JustRead Spotlight & Review: BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE by Janice Thompson!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

 Hey everyone! Today I have a spotlight for JustRead Tours and Janice Thompson, namely her newest book Barking up the Wrong Tree.



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A Champion Dog Is Off His Game
 
Grab a puppy to snuggle and relax into a delightful small-town mystery in book 3 of the Gone to the Dogs series.
 
Inquisitive, detail-oriented, Veterinarian Kristin Keller prides herself on winning over any dog. But has this self-proclaimed dog whisperer finally met her match in a Sheltie named Remington who has just won the Texas state agility course competition? The champion pooch is acting out of sorts—almost as if he is not the same dog. Has he, by chance, been switched out with another dog just before the next big competition? Kristin and the other Lone Star employees will do anything to help the Atkinson family figure out this mystery surrounding their beloved Remington.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Welcome to the wacky, wonderful world of inspirational author Janice Hanna Thompson, where romantic comedy rules the day! I hope you love to laugh, because I make it my goal to tickle your funny bone at every turn in my light-hearted tales.

Whether you’re looking for inspirational romance, quirky cozy mysteries, light-hearted historicals or fun books for younger readers, you will find it here. You will also find an abundance of non-fiction books, guaranteed to ease life’s burdens.

Why do I focus on the light-hearted stuff? Because life is hard! My readers lead busy, chaotic lives and need those special “Calgon, Take Me Away!” moments! Providing “Love, Laughter and Happily Ever Afters” brings me great delight. Lest you think it’s all fluff, think again!

Woven between the lines of each cheerful tale you will find the ultimate love story, one guaranteed to stir your soul and get your heart fluttering. Talk about a real happily ever after! There’s something for everyone on my site, so settle back in your chair, grab a cup of Earl Grey tea, and get ready to discover a light-hearted approach to life!

MY REVIEW

I love Janice Thompson's books, especially Weddings by Bella. So I  jumped at the chance to read her newest book, one that features dogs, a mystery to be solved, and two sweet love interests. Oh, and that fantastic, down-home Texas setting so many of Thompson's books feature. While I'm kind of jumping into the middle of a series here, I was able to pick up on the series dynamics quickly and the mystery Thompson weaves through the story kept me second-guessing myself until the end. The romance is sweet, the dogs are fun to read about, and overall, it's a great, quick read! Definitely pick this one up if you want a light, sweet read, or if you're a fan of Thompson's works. 


REVIEW: EVERYTHING IS JUST BEGINNING by Erin Bartels!

Monday, January 23, 2023

 Hey everyone, and welcome to "books I'm now obsessed with" -- aka Everything Is Just Beginning by Erin Bartels. Check out the blurb and my review below.




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An Immersive Story of Music, Struggle, and Starting Over from an Award-Winning Author

Michael Sullivan is a talented lyricist and a decent guitarist, but since he was kicked out of his band (and his apartment), he's not sure he'll ever get a record deal. Living with his loser uncle in a beat-up trailer and working a dead-end job, Michael has little reason to hope for a better future. Until the invitation for a swanky New Year's Eve party shows up in the mailbox. It's for his uncle, with whom he shares his name, but his uncle is going out of town . . .

On the effervescent night of December 31, 1989--as the Berlin Wall is coming down, the Soviet Union is inching toward democracy, and anything seems possible--Michael will cross paths with the accomplished and enigmatic young heir to a fading musical dynasty, forever altering both of their futures.

Award-winning novelist Erin Bartels enchants with this story of two lonely souls who have exactly what the other one needs--if they could simply turn their focus from what is ending to what is just beginning
.
 
GOODREADS | AMAZON

MY REVIEW
I am rapidly becoming a fan of Bartels' work, and this one is possibly my current favorite. An immersive storyline, characters you deeply empathize with, a story that doesn't overwhelm you with technical lingo but invites you in, representation of a headstrong blind character, and a story that will overall stay with you for a long time. I sincerely adored this story. Though there were times I wanted to scream at the main character, it was real and so very impactful. There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this story, a lot I don't want to share because of spoilers, but you'll end up empathizing with even the characters you can't stand. Very well done.


