A Book Called You

A Book Called You JustRead Blog Tour

My Review

A Book Called YOU: Understanding the Enneagram from a Grace-Filled, Biblical Perspective

We all ask the question, God, who am I and how am I suppose to be real with other, but we must start with being real with ourselves. A Book Called You, helps us learn who we are with using the Enneagram personality assessment tool. I love that the book breaks down in Enneagram model in a biblical way. We are to step outside our box and the book gives us a starting point for truly understanding how God has made us. A great tool for Community Groups or bible study.

I received a copy of the book from Just Read Tours in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

Title: A Book Called You

A Book Called You

Author: Matthew Stephen Brown

Publisher: W Publishing / Thomas Nelson

Release Date: October 5, 2021

Genre: Christian Growth / Enneagram

A biblically grounded Enneagram book that looks at the Enneagram numbers of people in the Bible so readers can discover more about themselves and gain specific wisdom about how and why they are uniquely made.

Who am I? Everyone asks that question, no matter their age or status in life. If we truly are supposed to be real with others, shouldn’t that start with learning how to be real with ourselves? We think so. But we have to be willing to look inside and ask, “Okay, God, who am I? What is it that I don’t see about myself that you see?” A Book Called YOU will help us learn about who we are as individuals and how a biblical view of self-discovery can improve every part of our lives.

Based on his widely successful teaching series “A Series Called You” and his personal experience using the Enneagram personality assessment tool in his marriage and other personal relationships, pastor Matt Brown offers a groundbreaking, entertaining, and heartfelt guide that highlights biblical truths alongside the Enneagram to help us better understand ourselves and how we relate to the people around us.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub


Matthew Stephen Brown is the founding and lead pastor of Sandals Church in Riverside, California. Sandals Church began in 1997 when Pastor Matt and his wife, Tammy, set out to create a church where people could be real with themselves, God, and others. From its first meeting with eight people in the Browns’ living room, Sandals Church has since grown to reach more than 12,000 people each weekend at eleven locations across Southern and Central California. Around the world, Sandals Church’s digital content is viewed by close to 30,000 people every week.

Today, he continues to lead Sandals Church as the primary teaching pastor. In 2016, he launched The Debrief podcast, an opportunity for people to get real answers to tough questions about the Bible and Christianity. And last year, Pastor Matt and Sandals Church launched the ROGO Foundation, which exists to help save and replant dying churches and invest in up-and-coming leaders through hands-on leadership training programs at Sandals Church.

Matt is passionate about the vision of authenticity and raising up the next generation of leaders for the local church. He and Tammy have three children and reside in Riverside, California.

CONNECT WITH MATTHEW: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


(1) winner will receive a copy of A Book Called You!

A Book Called You JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight January 10, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on January 17, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

A Promise for Faith

A Promise for Faith Epic Book Launch
About the Book
Book: A Promise for Faith
Author: Stacy T. Simmons
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
Release date: January 18, 2022

Secrets have the power to ruin lives. Faith and love have the power
to disarm those secrets.
Failure isn’t an option for Faith Fuller, She wants to prove to herself and her
very successful parents she can stand on her own, even if it means
accepting a job offer from someone she wanted to forget. To add to the
problem, that job means facing her biggest fear.
Caleb Gaines is looking for a manager for his coffee shop. He’s in over his
head running his successful river outfitters business, and being a single dad
to a preschooler. But the perfect candidate wants nothing to do with him.
Risk-taker Caleb is up for a challenge and wants to convince Faith to help
If neither one relies on faith and learns to trust, any chance at love will be
washed downstream.
An out-of-work chef and successful river outfitter are both hiding secret
tragedies. How much faith will it take to learn to trust in each other,
overcome obstacles, and find love?

A Promise for Faith Excerpt 3

Her past had become her present as the keys plummeted to the ground.

            “I’ll get ‘em.” Caleb bent down to scoop them up and placed them in her hand. “How are you? It’s been, what, eight years?”

