Tag Archives: fantasy

Arena Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Arena

Author: Karen Hancock

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: April 16, 2022

A Journey She Did Not Choose Will Change Her Life Forever

Transported surreptitiously to a terrifying alien world, with limited resources and only a few cryptic words to guide her, Callie Hayes finds herself engulfed in a perilous battle for freedom – for her very life. After agreeing to participate in a routine psychology research experiment, she must unravel the mysteries shrouding her only route of escape or risk succumbing to the deadly deception of the Arena.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Karen Hancock has won Christy Awards for each of her first four novels—Arena and the first three books in the Legends of the Guardian-King series, The Light of Eidon, The Shadow Within, and Shadow over Kiriath. She graduated from the University of Arizona with bachelor’s degrees in biology and wildlife biology. Along with writing, she is a semi-professional watercolorist and has exhibited her work in a number of national juried shows. She and her family reside in Arizona.

More from Karen

Arena was not my first novel. The Light of Eidon was. In those days, however, Christian publishers were not interested in the fantasy genre because it had too much magic and wizards and such, despite the publication of the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. They were softening to science fiction, however, and thanks to Kathy Tyers, Randy Ingermanson, John Olson and others the door was opened in 2001 for what is called “speculative fiction.” Arena fit right in, and was published by Bethany House in 2002. It went on to win a Christy Award, which started the ball rolling for the Guardian King series. Three out of the four Guardian King books in that series also won Christy Awards, at which point I was the first speculative fiction author inducted into the Christy Award Hall of Fame in 2013.

I am thrilled to have Arena appear again in this 20th anniversary edition with a new cover and in limited-edition hardcover. Oasis Audio will also be producing the audiobook, for the first time, so it can be available for every type of reader.

Blog Stops

Inside the Wong Mind, April 30

For the Love of Literature, May 1 (Spotlight)

Rachael’s Inkwell, May 1

Beauty in the Binding, May 2 (Spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 2

Texas Book-aholic, May 3

Inklings and notions, May 4

For Him and My Family, May 5

deb’s Book Review, May 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 7

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 9

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 10

Blogging With Carol, May 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 12

Through the Fire Blogs, May 13

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card and signed copy of Arena!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1d3bd/arena-celebraiton-tour-giveaway

Armor of God Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Armor of God

Author: Allen Brokken

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Release date: November 19, 2021

In a battle to possess the armor of God, Lauren, Aiden and Ethan stand against their father as he fights for the enemy.

The Dark One has a foothold in the Iron Mountains, and his steel warriors have corrupted the giants. With a formidable army behind him, he fights to secure power over the heathlands. Darkness pervades Zoura’s frontier.

Reunited with Mother and Uncle, twelve-year-old Lauren and her younger brothers, Aiden and Ethan, must light the Tower of Light in Blooming Glen to save Zoura. But the enemy stands in their way. They need the lost Armor of God to overcome the forces of darkness.

As the children search for the armor, the enemy raises a new champion—their father. Knowing the power of the armor and the children’s plans, their father dispatches the Steele Brothers to retrieve the armor for the Dark One.

Zoura’s last chance for salvation will be lost, if darkness corrupts the armor before the children can take it back. Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan have prevailed against the forces of darkness before, but do they have the faith to stand firm against their father as he fights for the enemy?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Allen Brokken is a teacher at heart, a husband and father most of all. He’s a joyful writer by the abundant grace of God. He began writing the Towers of Light series for his own children to help him illustrate the deep truths of the Bible in an engaging and age appropriate way. He’s dedicated 15 years of his life to volunteer roles in children’s ministry and youth development. Now that his own children are off to college he’s telling stories and sharing clean humor on social media @allenbrokkenauthor, and through his blog https://www.allenbrokkenauthor.com

More from Allen

Armor of God is the fourth book in the series, and it takes a significant departure from the others in that the children’s mother has joined them in their journey. After rescuing her from the Iron Mountain in Fear No Evil, she is ready to take charge of the group to save Father. However, things are a lot more complicated than they appear, and her children have grown used to making important decisions independently.

This book challenged my writing skills. On the one hand, middle grade so often sends the parents away to give the kids agency to be the heroes of the story. But what happens when the parents are active participants? Most middle grade goes one of two directions. The parents are incompetent fools who the wise all knowing children must save, or the parents become wicked antagonists working against the children’s best interests.

As a parent, I cringe when those stereotypes come up in a read-aloud. The parents I know are not bumbling fools and generally work hard to provide the best for their children. So stories that emphasize something else tweaks something in my mind as I’m reading. After talking to a lot of parents, they feel the same way.

So I worked hard to give Mother a very specific objective, save Father. At the same time, the children have concerns that could take them off that path. With the help of my editor and critique partners, I was able to cast Mother in a good light. Armor of God provides readers a realistic portrayal of the family working through conflicts in a positive way, which makes the surprise ending all the more powerful.

So if you are looking for a middle-grade story to read to your kids where the parents aren’t bumbling fools or wicked abusers, you should check out Armor of God.

