The Refrain Within

Title: The Refrain Within (Music of Hope, Book Three)

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Publisher: Gilead Publishing

Length: 320 pages

Available: Wherever books are sold


About:

To save a life, would you betray everyone you love?

Hungary in 1944 is a dark place. The Nazis have invaded and turned the country upside down, their evil making its way into every life.

Clarinetist Eva Bognar is engaged to conductor and composer Patrik Kedves, happily planning her wedding. At first she doesn’t think the war will affect her directly; everyone around her can be trusted to do the right thing. Then her Jewish best friend and sister-in-law Zofia goes missing–and instead of the Gestapo being to blame, a friend says it was Patrik who led Zofia away. Has he betrayed Eva and everything the family stands for?

When the rest of the family’s lives are directly threatened, Patrik’s secrets must come to light. The Bognars flee for the border in hopes of getting out of the country to the safety of Palestine. Eva must put her life and the lives of everyone she loves in the hands of the very man who betrayed her–and they may not all make it out of the war alive . . .


Positive Elements:

Characters risked their lives to save others.


Negative Elements:

None.


Spiritual Elements:

Characters pray; a character does her best to trust God; characters put their faith in God’s hands and discuss hoping in God; God using Rahab is mentioned; a passage from Revelation is quoted.


Violence:

It is mentioned Jews are being rounded up en masse; characters are roughed up, beaten, injured, and interrogated; cities are bombed with injuries sustained and lives lost; it is mentioned characters are taken to Auschwitz; a character is kidnapped; innocent lives are taken; a character is struck by a car; it is mentioned a minor character was involved in two rapes and murders; one character’s torture and another’s suicide are described in a non-gruesome manner; it is implied a character is executed.


Other:

Characters kiss; characters lie to protect others and get Nazi officers drunk.


Rating:

5 Stars.


Conclusion:

Be prepared to be teary-eyed during certain parts of this book. Excellently written, powerful, and heartbreaking, The Refrain Within evokes emotion with sympathetic characters and plot. For the reader who recognizes the parallels between current events and WWII, The Refrain Within is not only an emotional read, but a chilling one, as well. Liz Tolsma is a master weaver of words and did an excellent job. This book is a must read.

Preacher on the Run

Title: Preacher on the Run: A Novel of the Regulator Uprising (For Liberty and Conscience #1)

Author: Jayna Baas

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction (not Romance)

Length: 326

Age Range: 13+ or parental guidance (violence)

Paperback (direct from author): https://www.booksbyjayna.com/bookstore


eBook (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0872FQL8G or search “Jayna Baas” on Amazon

Trailer:


About:

North Carolina, 1771

Robert Boothe has spent the last four years leading the tyrant-hating Regulators in standing against North Carolina’s corrupt British government. Just being an unlicensed dissenter preacher is enough to make Robert a target, but he refuses to back down from his conscience. Aside from a sympathetic court justice, the village of Ayen Ford has no other champion for its poor and defenseless.

Then Charles Drake, emissary of His Excellence William Tryon, comes to town with one ambition: winning the governor’s favor, no matter what it takes. And Robert Boothe just might be his last chance.

All Robert wants is a safe place for his little Baptist church to live and worship God. But the established church wants him to shut up. The governor’s men want him dead. And that safe place is farther and farther away.

You can run, but you can’t hide…


Positive Elements:

Characters do everything they can to help and protect others, even at personal risk.


Negative Elements:

None.


Spiritual Elements:

Characters are pastors; a character wants to live his life for the Lord; characters pray; there are multiple discussions about the Bible and God; the Bible is quoted; there is a strong salvation message; Baptism is explained; trusting God is discussed.


Violence:

Characters are arrested on false charges; characters are hunted; homes are ransacked; villages are destroyed; characters are physically harmed and ambushed; characters get in fights; it is insinuated someone is shot with an arrow; possessions are stolen; battles are waged; characters discuss their pasts; gunfire is exchanged; characters are shot; it is mentioned rebel leaders are hanged; a character kills another in self-defense.


Other:

Characters kiss.


Rating:

5 Stars.


Conclusion:

This is a powerful book, and especially hits hard with all the turmoil and fraud going on right now. Preacher on the Run can be intense at times as characters flee for their lives, fight injustices, and struggle to reconcile their desire for freedom from tyrannical leadership with their faith. Faith plays a colossal role, and gives Preacher on the Run a raw edge as characters are faced with the head knowledge that they’re supposed to trust God and the heart knowledge that it is not as easy as it sounds.

The banter between Robert and Mitchell was endearing, and something I, as the oldest sibling, could well identify with. And the history. Oh, the history. I knew about preachers and pastors who were hunted and punished by the state church for not registering and being beneath the state’s thumb, but I always thought of it happening primarily in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Reading Preacher not only advanced my knowledge of this rich historical period, but it reminded me how valuable our freedoms are, and how easily we can lose them.

Intense, delightful, raw, and emotional, Preacher on the Run is definitely on my TRA (to read again) list.

Seven Things to Know as You Begin Your Writing Journey

Everyone knows New Year’s Resolutions are rarely kept. Either they weren’t planned out well enough, became too cumbersome, or the planner realized they planned more than they could accomplish.

If your New Year’s Resolution is to begin writing, you may very well end up not sticking with it. Writing is difficult. Hard. Tear-worthy. And that’s before you begin editing and looking to submit. It’s a challenge, but a worthy challenge.

Writing will always prove difficult in some aspect, but there are some simple ways you can make your writing journey easier.


1: Your Method of Writing

There are three types of writers: plotters, pansters, and plansters. Plotters plan, pansters wing it, and plansters are somewhere in the middle. There are varying degrees to each category.

I am a planster. Seventy percent plotter, thirty percent panster. I have a base outline to follow, and always write chapters in order, and while I have about sixty percent of what will happen planned, everything else comes as I write. My mom is a panster. She writes chapters as they come to her, meaning she might write Chapter Thirty before Chapter Ten.

Neither method is wrong. When you find yours, it will help you integrate into the groove of writing.


2. Ignore “Write What You Know”

No disrespect meant to whoever coined this term, but for fictional writing, this is pure blabberdash. Poppycock. Malarkey. If I wrote “what I know”, I’d be penning lengthy novels on the intricacies of loading the dishwasher and how to write essays for college.

This does not mean never investigate and never research. I can guarantee most who write fantasy don’t know the proper techniques of knife fighting or the various herbs and plants you can use to kill and harm save characters. Likewise, someone writing historical fiction needs to know about the happenings of that time. You must go even further in-depth if writing about particular time periods, like the Oregon Trail or any war.

Know and know. One is something you have detailed knowledge of due to everyday life. The other is knowledge gained from research for your book. Don’t let the first one trip you up and hold you back.


3. Write What You Love and What Piques Your Interest

It doesn’t work to write what you hate. It really doesn’t. If you hate fantasy, don’t write it. If you hate writing about a certain period in history, don’t write about it. Instead, tap into your passions. This will only increase your desire to write. My mom loves historical romance and suspense, so that’s what she writes. I love history, mythology, and weaponry, so I incorporate those into my fantasy manuscripts. You will never catch my mom writing speculative fiction, and I will never begin a suspense novel. That’s okay. Write about topics you are interested in, topics that help fan the flame of creativity.

4. Plan – Part One

Beginning a book is more than opening a word document and typing “Chapter One”. You need to know your characters. You need to know your world. This is not to say you must know every detail about your MCs, or every unique plant if you’re writing speculative fiction, but have in mind general appearance, personality, and your world’s flora and fauna.

Planning can be accomplished through various methods, which include beginning a Pinterest board dedicated to your WIP or pasting pictures and links into a word document easily accessed as you write. Incorporate music for characters and scenes and aesthetics/pictures that provide inspiration, like scenery or clothing. I draw a map before I begin a WIP so I know where my characters are going and where each clan or kingdom is located.


5. Plan – Part Two

Word count. That haunting, daunting, and bone-chilling phrase that taunts writers as they frantically pound the keyboard. To ease the burden of fretting about word count, plan. Set a goal for daily, weekly, and monthly aspirations. Planners are delightful for this aspect of writing. For each day, set a word count you’d like to achieve. Don’t make it unreasonable, and while I can guarantee you won’t reach it every day, try the best you can. This will hold you accountable and keep you from getting off track.

