Tag Archives: fantasy

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

Dust Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Title: Dust

Authors: Kara Swanson

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: July 21, 2020

The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London…and a boy who shouldn’t exist. Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins. The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.

Click HERE to get your copy!

 

About the Author

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As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent her childhood running barefoot through the lush jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the fantasy genre. The award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See, Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light shattering darkness, connecting with readers, and becoming best friends with a mermaid—though not necessarily in that order. Kara chats about coffee, fairy tales and bookish things online (@karaswansonauthor) and at karaswanson.com.

 

More from Kara

I wrote Dust not just for those who grew up loving the original Peter Pan story — but especially for the children who were left behind. Those of us who never escaped through a window to a magical world, whose childhoods oftentimes felt a little shadowed.

Dust follows Peter Pan when he is cast out of Neverland, grounded in London. For the first time, this Peter has to start thinking about someone other than himself—and become a beacon to remind any Lost ones that there is still magic to be found.

Dust also follows a young woman named Claire who can create pixie dust, but is desperately afraid of herself because when her fears and insecurities leak out, her dust starts to burn. Claire has seen too many shadows to believe in fairytales anymore and is doing everything she can just to lock away the strange dust dripping from her fingertips. But when she meets Peter, he challenges everything she thought she knew.

I wrote Claire for those of us who may feel too weighted to even remember what it feels like to have hope lift your soul. Who can look at ourselves and all we see are our own shadows and shortcomings.

Throughout the course of the novel, Peter has to teach Claire how to see the spark of light inside herself that is far brighter than the darkness. As he helps this girl learn how to fly, Peter rediscovers what it is that truly makes him Peter Pan: the unquenchable childlike belief that there are weightless thoughts in all of us that can lift us out of the shadows.

This story is a love letter to anyone who has ever needed that reminder. We have value simply because we exist. We do not have to be weighed down by our shadows. There is still light that can lift our hearts if we have faith, trust…and a dash of the impossible.

 

My Review

“A fairy tale has not only become a nightmare but invaded my real life. And there’s no waking up from reality.”

Faith, trust, and pixie dust become the three elements that turn Claire Kenton’s world upside down—again—in Kara Swanson’s evocative novel, Dust, book one of the Heirs of Neverland. Since her twin brother Connor disappeared six years ago, Claire has eked out a hardscrabble existence, never fitting in thanks to an inexplicable skin condition that causes her body to secrete a golden dust-like substance and never giving up on her determination to find out what happened to Connor. Her search leads her to a fairy tale, but this one has a sinister plot and an elusive, if not impossible, happily-ever-after.

A stunning Peter Pan adaptation, Dust is at once nostalgic and unsettling, with the ideal balance of hope and distress. It is dark, but there are just enough cracks in the characters’ armor to allow some light to shine in, and it is a clean read. While not overtly spiritual, the author has adeptly added subtle parallels to the Christian life throughout the story, particularly during the latter half. These serve to inspire readers amidst the struggles that we all share, and will especially resonate with a young adult audience. As Tiger Lily tells Claire, “You have value simply because you exist. Because you are here.” Shortly thereafter, Claire acknowledges that “Lily was right. Hope is a little like pixie dust—it shines brightest in the darkness and makes the soul soar.” The Christian undertones here and at various other places in the story are a balm to the spirit, in opposition to the corrupt forces attempting to destroy Neverland.

Using a dual first-person narrative, Swanson truly breathes life into her characters. The chapters are titled with either the name Claire or Peter, and that character tells the story from their point of view, ultimately resulting in unreliable narrators, which makes the novel even more intriguing. Both characters are sympathetic, although readers are unsure whom to believe because no one is exactly who they claim to be. Swanson nails Claire’s and Peter’s very different personalities and dialects, which is quite an accomplishment in and of itself, and perhaps best of all, she portrays the vulnerabilities of each of her characters and the reasons behind their choices and actions. Just as Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again, so should we live sacrificially and put others above ourselves. As Peter realizes, “[T]his caring for someone is not what I thought it would be. It’s not losing who I am. It’s finding my soul interwoven with another—and chasing the stars together. And that might just be the greatest adventure of them all.”