My Review

In an increasingly digital and secular world, it is encouraging to see books still being written that engage children’s imaginations and take place in the great outdoors rather than in front of a screen. There is still much to be said for creating adventures, both indoors and out, that stem from the dreams and imaginings of a child. So many wonderful hours that allow minds to grow and learn from experience. Narnia, Middle-earth, the American prairie…and now Zoura. As a series, Allen Brokken’s Towers of Light combines the delights of fantasy with the morals of Christianity to craft a continuing tale that gently teaches while taking readers on an exhilarating journey of rescue and discovery. Despite a middle-grade target audience, more mature readers will enjoy picking up on nuances and more profound meanings throughout the story, making Armor of God appropriate for anyone age 8 and up. The discerning reader will also notice Biblical allusions skillfully woven into the narrative.

There are a plethora of gems to be found within Armor of God, book four of the Towers of Light series by Allen Brokken. Reading the books in chronological order is imperative because each builds on the former to make one complete story arc, and as such I appreciate the brief summary of each preceding book that the author places prior to the narrative. This is a nice refresher that I would love to see other series authors adopt! Also, Brokken makes note that each book focuses on a specific Christian value, with this one’s being faith. Hebrews 11:1 instantly comes to mind, as the Scripture tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In Armor of God, all is not as it appears, and just as in real life, sometimes the line between good and evil, friend and enemy, blurs. This is such an important concept for children to learn, and sometimes in Christian literature this distinction can be sidestepped.

As with the previous three books, the characters constitute the heart of Armor of God. Continuing on their quest to save their father and light the tower at Blooming Glen, siblings Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan remain endearingly true to character. They are overall responsible and thoughtful, but I think that it’s important that Brokken portrays them as normal children who still act their ages and make mistakes. What’s more, they learn from their mistakes. Likewise, the adults are far from perfect, even the ones on the side of goodness. None of the books in this series come across as preachy, and the author incorporates witnessing on the part of the children in a natural way that demonstrates how what they’ve been taught and have heard has born fruit within them. This serves them well in the ongoing trials that they face in their battle against the Darkness. As Lauren reminds herself, and all of us, “With God on their side, who could stand against them?

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 4

Sodbusterliving, December 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 5

Texas Book-aholic, December 6

Inklings and notions, December 7

For Him and My Family, December 8

deb’s Book Review, December 9

Spoken from the Heart, December 10

For the Love of Literature, December 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 13

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 14 (Spotlight)

Mary Hake, December 14

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 16

Lights in a Dark World, December 17

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Allen is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/14198/armor-of-god-celebration-tour-giveaway

Windward Shore Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Windward Shore

Author: Sharon Hinck

Genre: Christian epic fantasy

Release date: May 11, 2020

The island world of Meriel faces an old adversary and a new danger. Will the reformed Order die before it has a chance to blossom?

Storm clouds loom on the horizon as Carya and Brantley struggle to overcome wounds of the past and build a future together. The fragile new Order is on shaky ground, with too few dancers and sparse resources. Then trouble erupts—and now an insidious rebellion and a new foe threaten their entire world.

When she uncovers an old enemy behind all the destruction, Carya realizes the past is not done with her. With conflict tearing apart the dancers and villages, rimmers are soon overrun, and Carya must unite her people by leading the battle to protect the very heart of her world … or lose it all.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Award-winning author Sharon Hinck writes “stories for the hero in all of us”—stories about ordinary women on extraordinary faith journeys. Known for their authenticity, emotional range, and spiritual depth, her novels include the groundbreaking The Sword of Lyric fantasy series and the imaginative new The Dancing Realms series, which began with the Christy Award–winning Hidden Current and was followed by Forsaken Island. Sharon’s writing has also been honored with three Carol Awards. For this latest series, she drew on her experience as a ballet teacher, dancer, and choreographer.

More from Sharon

Windward Shore is the final book in the Dancing Realms trilogy. In the earlier books, Carya and Brantley have already faced down a corrupt Order, a world that has forgotten truth, and a whole new island that has sold its soul. Yet in this new story, old enemies return—at the worst possible time. Confronting the past becomes a vital part of protecting their future.

We all face trials in life, seasons that are more challenging than we expected, opportunities to deepen our faith as we lean into God, times that test our courage. But I’ve found that sometimes the most difficult problems are those that I think I’ve already beaten—and then they rise up again. I drew from that experience to shape the new battles in Windward Shore.

Q: In the Dancing Realms series, the Maker has given dancers a special gift to serve their world. Why did you choose dance as a means for bringing provision or protection?

A: I was a dancer and choreographer for many years before becoming a writer. Dance is a means of communicating with the whole being—heart, mind, and body. So dance became a beautiful way for Carya to connect with her Maker and serve her world.

Q: What other interests shaped the series?

A: I’ve been studying cults and how people become trapped in lies, and more importantly, how they find freedom. So that concept helped me create the various traps that characters faced in all three books.

Q: What is a key theme in Windward Shore?

A: Although I write “Stories for the hero in all of us,” I recognize that we can’t always be the hero—at least not in our power. Our determination alone isn’t enough. Our Maker calls us to dependence on Him, and often He asks us to lean on others as well. That’s a key challenge that Carya faces in Windward Shore.

