Monday, January 31, 2022

 Hey everyone! I just wanted to drop by and let you all know that my dystopian novel, THOSE WITH EARS (under the pen name Makenzie Gray) is launching tomorrow! We've got a fun week planned with tour hosts, reviewers, and a couple great interviews -- and there have already been some absolutely fantastic reviews left. I'm so grateful to everyone who's helped with the launch! 

If you're interested, you can check it out and shelf it on Goodreads HERE, and you can preorder your Kindle copy on Amazon HERE (and, psssst, the paperback is already available.) 

What will Takvi do when the End begins?
In the blink of an eye, Takvi's guardians disappear into thin air, along with thousands more. When the government swiftly moves to cover up the Disappearing, she and her siblings grapple with the truth behind what happened. They've been government loyalists their whole lives, but a split in opinions threatens to upend their lives permanently.  

And Takvi is trapped in a vacuum where no solution leaves her or her family unscathed, which is the one thing she can't bear. 

The illegal book their guardians left them has answers that agree with her siblings, but Takvi struggles to accept it. When the newly-formed government tightens its grip in eerie prophetic fashion, will she stand up or will she fold? Will any of it matter in the end of the world? 

A compelling apocalyptic story on redemption, sibling bonds, and seeking truth in a corrupt world, Those With Ears is the first novel in the Midnight Hour series.

Signed copies your forte? Let me know and I'll be in touch! 
Make sure to follow Makenzie Gray on Facebook & Instagram (@authormakenziegray) for more updates because, why yes, there's quite a series planned...

Do you plan on reading Those With Ears


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

 Hey everyone! Today I've got a review of The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels! Check out some info on the book itself before getting into my review!

The best fiction simply tells the truth.
But the truth is never simple.

When novelist Kendra Brennan moves into her grandfather's old cabin on Hidden Lake, she has a problem and a plan. The problem? An inflammatory letter from A Very Disappointed Reader. The plan? To confront Tyler, her childhood best friend's brother--and the man who inspired the antagonist in her first book. If she can prove that she told the truth about what happened during those long-ago summers, perhaps she can put the letter's claims to rest and meet the swiftly approaching deadline for her next book.

But what she discovers as she delves into the murky past is not what she expected. While facing Tyler isn't easy, facing the consequences of her failed friendship with his sister, Cami, may be the hardest thing she's ever had to do.

Plumb the depths of the human heart with this emotional exploration of how a friendship dies, how we can face the unforgivable, and how even those who have been hurt can learn to love with abandon.



This book. Wow. It's not for the faint of heart, but for those who have suffered and come out stronger? Oh, man. Bartels very artfully weaves struggles, healing, the inability to move forward until healing occurs, and the mystery of losing who you once were and realizing what you've gained, in this book. She approaches topics of harassment/abuse and healing realistically, tastefully, and in a way that's both gentle and stark. Her prose is excellent, and I'm not sure whether to say the book is heartrending or captivating. Maybe both. If you're a fan of contemporary fiction that almost approaches a literary nature, you'll likely enjoy this book. The storyline itself is deeply compelling, and there are a few twists and turns that are very masterfully woven as well, making for an enjoyable read with a heavy impact. 
I read the author's note first and almost put the book down because I wasn't sure if I could handle the content. I'm glad I kept reading. It's easy to see the cathartic quality of this book as well, and I applaud her bravery in doing so. 

Have you read any books by Bartels? Do you plan on picking up The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water



Announcing...the playlist for my current WIP, codename BTM! Check it out HERE and let me know what you think - or if there are any other songs that come to mind when you check out the playlist! If you know me at all, you know that I have to have music at all times, especially when I'm writing. While this playlist certainly isn't exhaustive (it'll probably change a lot throughout the drafting process), I think it captures the moods/aesthetic of the book well. What impression do you get of the book just by checking out the playlist? I'm interested to hear what ya think!

GUEST POST by Kellyn Roth

Monday, January 24, 2022


Hey everyone! Today I have the privilege of sharing a guest post by Kellyn Roth in honor of her new book release, Beyond Her Calling! Thanks, Kellyn, for taking the time to share this post! 

There are a lot of fun things planned on this blog tour, so make sure to keep reading after the guest post for a scavenger hunt and some other exciting things! To catch up on what to expect, check out this post HERE before you go anywhere!

Handling Tough Topics with Respect to Historical Accuracy


Hi there! I’m Kellyn Roth, and for the release of my novel, Beyond Her Calling, I’m hopping from blog to blog … and on this blog, I get to share a guest post! Thank you, Michaela, for agreeing to host me. I really appreciate it!


I write Christian historical women’s fiction and romance, and writing historical fiction while handling tough topics means that I have to be very careful of historical accuracy. After all, the way we view practically everything has shifted year to year, decade to decade, and era to era.


So how do you handle tough topics in fiction while also respecting the historical accuracy? I mean, you can’t share toxic opinions of the past as truth, but neither can you distort history to match your modern agenda. At least, you shouldn’t.