TELL ME YOU LOVE ME ANTHOLOGY: H.S. Kylian Character Interview!

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

 Hey everyone! Today I have a character interview with characters from "For Better or For Worse", a short story by H.S. Kylian which will be published in the Tell Me You Love Me anthology February 14th! Let's get right into it. 



1) Will, what was the hardest part of coming home?

Um…*shifts in seat* Probably when I saw Jonathan for the first time. In-in person. Susie,  um, got pregnant before I left, so…leaving before he was born vs. coming home to him a week shy of two was pretty hard. The other hardest part was trying to forget the-the fighting. 

2) Susie, what was it like for you and the kids when Will first came home?

It was wonderful and bittersweet all at once. Knowing that Will had missed out on so many things - Jonathan being born, learning to walk and talk - was something I struggled with for a long, long time, especially later on when we had Audrey and Lucas. 

3) When did you both know something was wrong?

Will: *scratches back of neck* Uh…

Susie: I would say it was when I woke up one night to find him drenched in sweat and staring into space. I asked him what was wrong and he stared at me almost like he didn’t recognize me. But then it was gone and he was the one asking questions. 

Will: shifts in seat 

4) Both of you, what was it like to finally open up and understand what was going on?

Susie: Relief. So much relief. 

Will: I would have to say the same. smiles at Susie I’m very blessed to have her as my wife. 

5) What are your plans for the future?!

Susie: We’re going to tell the kids what’s going on and hopefully find out what’s causing Will’s memory issues. 



Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Ms. Kylian! It's important to note that you'll see more of these characters in her upcoming works. If you'd like to keep up, follow her blog HERE!

And don't forget to preorder Tell Me You Love Me HERE with the special preorder price!

TELL ME YOU LOVE ME ANTHOLOGY AUTHOR TOUR: About the Antho!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

 Hey everyone! I'm participating in the author tour for the Tell Me You Love Me anthology, releasing February 14th! Have you preordered yet? Don't forget that the special preorder price of $2.99 will go away after release! I've got a fantasy short titled "Always" in this one, and I'm excited to share it with everyone. 


ABOUT THE ANTHOLOGY

Tell Me You Love Me - a timeless collection of stories that truly understand the meaning of “I love you”

Twelve young Christian authors have come together, alongside romance novelist Grace A. Johnson and editor Issabelle Perry to show our world of depravity and cheap imitations of romance what love really means: faith, hope, and sacrifice.

These stories range from contemporary YA to historical to fantasy, and tell diverse, unique love stories that compel, captivate, and warm readers’ hearts with their sweet and authentic nature.

Featuring work from Michaela Bush, Saraina Whitney, Karynn Heckler, Margaret Copeland, Lucia Molano, Sarah Lawton, Brooklyn O’Brennan, Mackenzie Hendricks, H.S. Kylian, Lydia M. Jupp, Katherine Perry, and Amelia Cabot, the Tell Me You Love Me anthology is the collaboration of talented and inspirational young writers you’ve been waiting for!

GOODREADS | AMAZON


OUR AUTHORS 
Most of the authors involved with the anthology are online! Make sure to follow everybody and keep up with their publishing careers!


Michaela Bush -- you are here ;) But also follow me on Instagram & Facebook @tangledupinwriting if you don't already.

Saraiana Whitney: BLOG | NEWSLETTER

Karynn Heckler: INSTAGRAM

Margaret Copeland: GOODREADS

Sarah Lawton: BLOG

Mackenzie Hendricks: INSTAGRAM | NEWSLETTER

H.S. Kylian: BLOG | INSTAGRAM

Lydia M. Jupp: GOODREADS

Katherine Perry: BLOG

Amelia Cabot: PINTEREST 



COVER REVEAL: WINTER OF THE BEES

Hey everyone! 
Today is not only the cover reveal for an amazing middle grade fic, it's also the first day of its Kickstarter campaign! If you enjoy MG fiction, this one will melt. your. face. It's that good. Check out the information below! 


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Thirteen-year-old Niles Filzbin has a list of problems a mile long: his parents filed bankruptcy, his older sister ran away, he moved in with his whacky grandparents, and he’s stuck tending their farm of magical (or so Grandpa says) bees. One problem quickly tops the list--Grandpa is dying. 