This does come with a warning. Don’t let this control your drive for writing and limit your word count gain. If you have the time and mental ability to surpass your daily goal, go for it.


6. Tough Times will Occur – Be Kind to Yourself

Dry spells happen for multiple reasons. Emotional and/or physical exhaustion. Life’s unwanted interference. Et cetera. It is beyond difficult when your plot, word, and idea wells run dry. This does not mean you are no longer a writer. It simply means you are in a dry spell. I’m recovering from one as I write this. Ended my fourth completed manuscript in March where, subsequently thereafter, my mind went blank. I just again received true writing inspiration on December 30th.

This is okay. This is acceptable. This means you are now a writer. Words will not endlessly flow. They must be fought for, suffered for. Dry spells are not uncommon, and every writer, no matter their experience, suffers from them.


7. Seek Words of Wisdom

I’ve been going through a rough time for writing, partially due to the dry spell mentioned above. Another major part is self-doubt, something else every writer experiences. Is my writing good enough? Will others like it? Am I even qualified to write? What if I receive another rejection – what then?

This is why it is so important to find mentors. They don’t have to be writers or authors, although that is certainly helpful. They can be friends over the internet, relatives, or people at church. I was speaking with a dear, Godly woman at church last Sunday when she asked about my writing. She imparted these words of wisdom: “If God gave you the ability, He will help you accomplish it”. Likewise, my mom has repeatedly told me, “God’s given you this passion. Don’t stilt it. He will always use it, just maybe not in the way you think”.

These words of wisdom came at the right times and hit me like a punch to the gut. Mentors are beyond important. They impart wisdom and encouragement, and genuinely want you to succeed.


Writing will always have its difficulties, but don’t let them deter you from sticking with it. Resolve to keep your New Year’s Resolution. Seek mentors and their words of wisdom. Have patience and plan before beginning your manuscript. Write about your passions, your interests. What what you love to read.

If your New Year’s Resolution was to begin writing, I’d love to hear about it. Best of luck on your writing journey!


Other posts pertaining to this topic:

Advice for Beginning Writers

When Motivation Goes on Strike

Free Resources for Writers

All Things Christmas: Christmas Around the World

This is the third week and my last installment in the All Things Christmas blog celebration, where I’m joining with my mom in the celebration of, well, all things Christmas. You can find her latest post for this celebration – favorite Christmas memories – here.

Every holiday is associated with particular traditions. Valentines Day (the origin of which is far more somber than you’d expect) typically involves tooth-rotting and cavity-inducing amounts of sugar, whether it be in chocolate or candy heart form. You’re supposed to pinch people not wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day. Thanksgiving, first celebrated by the Pilgrims and enacted into law by President Lincoln, is when we give thanks, eat pumpkin pie, and avoid the scales.

Christmas, too, has traditions. Christmas Eve Candlelight service; manger scenes; Christmas carols; trees topped with stars or angels; presents tucked beneath the tree or hidden away from those certain snoops who try peaking before Christmas Day (Mom, Mema, I’m looking at you); candy canes and hot chocolate; and, most importantly, celebrating Christ’s birth.

The fun thing about Christmas is that it’s celebrated universally, but certain countries have quite distinct traditions and ways to honor the holiday and what it represents.


Iceland: Jólabókaflóðið/Jolabokaflod (yo-la-bok-a-flot)

One of the ultimate traditions where everyone receives a new book and spends the day reading and drinking hot chocolate.

According to jolabokaflod.org, “[t]his tradition began during World War II once Iceland had gained its independence for Denmark in 1944. Paper was one of the few commodities not rationed during the war, so Icelanders shared their love of books even more as other types of gifts were short supply. This increase in giving books as presents reinforced Iceland’s culture as a nation of bookaholics”.


Philippines: Giant Lantern Festival

This tradition is held in San Fernando the Saturday before Christmas, where “[e]leven barangays (villages) take part in the festival and competition is fierce as everyone pitches in trying to build the most elaborate lantern. Originally, the lanterns were simple creations around half a metre in diameter, made from ‘papel de hapon’ (Japanese origami paper) and lit by candle. Today, the lanterns are made from a variety of materials and have grown to around six metres in size. They are illuminated by electric bulbs that sparkle in a kaleidoscope of patterns” (Momondo.com).

The Christmas Star was what led the wise men to Christ. I don’t know the origins of this tradition, but it’d be amazing if those who started it wanted to celebrate Christmas in a way that reminded people of the Star.


Scandinavia: St. Lucia’s Day

St. Lucia’s Day is held on December 13th, instead of the 25th, but it paves the way for Christmas Day. According to whychristmas.com, “[t]he celebration comes from stories that were told by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden. […] St Lucia was a young Christian girl who was martyred, killed for her faith, in 304. The most common story told about St Lucia is that she would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would wear candles on her head so she had both her hands free to carry things”.

Britannica.com adds, “[t]he festival marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Scandinavia, and it is meant to bring hope and light during the darkest time of the year”.

While this celebration does not celebrate Christ’s birth, it honors a defender of the faith. The lights, bringing hope during the darkest time in that area of the world, are symbolic. Christ is the Light, and from Him we draw hope during our darkest of times.


Brazil: The Generous Papai Noel

Papai Noel is the Brazilian version of Father Christmas. In the U.S, we leave stockings by the fireplace. In Brazil, children leave stockings by the window. If Papai Noel, on his nightly stroll, finds a stocking, he’ll exchange it for a present. This is a great way to get rid of your partner-less socks.


Mexico: Posadas (Inns)

This tradition spans nine days, and “commemorate[s] the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph’s search for a place to stay where Jesus could be born” (journeymexico.com). Mary and Joseph’s search is reenacted as the outside group, representing Mary and Joseph, travel to nine inns. At each inn, they sing the Posada litany. The inside group, or innkeepers, deny them room until they reach the ninth inn. There, they are allowed inside.

Must-haves for Posadas include piñatas, little bags of candies called bolos, a Mexican Christmas fruit punch called Ponche Navideno, tamales, and singing.


Finland: Last Minute Christmas Trees and Almonds

Jokes galore are made about last minute shoppers, and for good reason. They abound everywhere you go. Despite doing this every Christmas, they never learn from their procrastination. However, there is one place where this is celebrated – and expected.

Finland.

Christmas Eve is very important in Finland. This is the day (and sometimes the day before) when Christmas trees are purchased (real – no fake trees for the Finnish, no siree), breakfast is rice porridge and fruit juice made of plums. At noon, a special radio show is broadcasted. Graves of family members are visited. The main Christmas meal is consumed on Christmas Eve. This consists of lutefish (salt fish), pork, casseroles, salmon, and riced pudding. Within the pudding is one almond. It is believed that whoever finds the almond will have a year of luck.


Croatia: Candles of Christmas and a Meat Fast

In my town, Walmart had Christmas decorations up in September. Croatia’s Christmas celebration doesn’t begin that early, but they start earlier than us Americans. Christmas in certain parts of Croatia begins November 25th, which is St. Catherine’s Day. Advent wreaths are a big deal and typically include four candles. These symbolize creation and hope, embodiment and peace, redemption and joy, ending and love.

On Christmas Eve, most follow a meat fast – fasting from meat. Because of this, they eat fish, mainly dried cod. Apparently fish meat isn’t considered, well, meat. Another odd tradition is the popular Christmas Day side dish, sarma, or cabbage rolls filled with minced pork meat. Foods normal humans consider tasty are included, like cookies, cakes, and donuts.


Christmas is universally celebrated, but fortunately, certain traditions are not (sarma, anyone?). Still, it’s fun to know what others are doing on these special days. Whether it’s reading books while sipping hot chocolate, walking around with a candle-laden wreath on your head, or purchasing your Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, traditions are part of the Christmas experience that will forever stick with us and create countless memories.

What traditions does your family celebrate? Which of the ones listed above piqued your interest? I know I certainly wouldn’t mind borrowing Iceland’s. There are few things better than the entire family sitting in the living room while reading and enjoying peppermint hot chocolate.