My Review

Review to come!

Blog Stops

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 29

Worthy2Read, May 29

Texas Book-aholic, May 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 31

Mia Reads, May 31

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 2

Woven by Words, June 2

Inklings and notions, June 3

For Him and My Family, June 4

Blogging With Carol, June 4

deb’s Book Review, June 5

For the Love of Literature, June 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 9

Simple Harvest Reads, June 9 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 10

Through the Fire Blogs, June 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sharon is giving away the grand prize package of the first two books of the series in hardcover (personalized and autographed), along with a bookbag, several bookmarks (enough to give to friends) and an autographed bookplate to put in their copy of Windward Shore!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10ca3/windward-shore-celebration-tour-giveaway

Prairie Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Prairie

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Contemporary Christian Fantasy

Release date: February 13, 2013

What if you could literally wish your life away?

My name is Jessa Davidson, and I awoke one day in the place of every dream I’ve ever had—the prairie. I don’t know how I got here or where here even is, but I know one thing for certain. I can’t go home again. Ever.

If I’ve learned one thing being in this beautiful place, it’s that no matter how perfect it and its people seem, sin lives in the hearts of men and women in Prairie, too. The differences between Prairie and Pittsburgh? There are too many to count.

I grew up hearing the words of the Apostle Paul. “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”

Here in Prairie, they’re not a lesson. They’re a warning.

I’ve been given a gift—the greatest desire of my heart. A life in the place of my dreams, a chance at love and family, a sense of real belonging.

Can I hold onto it? Time will tell—time I may not have if I can’t learn to be content.

Prairie is the first book in the Journey of Dreams, a series of related but stand-alone contemporary Christian fantasy novels exploring truths in a whole new way.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

When Your Novel Teaches You an Important Lesson

I’ve told the story before, but I’ll tell it again. Prairie began as a dream. For several days in a row, I fell asleep and found myself lost in the sway of prairie grasses undulating to the strains of “Theme from a Summer Place.”

It’s a bad habit of mine, but despite being in the middle of a writing project, I wrote down my thoughts—my impressions. Two strange things happened.

First, the story came out in first person. Folks, I don’t write in first-person perspective. Not my novels, anyway. I don’t enjoy reading it, and I really don’t enjoy writing it.

Jessa, however, demanded I let her tell her story… her way. So I did. And it’s one of the fastest novels I’ve ever written.

There’s irony in that.

You see, I didn’t know where that story would go. My dream only replayed the scene of Jessa waking up on the prairie and not knowing how she got there—only knowing she could never go home. Beyond that, I hadn’t a clue.

And though I wanted to rush through so I could see where the story would take me, and though I wrote at breakneck speeds, the story unfolded at its own pace.

The people of Prairie live a different life from anything you’ve ever seen—and yet it is mostly very familiar. One thing, however, sets it apart.

Time.

Only in Prairie does time not work as it does here, and that changes everything. The story begins slowly and for a reason. Line by line, observation by observation, step by step through the grasses and down rutted lanes, the story draws you out of the breakneck speed of modern life and into a world that, if you aren’t careful, will whiz by faster than is even possible.

Here in our world, that is.

There… you’d better watch out.

Has anyone ever warned you not to wish your life away? It’s just a gentle reminder that if you’re always eager for today to end in hopes of a more exciting tomorrow, you may find you never lived.

In Prairie? It might actually happen.

My Review

I actually purchased this book last Christmas, as a gift for both my mom and myself, so I was quick to sign up for the blog tour. My mom passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly a few weeks after Christmas and never got a chance to read the book, and in the ensuing upheaval of these following months, I’ve fallen behind in everything, including my reviews. I intend to read and review this one soon, though!

Blog Stops

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 28

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 29

For the Love of Literature, May 30

Blogging With Carol, May 30

Texas Book-aholic, May 31

Inklings and notions, June 1

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, June 1

For Him and My Family, June 2

deb’s Book Review, June 3

Spoken from the Heart, June 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 7

Pause for Tales, June 7

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 8

Lots of Helpers, June 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, June 10

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of the book & a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10ca2/prairie-celebration-tour-giveaway

Realms of Light Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Realms of Light

Author: Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

Genre: Christian YA Contemporary Fantasy

Release date: April 13, 2021

From the Ashes, Spring Will Rise

On the run from the brutal Sage and his army of Legions and Cormorants, seventeen-year-old Cera Marlowe knows the only place strong enough to protect her is the Alliance Council Estate.

Cera’s introduction to the Estate is far from welcoming. As a Blight, her dueling powers of light and darkness make her a half-breed threat to the Alliance’s sacred powers. Cera’s ability to decipher hidden messages in classical artwork buys her shelter temporarily, but the clock is ticking as she’s faced with a daunting choice that could cost her everything.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

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Sandra Fernandez Rhoads is the author of Mortal Sight. She is a Cuban-Colombian living in Dallas, Texas with her husband and four children. She has a deep love for the artist community, and is an active part of Art House Dallas and the Fort Worth Writer’s group. She holds an M.A. in English with a focus on John Milton and has an insatiable love for coffee, laughter, and adventure. And dinosaurs.