            Six years, five days, too many hours since we broke up. Faith batted the wispy end of a curl brushing her cheek. “I’m good. Busy.” Faith’s tympani-drum heart punched against her chest.  

            “What brings you here?”

            “Visiting my best friend Taylor and her hubby.” Awakened embers of hurt fired through her body. “You live around here?”

             “Briar Creek, not too far from Taylor and Jarod. I was coming back from the grocery store supercenter when I noticed the geyser.” He headed to the car, “Let’s have a look.”


            She followed at a distance. Caleb’s spicy cologne teased her nose and tightened her stomach. Arriving at the still-noisy car, steaming water ran from underneath in a river. She noticed a frown pulling on his lips.

            “Looks like a water pump or broken hose.”

            “Is there a gas station ahead?”

             “In town, twenty miles away.”

            Caleb pulled out his cell phone. Traitor, he has two bars.   

            “Hello. We need a tow,” Caleb closed the hood.

Stacy T. Simmons writes uplifting fiction that delights the reader’s
romantic sensibilities. Thirty-four years of marital bliss is a great contributor.
She is a mom of two grown children, and she and her family have a
menagerie of pets she likes to call “Noah’s Ark.” You can find her working on
her next manuscript with a piece of dark chocolate and a cup of coffee
nearby. She loves to connect with her readers via her website at

Her past had become her present as the keys plummeted to the ground.


            Six years, five days, too many hours since we broke up. Faith batted the wispy end of a curl brushing her cheek. “I’m good. Busy.” Faith’s tympani-drum heart punched against her chest.  

            “What brings you here?”

            “Visiting my best friend Taylor and her hubby.” Awakened embers of hurt fired through her body. “You live around here?”

             “Briar Creek, not too far from Taylor and Jarod. I was coming back from the grocery store supercenter when I noticed the geyser.” He headed to the car, “Let’s have a look.”


            She followed at a distance. Caleb’s spicy cologne teased her nose and tightened her stomach. Arriving at the still-noisy car, steaming water ran from underneath in a river. She noticed a frown pulling on his lips.

            “Looks like a water pump or broken hose.”

            “Is there a gas station ahead?”

             “In town, twenty miles away.”



Debutante’s Code

About The Book

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn’t spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love.But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They’ve been living double lives as government spies–and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy. Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spies. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors–not to mention the nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner, who suspects her of a daring theft. Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission? Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance.

Click to read an excerpt: https://www.kregel.com/books/pdfs/excerpts/9780825447136.pdf

My Review

The Debutante’s Code is a Regency mystery series with a captivating story filled with twists, turns and lots of mysteries. It took me several chapters to get into The Debutante’s Code. I can not even fathom being away from home for seven years to return and face disappoint me to find no parents to welcome me back. No father to share his wisdom, no mother to help Lady Juliette get ready for her debut. Uncle Bertie, a drunkard is there for her. The night of Lady Juliette debut into society there is a theft of artwork which changes her world and what she thought was truth. Pull up a chair and get ready to be pulled into a story of murder and espionage.

I was provided a copy of this novel through the Read with Audra. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About The Author

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate. 

Vetsch is the author of many novellas and novels, including the popular Serendipity & Secrets Regency series and the new Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery series

Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. 
Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor), Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).

Book Give Away



Enter the Cozy Up with a Good Book Giveaway

Power of Prayer

OH MY! How do I find the words to review an outstanding, well written book dealing with tough realities of life? “Yet I love how God has taken our broken pieces and bonded them together into his breathtaking mosaic. We are broken together, and that’s something beautiful.” This story touched my heart, a story of second chances, full of mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love. How often do we feel or think that God has not heard our prayers, only to find out that yes, He has answered them?
Broken Together was not an easy read, the story was about a family who was broken by several things including a husband and dad who was in jail. The story did not end there, it followed the family through the ups and downs and eventual release. I love how the author tackled a tough subject filled with hope and grace.
If I could give the book a 10 I would. I highly recommend Broken Together. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

The Unlikely Yarn Of The Dragon Lady

“The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady” by Sharon J. Mondragon from Kregel Publishing [Giveaway-USA]

About the book: A knitting group’s change of scenery changes lives in unexpected ways

Margaret, Rose, Jane, and Fran had a good thing going: meet every week in the quiet of their peaceful chapel and knit prayer shawls. No muss, just ministry. That is, until their pastor boots them out of the church in his last-ditch effort to revive the dwindling congregation.

