at her church. Her world could not be any more opposite Pastor Ben’s world. Now they must learn how to bring their two worlds together.

Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris

This is a fantastic edition to the Nikki Boyd Files series. This takes us back in time to learn more about how Nikki’s sister died and why Nikki became a cop. This shows the policeman and the FBI agent that work on the serial killer case that includes Nikki’s sister. I love the romance and the suspense. There is a great balance of both. I did not want to put the book down. I received a copy of this book from the author and Revell for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this book a five out of five stars

Garrett Addison’s first case on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is the murder of a young girl. He finds close ties to a string of disappearances and the possibility this is the work of a serial killer.

When the FBI comes in to work on the case, Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies, they are unable to find the killer. Garrett wonders whether he is really agent material. Perhaps he should just walk. It appears the killer is not done with him, or Jordan.