REFERENCES

https://jolabokaflod.org/about/founding-story/

https://www.momondo.com/discover/christmas-traditions-around-the-world

https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/sweden.shtml

https://www.britannica.com/topic/St-Lucias-Day

https://www.journeymexico.com/blog/posadas-in-mexico-christmas-tradition

All Things Christmas: Gifts for the Bookworm in Your Life

This is the second week and my second installment in the All Things Christmas blog celebration, where I’m joining with my mom in the celebration of, well, all things Christmas. You can find her latest post for this celebration – our favorite Christmas movies – here.

As my header suggests, this post is about gifts for the bookworm in your life.

Those who create Christmas wish lists are a blessing to those who shop. Others of us, bookworms, specifically, question why wish lists are even important.  Why scribble wishes down when we could be entrenched in a different world? This avoidant behavior aggravates, irritates, and exhausts the poor souls struggling to shop for the bookworm. So, this post is for you poor souls living with a bookworm who won’t take a long enough break from reading to give you even a semblance of a clue to what they want.


Get your bookworm a book

Yes, this is the “no-brainer” of these ideas. But, really, get them a book. I covered just a few of my suggestions in my last post, “Book Ideas for Christmas Gifts“. If you’d like even more book recommendations in a specific genre, feel free to post a comment.

While purchasing your bookworm a book, don’t limit yourself to the latest releases. Look at books that were published a few years back. Or investigate the self-published section. Better yet, purchase your bookworm a classic. Books by Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne are sure to thrill almost every type of bookworm. Louisa May Alcott, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Jane Austen are also authors who have several often unthought-of books that will give you years’ worth of gifts for your bookworm.


Get your bookworm an audio book

There are few things more frustrating to a bookworm than having to put down their book. How will they know if the characters escaped unscathed? How can they focus on anything not knowing if the quest – or whatever the plot is – ends in the characters’ favor? You can ease your bookworm’s fretting by surprising them with an audio book. Granted, not all books are on audio, but there is a fair collection in all genres that are.


Get your bookworm a mug

Even if your bookworm is not a coffee or tea person, it is likely they hot chocolate. So why not get them the perfect mug to drink from while immersing themselves in another world? While mugs with pretty designs are fun to receive, tickle your bookworm even more by finding them a mug that proclaims, well, their bookwormishness.

Amazon, CafePress, and Etsy are three of many places (depending on who you want to support) to find such a mug. And, if you want to spice up the gift even more, throw in a packet of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate powder.


Get your bookworm a shirt

This goes along the same line as the mug idea. Your bookworm can wear their shirt (one specifically for bookworms) everywhere. Amazon, Etsy, Redbubble, and Spreadshirt sell some absolutely hilarious t-shirts for book lovers, that will for sure draw a laugh from your bookworm – if they can tear their eyes away from their latest reading project, that is. And not every author does this, but some do have shirts created specifically for their books.


Get your bookworm a magnetic bookmark

Every bookworm knows there is nothing worse than feeling around for their bookmark, whether it be a scrap of paper, gum wrapper, or whatever else is used to mark the reading spot . And never, EVER, suggest they dogear the page. That is just a monstrously horrific thing to say, and will put you on your bookworm’s bad list, which you’d deserve.  Instead, help your bookworm in their moment of panic by surprising them with a magnetic bookmark.

These handy little bookmarks are colorful, cheery, cute, and the thing that can save your bookworm from resorting to desperate, barbaric measures (like using glasses) to mark their spot. Magnetic bookmarks can be found at your local bookstore.  Amazon, Christian Artgifts, and ChristianBook also carry adorable magnetic bookmarks.


Get your bookworm something from their favorite fandom

This is primarily for those who enjoy speculative fiction. Most Speculative Fiction authors have pens, shirts, bookmarks, bags, and more. This will thrill your bookworm, since there is nothing like proclaiming to the world which fandom they belong to, or which characters they ship. Plus, it’s just too cool for a bookworm to wear a bracelet or sweatshirt stating something along the lines of, “I belong to _____ fandom“. To find fandom pieces for your bookworm, go to the author’s website.


Get your bookworm an autographed copy

You can make your bookworm’s day – and year – by surprising them with an autographed copy of their favorite book. There are two easy ways to do this. For each way, first contact the author.

Way#1: An actual autographed copy. You’ll have to pay postage and handling on top of the book’s actual cost, but authors are always happy to autograph books for their readers. Sometimes publishers also carry autographed copies, so that is another thing to investigate.

Way#2: A signed bookplate. As aforementioned, contact the author. Ask if they would send your bookworm a signed bookplate. A bookplate is a sticker designed with something to do with the fandom on which the author places their autograph. There should be no cost involved.


Get your bookworm a gift card

This is another “genius idea”, but really is the answer to all your problems concerning your bookworm. With a gift card, you don’t have to worry about gifting your bookworm with a book they already have (or worse, one they don’t like). Keep in mind that when considering a gift card for your bookworm, don’t forget about local bookstores.


Get your bookworm a pair of socks

Let me warn you that this is a gift not every bookworm would appreciate (yours truly included). But for those who would, this is a great gift. Surprise your bookworm with a pair of soft, fuzzy socks that they can wear while reading. This will help keep your bookworm comfy and warm. It also helps if said bookworm appreciates “fashionable” clothing, as most fuzzy socks come bearing stripes, polka-dots, geometrical patterns, or prints of little animals. Again, ensure this is something your bookworm will like before selecting this type of gift.


Get your bookworm a notebook and/or pen

The second best thing to reading is smelling the pages of a crisp, new notebook or writing the first word with that new, ink-filled pen. Your bookworm will experience a unique thrill when they behold the gift, and will immediately plan what to put in the notebook with the new pen. Whether or not they will actually write in the notebook is a different topic (hey, some people collect clothes, shoes, chocolate, or guns. Others of us hoard notebooks and writing utensils). Just know that, whatever your bookworm chooses to do with the gift, they will be immensely grateful and thrilled.


Get your bookworm some swag

This happened for my birthday, but my little sister surprised me with swag for Ronie Kendig’s Brand of Light. It’s exciting to receive, and adds a personal feel, as only the author can provide the swag. This can include a bookmark (often autographed), pins, stickers, character cards, candles, maps, and other promotional materials. Contact the author, explain how your bookworm loves their books (don’t you don’t sound like a spammer), and ask if they’d be willing to send some swag. Most authors are delighted to connect in such a way with their readers. Keep in mind that the bookworm should send a note or email of gratitude after receiving their gift.


See? Shopping for your bookworm really isn’t as difficult and impossible as first believed. Whichever gift you choose for your bookworm, whether it be a mug and tea, audio book, or something related to a particular fandom, they are sure to enjoy it. Now you can go forth and shop fearlessly for your bookworm.

If you’ve ever received a book or something book-related for a gift, I’d love to hear about it!

Blood of the Seer Cover Reveal

Today is the cover reveal for C.M. Banschbach’s Blood of the Seer, book two in The Dragon Keep Chronicles.

Isn’t it awesome? I’ve been impatiently waiting for this book, and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

Blood of the Seer releases February 9, 2021.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

C.M. Banschbach is a native Texan and would make an excellent hobbit if she wasn’t so tall. She’s an overall dork, pizza addict, and fangirl. When not writing fantasy stories packed full of adventure and snark, she works as a pediatric Physical Therapist where she happily embraces the fact that she never actually has to grow up. She writes clean YA/MG fantasy-adventure as Claire M. Banschbach

Instagram: @cmbanschbach (https://www.instagram.com/cmbanschbach/)

Facebook: @cmbanschbach (https://www.facebook.com/cmbanschbach)

Website: https://clairembanschbach.com/

Pinterest: @clairebanschbach (https://www.pinterest.com/clairebanschbach)

Email Newsletter Freebie: https://tateauthor.us10.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=5db0817cde53281a40e5ff6a3&id=8d79f331f1


ABOUT THE BOOK

A blood curse.

A shadow world.

An indomitable evil.

A forgotten bond.

Banished for a crime he didn’t commit, Rhys MacDuffy risked his life to rescue the little brother he no longer could claim as his own. Sean, the Seer of Clan MacDuffy, returns from his ordeal to war between the Clans and Lord Adam Barkley. Moreover, the Clan Lords refuse to lift the exile on Rhys. No outcast has ever been forgiven.