Uptight Margaret isn’t having it. Knitting prayer shawls where people can watch is the most ridiculous idea she’s ever heard of, and she’s heard plenty. Prayer belongs in the church, not out among the heathen masses. How are they supposed to knit holiness into these shawls if they’re constantly distracted by the public? But with no choice, the others embrace the challenge. They pack their knitting bags and drag Margaret–grumbling the whole way–to the mall with them. She can’t wait to prove them all wrong when it fails miserably, and show the pastor that she always knows best.

Without the familiar mold the group has been stuck in, their own losses, pain, and struggles rise to the surface. And the people and situations they encounter every time they try to sit quietly and knit are taking them a lot further out of their comfort zone than they ever imagined. Can they find the courage to tackle the increasing number of knotty issues they learn about in the community–or will the tangle be too much to unravel?

My Review: What an incredible story of a group of ladies who knit prayer shawls, each with a different story. A heartwarming read about friendship, faith and the power of prayer. We get to know each of the ladies of the knitting group, their struggles and challenges, as they knit and pray. As a knitter myself, I also find praying and knitting pure joy. I highly recommend the book.

Read an excerpt – click here

About the author: Sharon J. Mondragon’s debut is warm and delightful, full of real laughter, grief, and personality. It beautifully illustrates the power of women across generations to reach people for Christ.

Sharon J. Mondragon is not just a nice lady who knits. She’s the author of award-winning fiction that takes you to the place where courage and kindness meet.
Like some of the characters in The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady, she was once content to live well within her comfort zone. At the age of 19, however, she realized that she would not have much to show for such a life. She accepted the challenge and recklessly prayed for adventure.

The ensuing years as an Army spouse and the mother of five wildly individual children were filled with both thrilling and devastating moments, undergirded by the faithful hand of the God who inspired the prayer. The Army years are over, but the adventure continues in Midlothian, Texas where Sharon lives with her husband, her laptop, and her yarn stash. Learn more at sharonjmondragon.com  https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/classic/19dbbbb/main.html

Lost In Darkness

Book Excerpt

What on earth was he doing here?

He dipped his head in a curt bow. “Good day, Miss Balfour.”

“Mr. Moritz.” She tucked her chin in greeting. “What a surprise. I was just on my way to see you.”

“I suspected as much, but I felt a private setting would be more appropriate for our meeting.”

Her throat closed. This couldn’t be good. Forcing a smile, she stepped aside. “Do come in.”

After he passed, she retrieved her portfolio then scuttled ahead of him. “This way, please.” She led him into the sitting room and stopped near the bell pull. “Shall I ring for tea?”

“You may wish to ring for something stronger when I tell you why I am here.” He doffed his hat, the flat line of his lips giving away nothing. “Perhaps you should take a seat.”

The milk she’d taken with her breakfast curdled into hard lumps in her belly. She’d been right. Only ill could come of a superior deigning a home visit to one of his writers.

Willing her fingers to keep from trembling, she pulled out her manuscript and closed the distance between them, offering it over. “Perhaps you would like to read this first?”

About The Book

Book: Lost in Darkness

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: FICTION/ Christian/Romance

Release date: November 1, 2021

England, 1815

Amelia Balfour has one dream. . .to tour Egypt as a travel writer. But when her wish is finally within reach, her father dies, and her malformed brother Colin depends upon her to arrange for a revolutionary surgery. Amelia returns home, hoping he’ll recover before the ship sails for Cairo.
Former Navy surgeon Graham Lambert is sick—of travelling, loneliness, and especially the injustice of the world. Leaving behind the military, he partners with a renowned surgeon, the man who promises new life to Amelia’s brother.
But just as the operation begins, Graham suspects the surgeon is a fraud. After a botched procedure, Colin goes mad and escapes, terrorizing their neighbor, author Mary Godwin—planting the seed for her greatest creation, Frankenstein.
Can Amelia and Graham stop Colin before he destroys everyone in his path and find the tender soul still trapped inside…or will they be too late?

