Saturday, January 16, 2021

Book Review: Blue Moon by Jenny Knipfer

About the Book:

A TALE OF PRECIOUS THINGS MORE RARE THAN A BLUE MOON…

The year is 1885 and unwed Vanessa Gulet must surrender her newborn son to her married twin sister, Valerie, to raise. A seed of bitterness grows in Vanessa. When the opportunity arises for her to have what she's always wanted, Vanessa takes it despite the consequences to her family, getting more than she bargained for.

Meanwhile, Valerie, overcome with loss and grief, faces a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Will she and her husband, Felix, forge through their trials together, or will these upsets cause them to drift apart?

Will Vanessa and Valerie remain at odds, or will they allow the power of forgiveness to heal their strained relationship?

Love seems to bloom in the most unlikely of places in Webaashi Bay for an old friend of Jenay's and a woman who owns the local dress shop. A parallel tale of love, forgiveness, and reuniting lost things is spun by a local author adding another dimension to the tale of the Gulet twins and their saga.


My Thoughts: 

Blue Moon by Jenny Knipfer stands as the second novel in the By the Light of the Moon series. I highly recommend reading Ruby Moon first as the setting and characters from the first novel carry through in this story. Having read Ruby Moon, I knew to expect Blue Moon to be filled with multiple character POV’s. The story and the characters are complicated. While Vanessa and her relationships take center stage, other characters received plenty of page time. I confess that I did not like Vanessa right away. Her actions were questionable, especially in the beginning. However, I came to understand her and her situation more as the deep hurt she struggled with was exposed.

I recommend Blue Moon to readers who enjoyed Ruby Moon and want to continue with the series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Hamlin Stoop Series (Day 3)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We're celebrating the release of the third book in the Hamelin Stoop series, The Ring of Truth! Today, the author is sharing an excerpt from book three. If you missed his post about the inspiration for the series, you can check that out HERE, and he shared about the storybook world for the series HERE. There's also a giveaway to enter below, if you haven't already. Enjoy!

The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge
(Hamelin Stoop #1)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 332 Pages
November 15, 2016 by 12 Gates Publishing

Afraid of being caught by trackers from another world, a young mother abandons her baby boy in a tomato box inside the screened porch of a children's home. The staff at the orphanage name him Hamelin Stoop, but he grows up longing to learn his real name, find his parents, and thus discover his true identity.

Life is not easy for Hamelin. He belongs to everyone, though in some ways to no one fully. And the people he is closest to leave him one by one. A letter from an older friend advises Hamelin to "keep waiting and keep hoping." Bitter experiences force Hamelin to wait, but he has to learn how to hope.
When the children's home forgets his eighth birthday, he sneaks away at night. He soon discovers that he isn't just running away -- he is being summoned by the Ancient One. Guided by the Great Eagle through a mysterious cave, Hamelin must pass a dangerous test of courage before he can find his parents.

Hamelin's failures, fears, and hopes become part of a larger story, a story of a great struggle between worlds and kingdoms where the old myths of magic, evil contracts, and enslaved children turn out to be real.

(Affiliate links included.)

The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna
(Hamelin Stoop #2)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 304 Pages
February 7, 2017 by 12 Gates Publishing

Hamelin finally makes it across the footbridge only to learn that his quest to find his parents and learn his true identity will not be quickly done or easy to fulfill. The Great Eagle leads him through the dangerous Waters of Death and Life and into the Land of Gloaming, where Hamelin is thrown into the midst of a war already being waged between the evil Chimera and the mysterious Ancient One. He must help two new friends find a kidnapped princess and recover a stolen jewel, tasks for which they have special gifts that must not be misused: a scarf of sight, shoes of speed, and a sword of death. But these quests are only part of the larger story, a story including Chimera’s plan to use Hamelin—a child of two realms—to seize the kingdoms on both sides of the Atrium of the Worlds.

(Affiliate links included.)

The Ring of Truth
(Hamelin Stoop #3)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 580 Pages
December 29, 2020 by 12 Gates Publishing

Will Hamelin be summoned again?

Hamelin suspects that his friend Layla is the lost princess from the Land of Gloaming. As he describes his daring adventures to trusted friends at the children’s home, an intricate tapestry of stories emerges. Layla admits that she has had dreams – or are they memories? – of another world with faded light. The orphan boy is not alone in his struggle to learn the truth, search for family, and question the Ancient One's purposes.