More from Sandra

What if there was an unseen war affecting our everyday world, but only a few could see the battle? And what if the secrets to this other realm and winning the war were embedded in classical art and literature?

These questions led me to the ideas that formed the Colliding Line duology, and final installment in the series, Realms of Light—the story about a select group of emerging artists called the Awakened that are given unique powers to help combat the forces of evil.

The protagonist, a young girl named Cera Marlowe, quickly took the lead in the first draft of the story. On a quest for her identity, she steps into her destiny by joining a community of unlikely warriors who would need to overcome great odds, learn to work together, and battle their past in order to defeat the enemy.

The story took more than five years to write and the first draft was over 180k words. The use of classical art emerged slowly over that time. But the verses from John Milton’s Paradise Lost fit seamlessly from the start, paralleling the fight for truth, identity, and war in our fallen world.

At its core, the story is about embracing the past to help shape our future. My hope is that readers see classical art and literature in a new way, and find their own creativity as a much-needed gift to the world.

My Review

Review coming soon!

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, April 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 29

Texas Book-aholic, April 30

Inklings and notions, May 1

Woven by Words, May 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 3

Genesis 5020, May 3

For the Love of Literature, May 4

For Him and My Family, May 5

Wishful Endings, May 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 7

Through the Fire Blogs, May 7

deb’s Book Review, May 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 9

Blogging With Carol, May 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 11

April Hayman, Author, May 11

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 12

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sandra is giving away the grand prize package of $40 Christianbook.com gift card, custom Bookmark, custom signed bookplate, custom Realms of Light notebook, and library book pattern book / tablet sleeve!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10b5d/realms-of-light-celebration-tour-giveaway

Torch Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Torch

Author: R.J. Anderson

Genre: Christian YA Fantasy

Release date: February 9, 2021

How do you fight fire without fire?

When a freak storm uncovers the entrance to a mysterious underground chamber, Ivy and Martin expect to find treasure. But what they discover is even more valuable: a barrow full of sleeping spriggans, magically preserved for centuries. With the vengeful piskey queen Betony determined to capture Ivy and her followers, the secret hideaway could be key to both their peoples’ survival.

But the piskeys and spriggans are ancient enemies, and when Ivy tries to make peace her own followers threaten to turn against her. Plagued by treachery, betrayal and desertion on every side, Ivy must find a way to unite the magical folk of Cornwall–or doom herself, Martin and everyone she loves to death at Betony’s hand.

Yet without the legendary fire-wielding power that marks a true piskey queen, can Ivy convince her people to believe?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Born in Uganda to missionary parents, R.J. (Rebecca Joan) Anderson is a women’s Bible teacher, a wife and mother of three, and a bestselling fantasy author for older children and teens. Her debut novel Knife has sold more than 120,000 copies worldwide, while her other books have been shortlisted for the Nebula Award, the Christy Award, and the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Science Fiction. Rebecca lives with her family in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

More from R. J.

What does it take to be a good leader?
Looking at some of the religious, social and political leaders around us, it seems like a confident attitude, dramatic flair, and the ability to make stirring speeches are the keys to success. But is that the kind of leadership people really need, or is it only what we’ve grown used to?
Ivy, the heroine of my book Torch, never wanted to become a leader, or expected anyone to follow her. After being exiled from her underground home by her proud Aunt Betony, she’s been struggling to make sense of her own life, never mind anyone else’s. But when a ragtag band of old friends and former neighbours turn up on Ivy’s doorstep looking for a new home, she has no choice but to help her fellow Cornish piskeys as best she can.
What Ivy soon finds, however, is that her people’s hopes and expectations for her are much bigger than any she had for herself. They want a queen strong enough to defeat Betony and free their people — but how can Ivy stand up to her aunt’s ruthless tactics and magical fire-wielding powers, when she’s just a slight teenager with barely any magic at all?
As I wrote this book, the last in my Flight and Flame trilogy about Ivy of the Delve, I wanted to explore the difference between the popular idea of a great leader, and the humble servant leadership taught and exemplified by Christ. Unlike Betony, who has become so obsessed with her own power and reputation that she’s blind to her people’s suffering, Ivy only wants to help and encourage her fellow piskeys and keep them safe from harm. She’s willing to sacrifice her own comfort, put aside her own feelings, and do whatever it takes to make sure her followers survive. And though she makes some mistakes and faces some painful challenges along the way, she never forgets that her goal isn’t personal fame or glory, but the good of everyone around her.
Ivy’s personal journey also reflects some of my own recent experiences of caregiving, which can seem like an impossible task when the needs of our loved ones grow greater than our own strength and wisdom can bear. She has to learn, as I did, that the only solution is to ask for help and be willing to let others do it their own way, instead of trying to control everything ourselves.
Torch is the last book of the epic adventure that began with Swift and continued in Nomad, taking Ivy from the depths of obscurity to heights she never imagined, and from a life of loneliness to a love sweeter — and stranger — than she ever dreamed she’d find. It’s a story that’s close to my heart, and I hope it will find a place in yours and your family’s as well!
— R.J. Anderson

My Review

Review pending due to unexpected circumstances

My rating:

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, R.J. is giving away the grand prize package of a signed bookplate, bookmarks, notecards, and a copy of either SWIFT, NOMAD or TORCH!! (winner’s choice)

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1089c/torch-celebration-tour-giveaway

Nomad Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Nomad

Author: RJ Anderson

Genre: Christian YA, Fairytale, Fantasy

Cast into exile, she must return to free her people.