About The Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan.


Excerpt One: https://janemouttet.wordpress.com/2021/10/13/epic-book-launch-lost-in-darkness-excerpt/
Excerpt Two: https://storiesbygina.wordpress.com/2021/10/13/lost-in-darkness-epic-book-launch/
Excerpt Three: https://happywhenreading.wordpress.com/2021/10/14/lost-in-darkness/
Excerpt Four: http://www.simpleharvestreads.com/posts/lost-in-darkness-epic-book-launch/
Excerpt Five: https://englishmysteriesblog.blogspot.com/2021/10/lost-in-darkness-spotlight-book-tour.html?m=1
Excerpt Six: https://coverloverbookreview.blogspot.com/2021/09/book-launch-lost-in-darkness.html
Excerpt Seven: https://www.artistwriterandstudentohmy.com/posts/lost-in-darkness-book-excerpt/

A Midnight Dance

Is she dancing ever closer to the edge of her own tragic end? Or will the secrets that are about to come to light offer release from the past?
A Midnight Dance is filled with grace and drama, much like ballet itself, with its high and lows. Ms. Politano is a master-wordsmith, painting beauty with words. The mystery woven through the pages. I was caught up in the misfortune that followed Ella. She was trained by her mother who passed down her love of theater and ballet and wanted to continue her legacy. To feel the feelings of Ella and be swept up into the magic of theater and the competition between dancers that want only a specific role.
What an ending! Pull up a chair and be ready to fall in love with the characters. I recommend this book.

The Healing of Natalie Curtis

The Healing of Natalie Curtis, a historical novel by Jane Kirkpatrick, is a novel based on a true-life activist and ethno-musicologist and takes place in the early 1900s. Music soothes the soul. Natalie was a woman ahead of her time. Her brother, George always looked after his sister and enjoyed reading about his adventure in the West to search for healing
Although, a slow start at the beginning, the story drew me in. I loved the history and stories of the Native Americans and their songs. See, I lived on an Indian reservation for a summer and fell in love with the people. The rich stories that are passed down from generation to generation. At the same time our government has not always treated the Native Americans fairly. Even during the time of Natalie Curtis, she made it a goal to document the songs before they disappeared.
I recommend the book and am giving it five starts.

A Deep Divide

The author has done it again! A Deep Divide is set in 1905 at the Grand Canyon and is about the Harvey Girls who work at El Tovar Grand Canyon Hotel. Emma, who has been a Harvey Girl since she turned 17 wanted to be a part of the new Harvey House. She is looking to escape those who have been looking for her since her father passed away and left legal contracts for marriage to Emma, which turned out to be a scam.
A Deep Divide will take you back in time to when going on an adventure was the thing to do. I have visited the Grand Canyon and it is simply stunning and majestic, a true masterpiece to what God has created. I loved the inspirational message throughout the story, simply trust God, and live the way He want’s us to. I am looking forward to book two in the series.
I highly recommend the book.
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

About The Author

Kim is a devoted wife and mother, and a third generation Liszt student.  She has passed down her love of music and the arts to hundreds of students over the years, recorded three albums, and appeared at over 2,000 venues to more than a million people. Her quick wit, enthusiasm, and positive outlook through difficult circumstances have gained her audiences at conferences, retreats, churches, military functions, and seminars all over the country.

The Woodhouse family’s story has been on the front page of newspapers, in magazines, articles, medical journals, and most famously featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They were also asked to share their story on The Montel Williams Show and Discovery Health Channel’s Mystery ER along with hundreds of other TV appearances and radio interviews.

Kim has been writing seriously for more than twenty years. Songs, plays, short stories, novels, picture books, articles, newsletters – you name it – she’s written it. It wasn’t until a dear friend challenged her to “do something with it” that she pursued publication. Now, she is a best-selling author of more than two dozen books, with more on the way. She has won The Carol Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and has finaled in the Selah Awards and the Spur Awards.

