REVELL REVIEW: THE EDGE OF BELONGING by Amanda Cox

Friday, September 18, 2020

 Hey everyone!  Today I have a review for Amanda Cox's The Edge of Belonging.  This is a debut novel that fans of contemporary Christian fiction will not want to miss.  It rapidly took a spot in my "top favorites for 2020" list, and I absolutely love it. 



 

BLURB

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames--she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy's adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he's ever loved.

In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth--both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others--takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Before becoming a stay-at-home parent, she spent her time counseling children, families, and individuals through life's challenging moments. Now she uses those same skills to develop layered characters and stories, bringing them on a journey of hope and healing. A journey she hopes her readers experience in their own lives as they read.

A few of her favorite things are the sanctuary of the great outdoors, the feeling of pen on paper, the sound of her children's laughter, and exploring new places with her husband of 15 years. (Oh, let's not forget good fiction and good coffee. She's addicted to both.) You can stay connected with her latest writing updates at www.amandacoxwrites.com


MY REVIEW

I just want to say that, right from the start, I just wanted to hug these characters and wish them the best in their fictional lives.  When I wasn't reading this book, I was thinking about this book.  And when I wasn't thinking about this book, I was dreaming about this book.  (No, seriously.  Harvey and the crew crashed my dreams the other night.)  The characters are just so easy to love, and it's a fascinating story of belonging and finding one's place in the world.  While at times I was a bit frustrated by some of Harvey's choices, they were still within the realm of logicality, all things considered.  You get to know each character from dual perspectives - who they were in the mid-1990s, and who they had become present-day.  They're so easy to identify with, and Cox's prose is absolutely wonderful.  Very enjoyable to read.  This is one of the easiest 5-star ratings I've given out in awhile, and after the first chapter, I'd already decided on the rating, which absolutely never happens for me.  While some plot points were a little obvious to me, I still wanted to keep reading because I genuinely became attached to every single one of the characters  - Ivy Rose, Pearl, Harvey, Reese (oh goodness, he's adorable), pretty much the whole cast of characters (except that jerk Seth).  So for a debut novelist, I'd say this book is absolutely extraordinary.  I'm definitely adding her to my list of "insta-buy" authors.  

If you're looking for a good contemporary novel with solid themes surrounding what truly constitutes as a family, this one's for you.  

THE LADY OF LANARIA: Forming the Characters

Thursday, September 17, 2020




Coming up with the characters for The Lady of Lanaria was both one of the hardest and most interesting parts of writing the retelling -- especially for the male lead.  Once you've seen Eugene Fitzherbert in Tangled, there's no going back.

It was also an interesting endeavor because there are a lot of factors to consider: on one hand, you have a female lead, Evangeline (our Rapunzel / Lady of Shalott), who has never set foot outside and yearns for it...but as much as she'd love to go outside, she's been manipulated to be very wary of people.  On the other, you have a male lead, Gabriel (our prince/Eugene), who has grown up in a world full of despair and uncertainty.  He's not used to people who are as pure and innocent as Evangeline is, and likewise, Evangeline isn't used to someone who isn't manipulative and cruel.  You have two people who have suffered thanks to the world, but they've had totally different experiences.  Gabriel's tragic backstory includes becoming an orphan and a deep level of bitterness affiliated with the death of his family; Evangeline's tragic backstory is still unfolding.  She doesn't know who she is, except for a plain, unwanted, simpleton of a girl -- a burden, as her mother puts it.  And there's where the character arc lies: Gabriel must move forward from his past, and Evangeline must realize who she is in God's eyes, not in her mother's.  

Gabriel's this guy that tries to act all tough, but he's...not, really.  In his youth, he read fairytales to his sisters at night and he helped his childhood friend, Horace (who is an absolute joy, I love him so much), and he's never been much of one for following the rules.  As a guardsman, he is frustrated by the perpetual inability to find the witch who cursed the kingdom of Lanaria, and as such, he sometimes rails on about whether the kingdom is really cursed at all -- since the witch is so elusive, it's only a natural question to have, of course.  If you're going by the 'precious cinnamon roll' scale, he looks like he could kill you, but is actually a cinnamon roll.  Deep down inside. 
Just don't let him know I said that. 

