Thursday, June 30, 2016

Being a mom is easy, right?!? NOT always!!

      "Ante Up"
By Chautona Havig

About the Book:
Out with Murphy and in with O’Reilly!
O’Reilly’s Law: Murphy was an optimist!
Marriage has been good to Aggie. After a few years and a baby under her belt, she’s confident that she can take on anything–including adding child number ten to the home! Blessings aren’t always easy, and Aggie is about to discover that in a whole new way!
When their near-idyllic life was turned upside down by senseless vandalism, Aggie and gang spent a week on “Aunt” Willow’s farm. Luke worked day and night to get them back home for Thanksgiving. But when things, once more, seem to pile up, Aggie flounders. Her pregnancy grows precarious, and her husband doesn’t recognize her anymore.
Only the Lord can soothe her rumpled spirit, but will she allow Him to comfort her as only He can?
Aggie’s sure that she just needs to “knuckle down” and “ante up” to keep from losing ALL her marbles.
Ante Up! is the fourth book in the Aggie Series.

My Thoughts:
I had never heard of this author until I was approached to participate in a blog tour to introduce her latest creation to the public.  When I heard that this book was preceded by three others, the first thing I did was read the first one in the series, just to see what I was getting into. I could NOT put the book down!  Needless to say, I was HOOKED! I then read the second, the third and lastly, the newest, "Ante Up". Upon beginning this new novel, I was immediately caught up in the lives of a family that I had grown to know and love. Meeting them again, as they have grown and matured was just so much fun. I felt as if I was catching up with distant family members who I hadn't seen for a good while. 

 Although seemingly a simple story of the life of a woman who has decided to raise her sister's orphaned children, as well as marry and begin her own family, the depth and hidden challenges presented, were anything but simple. I actually did a bit of soul searching myself, as I read and compared my life to her's. Do I have hidden resentments?? Have I allowed bitterness to enter my life? I loved following Aggie's journey in life. Aggie is one special lady to her family and to her readers. Luke, her husband presents himself as a dreamy partner, with his gentle love and neverending faith in God. I had no problems identifying with these characters. In fact, they became my best friends

 The plot moves steadily throughout the book, giving one time to reflect on the challenges and trials met in this family's daily life. Letting God handle the bumps in the road is the most difficult thing to actually do , especially in tough times, however , this family found out , in some difficult ways that it is the very BEST thing to allow. I sure know how they feel.

 I would highly recommend this book to readers of any age. The importance of faith shines bright and clear throughout the story. A true Christian message, that we often forget to apply in our lives. 

This book was provided by the author and CelebrateLit in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

About the Author

Chautona lives in a small, remote town in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and six of her nine children. When not writing, she enjoys paper crafting, sewing, and looking forward to retirement from home education. Chautona writes stories of fictional people who have real problems, weaknesses, and triumphs. Through their stories, she tries to share the Hope that is within her.

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

“You have eight kids? How do you do it? I can barely manage with the one (or two or three) that I have! I could never do eight.”
How many times had I heard those words? Ten? Fifty? A thousand? I suspect it was between fifty and a thousand. I guarantee it felt like a million. And the reason wasn’t that people were rude or unkind about it. It was simply because they assumed things that weren’t reasonable. They acted as if I’d woken up one day with eight kids and never had a problem with adapting to it.
The cold, hard truth? I never planned to have children—ever—much less the eight I had then or the nine I have now. I didn’t like children, and even now, I really just prefer mine and others’ in very small doses. I’m naturally a very selfish person. So the comments that made me sound excessively patient and maternal were, in a word, ridiculous.
I had one answer I always gave—just one. “I didn’t get them all at once. I got them one at a time, the old fashioned way. And with a minimum of about eighteen to twenty-two months of getting used to having two, three, six, seven before I got the next.”
But that thought haunted me for weeks. What would happen if someone did get eight at once? How would she handle that? Not like the women with multiples—five, seven, eight at a time. No, I was thinking of what it would be like for someone to have my kids just dumped on someone all at once with all those different ages to deal with. I think I should have known at that moment that my childhood dream of being a writer would come true, because my next thought was, “And what if she was single?” From there, I added more. A grandmother-in-law to rival any horror stories of mothers-in-law, home renovations with kids (every mother’s nightmare), grieving, and accident prone kids who can’t stop calling 9-1-1 and you had all the worst things I could think of without becoming ridiculous.
I had originally decided that Aggie would remain single. Yeah, that didn’t happen. So, I gave her personal convictions to follow. I added to that her sister’s convictions, just to keep things interesting. I wanted to show that people have convictions for a myriad of reasons, and just because they hold one, doesn’t mean they look down on those who don’t. That original story grew from a sixty-thousand word single book into a trilogy—each book being over one hundred twenty thousand words! I was sure people would hate the length, hate the story, and ride me out of the country on the proverbial rail. I just hoped I landed in the southern Atlantic—nice and warm.
Instead, Ready or Not has been my best selling book—an Amazon bestseller. The first promotion we did resulted in the book being downloaded every 3.6 seconds in a twenty-four hour period. I was flabbergasted. I did the math a dozen times to make sure. When the last book came out, fans bemoaned the loss of their favorite character. I added more of her to another series, Past Forward. That helped—a little.
Eventually, I agreed to write a fourth book. I waited, and I’m so glad I did. Nearly five years have passed since Aggie inherited her eight nieces and nephews, and nearly four have passed since she married and began a new journey with him. She’s a mother now, not “just” an aunt. She’s a wife. Her life is rich and full of the craziness readers have come to love. So in this book, I decided to explore what happens when life throws just one too many curve balls. I decided to show the children growing up and facing new trials and temptations. And, I wanted to give just a little bit of joy in the extended family front after three books of trials there. I thought it was about time.
My goal for these books has always been to point my readers to the Lord. I did that through one character’s wisdom, another’s steadfastness, and of course, through Aggie’s songs and bite-sized prayers (p-mails). In this book, I wanted to point readers to the Lord through Aggie again, but in a different way. I hope it is as encouraging to them as it was to me. I learned so much in the writing of this book. It laid open my heart before the Lord and I saw things in myself I didn’t want to see but needed to. The Lord is so good to us.
Don’t forget—for those who purchase before July 7, 2016, we’re giving away a FREE bonus devotional,Tune My Heart: 25 Hymn-Filled Moments with the Lord. Each chapter corresponds to the book and examines some of the themes of the book, so you don’t want to read it before you’ve read the book! To get your free copy, just forward your Amazon receipt to THIS EMAIL.

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a Kindle Fire! Click to enter:

To purchase this book:  Purchase your copy here.
CelebrateLit Blog Tour:

June 30: Quiet Quilter
July 2: Mary Hake
July 3: Petra’s Hope
July 7: Cassandra M’s Place (spotlight)
July 10: Karens Krayons
July 11: cherylbbookblog (spotlight)


  1. Being a mom isn't easy! Agreed! However as the character probably finds out it is pretty amazing! Great post.

  2. I've read these books - love them! The author also has a series called "Past Forward", and there is some crossover of characters between the series.

  3. It's definitely worth it to read the first three books as well! And yes, this story is challenging. Glad you enjoyed it, too!

  4. Thank you for such a lovely post! I'm glad you enjoyed the series. I can't WAIT to write Vannie's story. And, thankfully, Aggie will be back to normal but wiser and stronger for this one!

  5. Oh, and thanks for choosing my book! I appreciate it.

  6. Thank you so much! I appreciate such a lovely review. Glad you enjoyed it! :D