She is passionate about Bible study, reading, music, cooking, and pretty-much-all-things-crafty. Kimberley has been married to her incredible husband for twenty-nine years and counting and they have two married adult children.

A Flicker of Light

About The Author

Just a small-town girl,

livin’ in a lonely world…

I grew up on a dairy farm in the Pacific Northwest. Spent my formative years climbing trees, talking to cows, and perming my hair. Now I live in Montana, where cows still outnumber people. I’m a happy wifey and a mom to the third power (biological, adoptive, and foster). 

I write contemporary fiction, and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. There was a time, when I was probably ten or so, when I composed a multi-page epic poem for my mom in celebration of Mother’s Day. As I recall, the poem included several verses for each of the four seasons and there was something about a frolicking deer. Anyway, she pretended with all her heart to love that poem and for that I will always be thankful because I don’t think I would be doing this today if she had thrown it in the garbage. 

​If you’re wondering about the red shoes, my Grandma Julie started it. She gave me my first pair of red All Stars when I was little and I’ve been in love with them ever since. In fact, she gave all my siblings and cousins a pair, as well as my first two children, before she passed away. Now she wears her red shoes in heaven.

My Review

Hot Coffee!! WOW! I cannot say enough about Katie Powner’s book. A breath of fresh air. A Flicker of Light is about a family that is learning to let go, the power of healing and learning to live with a family member who was diagnosed with dementia. I wish that Moose Creek, Montana was a real place to visit. The call of the mountains. We will learn through the story that God is always with us even if it does not feel like it, we just need to lean on Him.
I highly recommend A Flicker of Light, grab a few tissues, pull up a rocking chair and dive into a story of forgiveness and redemption. I am eagerly awaiting the next book by the author.

About The Book

A frank and funny look at what to do when together is too close
Two’s company, especially for those who love each other. So what happens when—due to retirement, working from home, or even running a business together—spouses find that being in the same space all the time is awkward, complex, annoying, and just plain challenging? How can partners coexist without co-exhausting each other?
Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby know all too well how adjusting to a new, all-the-time closeness can cause the bliss of marriage to form blisters. Drawing from their experiences, and from men and women across the country in the same situation, the authors take a deep breath and dive into the root causes. They dig into what God’s Word has to say, and they offer practical tips for learning the spiritual, emotional, relational, and even physical steps that can help readers replace irritation with peace.
For any couple who wants their home to be a refuge of peace and serenity for all—not just themselves—and who wants to know they aren’t alone in the mental and physical claustrophobia of too much togetherness, Spouse in the House is a vulnerable, charming, and pragmatic breath of hope.
Click here to read an excerpt from Spouse in the House.

About The Authors

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction, and through speaking for women’s events, retreats, writers’ conferences, and workshops. She draws from 33 years of experience writing and producing the 15-minute daily radio broadcast, “The Heartbeat of the Home.”

Ruchti’s more than thirty books have garnered reader, retailer, reviewer, and other industry awards. She serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, is a founding board member of the Deliver Hope ministry and is part of the worship team at her church. She’s also a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management.

Ruchti and her husband, Bill, live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and six grandchildren.

Learn more about Cynthia Ruchti and her writing at cynthiaruchti.comor by following her on Facebook (@CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage)Instagram (@cynthiaruchtiauthor), and Twitter (@cynthiaruchti).

Becky Melby has authored more than twenty novels and novellas. Spouse in the House is her first non-fiction book release.
The Melbys have four sons and fifteen grandchildren and make their home in southeastern Wisconsin. When not writing or spoiling grandchildren, she may be found touring the country with Bill in their camper or on their Honda Gold Wing motorcycle.
Find out more about Becky Melby’s books at beckymelby.com or follow her on Facebook (becky.melby.9) and Instagram (@beckymelbybooks). She also shares short blog posts each Friday on the Fill My Cup, Lord page on Facebook.

