REVIEW: REDEEMED by H.L. Burke!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Hey everyone! Today I have a review for the fantastic and newly-released Redeemed, book 2 of the Supervillain Rehabilitation Project series by H. L. Burke. This was a really gripping and entertaining book to read, so I'm excited to share my review with you!  But first, a bit of info about the book and its author...




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An idealistic heroine. A reformed villain. A troubled teen.

Can the Supervillain Rehabilitation Project form a family out of this mess?

Still working out her team's dynamic as well as her own fledgling romance with former villain Fade, Prism is blindsided when her superiors order her to take on another rehabilitation subject or risk having her team broken apart. Then her best friend and fellow superhero, Tanvi, foils a robbery but injures a super-powered teen in the process. Guilt stricken, she begs Prism to let the young girl, Alma, AKA Soulbird, be their next project.

Alma fills a gap in the team and works her way into the group's hearts. However, her past stalks her, as the villain who forced her into a life of crime in the first place doesn't want to let her escape into hero life without a fight.

Can Prism and her team redeem Alma from her past, or will the villain life drag the girl out of the SVR and out of their reach forever?

Buy it from AMAZON.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.
She is the author of a four part fantasy/romance series entitled "The Dragon and the Scholar," the Award Winning (2016 Realm Award for Young Adult Fiction) Nyssa Glass Steampunk series, and MG/Fantasy "Cora and the Nurse Dragon," among others .
Sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.hlburkeauthor.com





MY REVIEW

I hadn't read the first book in the series, but jumped at the opportunity to review Redeemed, the second book in the Supervillain Rehabilitation series.  I'm a huge fan of Marvel and DC, but this was my first time reading an original story about supers and the concept fascinated me.  This was a very quick read for me, and the events from book 1 were explained clearly enough that I wasn't totally lost.  The characters were jump-out-at-you realistic, the storyline was original, and the writing overall was spectacular.  The characters and their struggles are so very human and they're easy to empathize with; their powers are very unique and interesting to learn about (I love Yui, okay), and the themes of trust were wonderful within the book. The scenes were written so clearly that I could practically see them as they happened -- pretty awesome writing, since characters that literally disappear are involved!  I absolutely loved it. I definitely look forward to reading more about the gang -- and the teaser for book 3 was jaw-dropping to say the least...  
Now if you need me, I'll be reading book one, in true "me" fashion (I think this is at least the 4th series that I've read the second book before the first...)

Since I know a lot of my readers would appreciate this, I'll also add a bit of a content warning.  There is light language use (think PG-13 movie) and a paragraph or so at the end that vaguely mentions two characters' wedding night -- but those characters also had several discussions about waiting for marriage throughout the book, so I kind of took the scene as a celebration that they did, in fact, wait.  In the ARC signups, H.L. Burke mentioned the content as typical for Marvel movies, and that's spot-on.  I wasn't deterred by the content enough to dock any stars (plus I was forewarned, which I deeply appreciate) but wanted to make sure others were aware as well.  

Do you plan on reading Redeemed?  Who's your favorite superhero (or supervillain?)


COVER REVEAL: KEEPING CASSIE, Mount Sterling Book 3!

Hey everyone!  Today I have a cover reveal, this time for myself!  I know I haven't shared a lot about the third book in my Mount Sterling series, but August is its time to shine.  For readers of the series, you'll be happy to hear that I'm looking at a mid-August release date, depending on how quickly I can get the final edits added in, and how awful my Internet decides to be.  I'm a bit nervous about ordering author copies because, first of all, the delays with COVID and everything, but also because the proof copy I ordered arrived with pages literally just dropping out of it everywhere.  Gave me a bit of a turn when I went to flip a page and it fell out in my hand!  So hopefully Amazon will play nice with quality control for the actual final copies...

(Writer's life, guys...it's weird.)  

But for now, I can show you something - or a few things, actually.  Because not only do I have the cover to show off, I've also got a couple of quotes since I've been so tight-lipped about the project.  

Sound good?  Yay!  





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Joanna and Walter are growing quite comfortable in the role of foster-parenting the baby that slipped into their lives so soon.  However, they are once more uprooted when Cassie's biological father steps forward.  In a college town like Mount Sterling, gossip is always flowing - when they discover a secret that Cassie's father is hiding, they take it upon themselves to fight for Cassie's life.  