Meanwhile, Evangeline is the type of girl who longs to explore, but allows her anxieties and the threats made by her mother hold her back.  She never questions her place in life until Gabriel enters onto the scene, and even then, she's heavily influenced by the negative thoughts her mother has instilled upon her from an early age.  She's torn between remaining loyal to her mother and fleeing for a better life.  She talks to animals (who don't talk back to her - I'm not that Disney), tends to her plants, and plays violin.  The violin is a callback to "The Lady of Shalott," in which villagers hear the Lady's singing and wonder if she's a ghost.  The violin becomes not only a hobby, but something that Evangeline tries to use to leave the tower behind at one point. 

Even throughout the characters and their journeys, I tried to instill the theme of "light versus dark" -- Evangeline has to continually choose which she will defend, which side she will pick in the end; and her knowledge is fueled by Gabriel, who has to prove that the "world" (er...tower) she was raised in is permeated by darkness.  And proving that to Evangeline is ultimately what shows him a few things about his own attitudes in life, a different "light vs. dark" struggle.  


There are other characters throughout the novel, of course; secondary characters that maybe even deserve their own retelling (I'm still looking at you, Horace), but that's all I have to reveal about Gabriel and Evangeline for now.  And as for the villain...well, I'll see you next week.  

REVELL Review: NINE by Rachelle Dekker!

 Hey everyone!  Today I have a review for Rachelle Dekker's new release, Nine.  This book is a Christian mystery/suspense novel that just released at the beginning of the month.  Thought-provoking is definitely one word I could use to describe it, but I'll let you get to the blurb and author information before giving my full review.  Read on!






BLURB

Zoe Johnson spent most of her life living in the shadows, never drawing attention to herself, never investing in people or places. But when a wide-eyed, bedraggled teenager with no memory walks into the diner where Zoe works, everything changes. Now, against her better judgment, Zoe, who has been trying to outrun her own painful memories of the past, finds herself attempting to help a girl who doesn't seem to have any past at all. The girl knows only one thing: she must reach a woman in Corpus Christi, Texas, hundreds of miles away, before the government agents who are searching for her catch up to them.

Award-winning author Rachelle Dekker throws you into the middle of the action and keeps the pressure on in this page-turning story that, asks Are we who the world says we are--or can we change our story and be something more?

Purchase on AMAZON.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She writes full time from her home in Nashville, where she lives with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair.

Connect with Rachelle online at her website (www.rachelledekker.com) or on any of these social media platforms:

FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER


MY REVIEW


By reading the blurb, I was expecting something completely different from the story that was delivered in Dekker's Nine.  Told in multiple narratives (third person and first person alternating, which is one of the first books I've ever read like that), it alternates between the perspective of Zoe, a waitress just trying to live a normal life, and Lucy, the person who throws a wrench in Zoe's plans.  The storyline is fresh and unique, and the themes of growing despite your past, and despite what other people had planned for you, were great and well-rounded.  While readers are scrambling to learn about the mystery girl that shows up at Zoe's diner one night, they're also busy trying to decode Zoe's past too, which is slowly revealed throughout the story.  Zoe and Lucy share many, many similarities given their past and involvement in scientific trials, but at the same time, they're radically different -- and that's what makes this story so compelling.  I must admit that the main male character in this novel was not my most favorite character in the universe, but he made some pretty interesting decisions by the end of the novel as well.  McCoy, on the other hand, deserved so much more and I still want to cry about him...if you read Nine, you'll see why.  Overall, while this book had its flaws, I still enjoyed it.  It's the kind of book that you have to sit and think about for awhile after the fact, and I'm starting to like it more the longer I think about it.  So if you're in the mood for a heavy fall read, this is it.

I must admit that I struggled back and forth between what star rating I wanted to give this one -- from an action-scene standpoint, I'd give it maybe 3 stars, but the story itself was so gripping that I thought about 5 stars...so we'll average it out as a 4.  

THE LADY OF LANARIA: Apothecaries and Healers and Ancient Medicine

Thursday, September 10, 2020



(Credit: Canva)

I will cry if I have to read one more incorrect blog post about medieval medical intervention.  I mean, their ideas about the human body were so off-the-wall to begin with, it's easy to be distracted by articles that appear completely logical, but end up being inaccurate to the time period.  
I've seen things, folks.  
(Well, I've read them, anyway.) 