Banished from her underground home by Betony, the queen of the Cornish piskeys, young Ivy sets out to forge a new life for herself in the world above. But a deadly threat lingers in the mine, and Ivy cannot bear to see her people suffer while Betony refuses to believe. Somehow she must convince the queen to let them go.

Her mission only becomes more complicated when Ivy starts to dream of the ancient battles between her ancestors and the spriggan folk. Who is the strange boy in her visions? Could her glimpses of his past help Ivy find a new home for her fellow piskeys?

To find the answers, Ivy must outfly vicious predators, outwit cunning enemies, and overcome her own greatest fears. And when evil threatens the people Ivy loves best, it will take all her courage, faith, and determination to save them.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Born in Uganda to missionary parents, R. J. (Rebecca Joan) Anderson is a women’s Bible teacher, a wife and mother of three, and a bestselling fantasy author for older children and teens. Her debut novel Knife has sold more than 120,000 copies worldwide, while her other books have been shortlisted for the Nebula Award, the Christy Award, and the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Science Fiction. Rebecca lives with her family in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

More from R.J. Anderson

Fear of change. Fear of an unknown future. Fear of failure, loss or regret. What fears keep you from doing what you know you should do, or being the person you ought to be?

In Nomad, the second book of the Flight and Flame trilogy, my heroine Ivy is forced to make a new life for herself after being exiled by Betony, her people’s proud and stubborn queen. Though all Ivy ever wanted was to help her people, Betony refuses to believe that the piskeys of the Delve are in danger — because to do so would mean not only questioning her own beliefs and prejudices, it would force her people to change their entire way of life.

But though Ivy is brave enough to stand up for the truth and even adapt to the strange new world she’s thrust into, she has her own fears to overcome in the course of this story. Fear of vulnerability, of unworthiness, and of making mistakes hold Ivy back as she struggles to find a way to save her friends and family. She’s only one young woman, with few allies and very little power. How can she make a difference?

Just as Moses begged God not to send him to confront Pharaoh and free the Israelites because he didn’t think he was eloquent or impressive enough, Ivy finds it hard to believe her fellow piskeys will ever listen to or believe her. The hard lesson she has to learn is that courage doesn’t come from being tough and self-confident, it comes from caring about something bigger than yourself. Not until the people she loves most are in danger does Ivy cast off her fears and take the bold steps needed to save them — but by then it may be too late.

It’s easy to get trapped by our own uncertainties and insecurities, and let fear rule our actions. Only when we take our eyes off our own frailty and act out of faith in God and love for others can we become all we were meant and made to be… and the longer we delay, the more others may suffer for it. Can we pray together for strength to start doing what’s right in our homes, our neighbourhoods and our churches, no matter how unqualified we feel to do it?

Nomad is the second step of Ivy’s journey to save her fellow piskeys and find her true calling. If you’ve enjoyed Swift and this novel, you can look forward to the final book Torch in February 2021!

— R.J. Anderson

My Review

All my life I’ve been a nomad, or a fugitive, or both. It’s time to stop hiding, and face up to what I’ve done.” He took her hands in his. “You taught me that.

An imaginative, outstanding sequel to Swift (see my review HERE), R.J. Anderson’s The Flight and Flame Trilogy continues with Nomad. Because it picks up where book one leaves off, this series does need to be read in order for maximum enjoyment. This story, too, is very well suited for both adults and young adults, containing enough adventure and societal relations for an older audience while also harkening to the angst of those just entering adulthood. While its predecessor did not involve a romantic thread, Nomad does, and while I will be the first to admit that I am not much of a romance fan, I have to commend Anderson for carrying it out so well in this story. She crafts it into the heart of the tale without it becoming the main focus or a distraction, which takes finesse.

The few issues that I had with Swift were resolved with Nomad, and in fact make sense in retrospect. Most of the characters in the first book were unattractively self-centered, albeit not necessarily maliciously so, and as a result sympathizing with them felt like a bit of a chore and I felt little to no connection with any of them. However, this is the beauty of trilogies: not only observing but walking alongside the characters as they grow and transform—in this case, sometimes literally! “All this time, Ivy had been obsessed with what she wanted. But she hadn’t gained the wings she longed for until she stopped fretting about how much they meant to her, and started thinking about what they could mean to someone else.