Niles is running out of time to help his family, and learn about Grandpa's stories that may hold the secret to Niles's future, too. While the bees know that winter holds no good thing, Niles misses their warning. But maybe magic can be found in even the darkest of places... And maybe, just maybe, Niles isn't as alone as he feels.

Winter of the Bees follows an ordinary boy who must learn to say goodbye to people he loves… with the help of extraordinary bees.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



ANGELA R. WATTS is the bestselling and award-nominated author of The Infidel Books and the Remnant Trilogy. She’s been writing stories since she was little, and has over 23 works in print. She also writes articles for a few magazines and publishers. Angela is a freelance editor, blogger, and artist. She lives in Tennessee with her family and many pets. WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | AMAZON

COVER REVEAL
And without further ado, the cover!


Isn’t it perfect?! 

SUPPORT IT TODAY!
Click HERE to find a tier that works for you on Kickstarter! The project is already halfway funded this morning, so can we get her fully funded TODAY?? Any amount helps!

REVIEW: GRACE IN THE GRAY by Mike Donehey!

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Hey everyone! I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of Mike Donehey's Grace in the Gray: A More Loving Way to Disagree, which releases January 17, 2023.  I've been looking forward to reading this book, having read his first novel and enjoying the music he and Tenth Avenue North have put out. Check out my review below!



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By approaching disagreements in a more loving way and seeing the grace and good in those who hold differing viewpoints, you'll gain a deeper understanding of others, yourself, and God--from the bestselling author of Finding God's Life for My Will.

"Written with just the right amount of humor, reflection, and heart, Grace in the Gray shows us how to focus on the people we may disagree with more than focusing on the issue at hand."--Mac Powell, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter

In a culture where constant offense and polarization dominate so many interactions, here is good news about a more productive way to disagree: God desires for us to become better at loving others . . . not better at debating.

Grace in the Gray helps us see the grace and good that's often hidden by our own limited perspectives and assumptions. Through a collection of personal stories and biblical insights, Mike Donehey reveals a four-stage process to help you

1. subjectify those you've objectified
2. empathize with those you've vilified
3. humanize those you've deified
4. see why your posture is as essential as your position

In relationships, professional settings, and social situations, discover how to focus on the person standing before you more than the argument set against you. Doing so gives you the rare ability to face any conflict with better questions, kindness, and the calming posture of curiosity.

It all begins by learning to listen and lead with the most transformative substance the universe has ever known . . . God's love.

Christianbook | Amazon | Goodreads


MY REVIEW

Overall, I give this a solid 3.5/5 rating. Donehey has a great purpose going in this novel: that we need to fix our eyes on God and the Bible as opposed to what our personal opinions are. (See also, the difference between personal opinions/convictions and biblical commands.) While I didn't agree with everything he said, that disagreement actually made me sit down and think about WHY I didn't, whether I had any biblical basis to do so, and I think that's the deeper purpose of this book when it comes down to it. Donehey quickly calls out the spirit-killing "tradition" and pride that often accompany these things. The book really started out on fire, and I was thrilled to have picked up a copy, I was taking notes left and right, I was being convicted...and then it kind of petered out. Maybe it was just me personally, but it felt like he was just touching the surface of some topics when I wished he would dig deeper. Other topics, I wish he had approached with the same energy as he did in the beginning. However, when you come down to it, it's a good book and it's very heartfelt in its core, and I do recommend it.

REVIEW: THE ROSE AND THE THISTLE BY LAURA FRANTZ

Monday, January 9, 2023

 Hi everyone! Today I'm sharing a review of The Rose and the Thistle by Laura Frantz. Check out the info for the book below before scrolling on to my review!





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In 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley's father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies, forcing her to flee her home in northern England. Secreted to the tower of Wedderburn Castle in Scotland, Lady Blythe awaits who will ultimately be crowned king. But in a house with seven sons and numerous servants, her presence soon becomes known.