Give Away


My Review

My spouse can be gone for three days or home for two, we value the time together and do not have time to argue. there were many truths about marriage that stood out in the book. We have been married 25 years, and still learning how to navigate through the ups and downs of marriage with humility, grace, and mercy at each step. Personalities can clash, but at the end of the day you still love your spouse. The authors remind us that we are all created uniquely, and each have different talents and gifts. Compassion, honesty, trust and most important having God at the center. I definitely recommend the book whether one is recently married or married for 25 years.

I received an ARC of the book for an honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

Seasoned Grace

About the Book

Book:  Seasoned Grace

Author: Melissa Wardwell

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: August 31, 2021


You can run from your past, but you can’t escape it.

Though he disappeared that day, Raylin McReynolds never believed her father died at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

So, when a mysterious letter arrives from Breakers Head, informing her that she would find him on the Independence Islands off the coast of Georgia, she has no choice but to find a job, get there, find her father.

As mainland troubles encroach on Hooper Island, Sean Anderson devises a plan and presents it to the island pastors and his cousin, Scott. The result: Grace Mission—a place where those struggling can find the help they need.

What he didn’t need was a distraction in the form of a newcomer to the islands—a mission volunteer, no less.

Others at the mission, Beth and Scott, see more than just frustration brew between Raylin and Sean. What will it take to convince Sean and Raylin to stop bickering long enough to see what’s obvious to everyone else?

Raylin’s on a mission to find her father and protect her heart, but neither seem willing to cooperate.

Seasoned Grace continues the Hooper Island stories of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

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

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell

She doesn’t mind alternating between the world of writing and the reality of being a mother, but she would rather sit with a good book or a good friend and a cup of coffee.

When she isn’t penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books for her blog, Back Porch Reads.

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

More from Melissa

Here we are, in the middle of the collection. The third island—Hooper Island. Have you enjoyed the journey so far? I hope you have, I’m sure you have 😉

Seasoned Grace quickly became my favorite addition to the Independence Islands Collection. It is a little more serious on a few of the topics than my first two contributions. Now that a foundation has been set, I felt like I could get a little deeper into my character’s emotions and pasts. People are complex so writing two-dimensional characters are not something I like doing. I want readers to see the secret hurts that mold them into the person they are, and how God can heal those painful areas.

Grace is the running theme throughout this book. Grace enough to let things go, the Father’s grace, showing grace to those around us, and any other form of grace that might come up. Grace is like salt and pepper. It gives the right kind of flavor to our lives. At least I think that is a life quote Gram would tell Beth.

There is one chapter that you will see one of the new characters lay out their painful past in a rather quick way in a conversation with another character. This character suffered much in their life that some will struggle with understanding how they could talk about it so freely (which is why I am shining a light on it now).

When a person has found healing in life by following Christ and has allowed Him to take away the sting of what others have done to them, those moments become easy to talk about with others. Especially if it means that the one listening will seek healing for themselves.

This conversation in the book is intense and thought-provoking. It also displays the level of grace required to see people the way God might see them instead of through our tainted lenses. I found myself crying as I wrote it because I know how freeing it is to forgive and let the Father heal a wounded heart.

Seasoned Grace also has several returning characters—Beth and Scott, Thaddeus, Amara and Dante, Sarah Reid, and her boys. There are also two new faces, Raylin and Sean, as well as a couple of other mobile business owners who come together to help Elnora Island bounce back from a hurricane.

All my contributions to the collection flow from one book to the next like a television series. While the other writers may have written their stories to be independently read from the others, that is not something I have done. Trust me when I say that it wasn’t my original intent. As I saw my five stories develop, there was a constant feeling of community and character interaction throughout the books. I couldn’t just leave some characters behind, never to be heard from again, while I bring in new faces. It just wouldn’t be right. They have developed friendships and that cannot be overlooked. That said, when they come together at the end for Thanksgiving diner, they, and you the reader, will have a pleasant surprise.

So, stay with me, push through, read on—it will all be worth it in the end.

P.S. I realize that I gave a recipe for Scrumptious Independence, but not Heart Pressed. I apologize for that one.

