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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Review of Sawdust and Mistletoe by Michelle Pennington


I was hooked on Sawdust and Mistletoe by Michelle Pennington from page one and couldn’t put it down. The main character, Ava has given up on Christmas. As an interior designer she decorates non-stop for months to make her clients’ homes perfect for the holidays, and she’s so sick of Christmas music she won’t even allow the radio on at her job sites.

Her new handyman, Hunter is determined to change her mind, and her heart. It’s not that Ava doesn’t want to date Hunter, she just doesn’t want to date a guy who won’t settle down. She’s naturally afraid to get her heart broken. But their chemistry is so strong they can’t stay away from each other.

Hunter finds ways to ‘work’ himself into her life, asking for her help decorating a dollhouse he’s building for his niece. The dollhouse becomes the smallest, but most important interior design project she’s ever done. It’s also a great distraction from the larger projects that seem to be falling apart around her. Nothing’s worse than watching your hard work destroyed before your eyes, except maybe falling in love with a guy who won’t commit.

It will take a Christmas miracle to pull it all together.

Michelle Pennington is one of my favorite authors. As one of her critique partners, I’ve had the chance to read her stories at various stages of completion. This one was so fun to watch her ‘build’. Pardon the puns, but come on. There’s sawdust and a hunky builder. What do you expect?

Michelle’s characters show heart and passion and determination and I just love them. I’ve been known to call myself President of the Michelle Pennington Fan Club (that’s a thing… right?).

I loved Sawdust and Mistletoe, and highly recommend it.


Other books I love by Michelle Pennington:







Book Review of The Start of Us by Rachel John



This is the second time I’ve tried to write a review of The Start of Us by Rachel John. I will not read Rachel’s book again, I will not read Rachel’s book again, I will not read Rachel’s book again.

Gal darnit Rachel John! Do I look like I have time to read your story twice? Do you know how many people are waiting for me to write book reviews for them? Including you!

All I wanted was a quick refresher on your new book, The Start of Us, before writing your review and now here I am a 3rd of the way into the book, again, because I can't put it down, again! This is all your fault!

Anyway, The Start of Us is a cute romance novel with a lot of heart, flirting, jealously, eating macaroni & cheese, and stepping back to take a back seat when it’s the right thing to do.

Obviously I liked it a lot if I read it twice. Yes, I’ve now finished it twice. My fight right now is to not pick it up again for the third time. I have work to do. No more reading. Seriously. Quit laughing. I can stop…

After reviewing The Start of Us, I had the opportunity to interview Rachel John and ask her a few questions about her writing. Read my interview here.

Other books by Rachel John:





Interview with the Author: Rachel John

After reviewing The Start of Us, I had the opportunity to interview Rachel John and ask her a few questions about her writing. Read my review here.

Rachel, thanks for joining us. Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

I’ve always wanted to be an author. I’ve been writing and reading since childhood, but didn’t get serious about it until about five years ago when I realized Amazon had a publishing platform and everyone was moving to eBooks. My first novel, TheTruth About Running, is an LDS novel about college students and dodging the perfect person because you’re scared. Since then, I’ve written three more contemporary romance novels.

Well, I’ve loved everything I’ve read of yours. How do you come up with your ideas for stories?

Usually the characters come first. I tend to relate to reluctant females with quirky friends and a very patient, but dreamy guy ready to break them out of their shell. I know some authors come up with ideas from dreams they’ve had, but that is so not me, unless you count daydreaming! My dreams tend to be super boring, even when scary and stressful.

I’m one of those authors who turn my dreams into novels. But my daydreams turn into novels as well, so we have that in common. Let’s talk more about your new release, The Start of Us. Tell the readers about it:

This book came from a story idea I’ve had for probably twenty years. When I was younger, I often told myself stories in my head. They’d play out like films and could last me a couple days. (I’m not saying it’s normal, just saying it happened, LOL) Now that I’m a mom, this particular story is a little more meaningful. I always knew the book would be about a loyal roommate and an estranged brother trying to figure out what to do with the child that’s been left in their care, I just didn’t realize how emotional and fulfilling the story would become.

I decided to make it a series, playing around with the theme of ‘A Change in Plans.’

Uh… yeah, so, you’re going to need to tell me more about your series sometime because I loved The Start of Us. For now, give us a Synopsis for the book:

When Corrie Windsor's roommate dies in a car accident, she leaves behind her four-year-old daughter, Ella. Corrie loves the little girl and hopes to adopt her, but instead, she’ll have to stand by while Ella’s uncle steps in to take custody. If things aren’t awkward enough, there’s a chemistry between them that neither wants to acknowledge.

