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I’d like to give a big welcome to HANNA SANDVIG to my blog.  Hanna, thank you for joining me today.

 

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rem:  Hullo, Hanna! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

HANNA:  I was raised in the Kootenays, in the mountains of Southern BC, Canada. After a few years in Alberta, I came back here to raise a family. It’s pretty much the best place on earth.

rem:  I’ve been as close as Colorado, does that count? Tell us three things about yourself.

HANNA: 1) I have a pure white streak in my hair. No exciting story, it’s just how I’m going grey. 2) I spent ten years as a lifeguard before I had kids and retired. 3) I collect (some might say hoard) vintage pyrex.

rem:  How interesting! I love collecting vintage items! What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? What’s your favorite cookie?

HANNA:  I am currently not eating any dairy or wheat, so it’s a bit tricky, but Coconut Bliss makes these amazing chocolate covered salted caramel ice cream bars. Cookies? Probably chocolate crinkle cookies.

rem:  They both have chocolate, so they’re fine by me. Which Muppet do you most resemble? Why?

HANNA:  I don’t know so I asked my daughters. The six year old said Miss Piggy, and the four year old said Kermit. Neither gave me a reason.

rem:  Of course, go to the experts. Smart thinking. Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

HANNA:  Tea with honey J

rem:  Of course, like your mom’s book! Superman or Batman?

HANNA:  Batman. Always Batman.

rem:  Good choice. It’s a “robin” thing, you understand. Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

HANNA:  The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

rem:  Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

HANNA:  Liadan from Juliette Marillier’s Son of Shadows. I love all her heroines, they have such a quiet strength.

rem:  I’ll have to check both of them out. Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?

HANNA:  I hop around a lot. My favourite genre might be YA fantasy, but I reread my favourite chick-lit and contemporary romances every few months. There’s some Sci-fi, historical romance, and epic fantasy all on my shelf.  Currently I’m loving Brandon Sanderson, Jenny B Jones, Rainbow Rowell and Cassandra Clare. I read a lot.

rem:  What would you do if you weren’t drawing and painting and taking pictures?

HANNA:  Go insane, it wouldn’t be pretty.

rem:  Same for me with writing. You’re an artist and a photographer. Tell us a little about your artistic journey.

HANNA:  Well, I’ve been drawing my whole life. I discovered digital art in high school and fell in love with it. I’m not sure how to condense my journey down. My art has grown and matured as I have. (rem: as the work of any good artist should) I’ve been doing client work for quite a while, off and on, but settled into book cover illustration in the past couple years which I really love.

 

Now I’m writing and illustrating my own books, (a series of YA novels about a sarcastic mermaid who is also a lifeguard) and it’s so fun to have a big project to illustrate that’s so close to my heart.

 

My photography journey is fairly typical. I had children, and I took a lot of photos of them! Eventually, I got pretty good and people started asking me to take photos for them. Six years later, I have a nice little photography business.

 

I sometimes feel that photography allows me to share the things I find beautiful in my life, whereas illustration (and writing) are much more about what’s going on in my head. External vs internal.

rem:  I love the “external vs internal” imagery. I know you’ve done book covers for your mom, Valerie Comer—lovely covers by the way! Tell us about your process.

HANNA:  Oh thanks J. I start my illustrated covers by having a conversation with the author, and when I work with my mom it’s very collaborative. We come up with a plan for the cover and I do a photoshoot. I like to have a reference that’s exactly what I have in mind before I start drawing. Then I illustrate the front cover and deliver it so that the author can have it ready for advertising and pre-orders. When the author is completely finished the book I receive the page count and back cover copy and finish up the print cover. You can see some more detailed examples of my process on my website: http://bcb.hannasandvig.com/process/

 

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rem:  Do you illustrate interiors as well? How does that differ from cover art?

HANNA:  I haven’t done a lot of interiors yet, but I’m working some for my own books which I’m illustrating. It’s a fun new challenge to work in black and white with a more story-telling focus.

rem:  Your illustrations are so vibrant, with or without colour. What is Project 365 and how did you get started on that?

HANNA:  Project 365 is a photography challenge where you take a photo a day for a year. I’ve done it twice, you can find the photos on Honey and Huckleberries, my photography blog: http://www.honeyandhuckleberries.com/p/the-daily-diptych.html. A cousin who was also an amateur photographer convinced me to do it with her in 2013. It was hard, but I didn’t miss a day all year. I swore I would never do it again. Then ten months later I did it again. That daily practice took me from a beginner photographer to a pro level photographer.