Meanwhile, plans for Carter's House are well underway, offering light to any teen who wants to reach out for it.  Will Joanna be able to turn her memories - the very ones that once drove her away from home altogether - into a path to Christ for the brokenhearted, or will she crack under pressure?

Annnd here's the cover!  



What are your thoughts?  Anyone looking forward to Keeping Cassie's release?  




JUSTREAD TOUR: RELATIVE SILENCE by Carrie Stuart Parks!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Hey everyone!  Today I have a spotlight for Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks, thanks to JustRead Tours!  




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A powerful family with lots of secrets.  A forensic artist with his own tragedies.  And a hurricane drawing bearing down on their private island.  Fifteen years ago Piper Boone's only child died in a boating accident, and Piper's almost perfect life came to an end too.  After living through a divorce and losing her job, she retreats to Curlew Island and her childhood home - a secluded mansion for the politically powerful Boone family, who are practically American royalty.  But Piper's desire to become a recluse is shattered when a mass shooter opens fire and kills three women at a cafe where Piper is having lunch.  The crisis puts her family in the spotlight by dredging up rumors of the so-called Curlew Island Curse, which whispers say has taken the lives of several members of the Boone family, including Piper's father and sister.  Forensic artist Tucker Landry also survives the shooting and is tasked with the job of sketching a portrait of the shooter with Piper.  They forge a bond over their shared love of movies and tragic pasts.  But when police discover a connection between the shooting and two more murders on Curlew Island, they face a more terrible lineup of suspects than they could have imagined: Piper's family.  Unraveling the family's true history will be the key to Piper's survival - or her certain death.  

Purchase on AMAZON.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carrie Stuart Parks
is an award-winning fine artist and internationally known forensic artist.  Along with her husband, Rick, she travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement as well as civilian participants.  She has won numerous awards for career excellence.  


Doesn't this book sound AWESOME?  I've always been interested in forensics, and I don't think I've ever read a book centered on a forensic scientist, so this is definitely going on my TBR! What about you? 

REVIEW: A STRAND OF HOPE by Amanda Tero!

Monday, July 27, 2020



Hey everyone, and happy release day for A Strand of Hope by Amanda Tero!  Stay tuned for my review, as well as a release day special involving signed book plates AND an awesome contest!! 

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A Strand of Hope: A Great Depression Young Adult Christian Fiction Novella (Librarians of Willow Hollow Book 1) by [Amanda Tero]


Lena Davis is the daughter her mom never wanted.

But she survived. Through stories. Because books didn’t judge. Books weren’t angry she was alive. Books never expected her to be anything but who she was.

As she grows up, her beloved library becomes her true home. So when the library is designated part of President Roosevelt’s Packhorse Library Project, Lena is determined to get the job of bringing books to highlanders, believing she’ll finally be free of her mom forever.

But earning the trust of highlanders is harder than she imagined, and her passion for books might not be enough to free her from her chains.

The Packhorse Library Project was part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration to encourage education in the remote parts of the mountains. “A Strand of Hope” is a historical fiction novella based on real events but set in the fictional town of Willow Hollow in the Appalachian mountains.


This is the first book in the Librarians of Willow Hollow series.  Order it on Amazon HERE, and preorder the other books in the series below!

I Love to Tell the Story by Faith Blum, Librarians of Willow Hollow Book 2
Hearts on Lonely Mountain by A.M. Heath, Librarians of Willow Hollow Book 3
The Secret Place of Thunder by Alicia G. Ruggieri, Librarians of Willow Hollow Book 4

If you're interested in owning a limited edition hardcover copy, click HERE to get your order in!  The cover is gorgeous. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Amanda Tero went straight from phonetics to scribbling before she understood spelling. Though none of her one-inch letters will ever be published, she has since grown up and introduced the world to her faith-filled novellas: A Strand of Hope, Journey to Love, and the Tales of Faith series. She’s a picky bibliophile on a quest to fill bookshelves with pages of clean, accurate, and edifying stories, specifically for the YA Christian reader.

Her childhood as one of twelve kids in a preacher’s home gave her many lessons on Biblical forgiveness, endurance, friendship, and love. She weaves this knowledge into the lives of characters who take the daring, difficult, and daunting paths, leaving readers with a glimpse of how to apply Scriptural teachings in realistic ways. When she’s not surrounded by words, Amanda educates students in understanding a different alphabet on piano and violin.