But the druids who held Sean captive have taken the key to controlling his powers—his blood. Rhys determines to keep his brother safe no matter the cost. Heedless of the war, he leads his rowdy band of Mountain Brigands on a hunt to destroy the druids before they destroy Sean with their dark magic.

The druids force Sean into a shadow world full of demons and danger, where their menacing god Deronis can consume him. Yet Rhys is able to follow Sean into the other world. There they discover an older magic that might be the key to stopping the druids.

The bond of brotherhood between Rhys and Sean runs deep. But is it strong enough to stand against the druid’s blood god?


ORDER LINKS

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QGFCCT8/

 https://www.draft2digital.com/book/645703

Autographed paperback: https://uncommonuniverses.com/product/blood-of-the-seer-autographed-paperback/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QGFCCT8/

Universal buy link for Nook/Kobo/etc.: https://books2read.com/u/3JXGxP


SPECIAL PREORDER GIVEAWAY

The author is doing a special preorder giveaway. For details and to see the awesome goodies included, click here.

All Things Christmas: Book Ideas for Christmas Gifts

For the next few weeks, my mom and I are joining forces to bring you the All Things Christmas blog celebration. We’ll be posting about the best Christmas songs, Christmas gift ideas, and more.

This is the second installment (you can find the first here), and features book ideas for Christmas gifts. There is something for every reader of every fictional genre. Please note that some books are not suitable for younger readers due to suspenseful content that may include violence.


HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Not by Sight by Kate Breslin

BRESLIN_FARSIDE_NEW1.indd

With Britain caught up in WWI, Jack Benningham, heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, has declared himself a conscientious objector. Instead, he secretly works for the Crown by tracking down German spies on British soil, his wild reputation and society status serving as a foolproof cover.

Blinded by patriotism and concern for her brother on the front lines, wealthy suffragette Grace Mabry will do whatever it takes to assist her country’s cause. When she sneaks into a posh London masquerade ball to hand out white feathers of cowardice, she never imagines the chain of events she’ll set off when she hands a feather to Jack.

And neither of them could anticipate the extent of the danger and betrayal that follows them–or the faith they’ll need to maintain hope.

Kaydie by Penny Zeller – Book #2 in the Montana Skies Historical Romance Series

For the first time in years, Kaydie Worthington Kraemer can breathe easily. Although she is still haunted by memories of her abusive husband, Darius, she takes comfort in knowing the man is dead. Staying with her sister McKenzie and brother-in-law Zach Sawyer at their ranch, Kaydie is still wary of men, especially now that she has another life inside of her to guard. As she looks forward to her baby’s birth, she builds a protective wall around herself that won’t be easy to tear down.

Ranch hand Jonah Dickenson views his boss, Zach, like a brother. He does not, however, envy Zach’s new role as a husband. Deserted by his mother at a young age and forever despised and rejected by his own father, Jonah has few close relationships. But there’s something about Kaydie that draws him to her and makes him question his decision to remain a bachelor. When Cedric Van Aulst, an old friend of Kaydie’s, comes to town, an unforeseen prospect of marriage arises. Cedric is someone Kaydie trusts. Will she settle for a safe union with him, or can she trust God to guard her heart and her life in the arms of Jonah?

Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher – Book #2 in Where the Heart Lives Series

Betrayal

It’s the turn of the twentieth century and drifter Hugh Brennan is a man well acquainted with betrayal. Hugh finds himself drawn to the attractive widow, Julia, yet when he looks into her eyes, he recognizes the same hurt that haunts him.

Julia Grace has little reason to trust men, but she’s going to have to trust someone if she’s to keep her ranch from the clutches of her dead husband’s half-brother. Is it possible God had a hand in bringing Hugh to her door?

The latest historical romance from award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher and the second book in the Where the Heart Lives series, Betrayal will take you to the high desert of western Wyoming, through the crags of the Rocky Mountains, and into the hearts of two seekers learning to trust God’s love no matter the circumstances.

Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma

SnowNEW

In the twilight of the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands, the Germans have taken everything Cornelia had to give, even what was most precious to her. Now Gerrit Laninga—a man who puts God and country above all else—arrives at her house, needing help. She is terrified for herself and terrified for her family, but most of all, terrified of the pain she might feel again if she allows herself to love Gerrit. Her hope is to be free from her paralyzing fear. Gerrit is a known and hunted Dutch Resistance member. When he comes to Cornelia’s home for shelter, he’s drawn to her strength and kindness. When he asks her to contact the local Resistance on his behalf, she refuses. Gerrit is determined to find a way to continue his underground work without putting Cornelia or her family in harm’s way. When things start to unravel and Gerrit’s life depends on her actions, she must summon her courage and learn to depend on the perfect love that drives out all fear. But will her new love be snatched away before it has a chance to bloom?

The Secret Admirer Romance Collection

Shy Expressions of Love Lead to Nine Historical Romances

Declaring one’s love can be hard—even risky—especially when faced with some of life’s greatest challenges. Separated by class, time, distance, and more, some loves must remain secret until the time is right. Instead, notes of affection, acts of kindness, gifts of admiration, and lots of prayer are circulated. From New England mansions to homestead hovels, love is quietly being nourished and waiting for the right time to be revealed. But when love can finally be boldly expressed, will it be received by love in return?

The Underground Railroad Brides Collection

9 Couples Navigate the Road to Freedom Before the Civil War

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

All Things Hidden by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse

All Things Hidden

Gwyn Hillerman loves being a nurse at her father’s clinic on the beautiful Alaskan frontier. But family life has been rough ever since her mother left them, disdaining the uncivilized country and taking Gwyn’s younger sister with her.

In Chicago, Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan finds his life suddenly turned upside down when his medical license is stripped away after an affluent patient dies. In a snowball effect, his fiance breaks their engagement. In an attempt to bury the past, Jeremiah accepts Dr. Hillerman’s invitation to join his growing practice in the isolated Alaska Territory.

Gwyn and Jeremiah soon recognize a growing attraction to each other. But when rumors of Jeremiah’s past begin to surface, they’ll need more than love to face the threat of an uncertain future.

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California by Kelli Gwyn

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California

An ever-resourceful widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the street. Is this town big enough for the two of them? Miles can’t help but stick his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business? Miles’s mother, Maude, is bent on Elenora becoming her new daughter-in-law while Elenora’s daughter, Tildy, thinks Miles would make a perfect papa. How far will these meddlers go to unite this enterprising pair?

The Cactus Creek Challenge by Erica Vetsch – Book#1 in Cactus Creek Challenge

The Cactus Creek Challenge (Cactus Creek Challenge, #1)

Anything he can do, I can do better.

At least that was what Cassie Bucknell thought before she pinned on Ben Wilder’s badge and took to patrolling the streets of Cactus Creek, Texas. Cassie has been in love with Ben since primer school, but Ben treats her like a little sister. When they are picked to swap jobs for a month as part of the annual Cactus Creek Challenge in their Texas hometown, the schoolhouse is thrown into an uproar, the jail becomes a temporary bank vault, and Cassie and Ben square off in a battle of wills that becomes a battle for their hearts.

Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Echoes of Mercy

When a suspicious accident occurs at the Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, in 1904, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate. Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father.


STEAMPUNK

Tainted by Morgan L. Busse – Book#1 Soul Chronicles

Tainted (Soul Chronicles, #1)

What Happens When Your Soul Dies?

Kat Bloodmayne is one of the first women chosen to attend the Tower Academy of Sciences. But she carries a secret: she can twist the natural laws of science. She has no idea where this ability came from, only that every time she loses control and unleashes this power, it kills a part of her soul. If she doesn’t find a cure soon, her soul will die and she will become something else entirely.

After a devastating personal loss, Stephen Grey leaves the World City Police Force to become a bounty hunter. He believes in justice and will stop at nothing to ensure criminals are caught and locked up. However, when Kat Bloodmayne shows up in his office seeking his help, his world is turned upside down.

Together they search World City and beyond for a doctor who can cure Kat. But what they discover on the way goes beyond science and into the dark sphere of magic.


