“Ante Up” by Chautona Havig


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About the book

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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:

Drama? Check. Humor? Check. Light action? Check. Mystery? Check.

I don’t know how she did it, but Chautona Havig was able to tic every box on my list of great aspects of writing. I did not have a chance to read the first three books in the series, but reading the synopses was enough to get me caught up and get me right into the story line.

The characters we so unique and well-developed. I enjoyed reading how each had their moments of growth, of self evaluation, of maturity.I loved getting in the mind of the teenagers and maybe getting a glimpse of what they might be thinking, and finding myself wondering if my own felt that way. I know that the main character, Aggie, went through a major crisis of faith and I found it very genuine. Her falling in to her thoughts and allowing them to overtake her when she knew it wasn’t the godly thing – I have seen that in myself at times. The feelings Luke had as he watched the love of his life struggling to keep it together and feeling hopeless – I have been there as well. The children and their antics were so….childlike! I mean, who wouldn’t LOVE to have a huge family, right?

I don’t want to give anything away about the way the story ends, but suffice it to say that by the time you get to the last sentence you will be hoping that this author is not through telling us about the Stuart-Sullivan clan.

About the Author

chautonaChautona 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.


Blog Stops

June 27: Reading Is My SuperPower

June 28: Melissa’s Reviews

June 29: Texas Book-aholic

June 30: Quiet Quilter

July 1: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberation

July 2: Mary Hake

July 3: Petra’s Hope

July 4: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

July 5: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

July 6: 100 pages per hour

July 7: Cassandra M’s Place (spotlight)

July 8: His Grace is Sufficient

July 9: Red Headed Book Lady

July 10: Karens Krayons

July 11: cherylbbookblog (spotlight)


Kindle grand prize meme

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a Kindle Fire! Click to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9d3a



6 thoughts on ““Ante Up” by Chautona Havig

  1. This book sounds good. I think I could really get into it. My mom would have had 13 kids But The Lord Blessed her with 9 living since then 3 have died. But coming from a Big Family I can say it was great. Always had someone to play with, talk to, cry with, beat up bullies lol. We had our own Football team and Basketball team. We helped raise each other mom was busy with one of my sisters she was Mentally Retarded. I think God gives to people things that make them shine for Him! Be Blessed with all those kids and know at least one or more will take care of you in your old age.


  2. I sure enjoyed this book (and the first three as well!). I grew up as the oldest of 8, and now have 8 children myself. Large families are a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well.


  3. Following along with the tour, and I agree that it’s a great book! Enjoyed your review–yes, large families are fun! I, too, enjoyed the part about teenagers–as a teenager myself, I found the parts about them very encouraging.

    Thanks for sharing!


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