For The Lady of Lanaria, I needed a time period in which Evangeline could thrive as a herbalist.  Rather than giving her supernatural capabilities -- i.e. magical healing power in her hair a la Tangled or magical teardrops a la Brothers Grimm -- I decided to let her power lie in her knowledge, which stems from the various books she consumes daily.  It was a talent much-needed at one point in time.  Way back when, nature was the only thing that could be used to heal the human body, but there was a very peculiar little speck in time between when this was actually realized, when it was used, and when modern medicine began to take the platform.  It was quite the bugger to pinpoint, too.

I was originally going to set The Lady of Lanaria in the early 1600s, but it seemed like a lot of the medical intervention in that period involved bloodletting, cold water, or more bloodletting.  I hopped forward to the 1800s, but their methods were too advanced for my idea.  Even the 1700s were a bit iffy, so I decided that if I had a fictitious low-fantasy land, I could have a fictitious time era, a blend of the 1600s and 1700s, where some healers are aware of the natural healing properties of plants and some don't...which is where Evangeline comes in.  

She has a lot of time on her hands, and spends it reading.  But she has also filled her entire tower with little pots of herbs and other healing plants like plantain, ginger, mint, and so on.  She's a bit of a green thumb, and uses her talent to help Amaranth, her mother, with a merchant's booth that Amaranth co-owns with another woman in the town square of Lanaria.  

Lanaria, by default, is a very small kingdom.  It's actually an island with an even smaller small offshoot called "Old Lanaria," and the two are connected by a natural bridge, a strip of land that disappears at night when the tide comes in.  It's a combination of the very real Mont St. Michel and the kingdom of Corona (the happy kind of Corona...*squints eyes at 2020*) from the movie Tangled, but with its own original setup -- the bridge that connects the two. 

It was honestly a blast working on worldbuilding for The Lady of Lanaria, outside of the medicinal research (and I have to give a huge thanks to a couple of my betas, who knew a thing or two about...spoilery medieval medicine stuff).  I have pages upon pages of written research of various herbs and plants native to France; even some from Norway, and one or two things borrowed from Germany, since Lanaria isn't real.  I have sheets dedicated to the five senses, even various wildlife, and so on, including what kind of materials were used for home-building, roofing, and even household items like plates and forks and cups and buckets.  It's just interesting, I don't know.  It's a lot of fun, and I hope you find The Lady of Lanaria to be an immersive experience, not only pertaining to the plot but the details as well. Someone please hold me back from pulling a Tolkien and writing entire pages about their surroundings.

Next week, I hope you'll join me for a discussion on the main characters and their motivations!  Then we'll be moving on to the main villain...I'll see you there. 

Have you been enjoying these posts about The Lady of Lanaria?  Anyone else enjoy worldbuilding?  What are some tips you'd recommend to other writers -- or what are some details you enjoy as a reader?

ARC READERS WANTED!




Have you been following along to stay updated with my progress on The Lady of Lanaria?  Are you looking for a clean fall read full of mysterious woods, daring plots, and just enough romance?  And do you love the idea of a "Rapunzel" x "The Lady of Shallot" mashup?

If you do, and if you have a few minutes to post a spoiler-free review on or around November 6th, here's your chance!  I'm opening up applications for ARC readers for The Lady of Lanaria!  Signups close October 1st so everyone has plenty of time to read before the release, so make sure to get your application in!  Please click HERE to sign up!  I will be sending out a batch of copies this weekend, God willing, so make sure to sign up soon.  
   

THE LADY OF LANARIA: Light Meets the Dark

Friday, September 4, 2020



The Lady of Lanaria, hands-down, has got to be the strangest novel I've worked on.  I don't mean that it's weird, but...the way it came together definitely was. 

I got the idea for a Rapunzel/"The Lady of Shallot" mashup back in the first semester of senior year of college (okay, so it wasn't that long ago) and even mentioned in a discussion board that "The Lady of Shallot" would be fun to mix with elements from the Grimm fairytale "Rapunzel" -- and...crickets.  Nobody really got it.  Months later, as I mentioned back  when I announced this project back in April (or May?), I was sparked to action by a friend who didn't know I was dealing with a major bout of "no inspiration."  Or writer's block; whatever you want to call it.  I loved this idea, but I didn't want to work on a Rapunzel retelling because I love the story of Rapunzel so much, I was afraid I would completely screw it up.  But I figured that if I was still thinking about this story, it deserved to see the light of day regardless.  At least to get it out of the way. 