The characters are my favorite part of this series; the fantasy element adds to their already high level of unpredictability, and I love being surprised throughout the narrative. New connections come to light, with their own set of consequences, as Ivy makes it her mission to somehow save the Delve from the deadly hazard that the current Joan, her aunt Betony, dismisses. Despite her status as an exile, Ivy determines to save her people or die trying. Strange dreams about the piskeys and spriggans of yore puzzle her as she works to create a plan and learns more about herself in the process. With themes such as sacrificial love, forgiveness, and mercy, the Christian aspect of this series is subtle but recognizable. And mercifully, there is not a cliffhanger at the end of this story—enough to leave readers anticipating the rest of the journey, but no lack of resolution to the plot of this segment.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, R.J. is giving away the grand prize package of a three bookmarks, two blank-inside notecards with envelopes featuring artwork by Kirk DouPonce and Rory Kurtz, a postcard with character art by Nicole Deal, a sample of custom book-related tea, and a copy of SWIFT or NOMAD!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10534/nomad-celebration-tour-giveaway

Fear No Evil Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Fear No Evil

Author: Allen Brokken

Genre: Christian Middle Grade Fantasy

Release Date: December 5, 2020

Across the land of Zoura, people and creatures alike continue to fall prey to the persuasion of darkness. The seeds of evil pollute not only those outside the Light, but those within it. Pitting neighbor against neighbor. Brother against brother. The Dark One gains ground in his pursuit to shroud the heathlands in eternal darkness. Zoura’s only hope lies with three children.

Twelve-year-old Lauren and her younger brothers, Aiden and Ethan, are determined to reignite the Tower of Light in Blooming Glen. But an attack by dark forces separates them, driving them into a valley of darkness. Without each other or their Knight Protector, the three siblings must navigate the wilderness while fending off creatures tainted by evil. They fight not just for Zoura, but for their own survival.

Will the darkness overtake Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan? Or will they prove their faith is stronger and that they fear no evil?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Allen Brokken is a teacher at heart, a husband and father most of all. He’s a joyful writer by the abundant grace of God. He began writing the Towers of Light series for his own children to help him illustrate the deep truths of the Bible in an engaging and age appropriate way. He’s dedicated 15 years of his life to volunteer roles in children’s ministry and youth development. Now that his own children are off to college he’s sharing his life experiences on social media @towersoflight, @twodadsandajoke, and through his blog https://www.lightofmine.net

More from Allen

The stakes have been raised in the 3rd book of the Towers of Light Series, Fear No Evil. The children have been separated from one another in the darkness shrouded, Muddy River valley. Evil prowls around them at every turn. Do they have the faith to fear no evil?

My favorite part about writing this book was a conversation I had with the real Ethan. I had a tight editorial deadline to meet and I decided to go on a writing retreat to finish the book. While I was trying to leave home, my youngest the real life Ethan kept asking me questions and delaying my departure. Finally, I said, “You know the last time I wrote there was a ferocious bear about to eat Ethan. If I don’t sit down and start writing soon, he’s going to be a bear food.” Ethan’s reply was, “Yah you better go write now!” You’ll have to pick up Fear no Evil to see if I got back to the story in time.

My Review

Book three of Allen Brokken’s Towers of Light series offers a divergence from the first two in several ways, intensifying the danger and adventure while still serving to encourage and inspire young readers. This series needs to be read chronologically because it tells one complete story sectioned into five books. Fear No Evil picks up where the second book, Still Small Voice (see my review HERE), leaves off, and although there are enough reminders crafted into the opening chapters to refresh readers’ memories, the narrative as a whole will not be as enjoyable or as appreciated without the entire story arc.

There could not be a more apropos title for this book releasing at the end of 2020 than Fear No Evil. The target audience is children and middle-grade, but they are just as suitable for adults, with timeless lessons that we never outgrow and often need to be reminded of now and again. This story marks the mid-point of the series, and it proves to be the most challenging for the characters so far, with the poison of darkness spreading and the three siblings separated for the first time. Lauren, 12; Aiden, 9; and Ethan, 5 each end up on their own after an attack by the darkness that is overtaking Zoura. Struggling to maintain their faith in the midst of persecution, each sibling prays and recalls the twenty-third Psalm throughout their ordeal while also working with creatures they come upon. Due to their separation from one another, each chapter focuses on only one of the children, often ending with a bit of a cliffhanger to be resolved in a few more chapters, heightening the suspense.

Brokken excels at combining fantasy and childlike faith in a credible manner. The animals and beings he brings to life on the page are similar enough to reality and are described well enough that they are easy to envision, yet sufficiently diverse to stoke the imagination. Readers get a glimpse of how God’s creation was intended to work before sin entered the world, with prey and predator together and even helping one another. Likewise, the effects of darkness (sin) taint everything in its wake. However, the light dispels darkness, and in Fear No Evil especially, the children give compelling witness to their faith: through words, but also through actions and admitting when they are wrong. They each demonstrate their dependence on God through trials, embodying the words of David in Psalm 27:1: “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, December 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 7

Texas Book-aholic, December 8

Beauty in the Binding, December 9 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, December 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 10

For Him and My Family, December 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 12

Spoken from the Heart, December 13 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 13

For the Love of Literature, December 14

Artistic Nobody, December 15 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 16

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 17

Vicky Sluiter, December 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Allen is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1045b/fear-no-evil-celebration-tour-giveaway

Forsaken Island Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Forsaken Island

Author: Sharon Hinck

Genre: Christian Romantic Epic Fantasy

Release Date: September 15, 2020

On an uncharted world, happiness is effortless and constant … but can true joy exist without sacrifice?