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

Andrea Christenson, July 31

Rebecca Tews, July 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 1

Texas Book-aholic, August 1

For the Love of Literature, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Emily Yager, August 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 3

Blessed & Bookish, August 3

Through the Fire Blogs, August 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 4

Worthy2Read, August 5

Losing the Busyness, August 5

Adventures of A Travelers Wife, August 5

Remembrancy, August 6

Wishful Endings, August 6

Inklings and notions, August 7

April Hayman, Author, August 7

For Him and My Family, August 8

Musings of A Sassy Bookish Mama, August 8

Inside the Wong Mind, August 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9

Nancy E Wood, August 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 10

Mia Reads, August 10

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

Faery Tales Are Real, August 11

Artistic Nobody, August 12

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 12

Pause for Tales, August 12

Just the Write Escape, August 13

Blossoms and Blessings, August 13

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Kara is giving away the grand prize package of a Dust-themed bundle that includes a signed hardcover, bookmarks, character cards, Peter + Claire art print, and an exclusive Dust pin!!

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/fe3a/dust-celebration-tour

Still Small Voice Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Still Small Voice

Author: Allen Brokken

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Release Date: July 24, 2020

The Still Small Voice Leads the Way

Because of their faith, twelve-year-old Lauren and her younger brothers, Aiden and Ethan, prevailed in the battle for the Tower of Light. But their victory did not stop the Dark One. Darkness continues to spread across Zoura’s frontier.

Now, in a vision, Mother tells them to light a second tower in Blooming Glen. Before they can set out on their journey with the Knight Protector, their Uncle arrives with a different set of instructions. He doesn’t trust the Knight Protector or the Mighty Mercenaries and believes the children should go to grandma’s house instead.

Unyielding in his belief, Uncle unknowingly leads the children off their path. And a misguided acolyte follows them. Lurking in the shadows, he strikes at every opportunity as the dark forces prepare to descend.

Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan are Zoura’s last defense. Can they convince their Uncle of the truth—that he must listen to the still small voice—and make it to Blooming Glen before the Dark One’s forces overtake them?

 

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. Follow his endeavors @towersoflight, @twodadsandajoke, and http://www.brokken.net. Your children can grow their own faith and love of God by following the adventures of Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan (plus their pets!) at instagram.com/towersoflight.

 

 

 

 

More from Allen

Still Small Voice is the much anticipated 2nd book in the Towers of Light series. We will be launching the book with a Celebrate Lit tour on July 24th. Come on the tour to learn about some of the places author Allen Brokken visited to research the unique frontier setting for the series. Five of the tour stops are interviews where he shares what he learned at different historical locations as well as his inspiration for the second book which focuses in listing for the Holy Spirit’s still small voice.

As defenders of the light, three children embark on a journey to stop the dark forces invading their land.

Louder than ever before, the message of listening to the holy spirit’s still small voice resonates with an urgency that demands action.

”Still Small Voice by Allen Brokken is an adventure of a lifetime! Filled with mystery, action, family bonds, and a healthy dose of animal friends this second book in the Tower of Light Series is a fantastic continuation of the journey of siblings Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan. Their quest to spread the Light as Darkness creeps across the land is a faith-filled adventure worth joining. ~Katie Clark, author of the Enslaved Series”

 

My Review

Growing up, I was an avid reader, devouring as many books as I could and blazing through series after series. Among my favorites were “Little House on the Prairie” and “The Younguns of Mansfield.” The nineteenth-century has always held a special place in my heart, and slipping into that bygone world through literature was and continues to be a great joy for me. I read almost exclusively Christian works, and my favorite genre is, unsurprisingly, historical fiction, while fantasy has rarely found a place on my shelves over the years. However, over the past year, I have stepped out of my comfort zone and taken advantage of the opportunity to review books from the fantasy genre, which has proven to be a blessing and has introduced me to many wonderful authors and their books.

One of these is Allen Brokken, author of the Towers of Light middle-grade fantasy adventure series. As much as I love discovering quality adult fiction, finding the same for children is a double blessing because it is so needed these days. “Still Small Voice” is book two in the series, which should be read in order because the story continues seamlessly from one book to the next. This second book deals mainly with transitions, setting the scene for what I predict may be a showdown in book three. However, this is not to say that “Still Small Voice” is unexciting or merely a placeholder. Far from it! Rather, we see Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan facing difficult decisions and learning that these decisions have consequences. In order to keep the Light burning, they need to remain strong in faith, but that isn’t always easy to do, particularly when their Uncle is not a believer and they are confronted with negative feelings.

“Still Small Voice” immerses readers further into the world of Zoura while gently teaching Biblical truths along the way. I love that Brokken does this so naturally, without making his stories seem preachy and sententious. Although I am quite beyond the target audience age range, I love the inclusion of special animals and the humor that the author infuses into the narrative despite the overall serious tone resulting from the threat of danger. Brokken demonstrates skillful insight into children’s behavior by the way in which he writes the story mostly from their viewpoint, highlighting their concerns and uncertainties. Also, it is very refreshing to read about children who are respectful and God-honoring and who are trying to follow the Holy Spirit’s still, small voice to conquer the darkness threatening Zoura and their own family. Another thought-provoking, heart-stirring story in the Towers of Light series that leaves readers anxiously awaiting the third book and hopefully learning to listen to the still, small voice within.