But whenever I started working on the idea, I had no clue what kind of themes I wanted to incorporate.  I didn't just want to write a fun little story, I wanted to write something that was impactful; something meaningful.  It got tossed on the backburner again while I worked on the final books in the Mount Sterling and Faith, Hope, and Love books. 
Then, earlier this year, I woke up bolt upright in bed at ~1 A.M. with Tenth Avenue North's "Healing Begins" song, or namely, a couple of lines from it, running through my head. 

When you come to where you're broken within
the light meets the dark 
the light meets the dark

It wouldn't go away.  And then this quote was glommed into my head, which I mistook for a Bible verse: 
"Darkness rises, and light to meet it." (Snoke, Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, 2017).  
Oops.  So, Star Wars is decidedly not the Bible, but it led me to dig until I found the verse that it reminded me of.  

"Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous." (Psalm 112:4, NKJV).  
And then as I was reading my Bible that morning, I stumbled across John 1:5, "And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." 

Boom.  There was the theme; the thing I needed to write about. 

(Apparently, God can use pop culture to grab your attention.)  

After that, it was easy to let everything fall into place.  Well, as easy as book-writing typically is.  An evil villain; a protagonist that overcomes evil with good.  And let me tell you -- when I say things fell into place, they did so eerily and I will not take credit for any of it.  

I wrote the whole first draft during Camp NaNo in April (which was a feat in and of itself for various reasons), but I didn't like the introduction.  When I was very close to scrapping the whole idea, I came across a friend of mine who was advertising developmental critiques for the first thirty pages of any manuscript. 
The first thirty pages were the ones giving me trouble. 

She gave me such great ideas that I got to work on it immediately.  I reworked the storyline and dropped it until July, when I essentially just revised and edited and then revised again.  And people enjoyed the icky second draft.  And every time I privately thought about putting it aside or scrapping it over whatever menial detail I'm obsessing over, someone would inexplicably message me out of the blue or ask for an update or mention how excited they were about the story.  My mother read the second-draft proof copy I got and said she enjoyed it...Second drafts are gross, guys.  Inevitably. 
So when I say that I got encouragement before I even mentioned needing it, I did.  

Even recently (this week), as I run into formatting issues and font woes, the solutions are just...right there, if I just take the time to look for them instead of going into 'panic, woe-is-me' mode.  I know this book and the messages within are meant for someone.  Needed by someone, even.  And I don't know how God's planning to use this book, and I know it might sound weird to say that He's going to, but I just...know it, and it's my testimony that I won't hide.  I know not everyone will like this book -- lots of Christians don't like light fantasy, and lots of secular fans won't like the Christian elements -- but The Lady of Lanaria has its own place in the world.  It hasn't been a ride in the park, but compared to the releases I've had before, I can see God's hand involved every step of the way, and I'm gonna keep it that way.  It's only fitting that the themes for this book revolve around light conquering darkness.    

CELEBRATE! Release day for THE CROWNLESS KING by Kara Linaburg!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020




Hey everyone!  Today's release day for Kara Linaburg's new novel, The Crownless King!  I had the privilege of editing this book with Ms. Linaburg, way back in the spring, and I still think about it.  It's a novel that I immediately put on my "want to read" list, and I can't wait to read the final product - this time as a fan!  It's such a gripping novel, full of honest truth and thought-provoking moments, and any reader of fantasy is liable to enjoy this book.  I can remember getting chills reading a few scenes as I edited, because they were just so well-written.  The prose is fantastic, the details are crisp, and again, it's just a great novel.  It talks about worth and having hope and all the stuff that we need to remember in our own world right now.  Talk about a timely release. Anyway, keep reading for info and purchase links! 



The Crownless King by [Kara Linaburg]

SYNOPSIS

She won't meet her worst enemy on the battlefield...