The people of Meriel have long believed their island world floats alone in the vast ocean universe, so they are astonished when another island drifts into view. With resources becoming scarce, Carya and Brantley quickly volunteer to search the new land for supplies.

After navigating a barrier of menacing trees, the pair encounter a culture of perpetually happy people who readily share their talents and their possessions. But all is not what it seems. At the core of the island is a horror that threatens everyone, including Brantley and Carya.

Freeing the villagers of the bondage they’ve chosen may cost Carya and Brantley more than they could have imagined. Even if the two succeed, they’ll have to find a way to return to Meriel quickly … or be cut off from their home forever.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Award-winning author of The Sword of Lyric series, Sharon Hinck writes “stories for the hero in all of us” about women on extraordinary adventures of faith. Her novels are praised for their authentic characters, strong spiritual themes, and emotional resonance. For this series, she drew on her experience as a ballet teacher, dancer, and choreographer.

More from Sharon

Inspiration Behind Forsaken Island

In the first book of The Dancing Realms series, we learn about a floating island world guided by the work of dancers. The assumption of everyone on Meriel is that their island IS the world—the only existing place on a vast empty ocean.

But in this second book, currents have pushed a new island into view. Our intrepid dancer Carya, and her stenella-riding friend Brantley, set off to explore, hoping to find resources for their world of Meriel.

The story was influenced by some of my favorite classics in the adventure/exploration genre. Jack London (particularly The Sea Wolf), or Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Or anything by Jules Verne or Robert Louis Stevenson. As the characters explore a new world, we experience both wonder and danger with them. I love that sort of story, so I set my two beloved characters of on an adventure to see what they would discover.

But of course, the book is also about the developing relationship between Carya and Brantley, and the conflicts they confront. And once again, an undercurrent (no pun intended) of spiritual themes is at play. The island holds dark secrets, and time is running out for the opportunity to find their way home.

I love the verse from Psalm 94:14. “For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.” Even on a “Forsaken Island” – the Maker of His people finds a way to reach out and bring hope.

My Review

Forgotten, forgetting, forsaking.

With characteristic prowess, Sharon Hinck brings readers another intriguing fantasy with Forsaken Island, book two of The Dancing Realms series. Carya and Brantley’s story continues where Hidden Current left off, a sighting of another island in the previously-considered uninhabited ocean sparking hope for finding supplies to replace Meriel’s dwindling reserves. The duo arrives to a seemingly-impenetrable wall of tree branches, and once they enter this strange new world, everything becomes increasingly off-kilter. Paradise becomes a nightmare as the island’s secrets are revealed and the truth behind the façade of the inhabitants’ happiness comes to light. All is not as it appears…

Faced with the threat of the island’s core and the possibility of never being able to navigate back to Meriel, Carya and Brantley work to liberate the islanders from the prison they’ve created for themselves. Their fight becomes a parallel to humanity’s ongoing battle against sinfulness, and Carya learns to trust the Maker more while contending against her own wounds. Including the internal battle of allowing herself to love someone after being indoctrinated for years regarding her life as one set apart from society. Forsaken Island may fall into the fantasy genre, but it contains many truths for the soul. Surrender to the One who made the heavens and the earth and who watches over and guards those who are His is the only way to true freedom and joy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, September 30

Fiction Aficionado, September 30

Wothy2Read, October 1

Texas Book-aholic, October 2

deb’s Book Review, October 2

Inklings and notions, October 3

For Him and My Family, October 4

April Hayman, Author, October 4

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 5

Daughter of Increase, October 5

For the Love of Literature, October 6

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 8

Blogging With Carol, October 8

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Artistic Nobody, October 10 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Simple Harvest Reads, October 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 11

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 12

Emily Yager, October 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 13

Pause for Tales, October 13

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sharon is giving away the grand prize package of a Forsaken Island book bag, a personalized and autographed hard cover copy of Hidden Current, book marks, and some decorative goodies on a plant-life theme!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10195/forsaken-island-celebration-tour-giveaway

Swift Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Swift

Author: RJ Anderson

Genre: Christian Fantasy

Release Date: August 18, 2020

To save her people, a wingless girl must learn to fly.

As a piskey girl born without wings and raised underground, Ivy yearns for flight almost as much as she misses her long-lost mother. But the world outside the Delve is full of danger, and her dreams seem hopeless until she meets a mysterious faery who makes her an enticing offer: If Ivy helps him escape the Delve’s dungeon, he’ll teach her how to fly.

Freeing Richard could cost Ivy her reputation, perhaps even her life. But when her fellow piskeys start to disappear and her beloved little sister goes missing, Ivy has no choice but to take the risk.