 

If you are wanting to improve your photography skills, I highly recommend a project 365. Really, if you want to master any skill, you can’t go wrong with daily practice.

rem:  So true. The single biggest mantra I hear / see for authors is to write something every day. What is your favorite medium to work with when illustrating?

HANNA:  I do all my artwork digitally, with the exception of the occasional hand lettering experiment. I use Photoshop and a Wacom tablet.

rem:  Where do you find inspiration for your illustrations?

HANNA:  Well at least half of my artwork is created for client’s book covers or my own upcoming books, but the remaining half is a mix of fantasy, geeky fanart, and vintage fashion.

rem:  I notice you have a post about transitioning from traditional publishing to Indie. Tell us about that.

HANNA: It just breaks my heart when I see authors I love get the rights back to their previously traditionally published books and slap a cheap amateur cover on them. It’s so damaging to the great brand they’ve built up. It’s such a great opportunity to rebrand with fresh new covers that can give their career a boost instead.

rem: I know what you mean; I’ve seen some pretty cheesy covers and it makes me second guess reading the story. I like your post about chopping heads off, too. What is that about?

HANNA:  People say they hate covers with headless people. I say that they can look great if you crop above the lips or below the shoulder. Don’t crop at the neck, it looks like a decapitation 😉 This goes for all joints, actually, and I have a great little guide to help pick the best spot to crop in the post.

rem:  I saw your guide, and it makes lots of sense. Do you have a favorite cover or work that you’ve created? If so, why?

HANNA:  The one I’m working on now, just wait till you see it! (There’s a baby goat!)

rem:  I have a feeling I know to which book you refer… hee hee What is your favorite book cover (not your own) of all time?

HANNA:  Anything that Dan Dos Santos has painted. Maybe Jay Lake’s Green. I didn’t actually like the book much though. http://www.tor.com/2008/07/21/dan-dos-santos-and-green/

rem:  Hanna, thank you so much for joining us today!  It has been my pleasure to have you here!

 

 

http://bookcoverbakery.com/

https://www.instagram.com/hannasandvig/

https://twitter.com/hannasandvig

https://www.facebook.com/HannaSandvigIllustration/

https://www.pinterest.com/hanasu/

 

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#hannasandvig, #artist, #illustrator, #photographer, #coverdesigner, #dandelionsfordinner

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BOOK REVIEW – BERRY ON TOP by VALERIE COMER

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What happens when something so devastating drives a young girl from home? Around the globe, even. And defines her life from that moment forward.

And what happens when that life that has kept her as far away from home crumbles around her.

She returns home, even if only to regain her bearings and leave again.

Liz Nemesek’s world caved in on her when she was seventeen. And now, eleven years later, her lifestyle has left her with no place to go but home. To Galena Landing, Idaho. A far cry and miles from her years in Thailand.

 

Mason Waterman was the cool-dude-bad-boy in high school. Years of partying have left him with five-year-old twins to raise on his own. And he, too, has returned to Galena Landing, to reclaim his footing and bearing in life.

 

The difference is, Mason has changed, and repented before God. He is a new man, set to live life by the straight and narrow.

 

And when Liz and Mason’s paths cross? Sparks fly. Liz is more determined than ever to leave Galena Landing, and sooner than later. Is her heart so cold, even to God, that she can never open herself up to love again? Can she bide her time with Mason around until a job offer comes through? Or will she run again, and fall further down the depths of despair?

 

Or can she forgive Mason, after all? Are the feeling stirring for him just another train wreck waiting to happen? Or will Liz’s life get back on track after all?

 

 
Ms. Comer has written a delightful story with very real characters and situations that echo life all too well. Her style is witty and enchanting, enticing me back for more. I did not read these stories in order, but was not lost without that established sequence; each story stands well on its own, and yet, weaves beautifully with each of the others. Each subsequent book adds layers to the story Ms. Comer has established, and I look forward to reading many more from this author.

 

Be sure to read the first five in the Farm Fresh series. See my reviews on these books at

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/book-review-farm-fresh-romance-review-blitz/

 

FFR-5

 

I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

 

 

 

 

valerie comer

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary Christian romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local foods movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Her debut novel, Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance, won the 2014 Word Guild Award for best contemporary romance by a Canadian author. She injects experience laced with humor into her tales of farm living in this farm lit series that includes Wild Mint Tea, Sweetened with Honey and Dandelions for Dinner. Valerie also writes fantasy as Valerie R Comer.