War is brewing and the kingdom of Sindaleer is torn as the Knights of Norcir draw the folk to their side. When Sabriel, a specially Gifted, pledges her blood to their cause, she is ready to give all to bring the peace her leader promises. She understands Tirich's deep hatred toward the king, and has prepared for this moment all her life.But when her identity as a knight is discovered by the childhood friend who betrayed her years ago, Sabriel's plans for justice come toppling down. Now distracted by what once was, Sabriel fights to hold onto what she's believed to be true for so long.
Nick never forgot the red-headed lass of years past, but she's not the friend he remembers. As enemies connected by their past take opposing sides on their country's freedom, Nick refuses to believe what she's become.
Voices warning Sabriel she'll never succeed, and loyalties torn, she begins to realize that all is not as it seems. Tirich's power is growing stronger, and she fears she was wrong about the good she once saw in him.

The concluding book following The Broken Prince, reminds us of the inner war we all face, and what it means to rise from the ashes when all hope feels lost.

"Kara is passionate, honest, and vulnerable, which in my opinion always makes a book worth reading. Her heart for broken people is evident, birthed from a heart that has felt pain itself." - Amanda Brown, editor of Oh Beloved One Magazine on Kara's writing.

AMAZON | GOODREADS 
If you order your copy during release week, you can get preorder goodies HERE!

Find The Broken Prince on AMAZON.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

If you combined Lucy Ricardo, Jo March, and Tonks...you would have Kara. Queen of awkward, writer before she could properly spell, and maker of imaginary humans, she is passionate about creating characters that display beauty in brokenness.


Kara took to blogging as a teenager, words soon becoming one of her greatest passions. When she's not being a mad scientist in the kitchen or daydreaming about her next adventure, she loves to connect with readers. She lives in West Virginia where country roads always take her home.
You can feel free to stalk her blog www.thebeautifullybrokenblog.com where she rambles weekly.

INSTAGRAM GOODREADS | BLOG


Do you plan on picking up a copy of The Crownless King?  Have you read The Broken Prince yet? 





RELEASE DAY + REVIEW: THE HALF GLASS GIRL by Julie Mozart!

Monday, August 31, 2020



Hey everyone!  I've got a short and sweet review for The Half Glass Girl by Julie Mozart, which just so happens to be releasing today!  I already got my preorder in and I'm excited to re-read this book again.  I was on the ARC team and, if I remember correctly, the beta as well, and this book is so memorable and entertaining that I just...wanna keep reading it over and over again.  I think you will too.


 The Half Glass Girl by [Julie Mozart]
BLURB
Mackenzie Quail is a pessimist. When she finds herself on a list of volunteers for an obscure charity, she, in all sarcasm, can't wait. A month of living in a creepy old house with happy homeschoolers more numerous than rats and life changing secrets around every corner. What could go wrong?
The Half Glass Girl is a debut Christian fantasy by teen author Julie Mozart.

AMAZON | GOODREADS


Follow Julie Mozart on TWITTER | INSTAGRAM



MY REVIEW

I was floored to realize that this novel was a debut.  With gorgeous illustrations scattered here and there, crisp prose, and an impeccable plot, it's got to be one of the best debuts in the whole universe.  It's a perfect blend of fantasy and reality, which makes you think you could really find what Mackenzie Quail finds in the typical basement.  The narrator, Mackenzie, has a sharp sense of humor, and the entire cast of characters is memorable and completely lovable.  Once you're drawn into this book, it's hard to put it down and, y'know, do normal life stuff (stupid real world...).  Get ready for a book hangover when you pick this one up.  

It has a touch of fantasy, a bit of mystery (of mythical proportions) and some very down-to-earth, heartfelt discussions and themes.  The world that Mozart describes in her novel is completely believable from start to finish, and it has quite a few plot twists, too.  You'll laugh.  You might just cry.  And then you'll go back and re-read it again because it's just that good.


Do you plan on reading The Half Glass Girl?  


COVER REVEAL: My very own THE LADY OF LANARIA!!

Friday, August 28, 2020





Hey everybody!  Today's the day...today's the day I can finally spill the beans about the cover for The Lady of Lanaria!  I don't know how many times I came very close to sharing it, like, as soon as I made it.  I don't have a load of patience when it comes to sharing my own stuff.  

This book, guys.  It just amazes me at how everything is falling into place - and probably would've fallen into place from the start if I hadn't been busy butting my head against a brick wall.  It might sound weird, but I can totally see God's hand through all of this, and I just...want to share it with everybody so that it reaches whoever needs it the most.  I have a lot of themes involving light versus dark in this novel, and despite what conclusion you might draw from the blurb, it is a clean Christian fantasy.  (I can't just spoil it all from the get-go, or I would...)

