Saturday, April 30, 2022

Spines and Leaves by Chautona Havig: Review & Giveaway!


About the Book

Books are the strings that tie hearts together.

With a month to get from Orange County, California to Delaware for his next corporate challenge, Milton Coleridge decides to spend a week at Joshua Tree National Park.

He never expected to find a floundering bookstore in need of his particular business skills. Will his methods of saving companies from bankruptcy or takeover work on such a small scale? And can he convince two people to risk their hearts?

Step into the Spines & Leaves, Tamarisk, California’s oldest (and only ever) bookstore. Come in out of the harsh, desert sun and wind and peruse all the store has to offer. It might just be more than you think.

One man, one store, thousands of books.  What’ll it take to keep this bookstore from becoming a book ghost town… and what’ll it take for Milton to tie two heartstrings together?

Spine & Leaves is the introductory novella to the Bookstrings series.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

The more I think about it, the more I realize that the Bookstrings series is a process rather than an idea. Each time I saw an indie bookstore close, each time I went in one with no one else in there for the hour or two I browsed, and each time I heard book lovers lament the lack of a store in their town… Yeah. Those experiences slowly grew into a wish—one where I knew how to rescue those stores from extinction. So maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but that’s how it felt.

Somewhere in the midst of all that, Milton appeared—a business genius who, along with his faithful parrotlet, Atticus (not Finch), travels the country saving corporations from takeover or bankruptcy.

Milton went through several iterations. Older, balding, mustache, and always wearing a golfer’s cap. Then I had him as a young hipster dude who got sick of the rat race on Wall Street and took off on his own, using what he’d learned. That just felt too cliché.

Instead, I have a fortyish guy who wears chinos and oxford shirts with topsiders, shorter than most men, and with a nonchalant air about him. And charm. The quiet guy with serious business skills just oozes quiet charm.

After deciding on Milton, I had to choose where to put the stores. I’ve been watching out for towns for years—using trips different places as research times. Would I create places that felt like real towns or use actual small towns? Though drawn to real towns, I had an idea for where to end the series, and, doing that meant a fictional town. Would it be weird to have four or five books set in small towns across America followed by a final fictional one?

The solution came to me as I learned that the Mosaic authors were doing a summer collection in 2021. If I started with a novella and ended the series with both in a fictional town, at least that fictional bit wouldn’t be out of the blue!

So, the Bookstrings series has two novellas and five full-length novels. (I couldn’t resist a Christmas “novella” in the charming town of Noel, Missouri—the “Christmas City.”) We’ll be off to other small towns around the country—one in Red Wing, Minnesota, another in Berne, Indiana, and one somewhere between Kingsport, Tennessee and Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina. If I can find a place in New England, that’d be great, too. Or maybe down in Mississippi… I’d love to visit my sister down there.

The Bookstrings series books all have one very important thing in common (aside from Milton and Atticus, of course). They all illustrate that books truly are the strings that tie hearts together.

My Thoughts

Spines and Leaves by Chautona Havig is a novella introducing the Bookstrings series.  This is a sweet Christian tale.  Milton Coleridge is traveling to Delaware when he comes across Tamarisk, California.  Milton knows he must stop when he spots a bookstore in the town.  Milton along with his parrotlet, Atticus enter the store to find it packed with books.  Milton knows he could use his skills to turn this shop around.  Milton with help from Ced, the manager of the bookstore (and daughter of the owner) and Marcus, the local deputy, begins making changes to the store to make it profitable.  Milton notices the sparks between Ced and Marcus, but the two have yet to act on their feelings. While rejuvenating the Spines and Leaves, Milton works to tie two hearts together.  Spines and Leaves is a charming story.  I like the characters, though, I wish we had gotten more background on them.  I hope we learn more about Milton in future books.  His parrotlet, Atticus is adorable.  I like that the author gave Milton an unusual pet (Atticus travels with Milton across the country).  I loved all the books mentioned and the book quotes.  Milton could rattle off book quotes (I was amazed at his memory), read people, pair people with books, and come up with creative solutions to problems.  I love how Milton changed the bookstore.  He is confident, kind, and logical.  I enjoyed the faith element that is woven into the story along with the romance.  Spines and Leaves is delightful beginning to the Bookstrings series.  I look forward to Milton’s next adventure.  Spines and Leaves is a booklover’s delight with a pretty parrotlet, spiny leaves, brimming bookshelves, hot and humid, clever concepts, and a charming romance.


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book!  Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.  Good Luck!

Spines and Leaves is available from Amazon*.  Chautona Havig has Dial W for Wrangler coming out on May 24.  It is the seventh book in You are on the Air series.  You can find the author's other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return on Monday with Love in Plain Sight by Kathleen Fuller.  It is the 3rd An Amish Mail Order Bride Novel.  I hope you have a relaxing weekend.  Do not forget to enter the giveaway and leave a comment for an extra entry.  Good Luck!  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 26

Texas Book-aholic, April 26

Lots of Helpers, April 27

Mary Hake, April 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 28

By the Book, April 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 29

The Avid Reader, April 30

Vicky Sluiter, May 1

For Him and My Family, May 2

Miriam Jacob, May 2

Inklings and notions, May 3

Blogging With Carol, May 4

deb’s Book Review, May 4

She Lives To Read, May 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 6

Simple Harvest Reads, May 6 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 7

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 8

Pause for Tales, May 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 9

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


  1. First, thank you so much for reading and reviewing. You actually get tiny bits of all characters in each book. Milton doesn't leave them and forget them, so... there's that.

    AND... You put in the books! Josephine Lawrence and Rosemary. Carolyn Wells and Patty Fairfield! And, of course, Nancy Drew. Such a great post. :D

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the book.

  3. This is a good book! I love the second one, as well.

  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Spines & Leaves, this sounds like a wonderful story and I am looking forward to reading it

  5. Kris, Thank you for sharing your excellent review! Spines and Leaves sounds like a must read.