Find out where food meets faith and fiction at http://valeriecomer.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.

 

Connect with Valerie at:

http://valeriecomer.com/

https://www.facebook.com/valeriecomer.author

https://twitter.com/valeriecomer

https://www.pinterest.com/valeriecomer/

https://www.youtube.com/user/valerierco

 

 

#berryontop, #valeriecomer, #framfreshromance, #raspberriesandvinegar, #wildminttea, #sweetenedwithhoney, #dandelionsfordinner, #plumupsidedown

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FFR-5

BOOK REVIEW – PLUM UPSIDE DOWN by VALERIE COMER

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Pretty and pink and polished. That was Chelsea Riehl. She’s at Green Acres as event coordinator – definitely not to pit plums.

Hippie Keanan Welsh has surprised himself by putting down roots, such as they are, at Green Acres. With the proviso that he will leave for the mission field as he feels led.

They are about as mismatched as plums and parakeets.

And yet, Keanan feels drawn to her. Chelsea, however, is not drawn to him at all. Then again, he is charming. And they do end up side by side a lot.

But her shallow faith and his depth of faith clash more than their lifestyles. When she volunteers to coordinate meals for the Alpha Class he teaches at the church, though, he rethinks his original assessment: shallow and self-absorbed. And as she observes him teaching with such passion for the Gospel, not only does she rethink her original assessment of him – undependable and unreliable hippie – she comes face to face with her own faith.

Can she overcome her anxieties to embrace the possibility of love? Can rambling Keanan really put down roots and settle in one place? Can love grow between them when their worlds are upside down from each other?

 

 

Ms. Comer has written a delightful series with very real characters and situations that echo life all too well. Her style is witty and enchanting, enticing me back for more. I did not read these stories in order, but was not lost without that established sequence; each story stands well on its own, and yet, weaves beautifully with each of the others. Each subsequent book adds layers to the story Ms. Comer has established, and I look forward to reading many more from this author.

 

 

I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

 

 valerie comer

Connect with Valerie at:

http://valeriecomer.com/

https://www.facebook.com/valeriecomer.author

https://twitter.com/valeriecomer

https://www.pinterest.com/valeriecomer/

https://www.youtube.com/user/valerierco

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her award-winning Farm Fresh Romance stories.

 

 

 

#valeriecomer, #farmfreshromance, #raspberriesandvinegar, #wildminttea, #sweetenedwithhoney, #dandelionsfordinner, #plumupsidedown

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FFR-5

BOOK REVIEW – DANDELIONS FOR DINNER by VALERIE COMER

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Allison Hart flies solo. And she likes it that way. No one to answer to, just herself for accountability. She’ll make it or break it on her own, thank you very much.

Then she goes and joins the gang at Green Acres to teach organic farming, hand in glove with the concept of self-sustainability. All about team work and family, mutual accountability. She’s not sure…

Growing up with the poorest of examples – her parents’ marriage was a farce and a façade, and now, her sister who changes men as often as some people change their socks – Allison has vowed never to marry; she doesn’t need a man – she doesn’t need anyone.

She certainly does not need a smug and handsome foreman building her house.

 

Brent Callahan is that foreman. And he is no more impressed with her than she is with him. Cocky, overconfident – so she believes. And her, somber and aloof, standoffish even – or so he believes. Pretty, though.

But he’s there to do a job and nothing more. Now if she’d just let him.

Brent’s past taunts him, too, ever reminding him he’ll never be worthy of the love of a good woman – even if she is aloof and standoffish…

 

Then their separate pasts collide. Custody of Allison’s nephew is suddenly thrust upon her – and the boy bonds with Brent, of all people.

Will Allison let go the strangle-hold on her heart? Can Brent accept that his past is just that, his past, and let go to embrace his future? “…or will their secrets push them apart forever?

 

Ms. Comer has written a delightful series with very real characters and situations that echo life all too well. Her style is witty and enchanting, enticing me back for more. I did not read these stories in order, but was not lost without that established sequence; each story stands well on its own, and yet, weaves beautifully with each of the others. Each subsequent book adds layers to the story Ms. Comer has established, and I look forward to reading many more from this author.