No sooner has Everard Hume lost his father, Lord Wedderburn, than Lady Hedley arrives with the clothes on her back and her mistress in tow. He has his own problems--a volatile brother with dangerous political leanings, an estate to manage, and a very young brother in need of comfort and direction in the wake of losing his father. It would be best for everyone if he could send this misfit heiress on her way as soon as possible.

Drawn into a whirlwind of intrigue, shifting alliances, and ambitions, Lady Blythe must be careful whom she trusts. Her fortune, her future, and her very life are at stake. Those who appear to be adversaries may turn out to be allies--and those who pretend friendship may be enemies.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

MY REVIEW

This is my first read of Frantz's, and I was excited to dive in because it covers a lot of Jacobite/Scottish history that is fascinating to me. She is certainly immersive in her writing style, and the characters are easy to empathize with. The plot moves along well, the stakes are very high and very real, and you'll find yourself anxiously wanting to see what happens next. There are some excellent faith elements present in the book as well. 

Though from time to time I got bogged down with the political side of things, I found the book to be enjoyable! If you enjoy historical fiction, and especially if you enjoy stories your own ancestors could have been involved in, you'll definitely want to pick up this book. 

TRIPLE ANNOUNCEMENT: MAKENZIE GRAY UPDATES

Monday, January 2, 2023

 Hey everyone! 
So, what turned into a cover reveal for my next Midnight Hour series novels (under Makenzie Gray), turned into a title and blurb reveal as well, and THEN turned into an exciting announcement for another work. 

So without further ado, on the Gray side of things...

1) Alex Silvius Anthology HERE LIES WANDERLAND: I'm thrilled to announce that I will have poetry published in Alex Silvius' upcoming anthology. I sent in my submission on a whim and was floored to find out I was accepted. More info coming soon!! 

2) Are you ready for a title reveal? Midnight Hour Series Book 3 will be titled Eyes To See, releasing March 6, 2023 (God willing). 

3) We have a blurb: 

A false messiah emerges, Tarik Azrael announces a death penalty for Unmarked, and wicked beasts lurk in the shadows.


Two months after Noam’s prison escape, Tikvah and the group find themselves on a new mission: find Halfway, a strange place promising shelter, buried deep in abandoned woods. But  there’s a price on their heads and the work of liberating Unmarked refugees grows harder. Riskier. Even Noam’s liberation was not a clean escape.

When a ghost from Noam’s imprisonment is assigned a deadly new mission, the team scrambles to stay ahead of the game. To make it worse, the horrors they’ve witnessed come calling in unusual ways. Will they have eyes to see the spiritual and physical war they fight against? 


A story of sacrificial love and surviving in defiance when the world demands your death, EYES TO SEE is the third installment of the Midnight Hour series. 


Preorders will be coming soon, and I'm officially in the polishing stages of the book. (Well. The polishing stages where you gotta really SCRUB but at any rate.)

And.... 4) We have a cover!


What do you think?! Let me know!

Preorders Open: TELL ME YOU LOVE ME Anthology!

 Hey everyone! Today I have some exciting news for the Tell Me You Love Me anthology by Grace A. Johnson & Issabelle Perry. The Kindle preorders are NOW OPEN! 


Click HERE to preorder for only $2.99! The official release day is February 14th, 2023. Grab your preorder soon! I'm excited for everyone to read this anthology, and I'm honored to be published alongside some good friends. 


BLURB: 

Tell Me You Love Me - a timeless collection of stories that truly understand the meaning of “I love you”

Twelve young Christian authors have come together, alongside romance novelist Grace A. Johnson and editor Issabelle Perry to show our world of depravity and cheap imitations of romance what love really means: faith, hope, and sacrifice.

These stories range from contemporary YA to historical to fantasy, and tell diverse, unique love stories that compel, captivate, and warm readers’ hearts with their sweet and authentic nature.

Featuring work from Michaela Bush, Saraina Whitney, Karynn Heckler, Margaret Copeland, Lucia Molano, Sarah Lawton, Brooklyn O’Brennan, Mackenzie Hendricks, H.S. Kylian, Lydia M. Jupp, Katherine Perry, and Amelia Cabot, the Tell Me You Love Me anthology is the collaboration of talented and inspirational young writers you’ve been waiting for!