As soon as I heard about the Packhorse Librarian novel series, I was super excited to read them -- so naturally, I was even more excited to have the opportunity to beta and be an ARC reader for A Strand of Hope!  Lena's story starts off with a bang, and it's easy to empathize with her character.  She's written so well that she seems to practically pop out of the pages, and you'll find yourself rooting for her from the beginning.  This story not only works with the issues that Lena faces at home, but also with the problem that she has as a packhorse librarian -- which many real packhorse librarians dealt with "back in the day": not many people along her mountain route trusted her easily.  She's also judged by a few townsfolk, who assume her to be just as terrible as her mother.  The book follows her as she learns to open up to one or two folks about her problems at home, and also earns her way into the hearts of those she serves in the mountain region near her home.  Lena's story really focuses on looking for that one bit of hope, that one thing that proves you'll get through the situation you're in now; and also the importance of trusting God.  Sometimes when that first step toward freedom is taken (whether literally/physically or spiritually), things get ten times harder instead of better -- and Lena's story proves that if you just keep trusting God and moving forward regardless of the problems you'll face as you progress, you'll still be able to move on and find a better situation for yourself. (I know I worded that terribly, but just trust me on this...I guess that's a good reason to buy the book - see for yourself!)  I think that the central themes in this story -- hope, healing, forgiveness, trust, and growth -- are probably really important messages to read about, especially in the world right now; and it's definitely a quick, sweet, and impactful story to read!
If you would like to own A Strand of Hope, now's your chance -- if you order a paperback TODAY (July 28th, 2020) you can fill out a form to get a free signed bookplate!  Check it out at www.astrandofhope.com.



ALSO, if you're handy with a sketchpad (or digital programs!) you might be interested in this art contest -- lots of great prizes and opportunities for all age groups! Again, check out her website for more information. 


Do you plan on reading A Strand of Hope or any of the Librarians of Willow Hollow series?  Are any of your favorite indie authors doing books for this series?      

COVER REVEAL: PROMISE'S PRAYER by Erika Mathews!!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Hey everyone!! Today I'm super excited to share the brand new cover for the first book in a clean Christian kingdom adventure series, Promise's Prayer (Truth from Taerna Book 1) by Erika Mathews. It's getting a second edition this fall, complete with new formatting, polish, and a brand new cover!

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He promised to save the land. She received a divine calling. But how can mere prayer quench his restlessness and her fears?

Walking behind a plow day in and day out gets boring for a nineteen-year-old who longs for nothing more than adventure. In the midst of the rampant lawlessness and love of pleasure that drive their country, Kaelan Ellith longs to make a difference. When a promise at his mother’s deathbed gives him the impetus to do just that, he’s off to the capital city to bring back the knowledge of Adon Olam. But despite his natural leadership skills, his schemes keep going awry, and lost people keep passing into eternity without hope. How can he ever keep such an impossible promise?

Shy and devoted Carita Kostan spends her days seeking Adon Olam, raising her bookish orphaned sister, and helping others. Carita knows the voice of Adon Olam, and she desires nothing more than to follow His calling: “Love. Serve. Pray. Persevere.” Yet how can she minister His love to her neighbors when her soul is simultaneously tormented by their unmet needs and handicapped by her own paralyzing fears?

When the true nature of the promise and the call begins to surface, Kaelan and Carita just might discover how saving the world is entirely different than they imagined . . . if they have the humility and the courage to receive it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erika Mathews (square) - Copy-min

Erika Mathews is an author and editor who lives in the farm country of Minnesota with her husband and children. She’s a homeschool graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communications, a Master’s in Biblical Ministries, and a passion for sharing Jesus Christ and His truth. When she’s not working with books, she enjoys reading, outdoor activities, piano and violin, organizing, and using the Oxford comma. You can connect with Erika at restinglife.com.


ISN'T IT GORGEOUS?

Design credit goes to Megan Mccullough.

Thank you so much for attending this reveal party. Watch Erika's Instagram this month for celebrations and release news, or hop over to restinglife.com/signup for all the updates plus a free short story.

 May the blessings of the Lord be upon you today!

GUEST POST by Angela R. Watts! Dystopian Fiction Vs. Present Day Reality

Friday, July 24, 2020



Hey everyone!  Today I'm honored to share this guest post written by Angela R. Watts, author of The Divided Nation and its brand-spankin' new sequel, The Grim Alliance!  Here's what she has to say about writing dystopian fiction in this day and age.  