 

I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

 

valerie comer

 

 

Connect with Valerie at:

http://valeriecomer.com/

https://www.facebook.com/valeriecomer.author

https://twitter.com/valeriecomer

https://www.pinterest.com/valeriecomer/

https://www.youtube.com/user/valerierco

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her award-winning Farm Fresh Romance stories.

 

#valeriecomer, #farmfreshromance, #raspberriesandvinegar, #wildminttea, #sweetenedwithhoney, #dandelionsfordinner, #plumupsidedown

Read Full Post »

 

FFR-5

BOOK REVIEW – SWEETENED WITH HONEY by VALERIE COMER

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“A man’s voice came from the doorway. “What is going on in here?” Sierra whirled, dropping the tweezers and the bee. “Oh, Gabe!” Doreen struggled out of the deep chair. … Gabe’s piercing blue eyes met [Sierra’s] over Doreen’s head. “You didn’t answer my question.” Sierra thrust her chin up. “Applying bee venom therapy for her rheumatoid arthritis.” … His laugh echoed harshly in the small room. “Are you some kind of quack?” ” [excerpted from Sweetened With Honey]

 

Not the most pleasant of reunions.

Gabe Rubachuk has been in Romania for a few years, running away from a painful past. And he’s only back in town to tie up loose ends before he runs away again.

Sierra Riehl’s contribution to Green Acres Farm was honey. All natural honey. Extracted directly from hives of honey bees. Like her friends, she is solidly planted at the farm and plans to stay there.

Sparks fly between Sierra and Gabe, and not the romantic kind. As iron against iron, they are obviously mismatched, even as she falls for him. Still intent on leaving, Gabe denies his feelings for her. Until his heart overtakes his reason.

But what of the secrets from her past? As Gabe faces his own past, can Sierra face hers too? And can they overcome the hurdles to build a future together?

 

 

 

Ms. Comer has written a delightful series with very real characters and situations that echo life all too well. Her style is witty and enchanting, enticing me back for more. I did not read these stories in order, but was not lost without that established sequence; each story stands well on its own, and yet, weaves beautifully with each of the others. Each subsequent book adds layers to the story Ms. Comer has established, and I look forward to reading many more from this author.

 

 

I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

 

valerie comer

 

Connect with Valerie at:

http://valeriecomer.com/

https://www.facebook.com/valeriecomer.author

https://twitter.com/valeriecomer

https://www.pinterest.com/valeriecomer/

https://www.youtube.com/user/valerierco

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her award-winning Farm Fresh Romance stories.

 

 

#valeriecomer, #farmfreshromance, #raspberriesandvinegar, #wildminttea, #sweetenedwithhoney, #dandelionsfordinner, #plumupsidedown

Read Full Post »

FFR-5

BOOK REVIEW – WILD MINT TEA by VALERIE COMER

Wild-Mint-Tea-cover-266x400

 

 

Traveling dude meets I’m-not-going-anywhere chick It’s a recipe for disaster.

Chef Claire Halford needs the job Noel Kenzie has to offer. As chef to his tree planting crew. It’s a temporary gig, but no one said flirting had to mean anything permanent. And Noel was a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy.

Claire wasn’t looking for love, either. She was content to be part of the dream she and her friends, Jo and Sierra, had created: a self-sustaining farm.

When Claire doesn’t get the job, she focuses instead on creating the image she, Jo and Sierra, want for their farm. Adding the element of an event destination brought on new challenges. And when their first bride turns out to be Noel Kenzie’s sister, Claire and Noel are forced to interact, forcing both of them to examine their own absolutes: he’s not interested in settling down, and she has no interest in travelling. How can they overcome the hurdles and answer the feelings they have for one another? Or do they dismiss the feelings and part ways?

 

 

 

Ms. Comer has written a delightful series with very real characters and situations that echo life all too well. Her style is witty and enchanting, enticing me back for more. I did not read these stories in order, but was not lost without that established sequence; each story stands well on its own, and yet, weaves beautifully with each of the others. Each subsequent book adds layers to the story Ms. Comer has established, and I look forward to reading many more from this author.

 

I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

valerie comer

 

Connect with Valerie at:

http://valeriecomer.com/

https://www.facebook.com/valeriecomer.author

https://twitter.com/valeriecomer

https://www.pinterest.com/valeriecomer/

https://www.youtube.com/user/valerierco

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her award-winning Farm Fresh Romance stories.