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

Texas Book-aholic, July 23

For the Love of Literature, July 24

Artistic Nobody, July 25 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, July 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 27

Vicky Sluiter, July 28 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 30

A Baker’s Perspective, July 31 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, July 31

deb’s Book Review, August 1

A Reader’s Brain, August 2

Through the Fire Blogs, August 3 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, August 4

My Devotional Thoughts, August 5 (Author Interview)

 

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/fe32/still-small-voice-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

The Seer Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Seer

Author: Erin R Howard

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release Date: February 27, 2018

Viktor has one order to follow:
Kill the girl before her eyes are opened.

For thousands of years, his job has been to torment and kill seers: humans that have the gift of seeing the spiritual realm. So it was no surprise when his brother Matthias was once again sent to stop him and protect the girl.

Now the last of the seers’ bloodline hangs in the balance, as the estranged demon and angel brothers are forced to work together to save a girl’s life and escape to the sanctuary city of Bethesda.

 

Click HERE to get your copy!

 

 

About the Author

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Erin R. Howard is a Developmental Editor, YA Urban Fantasy Author of The Kalila Chronicles, and has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. When she’s not writing, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, fueling her craft addictions, and teaching writing workshops. Erin is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the KenTen Writers Group. She resides in Western Kentucky with her husband and three children.

 

 

 

More from Erin

If I’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s that I’m still not a fan of change. It’s always been hard for me to transition from what I know, to the unknown, and then find a new normal. Let’s be honest. Stepping out of our comfort zone isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to challenge and stretch our faith. And as a result of stepping out, we hope that we will learn and grow.

I love messy characters, because life is messy, and it doesn’t always work out the way we expect. It’s full of changes and situations. The characters in my series, The Kalila Chronicles, are no different. Each character has unique challenges. For some, they didn’t ask for change, and for others, they are stepping out on their own.

Here’s a little bit more about The Seer. The first book in The Kalila Chronicles:

For thousands of years, Viktor has carried out his orders from Lucifer faithfully. But after a recent demotion in rank, he has grown weary of the bloodshed. His latest order is to kill Thea, a seventeen-year-old Seer before her gift manifests, and she can see into the spiritual realm. However, his estranged angel brother, Matthias, intervenes on his plans. Seeing this as his way out, Viktor proposes that in exchange for leaving Thea alive, Matthias must escort him to the sanctuary city of Bethesda. Although, getting through the portal isn’t as easy as Viktor thought, and now he has to work with Matthias to protect the very girl he was ordered to kill.

 

Author Interview

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. It came from a love of reading and grew as I got older. Through middle and high school I was writing short stories and poetry. When I was in my twenties I started writing novels, but never finished them. It wasn’t until I switched genres from chick lit and fantasy that I started getting really serious about completing a novel.

 

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I wish I had a set schedule, but I tend to write whenever there’s free time, which is never at the same time each day. I have three kids, and I’m re-opening my retail store since my youngest son finished  Leukemia treatments about a year ago. Now, I will have an office to go to every day, so that will help. When I’m home, I can get distracted. LOL!

 

Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

Most people are surprised when I say that Viktor is my favorite character because he’s a demon. But he’s got all of these conflicting emotions waging war within himself. I think Viktor’s character shows that it’s never too late to try to change.

 

What are your hobbies?

I love to read and play games. My family enjoys playing board games and computer games. I’m also addicted to crafting. I teach craft classes, like crochet, string art, and door hangers.

 

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I love holding a book in my hands. But I also appreciate ebooks and audiobooks. Ebooks are great for taking on traveling, and I love to listen to audiobooks while I’m driving or cleaning the house.

 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 21

For the Love of Literature, July 22 (Author Interview)

Rebecca Tews, July 22

Through the Fire Blogs, July 23

Inklings and notions, July 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 25

Just the Write Escape, July 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 27

Artistic Nobody, July 28

deb’s Book Review, July 28

For Him and My Family, July 29

Wishful Endings, July 30 (Author Interview)

April Hayman, Author, July 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 2

Emily Yager, August 3

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Erin is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Seer, a Behind the Story Booklet of The Seer, and a $25 Amazon 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/fe2f/the-seer-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

The Ring Does Not Fit Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Ring Does Not Fit

Author: Sunshine Rodgers

Genre: Romance, Fiction, Christian, Fantasy

Release Date: November 19, 2019

Alena is stuck in a mundane marriage and longing for something
different. New clothes. Bigger bling. Flashy cars. Miraculously and
inexplicably, it all happens in a flash and she is finally married to
the man of her dreams, but something still seems to be missing. In all
her excitement, the one thing she’s looking for is the one thing she
can’t seem to keep.