I don't have any Goodreads pages or Amazon preorder links yet, but for now, you can just enjoy the blurb and the pretties.  In lieu of fancy shmancy links, I have some quotes for your enjoyment!  




I've also updated the blurb!  This is hopefully the final version I'll use (but if anyone has constructive criticism, hit me up.  I HATE writing blurbs and am Just Not Good At It.)  


BLURB

A kidnapped princess, a promise, and a kingdom cursed with mysterious plagues. 

"Mark my words, Evangeline; if you set foot outside this tower, you will surely die."

Evangeline has spent her entire life hidden in an ancient watchtower, gazing through a window as the world passes her by.  She heeds her mother’s warning closely, the truth hidden from her always. 

When a young guard stumbles upon the tower, Evangeline’s life is changed forever.  As she strikes up a secret friendship with the guard, she learns about the Kingdom of Lanaria and the mysterious plagues that haunt all who live there.  But as she delves into the world she barely knows, not everything her mother says adds up.  Will they find the truth before it’s too late?


Coming November 2020.  







And now for the cover....




This cover was exactly what I was envisioning as I wrote The Lady of Lanaria.  Simple, minimalist, beautiful.  I very seriously considered hiring a cover artist because I had such a hard time coming up with a design or a stock photo that I liked, but when I found this one, I knew I had to make it work.  And after ~14 hours of Photoshop and GIMP (and possibly some crying) I had what I loved.  I'm not even including the hours days of fighting with the sizing thanks to KDP (I swear I used their template).  

So...what do you think?  

ALSO, if you want to be an ARC reader for The Lady of Lanaria, consider signing up for my newsletter.  The next one goes out in early September, and they'll have first dibs on ARC copies! 





COVER REVEAL: EMPIRE OF BLOOD by Olivia Cornwell!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Hey everyone! Today I have an exciting post -- a cover reveal for Olivia Cornwell’s debut fantasy novel, Empire of Blood

This is book 1 of the Rebel Empire duology, and more info can be found on Olivia Cornwell’s author page.  Make sure to follow her for more updates! 

FOLLOW OLIVIA CORNWELL

TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | WEBSITE


 BLURB

Lilly Faine is tired of classmates dissing her family, and doesn’t care when she receives suspension for nearly punching the lights out of a classmate. Her father isn’t crazy, even if he does spout stories about a world full of magic, a cruel king who hunted him, and has a shattered amulet that tingles when Lilly touches it.

 

When an old enemy appears under Chicago’s beloved Bean, Lilly and Gabriel are shoved into the impossible world their father believed in. Alone on opposite ends of a war, they race to rescue each other. Lilly finds aid and friendship in a band of rebels, but she is also hunted by the emperor’s personal assassin. Gabriel gains the help of the emperor, but Gabriel’s choices to do good may lead him into dark shadows he can’t find his way out of.

 

Magic thrums within their reach, promising aid, and Lilly and Gabriel both must decide if the magic they seek ­– and the causes for which they now fight – is worth the risk of their souls.

The Empire of Blood eBook is available for preorder now! Releases November 10, 2020.

AMAZON | GOODREADS



 Doesn't that sound awesome?!?! 


And now...

For the cover! 


This cover is absolutely beautiful, isn't it?! 


Are you looking forward to reading Cornwell's new novel?  What do you think of this cover? 

Cover reveal signups for THE LADY OF LANARIA!

Monday, August 10, 2020


It's that tiiiime again!  
(Yes, having cover reveal signups two weeks after having a cover reveal is...odd.  And surreal. But I'm going for it).  

I'm looking for folks who would like to share the cover reveal for The Lady of Lanaria!  In exchange for that, you'll be the first people in the universe to see the cover!  I'm really excited about this project, and any help is greatly appreciated.  The cover reveal is August 29th, and signups are open NOW until August 22nd.  You'll have a range of options, graphics, even some premade posts to choose from, so if you're busy, sharing the cover could be as easy as paste-schedule-send!  


Please click HERE to sign up to share the cover for The Lady of Lanaria on August 29th!  

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...




BLURB

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!