 

 

 

#valeriecomer, #farmfreshromance, #raspberriesandvinegar, #wildminttea, #sweetenedwithhoney, #dandelionsfordinner, #plumupsidedown

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FFR-5

BOOK REVIEW – RASPBERRIES AND VINEGAR by VALERIE COMER

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“Guys couldn’t seem to handle a competent female.” [quoted from Raspberries and Vinegar] And Josephine Shaw was nothing if not a competent female. Confident. She could do pretty much anything she set her mind to. She couldn’t help it if guys were intimidated by that.

And she sure couldn’t compete with her adorable and very feminine friend. She’d be the happy spinster in the bunch, she was convinced of that.

 

But Zach Nemesek was so cute. And charming. With her adorable and very feminine friend, anyway.

Zach Nemesek had no intention of settling back in Galena Landing. He had dreams of city life, escaping the farm life he had grown up with. And he had no intention of letting either one of the women deter him. Now if he could only land that dream job.

 

As Jo and her friends, Sierra – the adorable and very feminine one – and Claire, get settled into their new life, and establishing their dream of a sustainable farm and lifestyle, Jo is sure Sierra and Zach are destined for each other. Or more to the point, she’s sure he’s not interested in her. As it becomes clear that he is not staying, and that she is staying, the attraction they feel for one another seems impossible to reconcile.

 

Ms. Comer has written a delightful story with very real characters and situations that echo life all too well. Her style is witty and enchanting, enticing me back for more. I did not read these stories in order, but was not lost without that established sequence; each story stands well on its own, and yet, weaves beautifully with each of the others. Each subsequent book adds layers to the story Ms. Comer has established, and I look forward to reading many more from this author.

 

 

I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

valerie comer

 

Connect with Valerie at:

http://valeriecomer.com/

https://www.facebook.com/valeriecomer.author

https://twitter.com/valeriecomer

https://www.pinterest.com/valeriecomer/

https://www.youtube.com/user/valerierco

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her award-winning Farm Fresh Romance stories.

 

#valeriecomer, #farmfreshromance, #raspberriesandvinegar, #wildminttea, #sweetenedwithhoney, #dandelionsfordinner, #plumupsidedown

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             BOOK REVIEW – DANDELIONS FOR DINNER by VALERIE COMER            

 

 4 dandelions for dinner

 

This is my second happy venture into the delightful fictional world of Valerie Comer. While her stories incorporate some not-so-happy life circumstances and events, her telling of them is cozy and light.

 

Ms. Comer has created a tightly knit world with very real and personable characters. As a romance series, the reader is acquainted with a new couple in each charming story. This reviewer has not – yet – read the first two in the series; I assure you, I will. I first met the couples in the third in the series, Sweetened with Honey, and felt as though among old friends reading Dandelions for Dinner.

 

With this newest in the series, Allison Hart is new on the scene at Green Acres Farm, and set to teach classes as soon as her home and the school are completed. A lone wolf, Allison is faced with some big adjustments with communal living, and can’t wait for her house to be finished and her solitude restored. Construction is delayed, however, and the tension between her and the job site foreman escalates.

 

With the construction delay, and then the arrival of her young nephew, Allison’s attention is focused on caring for the child. And with her attention of the child, her heart, long tucked away for safe keeping, is awakened and barriers long constructed begin to erode away.

 

Once again, Ms. Comer has taken life circumstances and woven them into a credible story. I felt Allison’s angst and conflict as her heart was pulled from the safety of its cocoon. I felt the ache and longing for her nephew, and I felt her inability to reach out to him.

 

I felt the shame of Brent Callahan’s past, too, and his sense of failure that haunted him. And I sensed his dread as that standard began to crumble underneath him.

 

Ms. Comer has an enchanting and delicious style of writing, as if telling the story over a cup of coffee, er, dandelion tea. Her humor and craft with words shines on every page, and keeps the reader turning page after page. Her sensitivity to the life issues is not diminished, however, in her lighthearted manner. Indeed, the trauma is made more dramatic for the whimsical telling of it.

 

Oh! I also learned that dandelions make for good eating!

 

 valerie books - 030315

 

I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

 

 

 

 valerie

 

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her award-winning Farm Fresh Romance stories.

 

 

#valeriecomer, #dandelionsfordinner, #farmfreshromance, #sweetenedwithhoney, #raspberriesandvinegar, #wildminttea, #plumupsidedown

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