I hope this one makes up for it. Scott’s favorite

Fish Tacos


If you don’t have a deep fryer (like me), get a thick bottom, deep pan

Use natural oil, like corn or canola oil

Gauge the temperature with a candy or deep fry thermometer

Fill your pan no more than 2/3 of the way

Heat the oil slowly to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit

too low of heat, you will get greasy fish

too high of heat, you will burn the fish


Cod works the best, but Salmon is pretty interesting option as well.

Rinse it off after thawing if you use frozen fish, excess water will make your oil spatter

Pat it dry with paper towel – I use a lot of paper towel, but I feed five adults

If fish pieces are thick, cut into 1 inch-ish strips.

I use Panko fish batter for my batter. I don’t make it from scratch

Slowly place coated pieces of fish into the hot oil and let it cook until golden brown.

While that cooks, prepare your toppings.

Cole Slaw

8oz. bag of pre-shredded Cole slaw mix

1 1/2 tsp Apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsp of sugar

1 cup of mayo or Miracle Whip

1/4 cup of mustard or 1/2 tsp of mustard powder


Make sure it is ripe—soft, not hard

Mash it wit a fork

Cut a lime in 1/2 and squeeze the juice over the mashed avocado

Sprinkle salt and pepper on it

Stir together

Layering the taco

Spread some of the Avocado mixture on a tortilla

Place a strip or two of fried fish on top

Finish with Cole slaw mix


My Review

Seasoned Grace is more than a romance, it is a story full of hope and trusting in God. A lesson for us- we need to learn to extend grace to other as well as accepting grace.

This was the first book of the Independence Island series that I read and enjoyed the story. A page turner.

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit Publishing in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 24

Texas Book-aholic, September 25

Blossoms and Blessings, September 25

Inklings and notions, September 26

HappyWhenReading, September 26

For Him and My Family, September 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 27 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 28

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 28

Aryn the Libraryan, September 29

The Sacred Line, September 29

She Lives To Read, September 30

Connect in Fiction, October 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 1

Reviewingbooksplusmore, October 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 3

Life, love, writing, October 3

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 4

Simple Harvest Reads, October 4 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 5

Splashes of Joy, October 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 6

Blogging With Carol, October 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 7

Mary Hake, October 7


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.


The Secret of Keepers of Old Depot Grocery

Amazing! Loved the dual timelines and how they explored the relationship between mother and daughter. The secrets we sometimes keep that shape how we live and involve others, how the healing power of telling the truth sets us free, a beautifully written story of redemption, forgiveness, mercy and love. I read the book in one night. Highly recommend. Amanda Cox is one author to watch. A master story teller with a gift of words. Well done, Amanda.

Beyond the Tides

Welcome back to Prince Edward Island. Beyond the Tides by Liz Johnson is a story about family, forgiveness and the kind of love that heals all wounds. Meg and Oliver were in a fight while in high school after Oliver destroyed Meg’s science project. Besides teaching high school, she is also working on her dad’s fishing boat harvesting lobsters. Her dad has decided to sell his boat to Oliver however Meg does not want the family business to him. So, they begin working together in competition for the rights.

The story is emotional as they begin to figure out what is truly important and forgiveness. I enjoyed the story as I had visited a state on the east coast where lobster was the summer thing to do.

I received a copy of the book from Revell Publishing. All opinions are my own.

Under The Bayou Moon

WOW! I have read the author’s “The Key to Everything,” but, Under the Bayou Moon did not disappoint and it is one of my favorite books. The author is a master storyteller and has a gift of bringing sights, tastes and smells, to life. Her story left me hungry for shrimp po’boys and beignets from Café Du Monde.

A wonderful story of love, family, hardship, belonging and finding oneself tossed in with Cajun culture, mysteries of a white alligator that will leave the reader with lots to think about.

Community, faith, and family is the focus of Bernadette, Louisiana. When tragedy hits the community, everyone comes together to help each other. God’s grace is evident through the people. I loved the story and will be reading the book again.