DYSTOPIAN

The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe ParnellThe Rogues Book#1

The Revisionary (The Rogues, #1)

A Revisionary rewrites the rules. A Rogue breaks them. Which one is she?

Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy accepts her Revisionary draft to the Crystal Globe with one goal: earn a Dome seat so she can amend the satellite rules and rescue her brother. Her plan derails when Head Gage Eliab brands her as a suspect in a campus Rogue attack, and in a quest to clear her name, she questions if the vigilante Brotherhood responsible might be fighting for a cause greater than itself, a cause championed by the last civilization. But the current leaders have obscured history’s pages, and if she dares to engage the past through her training technology, they might wipe her own memory as well.

Her shifting loyalties pit her against Luther Danforth, her Court Citizen ally who believes in reform, not revolution. Joining the Brotherhood makes a future with him impossible—and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or to break them.


SUSPENSE

If I Run by Terri Blackstock – If I Run, #1

If I Run (If I Run, #1)

Casey knows the truth.

But it won’t set her free.


Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan – Atlanta Justice #1

Deadly Proof (Atlanta Justice, #1)

In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything—even murder—to keep the case from going to trial.

Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins

Over the Edge

Torn from the front lines of medical debate and the author’s own experience with Lyme Disease, Over the Edge is riveting fiction, full of twists and turns—and powerful truths about today’s medical field.

Janessa McNeil’s husband, Dr. Brock McNeil, a researcher and professor at Stanford University’s Department of Medicine, specializes in tick-borne diseases—especially Lyme. For years he has insisted that Chronic Lyme Disease doesn’t exist. Even as patients across the country are getting sicker, the committee Brock chairs is about to announce its latest findings—which will further seal the door shut for Lyme treatment.

One embittered man sets out to prove Dr. McNeil wrong by giving him a close-up view of the very disease he denies. The man infects Janessa with Lyme, then states his demand: convince her husband to publicly reverse his stand on Lyme—or their young daughter will be next.

But Janessa’s marriage is already rocky. She’s so sick she can hardly move or think. And her husband denies she has Lyme at all.

Welcome to the Lyme wars, Janessa.

Vendetta by Lisa Harris – The Nikki Boyd Files, Book#1

Vendetta (The Nikki Boyd Files, #1)

No one needs to push Nikki Boyd to excel on the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force. The case of her own missing sister, still unsolved after ten years, is the driving force in her work. When a Polaroid photo of a missing girl shows up at a crime scene, Nikki quickly recognizes similarities to the past. The closer she gets to the abductor, the more she feels this case has become personal, and she is not the hunter . . . but the hunted.

With this explosive first book in The Nikki Boyd Files, award-winning author Lisa Harris takes you on a fast-paced pursuit of justice that will have you holding your breath until the heart-stopping finish.

Cold Aim by Janice Cantore – Line of Duty Book#3

Cold Aim (The Line of Duty #3)

Police Chief Tess O’Rourke’s small town is still reeling from a devastating fire when the FBI asks for help: Could she shelter a witness in a high-profile human trafficking case? Initially reluctant to put the townspeople of Rogue’s Hollow at risk, Tess is swayed after she sees Pastor Oliver Macpherson’s genuine conviction to rescue those in need, a trait in him she’s coming to love more each day.

Tess’s fledgling faith is tested when crews of workmen from out of town come in to assist with the fire cleanup and she worries that one of these strangers might shine a light on things best kept hidden. Neither she nor Oliver knows that Rogue’s Hollow is already home to a suspect from a twenty-five-year-old murder case . . . and someone is taking cold aim at those Tess is sworn to protect.

Deep Extraction by Diann Mills – FBI Task Force Book#2

Deep Extraction

A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a perfect means of execution. Special Agent Tori Templeton teams up with US Marshall Cole Jeffers to investigate Nathan’s murder and whether it’s connected to a recent bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs. The closer they get to finding the killer, and to each other, the more intent someone is in silencing them for good.


FAIRY TALE RETELLINGS

Wrought of Silver and Ravens by E.J. Kitchens

Wrought of Silver and Ravens

Athdar Owain is a hunted wanderer, one determined to keep his secrets and the treasure he carries safe at all costs. When he rescues the Kingdom of Giliosthay’s prince from raiders, he’s rewarded by being forced into the king’s elite Silver Guard. While this gives Athdar a temporary home and some protection from those hunting him, it also makes him responsible for the young prince, who still bears curses from the raiders, and seven enchantress princesses with curses as mysterious and dangerous as their brother’s.

Princess Thea of Giliosthay is a Realm Walker. Betrayed by a trusted guard, her rare gift of enchantment is used to curse her brother and trap herself and her six sisters into a nightly dance with dragons in a secret Realm. The Realm’s prince has the ability to take and twist her magic for his own purposes, and Thea fears what those might be. For when one dances with a prince, a kingdom might be at stake.

Athdar alone can save them, but to trust enchanters is to risk exposure. And Athdar isn’t sure where his loyalties lie.

Wrought of Silver and Ravens is a clean Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling set in The Magic Collectors story world.

Dagger’s Sleep by Tricia Mingerink – Beyond the Tales Book#1

Dagger's Sleep: A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty (Beyond the Tales #1)

A prince cursed to sleep.
A princess destined to wake him.
A kingdom determined to stop them.

High Prince Alexander has been cursed to a sleep like unto death, a curse that will end the line of the high kings and send the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia into chaos. With his manservant to carry his luggage and his own superior intelligence to aid him, Alex sets off to find one of the Fae and end his curse one way or another.

A hundred years later, Princess Rosanna learns she is the princess destined by the Highest King to wake the legendary sleeping prince. With the help of the mysterious Daemyn Rand, can she find the courage to finish the quest as Tallahatchia wavers on the edge of war?

One curse connects them. A hundred years separate them. From the rushing rivers of Tallahatchia’s mountains to the hall of the Highest King himself, their quests will demand greater sacrifice than either of them could imagine.

The Dark King’s Curse by Wyn Estelle Owens

The Dark King's Curse

A darkness seems to hang over the lands of Conall, slowly but surely growing in strength with each passing year.
It all comes to a head when the twelve daughters of King Muir begin to disappear each night. None will admit where they go, and the only clue is their shoes; new in the evening, tattered and torn by morning.
When no one can stop the disappearances, Ailsa–lady-in-waiting to the youngest princess–volunteers to try and solve the mystery, or she and her peers will pay the consequences for failing to watch over their charges.
Armed with nothing but her gift of Fae-sight, Ailsa ventures forth on a quest to free her lady and the other princesses. With the help of an grumpy, glamoured gardener, a cursed faerie cat, and the mysterious Lord of Autumn, she may discover both the secrets and the truth behind the Dark King that lies at the root of the curse.

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

The Princess Spy (Hagenheim, #5)

Margaretha has always been a romantic and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to the castle, claiming to be an English lord who was left for dead by Claybrook’s men. She convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger, until Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only does she tend to talk too much, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. But she soon discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. She soon finds herself running for her life—and it may be up to her to save her father and her family from one man’s wicked plot.


CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

Can mysterious matchmaking booksellers bring two lonely hearts together in time for Christmas?
 
In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season. Searching for a perfect gift, a fortuitous trip to Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad’s (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derrick. And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.
 
Every year, the matchmaking booksellers of the Sage Street bookshop host an enchanting, old-fashioned Christmas Ball for the romantic matches they’ve decided to bring together.
 
This year, will Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith? Or will the matchmakers’ best laid plans end up ruining everything this holiday?


SCIENCE FICTION/SUPERNATURAL

The Word Reclaimed by Steve Rzasa – The Face of the Deep Book#1

The Word Reclaimed (The Face of the Deep): Rzasa, Steve: 9781683700180:  Amazon.com: Books

Baden picked up the wrong book In the far future, the civilized worlds have finally been freed of the curse of religion. Tolerance now rules the five colonies. Thanks to the secret police, no one has been bothered by so much as a hymn in two generations-much less a Torah, Koran, or that most dangerous of books, a Bible. Baden is a teenager with an attitude. He spends his spare time salvaging wrecks in deep space, claiming for himself whatever the pirates leave behind. One day, Baden finds a book. A strange and very old book, preserved carefully against the ravages of deep space. Thinking he’ll become rich if only for the value of the paper, he takes it. He counts himself lucky beyond all imagining. Until it begins talking to him. Amidst an interstellar war that threatens to overthrow the monarchy and drive great families to oblivion, Baden must evade the secret police and their attempts to get that book. Baden never had much use for religion. But it seems one has use of him.