DYSTOPIAN FICTION VS. PRESENT DAY REALITY



Michaela asked me, “In what ways do you combine your fictional ideas with certain elements of what goes on in the real world, to create a dystopian society that is so tangible/believable that readers could see it actually happening down the line or today?” This question makes me so humbled, because years ago, I didn’t realize how prophetic The Infidel Books would be.


When I started the series, I knew I wanted it to be different. Dystopian has a rough reputation! People usually picture some cringe-fest YA love triangle and a big, wicked government full of monsters. I hate these tropes. I wanted to write something realistic, something that resembled our world so much people couldn’t just write it off.


In early 2019, I wrote The Divided Nation, The Infidel Books #1. In early 2020, I wrote The Grim Alliance, The Infidel Books #2, and had it sent to betas by the time the US began descending into chaos. The lockdown, the pandemic, the riots, the government changes, everything… Again, years ago, I based the world I wrote about after my own, but didn’t expect to see anything come to fruition so quickly.


The elements I wanted to incorporate in my fictional world included: the political upheaval that has occurred nonstop for years, sex trafficking, gang violence, full government control, lack of personal freedoms, abortion, and so forth. Basically, I wanted the worlds to look identical in their origin, but have The Infidel Books showcase what happens if we let our guard down. What would happen if the US government broke? What would happen if a Confederate government was created again? What would happen if riots and gang wars broke out across the US? What would happen if personal liberties were freely surrendered for safety and comfort? 


I asked these questions before 2020. Seeing these scenarios play out in real life is sobering. I didn’t expect to see so much come to life. I didn’t expect to reread The Grim Alliance for the fifth time and want to cry because of how much God had helped me write before it had happened in the world I live in. The fictional elements included letting such horrid ideas come to life, setting the novel a few years in the future, and allowing the sky to be the limit.




Dystopian is a genre dedicated to alerting people of what happens when we turn away from reality because it hurts us too much to look at. Dystopian is a genre dedicated to showing humanity’s tenacity, courage, and will power. It also reveals the absolute vile ways of humanity, as well. I have to admit, some of the ideas and things I had/have plotted for The Infidel Books seemed “out there” a few years ago. As I continue to watch the state of the world and after 2020 (I’m only mildly joking when I say the latter), I realize just how close to home the ideas God gave me truly are.


If we cannot acknowledge the darkness around us, how can we conquer it? When I write these novels, I write them to encourage people, to reveal to them God’s truths--that He loves us and that the Kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:20-21). The world is broken. Fallen. Vile. But with God, even the most heavy world can be set free.


I write what God puts on my heart to write. For quite a while, I refused to start The Infidel Books because I didn’t feel adequate to write such a series, and how could I understand a dystopian world? Looking back now… I’m glad I pushed on. I’m glad I did God’s will. I received rejection, backlash, condemnation--but it is July 2020, and now, I truly understand why God had me write these books the way He did. The series might have seemed “unrelatable” 3+ years ago, but this series is truly meant for the world we live in today. It is humbling and I do not take writing these books lightly, but I know God has a reason for them.


I truly hope this post encourages you. Huge thanks to Michaela for letting me guest post!

God bless you each!

Angela



Thanks so much for stopping by, Angela! If you're interested in reading her new novel, The Grim Alliance, make sure to keep reading for some info about it - including a giveaway!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Angela R. Watts is a YA fiction author who strives to glorify the Lord in all she does. She’s a homeschool graduate  living at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, though with Gypsy and Norwegian in her blood, she tends to travel. She’s been writing stories since she was little, but also enjoys chores, painting, and watching sunsets.


FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | AMAZON | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS



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WHEN THE NATION RIOTS, THE INFIDELS MUST BLEED.


The Second Civil War storms through the crippled US and winter brings nothing but disaster. West Johnston has earned his mafia father’s trust while searching for hidden answers: why are the UN leaders being assassinated, and why can’t the killers be found? If West can’t stop the Union from attacking D.C. in their last attempt to win the war, how can he stop his father?


Springtown remains one of the few townships left standing amid the tyrannical rule. Another group of gangsters prepare the town for winter. Rene’ Fisher is torn between fearing for her boyfriend Simon’s life and the upheaval taking place in Springtown. Can her father keep the town at peace? Will God have mercy on the allegiance the town must form with an unlikely candidate in order to survive, or will Rene’s home burn like the rest of the world?