 

Click HERE to get your copy!

 

About the Author

 

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Sunshine Rodgers is an International Best-Selling author, speaker and
motivator who excels in sharing the hope and light of the gospel in
her books. Her characters experience the love and grace of Jesus
Christ and the beauty of Heaven. Sunshine hopes her pages will get you
passionate about your faith. Her books have been made into audio books
and translated in different languages. Her social media sites and
personal blog reach thousands of readers a week. Sunshine has appeared
in magazines, newspapers and live media interviews and is working on
her merchandise line (available on her website!). Sunshine now enjoys
her days traveling for signings, author events, speaking engagements
and book tours.

 

More from Sunshine

 

Why are we never satisfied? I mean, we can have
houses, cars and money and still want more! If I were to break it
down, I would have to say…insecurity. Maybe we feel like we’re not good
enough. I don’t know about you, but I compare myself with others
all the time just by looking at social media and feeling like I don’t
measure up.
My book “The Ring Does Not Fit” concentrates on appreciating what is right in front of you, celebrating those who are still with you and staying humble.
Because the grass is not always greener on the other side and there
is always more going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about.
I wanted to explore the issue of contentment in my book.
The only way to really get over any personal frustration
and constant comparison is to have
an attitude of thanksgiving and praise where you are thankful
for what you have, no matter how little or big it is.
That’s the first step to loving life.”
– Sunshine Rodgers

Author Interview

 

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

I enjoy anything from C.S. Lewis and I  definitely incorporate  a lot
of his influence on my pages. In fact, my best selling book “After
You: A Demon is Always Lurking Nearby” is a modern-day twist on his
classic novel “The Screwtape Letters.”

My all time favorite author is John Eldredge because the passion for
his faith just jumps off the pages and that’s what I want for my
books…. where people are inspired by my message and in love with the
content.

 
Describe your book in five words.

Heaven intervenes in Alena’s marriage

 

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book is “Wild At Heart” by John Eldredge. I have read that book so many times; I have it memorized! I own the paperback copy and audio book version of his book. Though this book  is primarily written for men, I still answer the call to Eldredge’s challenge to open up to life’s adventures and to live a daring life.  This book has truly helped me to be the person I am today! And since Eldredge is my favorite author, I have read mostly all of his books, truly captivated with each page!

 

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I prefer traditional books, hardcover or paperback.  I like to “dog-ear” the pages, highlight parts I enjoy, underline and write on the pages. I have three bookshelves in my home-library completely full of just books, books and more books! Some stacked on top of each other, others in a separate plastic case near the floor. And for birthdays and holidays,  my wish-list is always…you guessed it, more books! I can read 2-3 books at a time! I’ve never read an eBook and I only own one audio book.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

This is a three-part answer.

First, I would say…know your audience. I write in the Christian genre because I read in the Christian genre. I know what the audience in that genre expects. And I write with my audience in mind and promote my books with keywords associated with the target audience.

Second, Ask the personal question… “Why are you writing?” If it’s because you have a passion and a calling to share your craft, then you’ll make it! A writer faces intense scrutiny when it comes to critics, reviews, readers and publishing rejections.  Successful Authors need to be able to  stand on their message and constantly go back to the original  reasons why they started writing in the first place.

And third…knock down those walls. Throughout my writing career, I  faced a lot of dead-ends and I’ve had to come up with Plans E, F and G to further proceed with my vision. So be creative in pursuing publishers. Think outside the box when promoting your work. And know that there are options for you as a writer, you just have to be innovative when moving forward and soon, you too, will see your literary dreams coming true!

 

 

 

Blog Stops

Quiet quilter, July 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 9

Through the Fire Blogs, July 10 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, July 10

 Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 11

Texas Book-aholic, July 12

Blossoms and Blessings, July 13 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, July 14

Inklings and notions, July 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 16

For the Love of Literature, July 17 (Author Interview)

Andrea Carmen, July 17

Quiet Workings, July 18

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 19

Just Your Average reviews, July 20

Artistic Nobody, July 21 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sunshine is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Visa 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/fda3/the-ring-does-not-fit-celebration-tour-giveaway