Edge of Oblivion by Joshua A Johnston – The Chronicles of Sarco Book#1

Edge of Oblivion (The Chronicles of Sarco, #1)

A Forgotten Past. A Terminal Future.

Earth has emerged from a cataclysmic dark age with little knowledge of its past. Aided by the discovery of advanced alien technology, humanity ventures into the stars, joining other sentient races in a sprawling, prosperous interstellar Confederacy.

That peace is soon shattered. Without warning, the Confederacy comes under attack by an unstoppable alien force from the unknown regions. With hopes for civilization’s survival dwindling, Commander Jared Carter is sent to pursue an unlikely lead: a collection of ancient alien religious fragments which may – or may not – hold the key to their salvation…

Book one of The Chronicles of Sarco series.

Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black – Wars of the Realm Book#1

Cloak of the Light (Wars of the Realm, #1)

Tragedy and heartache seem to be waiting for Drew Carter at every turn. Sydney Carlyle, a mysterious and elusive girl offers encouragement through her faith, but Drew is too logical and scientific to believe that her prayer of healing was anything but coincidental in the restoration of his eyesight. As his sight returns, he discovers that the accident has heightened his neuron activity, giving him skills and sight beyond the normal man. When he begins to see fierce invaders that no one else can see, he questions his own sanity, and so do others. But is he insane or do the invaders truly exist? The only one who can help him, his genius friend Benjamin Berg, has disappeared. In Drew’s quest to find Ben, he discovers that the invaders themselves are at war, for his efforts to thwart the devastating actions caused by the dark invaders are aided by invaders with a different nature. Time grows short as the dark invaders close in on Drew. With skills that no other man possesses, and help from Benjamin and Sydney, Drew initiates a plan to expose the invaders to the world.

Hideous Beauty by Jack Cavanaugh – Kingdom Wars Book#1

Hideous Beauty: Kingdom Wars Series, Book One #1: Jack Cavanaugh:  9781683701675 - Christianbook.com

This isn’t the world you think it is…

Every day they slip across our borders to infiltrate our government, our schools, our neighborhoods.

Homeland security can’t stop them.

The armed forces are no threat to them.

Powerful and unseen, they cannot be stopped.

They have been doing this for millennia.

On what should have been the best day of his life, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Grant Austin learns of a plan to assassinate the president of the United States. Every attempt to sound the alarm is thwarted, and Grant soon finds himself at the center of an even greater battle that predates time as he stands alone against ancient powers and unspeakable evil — evil that can only be described as a hideous beauty.


FANTASY

Hidden Current by Sharon Hinck – The Dancing Realms Book#1

Hidden Current (The Dancing Realms, #1)

The dancers of the Order direct their floating world of Meriel with their movements, but are they steering it toward destruction?

Calara spent her life learning dance patterns and seeking to become the perfect servant to her people. When she discovers the work of the Order is built on lies, she flees with a rough-edged herder, Brantley of Windswell. Pursued by soldiers, her journey through the suffering villages of the rim leads her to a forgotten truth that sends ripples through her world-and through her soul.

Calara seeks clues to her forgotten family and discovers newfound courage in the face of danger, while her quest awakens a growing but forbidden affection for Brantley. Yet even his support can’t fully be trusted, since he’d rather destroy the Order than bring reform.

She is a lone woman facing opposition from rim villages and treachery from the all-powerful Order. Can she restore the dance to its true purpose and bring freedom and hope to her people?

The Tethered World by Heather L.L. FitzGerald – The Tethered World Chronicles #1

The Tethered World (The Tethered World Chronicles, #1)

“Normal” means different things to different people. For sixteen-year-old Sadie Larcen, family dynamics look a little different than most. Parents with oddball occupations? Normal. Five homeschooled siblings—one with autism? Normal.

Police knocking on the door and parents gone missing? Definitely not normal!

When Sadie uncovers the reasons behind her parents’ disappearance and the truth about her heritage, she despairs of ever feeling normal again. Especially when she learns that her mother’s interest in Bigfoot, Dwarves, and other lore extends beyond her popular blog. Sadie’s family has been entrusted with keeping the secrets of the Tethered World—home to creatures that once roamed the Garden of Eden.
Sadie and her siblings must venture into this land to rescue their parents. Stepping out of reality and into a world she never knew existed is a journey Sadie fears and resents. But she chooses to risk all to save her family.
She’s just not sure she will survive in the process.

Keeper of Shadows by Bridgett Powers

Keeper of Shadows

A light-bearer with limited vision. A prisoner with wings. Can two cursed souls defeat the forces of darkness?

Noire hates the magic that cursed his family and trapped him in the form of a raven. But to break the spell, he’s willing to do anything, even if it means striking a bargain with the cruel sorceress Venefica. After agreeing to destroy the one person who threatens Venefica’s dark power, he seeks out the key ingredient for a curse of life-altering pain…

Lyssanne has never let diminished vision interfere with her teaching or storytelling. But when mind-numbing pain robs her of the strength to continue, some townsfolk question her usefulness to the village. Unsure where to turn, Lyssanne witnesses a terrifying sight: a shadowy mist, which only she can see, sending a beloved student into a frightful rage. When she tries to warn her people of a sinister force on the prowl, the villagers cast her out into the wilds…

As Lyssanne struggles to survive the elements, Noire plans his deadly attack. Stalking her every move, the raven has second thoughts about ending her life, even though failure would doom his people. But every moment he delays brings Lyssanne one step closer to wielding her gift of light. Can she discover her destiny before the entire realm falls to dark magic?

Keeper of Shadows is the riveting first novel in the Light-wielder Chronicles, a series of inspirational fantasy novels with Christian themes. If you like life-and-death adventures, classic fairy tales, and clean romance, then you’ll love Bridgett Powers’ enchanting epic.

Buy Keeper of Shadows today to discover the fine line between light and darkness…

A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr – The Staff and Sword Book#1

A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword, #1)

The Fate of the Kingdom Awaits the Cast of Stones
In the backwater village of Callowford, roustabout Errol Stone is enlisted by a church messenger arriving with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Eager for coin, Errol agrees to what he thinks will be an easy task, but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he’s joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.
Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom’s dynasty nears its end and the selection of the new king begins–but in secret and shadow. As danger mounts, Errol must leave behind the stains and griefs of the past, learn to fight, and discover who is hunting him and his companions and how far they will go to stop the reading of the stones.

Resistance by Jaye L. Knight – Ilyon Chronicles Book#1

Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles, #1)

“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

Orphan’s Song by Gillian Bronte Adams – The Songkeeper Chronicles Book#1

Orphan's Song (The Songkeeper Chronicles, #1)

Who Will Keep the Song Alive?

Every generation has a Songkeeper – one chosen to keep the memory of the Song alive. And in every generation, there are those who seek to destroy the chosen one.

When Birdie’s song draws the attention of a dangerous Khelari soldier, she is kidnapped and thrust into a world of ancient secrets and betrayals. Rescued by her old friend, traveling peddler Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees the clutches of her enemies in pursuit of the truth behind the Song’s power.

Ky is a street–wise thief and a member of the Underground—a group of orphans banded together to survive . . . and to fight the Khelari. Haunted by a tragic raid, Ky joins Birdie and Amos in hopes of a new life beyond the reach of the soldiers. But the enemy is closing in, and when Amos’ shadowed past threatens to undo them all, Birdie is forced to face the destiny that awaits her as the Songkeeper of Leira. Book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles.


Here you have it – a semi-detailed list of books in most fictional genres (trust me when I say “semi-detailed”. Mom asked if I was inserting the entire library). Books make delightful gifts, so don’t forget to get one as a Christmas gift, whether for someone you love or yourself.

What is a book you’ve received as a gift?

Love and Memory Cover Reveal+Mini Author Interview+Snippet+More

Today is the cover reveal for Kendra E. Ardnek’s Love and Memory (technically, the official cover reveal was yesterday, but I was too busy stuffing myself with pumpkin pie).