Preston Ford can’t imagine instant parenthood, especially considering he just chickened out of proposing to his girlfriend. However, once he meets Ella, there’s no other choice. The time he spends with her and Corrie solidifies an alliance between the three of them, a plan to give Ella the stability she needs. But reality can sometimes turn the best of plans upside down.

With more than one heart hanging in the balance, how long can their platonic teamwork really last? Romance has never been this complicated.

Swoon. I loved the story. I’ve read it twice! I love your characters, but in your own words, tell the readers about your main characters:

The point of view shifts between Corrie and Preston, two people who want to work together, but also want to protect themselves from heartache. Corrie is very level-headed and calm. Preston tends to say and do the wrong thing under stress. It’s a fun combination.

Which is your favorite minor character and why?

I love to create side characters that can say outrageous things and Shaun is no exception. He’s the funny voice of reason when Preston is being stubborn and Shaun will become the main character in the next book in the series. I’m excited and nervous about that.

Okay, I was wondering about that. Shaun seems like he’s got a cool story to tell. He’s flirtatious and bold, but a loyal friend and I like that. Not to put too much pressure on you, but I’d very much like for you to finish writing Shaun’s story so I can read it! Do you write and read every single day?

If I’m not writing I’m reading. Besides exchanging manuscripts with other writers, I just love to read.

I knew there was a reason we got along so well! I love to read and write, also. When I’m tired from writing all day, I’ll take a few more minutes to read. When you’re ready to exchange manuscripts, I volunteer as tribute!

Anyway, thank you, Rachel for joining us today and for sharing your stories and your writing experience! -Julie L. Spencer

About Rachel John:

Rachel John lives in Arizona with her husband and four crazy kids. When she's not shuttling them to soccer or piano, she loves to read, work on family history, and draw. Rachel thinks the best kinds of books are filled with awkward humor, and enjoys mixing that with sigh-inducing romance.

Follow Rachel John on social media:


Website and/or Blog: http://www.racheljohnwrites.com/





Other Books by Rachel John:






Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Unspoken Words Anthology LDS Beta Readers



Sometimes the most important words are unspoken.

This collection contains fourteen short-story romances featuring established and up-and-coming authors. There’s something for everyone to enjoy from historical to young adult, movie stars to bodyguards, work place romance to friendships deepening into more.

What happens when you find the courage to say what needs to be said?

I’m honored to have my short story, Buxton Peak: Silence from Nashville featured in the Unspoken Words anthology. Silence from Nashville is a spinoff from my Buxton Peak series and actually takes place during the time period in the middle of Buxton Peak Book Three: The End of the Beginning.

One of the supporting characters in the series, Ed Williams meets his girlfriend India on a blind date and they hit if off immediately. But now, a year later, he still has not confessed his love to her nor asked her to marry him.

As the story begins, Ed has just been asked by his best friend (and employer), Ian Taylor to move with him to Nashville. Ed is bodyguard for Ian and his rock band, Buxton Peak. If he doesn’t move with the band, he will lose his job. If he does move, he may lose his girlfriend.

Read Buxton Peak: Silence from Nashville in the new anthology, Unspoken Words, along with thirteen other authors’ short stories.


Also, join us Thursday, October 26, 2017 for our online Book Launch Party on Facebook. The fun starts at 5:00 Mountain Time (that’s 7:00 p.m. Eastern for those of us out here).

To learn more about the Buxton Peak series, and to check out some of my other books, head over to my Amazon Author page.

Connect with Julie L. Spencer on social media:

Twitter account: @juliespencer98

Buxton Peak Book: Two Center Stage



Center stage can’t last forever.

Even a rock band as talented as Buxton Peak can come crashing down.

Protecting his bride from cameras and scandals is the least of Ian’s worries. While he is blinded by love, his band is torn apart by distractions, temptations, and drug abuse.

Will Ian stand beside his mates, letting their problems become his problems? Can they pull together as a band? Or will the pressures of stardom rip them apart?


See where it all began in Buxton Peak: The Early Years



Read the first book in the Buxton Peak trilogy, Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor?



Learn why center stage can't last forever in Buxton Peak Book Two: Center Stage



The end... is only the beginning, Buxton Peak Book Three: The End of the Beginning