With that cautious attitude, I research the eras I write in pretty thoroughly. I try to read a lot of nonfiction as well as fiction written during the era. Ideally, I’ll also find letters written during the era, accounts of actual peoples’ lives, or nonfiction written during the era. (Sometimes Christian nonfiction written in the 1800s, or whatever era you’re writing in, can be an invaluable resource.)


To get the most out of fiction written during the era you’re writing in, pay close attention to what the characters are saying. Not just the actual text—but the subtext, too.


Though also keep in mind that some stories are meant to be taken as satire, like most of Jane Austen’s works, so understanding the context of the story is important. If you can, find a study guide or similar analysis of the novel. Usually with classics, there is one.


The other nice thing is that often classic works will explore more than one perspective—which is nice because that’s exactly what you want to do in your novel! The more angles you explore, the better. Though, of course, you don’t want to draw from a too modern perspective. Be sure that you’re not bringing forth ideas that never would’ve existed in the era you’re writing for.


And on that thread … if a perspective is unusual, point it out. Have other characters, as well as the character themselves, think about it. Think how you react when someone has a different perspective from you, or when you have a counter-cultural thought and try to portray the way characters react to such things realistically.


One thing that I often see in historical fiction that really pulls me out of the story and annoys me is feminist ideals portrayed as normal. Sometimes only the villain will have an accurate-to-the-times perspective on marriage, women in work, et cetera, and there’s nothing more annoying than that.


Look. I get you. You don’t want to be called sexist or share something contrary to your ideals. However, remember that that’s betraying the era you’re writing! And also minimizing the issue you’re discussing in the first place by saying that it’s never really been a problem in the first place … except perhaps by a few villains.


There are lots of options here, though. Because, after all, the truth does persevere. Regardless of what era you’re writing in, God’s truths remain the same. However, keep in mind that what you think of as God’s truth may be simply a perspective brought on by your modern perspective.


So … just research everything thoroughly. One of the biggest things you can do is have your characters ALWAYS have a legitimate, easy-to-follow reason for whatever view they espouse. Besides, it’s a thousand times more powerful to have your character realize something rather having them start out with the perspective you want them to have.


If your character doesn’t learn and grow throughout the story, that’s not really a well-developed character, after all!


Another common subject I see handled in historical fiction with frequent inaccuracy is related to feminism—love and marriage. Again, though truth prevails, it can be very unrealistic for characters to share modern perspectives on these two topics when they should have been raised to believe completely different things.


Racism can be a challenging one, because it’s such a hot-button issue. A lot of publishers aren’t even accepting books discussing certain topics related to that issue right now, and a couple authors I know have lost contracts over this.


In a lot of ways, that’s kind of a good idea—it’s not going to do anyone any good to share about a topic that no one is open to at the moment. However, if you are writing a story dealing with that or something similar, stick to the facts … and again, those persevering truths will aid you. It is true that all people, regardless of their skin color, have the same amount of worth. Even if everyone claims otherwise, there will always be people who believe that.


Overall, writing about tough topics in a historical setting is a big challenge, but it’s totally doable. It just requires a lot of dedication, research, and all the tact that you’d use while portraying a tough topic in a modern era.

Now, there are TWO giveaways going on: one for the blog tour, and one for the scavenger hunt! Check out the giveaway for the tour below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And the scavenger hunt giveaway...this one requires a bit more legwork! 
Make sure you...
  • Begin at Stop #1 and continue on to the final post. At the end of each post, you’ll find a CLUE and a LINK to the next stop. Progress to each stop in order.

  • Collect all the clues and submit the full phrase at the last blog stop via the linked form to enter the giveaway.

  • While you’re at each stop, be sure to comment, as each comment wins you another entry in the Blog Tour Giveaway.

  • Deadline for entries is Monday, January 31st, at 10 AM Pacific Standard Time.

Sound like fun? Then go get after it! Stop #1 is linked at the top of my post (see, told ya to check it out first!) 

The next stop will be found HERE. 

What's your clue, you ask? 
Maybe it would help to say...what's THE clue ;) 

REVIEW: LIFE FLIGHT by Lynette Eason

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

 Hey everyone! Today I have a review for Lynette Eason's latest book, Life Flight, a Christian romantic suspense which released recently. Check out more info on the book before my review: 


EMS helicopter pilot Penny Carlton is used to high stress situations, but being forced to land on a mountain in a raging storm with a critical patient--and a serial killer on the loose--tests her skills and her nerve to the limit. She survives with FBI Special Agent Holt Satterfield's help. But she's not out of the woods yet.

In the ensuing days, Penny finds herself under attack. And when news reaches Holt that he may not have gotten his man after all, it will take all he and Penny have to catch a killer--before he catches one of them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason is back with another high-octane tale of close calls, narrow escapes, and the fight to bring a nefarious criminal to justice.