—– About the Author —–

Kendra E. Ardnek is the self-proclaimed Arista of Fairy Tales. She lives in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her dragon babies and massive herd of mini-giraffes, and she is still waiting for one of of her fifty nutcrackers to come to life and marry her. When not writing, you can usually find her sitting in a random box, and she’s frequently known to act before she thinks. Find her online at: Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || YouTube || Newsletter || Instagram || TikTok || Amazon


—– About the Book ——

Release Date: April 19th, 2021

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08CSYSSXS/ Add Book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/…/s…/50512612-the-dancing-princess

Book Description: The Rizkaland Legends #3

When a Queen forgets,

Her enemies rejoice in her weakness.

But when the Queen remembers,

They tremble in fear.

When a King loves,

His country rejoices with him.

But when that love is broken.

The land is broken, too.

Can Water and Fire join again?

Can Love and Memory be restored?

They spent years in Rizkaland. They ruled the land, forged friendships, built families, and made it their home. But then it was time to return to Earth, and their former lives just don’t fit anymore. Clara and Andrew struggle to reevaluate their priorities when hundreds of miles separate them. Reuben and Petra are lost as they seek a balance between their old friendship and their Rizkan marriage. And Ashna and Noraeto never planned to return, so what live is there for them on Earth?

When the unthinkable happens and a new enemy arises, they’re all thrown back into Rizkaland, into a young prince’s rise to power and struggle to build alliances for his kingdom. But they no longer belong in their other world, either.

Are good memories too much to bear?


—– Cover Reveal —–


—— Mini Author Interview ——-

What is your go-to space for writing?

I don’t really have one? Honestly, I will write anywhere, and I frequently change it up, as sameyness can actually make it harder for me to write.

Words of wisdom for those who are just starting out on the path? 

Don’t rush. It can be so tempting to want to be at the end of the road now, but take it one day at a time and enjoy the journey. And there is no one-size-fits all path to take as an author. 

Do you focus on one project at a time or do you have multiple projects going simultaneously?

I have three notebooks that I carry around in just my purse, and there are about ten more that I keep in my backpack. So … I’m a bit of a scatterbrain?


——- Book Snippet ——-

“Your sister was a lot younger than I am,” Petra countered. “As for the prophecy, it’s clearly about the Water Princess and Fire Prince, and you’ll be here to keep an eye on them.”

“But how am I to do that when you’re not here at my side?”

Petra sighed, rolling her eyes to the ceiling. “Reuben, you are perfectly capable on your own—”

Not when I’m worrying about you.

Petra rolled her eyes again. “You are perfectly capable on your own,” she repeated, “you don’t need to worry about me, and I’m going to be back before you can blink.”


—– Villain Inspiration/Spotlight-ish thing ——

Most people share pictures of their heroes, heroines, or adorable secondary characters. But what everyone wants to see is a pic of the villain, amIright? So, without further ado, here’s inspiration for one of Kendra’s dastardly villains.

https://i.pinimg.com/236x/7e/5f/e4/7e5fe4151fbeffcad8c457f2e9e8e794.jpg
So, um, as the description implies, there’s a new villain (or couple of villains) running amok for this book, and this was one of the first pics I pinned to get an idea of their look when I was plotting them.

—– Black Friday Sale —–

For Black Friday, Kendra is offering a few different sales and freebies. This ends on Cyber Monday.

For Black Friday and in honor of this cover reveal, I am offering book one, Water Princess, Fire Prince as a FREE ebook on Amazon, and book 2, Lady Dragon, Tela Du, is just 99 cents! And, furthermore, I am offering Broken, which is part 1 of Love and Memory, for free as well as an early read! This sale is part of Perry Kirkpatrick’s Black Friday Sale, so do go check out all of the other books on offer for 99 cents or less!


Check out the other blogs/bloggers participating in the “Love and Memory Cover Reveal” for more interview questions, snippets, and information.

Dreams and Dragons

Light and Shadows

Reality Reflected

Letters From Annie

C.O. Bonham

Kelsey’s Notebook

Rachel Rossano

Living Outside the Lines

The Rambling Rose

Written Rest

Once Upon an Ordinary

Preacher on the Run Blog Tour | Author Interview + Book Review + Giveaway

I am thrilled to be the second stop for the Preacher on the Run Blog Tour, which spotlights author Jayna Baas and Preacher on the Run, the first book in her For Liberty and Conscience trilogy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jayna Baas (pronounced as in “baa, baa, black sheep”) lives in northern Michigan with a great family of real people and the family of pretend people who live in her head. (Yes, she does know her characters are not real. No, she does not want you to tell them she said so.) She is notorious for working on several projects at once and writing her series in the wrong order. She hones her craft amid loud southern gospel music and an embarrassing number of composition books, and is convinced God wired her to write—she can’t not write, even though she believes German writer Thomas Mann was correct in saying, “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for other people.” She enjoys writing and reading in a wide range of genres, but her favorite story is this: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Website: www.booksbyjayna.com
Email: booksbyjayna@gmail.com
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC14TaaJzTh23lKyhcZ-f01w
Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGbr9x2sCyU
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0872HCZ2V
Newsletter Signup: https://forms.gle/cZXvq45Ubd6iiubLA


ABOUT THE SERIES

Preacher on the Run is the first book (hopefully!) of the For Liberty & Conscience trilogy, which combines North Carolina Revolution-era history with Christ-centered fiction: page-turning stories of Christian people living Christian lives in the daring era of America’s beginnings.


ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s 1771, and North Carolina preacher Robert Boothe has spent four years leading the tyrant-hating Regulators against the corrupt British government. All he wants is a safe place for his family and church to live and worship in freedom. But the established church wants him to shut up. The governor’s men want him dead. Colonel Charles Drake is on Robert’s trail, and that safe place is farther and farther away. You can run,
but you can’t hide . . .

____

I know I already posted the link to the book trailer, but guys… it’s just too good not to post again. So, here it is!


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What is your go-to space for writing?
I carry a notebook everywhere, but most of my serious writing happens when I’m either sitting on my bed or sitting at my desk.

What munchies do you like to snack on while writing?
Coffee! I don’t usually eat while I work, but it feels wrong to sit at my laptop without a mug of coffee.

What is your favorite genre to read?
I like historical fiction (depending on the era), some contemporary/literary fiction, and some suspense/mysteries—nothing too gruesome. Christian romance, too, but only if I’m in the mood.

Words of wisdom for those who are just starting out on the path?
Don’t rush the process. If I could go back in time and give myself some advice, this would be it. I wrote so many things I was sure were best-sellers just waiting to be published! Now I’m really glad God didn’t open the doors until my style had been refined.

What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
Writing myself into a corner and trying to get back out.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Finding a way out of the corner I just wrote myself into!

Tell us a bit about your typical (if there is such a thing as typical) day.
I’m not very scheduled, but if it’s a “writing day,” I set aside a block of time in midmorning and work until lunchtime. I’m a night owl, so any other writing is generally last thing at night—which can lead to sleep deprivation. 😉 If I have something I absolutely have to get done (like doing interviews for blog tours!) I’ll work on it throughout the day as I have time.

You just finished your book several days before your deadline. How will you celebrate or reward yourself?
Deadline? What’s that? 🙂 Just kidding. When I finish a major accomplishment, I’ll call or text my “support team” and share the news. I might use it as an excuse to stop at the coffee shop for a latte.

Do you focus on one project at a time or do you have multiple projects going simultaneously?
Well, I try to focus on one. But sometimes it’s helpful to have something else to play with if I get really stuck. I only have one “official” project right now, but there are a few smaller things I like to putter on. I also have a bad habit of working on later books in my series before the first books are done.

What was your favorite subject(s) in school?
Creative writing (big surprise!), human anatomy/physiology, and a study of the United States Constitution.

Speaking of books, what is your favorite book of the Bible?
Ooo, hard question! Right now it’s probably the book of Ephesians, or maybe Colossians. But it changes quite often.

What project(s) are you currently working on?
The sequel to Preacher on the Run is getting toward the end of drafting, and I have a third book in mind to complete the trilogy. I’ve started rewriting some youth fiction I wrote several years ago. I’m also playing around with a story about a writer who gets hired to create six characters for a top-secret assignment, but that’s pretty low-priority right now.