Told in multiple bold, abrasive narratives, THE GRIM ALLIANCE steps into a war-ridden nation where bleeding for what you believe is the only option for those determined to win. But with faith, can even the bloodiest hands be made clean?


GOODREADS | AMAZON





GIVEAWAY


Of course, what's a blog tour without a great giveaway?  Check out the giveaway below and make sure to get your entries in ASAP! 


*U.S. shipping only.  If an international winner is drawn, they will receive an ebook only.


1st Place: Paperback copy of The Grim Alliance and a bookmark

2nd Place: ebook copy of The Grim Alliance

Click HERE to enter!



A QUICK REVIEW

I had the privilege of getting an ARC copy for review, so here's a quick little rundown of why The Grim Alliance is fantastic, in case you need a little push before buying!


This book is gripping, gritty, and in some cases, hits pretty close to reality.  That's a mark of a masterful dystopian -- when you can read it and see the societal influences within, when it makes you THINK.  The Grim Alliance picks up very smoothly after The Divided Nation and the character development for this one is superb.  The scenes are very real, nicely written -- some scenes make me want to think they're straight out of a critically-acclaimed war movie. I can't wait to read it again...

Do you plan on picking up a copy? Did you enjoy The Divided Nation? And if you also snagged an ARC copy, are you looking forward to the next book in the series??




JUSTREAD TOUR: THE PEASANT'S DREAM by Melanie Dickerson

Monday, July 20, 2020

The Peasant's Dream IG Tour

Hey everyone!  Today I have a review for Melanie Dickerson's latest book in the Hagenheim series, The Peasant's Dream, thanks to JustRead Tours!  I was super excited to be involved in this tour, since I've been a huge fan of her series from the start, and was sad to learn that this would be the last in the series.  But at any rate -- onward!



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In this reverse Cinderella story, a poor farmer's son, who dreams of using his talent as a woodcarver to make a better life for himself, falls in love with a duke's daughter and must fight for a chance to win her heart.  

Adela is the youngest daughter of Duke Wilhelm of Hagenheim and is never allowed outside the castle walls.  She loves her family, but she sneaks away one day to the market in the town center.  There she meets a handsome young man and wonders what it might be like to fall in love with a poor farmer with a kind heart instead of marrying the man her family is suggesting for her.  

Frederick earns the income for his family and defends his mother from his father's drunken rages.  He also uses his talent and creativity to carve figures, animals, and scenes into wood, and he's asked to carve these scenes into cathedral doors when his talent is noticed.  Frederick is inspired by the sweet and beautiful Adela, but he has no knowledge of her true identity.  When he gets swept up in a plan to kidnap the duke's daughter, both are shaken by what they learn about the other. 

With the heartbroken Adela resigned to an arranged marriage with her noble suitor, Frederick must decide what he's willing to risk for love.  

Purchase on AMAZON now!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author and a Christy Award winner.  Her first book, The Healer's Apprentice, won the National Readers' Choice Award for Best First Book in 2010, and The Merchant's Daughter won the 2012 Carol Award.  Melanie spends her time daydreaming, researching the most fascinating historical time periods, and writing stories at her home near Huntsville, Alabama, where she gathers dandelion greens for her two adorable guinea pigs between writing and editing her happily ever afters.  Visit her online: 

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM 

MY REVIEW

It was interesting to read a reverse Cinderella retelling, especially about Adela's character.  I've been excited to read her eventual story ever since meeting her character early in the series.  I do have to say that I was surprised to read that it was written as a 'reverse Cinderella' - I kind of mistook it as a sort of "Prince and the Pauper" type when I started reading it, but there are definite Cinderella hints in there as well.  I also have to admit that I was more taken by Frederick's story than Adela's; certainly, both characters have interesting character arcs, but Frederick's side has higher stakes and you just want to root for him to be happy in life.  Adela almost seemed a bit flat -- repetitive in her reasoning and dialogue, which I was a little disappointed in, but I can't give the book a very low rating because I enjoyed it quite a bit nonetheless thanks to Frederick's story and its twists.  The story was vivid and well-paced as usual, and I also enjoyed reading about Frederick's mother.  Loved seeing how every little loose end was tied in a neat bow by the end of the novel -- I can't explain without spoiling, but if you read it, you'll see what I mean.  Overall, it's a good book and one that I would consider re-reading.