Deadly threats and shocking revelations await Ivy as she ventures into a strange new world, uncovers long-buried secrets about her family’s past, and finds that no one—not even herself—is entirely what they seem.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Born in Uganda to missionary parents, R.J. (Rebecca Joan) Anderson is a women’s Bible teacher, a wife and mother of three, and a bestselling fantasy author for older children and teens. Her debut novel Knife has sold more than 120,000 copies worldwide, while her other books have been shortlisted for the Nebula Award, the Christy Award, and the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Science Fiction. Rebecca lives with her family in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

More from R.J. Anderson

FEAR, FAITH AND LEARNING TO FLY

What would you give to feel safe? If you could hide from all life’s dangers and anyone who might harm you, and spend your whole life in a beautiful, comfortable home surrounded by friends, family and all the necessities of life, would you?

That’s the kind of place that Ivy, the teenaged heroine of Swift, has grown up in — a glittering underground complex called the Delve, where safety and protection are paramount, and young girls especially are warned not to take foolish risks. Like climbing the wall of the Great Shaft that leads to the surface, for instance. Or going outside for any reason, except for two special nights of the year. In the world of modern-day Cornwall, the converted tin mine where Ivy and her fellow piskeys live is their only refuge from scheming faeries, greedy humans, and their deadliest enemies of all, the spriggans. And since Ivy’s mother was stolen by the spriggans six years ago, Ivy knows all too well how dangerous the outside world can be.

But as Ivy discovers when she stumbles on a mysterious Shakespeare-quoting prisoner in her people’s dungeon, safety isn’t everything. If “Richard” is telling the truth about what happened to Ivy’s long-lost mother, there may be more going on in the Delve — and outside it — than Ivy ever guessed. How far will she go to find the truth?

When I first started writing Swift, one of the ideas I wanted to explore was how much our prejudices and false perceptions limit us. Ivy’s been taught to fear everything and everyone outside the Delve, and that her poor health and lack of wings means she will never be worthy or whole. But when she starts to ask questions and search for answers, Ivy discovers that much of what she’s always believed is a lie.

What I didn’t realize until I’d finished writing the whole Flight and Flame trilogy is that in many ways, Ivy’s story parallels that of Moses in the book of Exodus. Like Moses when God first called him, Ivy doesn’t think she has anything to offer her people, or any chance of convincing the stern, suspicious piskey queen to set them free. But when Ivy learns to look beyond her fears and self-doubts and step out in faith — even if she’s not sure yet what it means or where it will lead her — extraordinary things happen and her world begins to change.

We all crave safety and security. But if we refuse to step outside our comfort zones or ever question our prejudices, our lives and hearts will stagnate. It’s only when we open ourselves up to truth and act on it, even if it’s hard or unpopular to do so, that we can truly soar.

I’ve loved writing Ivy’s story. I hope you’ll love reading it, too.

— R.J. Anderson (www.rj-anderson.com)

My Review

R.J. Anderson has written a compelling, twisty novel with Swift, the first in The Flight and Flame trilogy. Although marketed for young adults, I think that it is just as suitable for adults; I enjoyed it! Furthermore, I am thrilled that it did not contain a romantic thread, as do almost all young adult books, and I felt the same way when I did fit into the target age group, so it’s nice to know that there are books coming out for those who can do without a lot of romance. Instead, this story focuses on adventure and fantasy, providing enough thrill and distress to keep readers glued to the page, but without inducing horror. There is a strong psychological element that takes root quietly at first but grows more steadily as the novel progresses.

Pondering the folkloric identity of the creatures mentioned in Swift and the tense relations between them is a reflection of the rampant issues of race relations in today’s society, where blind hate and a thirst for vengeance overtake common sense and compassion. This misguided sense of justice leads inevitably to betrayal, as well as to some startling revelations about several characters’ identities. It reminds me of what has happened throughout history, and how someone can be judged for their assumed identity when they may actually belong to another group entirely.

As for the characters themselves, I have to admit that I did not feel a deep connection with any of them. Each seems to be motivated by self-centered goals without taking into consideration how their actions will affect anyone else. This does add to the suspense, however, as I could not guess what the next scene would bring, which is always a boon. While I did not come across anything overtly Christian in this novel aside from one instance of a character offering a short, desperate prayer, it is a clean read. I am eager to find out what happens next in books two and three and intend to read both when they have been released.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, August 31

Blogging With Carol, August 31

Through the Fire Blogs, September 1

Pause for Tales, September 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 2

Worthy2read, September 3

Texas Book-aholic, September 4

The Book Chic Blog, September 4

For Him and My Family, September 5

deb’s Book Review, September 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 7

Mia Reads, September 7

Artistic Nobody, September 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For the Love of Literature, September 9

Daughter of Increase, September 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 10

Simple Harvest Reads, September 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Vicky Sluiter, September 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 12

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 13

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, R.J. is giving away the grand prize package of a signed and personalized bookplate, two bookmarks, and two beautiful blank-inside notecards with artwork by Kirk DouPonce and Rory Kurtz!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fff5/swift-celebration-tour-giveaway