I did have some fairly high expectations going into this book, so I had a bit of trouble deciding whether or not those expectations influenced my view of the book overall. I'm a huge fan especially of Eason's earlier works, but I found this one to definitely be a little far-fetched (with things that I can't mention or...big spoilers.) It was fast-paced for sure, and the main characters were easy to empathize with, plus they were enjoyable to read. I also loved the romance aspect of the story, and the characters fit very well together (it's a pairing that you'll probably root for right from the beginning). However, the suspense end of the story didn't really get going or feel like "traditional Eason" until the last seventy pages or so, which was a bit of a disappointment for me. Setting those issues aside, I did enjoy this story overall. So if you're an Eason fan, you'll probably like it -- if you're a fan of books that blend realistic circumstances into fiction, maybe not so much. 

Have you read any books by Eason? What's your favorite? 


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

 Hey everyone! Today I have a review for Truth Unshaken by Kristina Hall, which is the final book in the Moretti Trilogy. I was given the opportunity to review this novel (the whole series, actually -- you can check out my prior reviews on my blog as well!) actually last year, but I just was too busy with the holidays and everything to properly sit down and read it until recently, hence...the review today! Before I get into the review, here's some info about the book:

Whom can they trust?

After losing her parents, Carla Belardi discovers her life was a lie. Now, she must flee unless she wants her parents' fate to be her own.

Frank Ashton lost the use of his legs—and his desire to live—in the Great War. When Carla is brought to his home injured, he gains a friend. But despite the attraction growing between them, he can never burden her with a cripple.

Alberto Moretti thought he could do good working for the Prohibition Unit—until he finds out his new employer isn't much better than the criminals he once served. Now, he has to fight both sides—the Prohibition Unit and the crooked Belardis.

When danger surrounds Carla, Frank, and Alberto from too many angles, will they put their trust in the Truth that will never be shaken?



I was really conflicted on how to rate this because while the storyline was compelling, the how the characters were written confused me once in awhile. I think part of that was probably because I was really intrigued over Frank's character since he was initially introduced in the series and his characterization was pretty rocky when he got his own story -- while people struggling with PTSD and other problems that Frank faces can swing between bitter moments and stable moments, not to mention stumbling in his trust in God, which are completely understandable and accurate, but the transitions between those felt a little stiff to me. However, the attitude toward Frank and his disability, were extremely accurate for the times, and I think that's worth noting. Moretti's side of the story was full of speakeasies and "good" cops turning into bad, which definitely keeps the reader guessing. Plus, Carla's storyline might be my favorite out of the women of the Moretti trilogy, and it was interesting to see her paired with Frank.  This story starts off with a bang and then lulls a little bit (except for Moretti being, well, Moretti. Someone get that guy a medic...) I also enjoyed the themes of becoming more mature in your faith and seeing opportunities to grow and taking them instead of letting life pass you by.  If you're a fan of the Moretti trilogy, you'll definitely want to pick this one up! 

Have you read the Moretti trilogy yet, or are you thinking about picking it up sometime?


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

 Hey everyone! Today is the official release day of The Blood Republic, book 4 of The Infidel Books! I had the opportunity to be an advanced reader for this, Just. Wow. If you're a fan of the series, you'll want to order a copy ASAP. Before I get into the review, here's a bit about the book itself.



The Second Civil War ends and West Johnston is heir to the new nation—but the war in the shadows continues as they rebuild America. With team members missing, West must help save his family. But the team discovers a biological weapon, and if they fail to maintain power, it will fall into the enemy’s hands.

Meanwhile, the crew finds intelligence that will change the course of the nation, and must team up with unlikely friends to escape government labs. If Gideon, Spencer, and Rene’ can survive, then new hopes await—but not everyone will make it out alive.



I've seen good book series. I've seen great book series. And then there's this one. Watts has an excellent ability to weave plots, character arcs, and themes -- and those skills are portrayed beautifully in THE BLOOD REPUBLIC. This novel is so satisfying, not just as its own story, but as a part of the larger series itself. I can't think of anything to say that won't basically spoil everything, but let me just say: you'll laugh, you'll cry, your heart will have all the fuzzy feels (and all the other feels that make you wanna throw your book at the wall--not recommended if you use an ereader), and then you'll read it again. I can't wait to see what lies in store next. 

Have you read THE INFIDEL BOOKS? Plan on picking it up? 


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Hey everyone! Today I'm sharing a post with the cover reveal for Kara Linaburg's upcoming novel, A Study in Terminal, which will be coming this summer! The cover is stunning, the story is even better, and I'm so excited to share with ya! 

First, some info about the book: 

The hardest goodbyes are the ones we never got to say...
Sean Brogan has spent most of his life running from a past he can never escape and the scars he carries are ones no one can see. He plans to slip into the sleepy town of Lake Fort, West Virginia as quietly as he did ten years before, but his life has never gone as planned. 
As Sean spends time in town, he has no choice but to face the pain that he buried from a life cut off too soon.
An anthem for those of us who have been left behind, “A Study in Terminal” is a vulnerable story about the human condition that reminds us that to beat your past, you first must learn to turn around and face it. 
A Study in Terminal coming June 7th, 2022

Make sure to follow Kara Linaburg on Instagram as well as Monarch Education Services for more updates on the book as the release date arrives. 

Now, you ready for the cover? 
Check it out below...

 Isn't that awesome? I can't wait for the release. Are you looking forward to reading this too?