How do you select the names of your characters?
Sometimes they just pop into my head and are an immediate fit. Sometimes they’re inspired by someone I know. I also read the baby name book a lot. Historical petitions, with their long lists of signers, are a good source for period names.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Reading authors whose writing styles have a negative effect on mine.

On average, how long does it take you to write the first draft of a book?
Some of my early fiction was drafted in a few months. But it also wasn’t very deep! Now it’s more like a year or two.

Has there been one particular person who has been a major source of influence for one of your characters?
I have a couple of favorite gospel singers who triggered my visualizations of Robert and Mitchell Boothe. Otherwise I don’t usually base my characters on real people.

How do you get inspiration to write?
Sometimes it comes through a particularly striking scene in someone else’s writing. Even a line or two may spark my imagination. I might listen to songs that seem to fit the theme of my project. Some of my best ideas have come while I’m vacuuming or doing other housework. I’m ashamed to admit, it took me a long time to realize I could pray for specific guidance on difficult scenes—after all, if God gave me the talent, He’ll help me
use it.


BOOK REVIEW

Title: Preacher on the Run: A Novel of the Regulator Uprising (For Liberty and Conscience #1)

Author: Jayna Baas

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction (not Romance)

Length: 326

Age Range: 13+ or parental guidance (violence)

Paperback (direct from author): https://www.booksbyjayna.com/bookstore

eBook (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0872FQL8G or search “Jayna Baas” on Amazon


About:

North Carolina, 1771

Robert Boothe has spent the last four years leading the tyrant-hating Regulators in standing against North Carolina’s corrupt British government. Just being an unlicensed dissenter preacher is enough to make Robert a target, but he refuses to back down from his conscience. Aside from a sympathetic court justice, the village of Ayen Ford has no other champion for its poor and defenseless.

Then Charles Drake, emissary of His Excellence William Tryon, comes to town with one ambition: winning the governor’s favor, no matter what it takes. And Robert Boothe just might be his last chance.

All Robert wants is a safe place for his little Baptist church to live and worship God. But the established church wants him to shut up. The governor’s men want him dead. And that safe place is farther and farther away.

You can run, but you can’t hide…


Positive Elements:

Characters do everything they can to help and protect others, even at personal risk.


Negative Elements:

None.


Spiritual Elements:

Characters are pastors; a character wants to live his life for the Lord; characters pray; there are multiple discussions about the Bible and God; the Bible is quoted; there is a strong salvation message; Baptism is explained; trusting God is discussed.


Violence:

Characters are arrested on false charges; characters are hunted; homes are ransacked; villages are destroyed; characters are physically harmed and ambushed; characters get in fights; it is insinuated someone is shot with an arrow; possessions are stolen; battles are waged; characters discuss their pasts; gunfire is exchanged; characters are shot; it is mentioned rebel leaders are hanged; a character kills another in self-defense.


Other:

Characters kiss.


Rating:

5 Stars.


Conclusion:

I love history, and was delighted when Jayna asked me to be part of the blog tour. Preacher on the Run can be intense at times as characters flee for their lives, fight injustices, and struggle to reconcile their desire for freedom from tyrannical leadership with their faith. Faith plays a colossal role, and gives Preacher on the Run a raw edge as characters are faced with the head knowledge that they’re supposed to trust God and the heart knowledge that it is not as easy as it sounds.

The banter between Robert and Mitchell was endearing, and something I, as the oldest sibling, could well identify with. And the history. Oh, the history. I knew about preachers and pastors who were hunted and punished by the state church for not registering and being beneath the state’s thumb, but I always thought of it happening primarily in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Reading Preacher not only advanced my knowledge of this rich historical period, but it reminded me how valuable our freedoms are, and how easily we can lose them.

Intense, delightful, raw, and emotional, Preacher on the Run is definitely on my TRA (to read again) list.



GIVEAWAY

To enter, go here.


BLOG TOUR ITINERARY

Week One 

Yesterday (Nov 2): Leona @ Great Books for God’s Girls (http://www.greatbooksforgodsgirls.wordpress.com) Guest post, excerpt 

Today (Nov 3): Madi @ Madi’s Musings (https://madismusingsblog.wordpress.com/) Book review, interview 

Nov 4: Kaitlyn @ Maidens for Modesty (http://www.maidensformodesty.com) Book review, guest post 

Nov 5: Laura @ Beautiful Things (https://beautifulthingsbylaura.com/

Book spotlight 

Nov 6: Malachi @ Brainstorms With Rain (http://brainstormswithrain.wordpress.com) Excerpt 

Week Two 

Nov 9: Abby Rose @ Photos by Abby Rose (https://photosbyabbyrose.com/) Book review 

Nov 10: Kelsey @ Kelsey’s Notebook (https://kelseysnotebookblog.blogspot.com/) Guest post, excerpt 

Nov 11: Lauren @ Novels That Encourage (https://www.novelsthatencourage.com.au) Book review, interview, exclusive ebook giveaway 

Nov 12: Abigail @ Read Review Rejoice (http://readreviewrejoice.com/) Excerpt, book spotlight 

Nov 13: Callie @ An Unfinished Story (https://anunfinishedstory.home.blog) Book review

Week Three 

Nov 16: Tara @ Tower in the Plains (http://www.towerintheplains.wordpress.com) Book review 

Nov 17: Kelly-Ann @ Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama  (https://www.musingsofasassybookishmama.com/) Excerpt 

Nov 18: Kassie @ Soldier Girl Stories (http://soldiergirlstories.com) Book review 

Nov 19: Natalie @ Kenmore Pines 1 (https://kenmorepines.wordpress.com/) Book review, interview 

Nov 20: Michaela @ Tangled Up in Writing (https://tangledupinwriting.com) Book review, excerpt, guest post 

Tour Wrap-Up 

Nov 21: Giveaway winners announced in Rafflecopter widget and on Books by Jayna (https://www.booksbyjayna.com)

Viridian Dreams

Title: Viridian Dreams (releases November 1)

Author: Liz Henderson

Age: YA

Available: Amazon and the author’s website


About:

Ezra is eagerly waiting to find out if he’s been accepted into university. He believes that it’s the only way he can make a positive impact on the world. But when the letters arrive, they’re all rejections. Devastated by the turn of events, he goes for a walk to clear his mind, accidentally stumbling through a Gateway to the planet Chromvah. The guardian angels living there reveal that the Gateways between Chromvah and Earth have all disappeared, so Ezra is trapped. Without a way to make difference back home, does it even matter that he’s stuck there?

When Ezra dreams about a girl named Petra twice in a row, he wants to know more about her. He discovers that Petra is in fact real and on Earth. Could Ezra and Petra be the key to helping the guardian angels trapped on Earth regain hope?

Come experience the vivid planet of Chromvah as Ezra tries to learn what he was created for.


Positive Elements:

A character wishes to help adopted children; a character wants to use her past to help others in the same circumstances.


Negative Elements:

Two uses of “suck”.


Spiritual Elements:

A character says he doesn’t believe in God; God is referred to as “The Father” and other titles listed in Isaiah 9:6; angels and their purposes are discussed; characters rely on their faith in God to see them through difficult times; characters talk about God; the stories of Noah and the Tower of Babel are told; there is a very strong salvation message; characters pray; the Bible is quoted; the armor of God is discussed; the Trinity is explained.


Violence:

Some of the harm demons do is mentioned.


Other:

It is mentioned a character wanted to take her own life; characters kiss.


Rating:

A solid 4 Stars.


Conclusion:

Viridian Dreams is an interesting mixture of urban fantasy and supernatural. With an intriguing world called Chromvah, and a heavy emphasis on the power of prayer, this book takes a unique plot of a boy transported to a world of angels and finding himself one of two who can help Guardian angels fight against the increasing forces of darkness. Some of the angels are my favorites in this book. Their attempts to understand humans and our way of life – like comparing us to pets and being confused on the difference between North American football and the rest of the world’s version of football – are hilarious. And they all had color names, which was doubly unique and not something often found in either genre. Viridian Dreams is definitely a distinct read.

I received an ARC copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.