Meanwhile, dangerous forces continue to pursue the boy of both worlds, but the evil Chimera gives his agents an additional task: find the fourth princess, the missing daughter of Carr, and stop her. She must never return home.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt from Hamelin Stoop: The Ring of Truth, Chapter 7

The snake wasn’t still either. Its head, initially facing mostly toward Mr. Kaley and Bryan, stretched up and shook side to side, clearly taking in Layla as well. Then about two feet below the head, its upper body somehow divided into several neck-like cords, and from behind its big head, six smaller heads spread out like a fan, each of them with a two-foot neck that could extend its head in different directions.

Bryan shook his head in disbelief as he saw the new heads emerge, but he continued to move slowly into a crouch, his right foot almost imperceptibly shifting back a little.

“No!” said a strong female voice suddenly and with authority. Hamelin looked straight at Layla, who had also taken another step toward the snake! “No!” she said again, louder than the first time, her eyes fixed on the large central head. The snake then twisted its upper body, and all seven heads focused fully on her.

What is she doing? Hamelin thought to himself. He wasn’t sure whether it was the glare of the sun or something he had just never seen before in her, but her skin, always fair, took on a faint glow. Hamelin glanced back to his left, and the sun was almost midway in the sky. He looked back at Layla. Her lips moved faintly.

Is she talking to the snake?

The low hiss from the snake grew, but Layla in her head heard more. She understood the creature’s words: Are you speaking to me?

Her mind answered sharply: Leave my friends alone.

You dare to tell me no? I have heard of you. The stories of your grandmother and your impudent commands have been passed down. Your family—you’ll never see them again.

Layla laughed inwardly. Your prediction is not only wrong but confused! I’ve never known a grandmother, and my parents are already gone, killed by evil men. And I won’t let you hurt my brother and friends.

The snake’s eyes narrowed, and the edges of its mouth widened slightly, its oval face hinting at a sneer.

Layla raised her right arm to about chest high, her elbow slightly bent and the palm of her hand facing outward toward the snake.

About the Author


Robert is married to his college sweetheart, Sue. With seven married children and over twenty grandchildren, they enjoy large family gatherings with good food and lively conversation around the table. Favorite family activities include role-playing games, writing and reading stories, and, of course, storytelling. Robert is also a University president and scholar.

Photo Credit: Joannah Buffington

12 Gates Publishing: Website | Instagram

Blitz Giveaway


One winner will receive print copies of The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge and The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna plus bookmarks and a $15 Amazon Gift Card (US only)

Ends January 18, 2021

Grab Our Button!

Friday, January 15, 2021

First Line Fridays: All That We Carried by Erin Bartels


Happy Friday! 

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today, I'm sharing the first line from All That We Carried by Erin Bartels.

"Midwesterners do dumb things on the one nice day in March."

Have you read All That We Carried? It just released earlier this month and I thoroughly enjoyed this women's fiction novel. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Check out the book blurb below and read my review

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!



About the Book:

The most treacherous terrain is found within.

Ten years ago, sisters Olivia and Melanie Greene were on a hiking trip when their parents were in a fatal car accident. They haven't seen each other since the funeral. Olivia coped with the loss by plunging herself into law school, work, and a materialist view of the world--what you see is what you get, and that's all you get. Melanie dropped out of college and developed an online life coaching business around her DIY spirituality--a little of this, a little of that, whatever makes you happy.

Now, at Melanie's insistence (and against Olivia's better judgment), they are embarking on a hike in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In this remote wilderness they'll face their deepest fears, question their most dearly held beliefs, and begin to see that perhaps the best way to move forward is the one way they had never considered.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Book Review: A Cowboy for Keeps by Jody Hedlund

About the Book:

Greta Nilsson's trip west to save her ailing little sister, Astrid, could not have gone more wrong. First, bandits hold up her stagecoach, stealing all her money. Then, upon arriving in Fairplay, Colorado, she learns the man she was betrothed to as a mail-order bride has died. Homeless, penniless, and jobless, Greta and her sister are worse off than when they started.

Wyatt McQuaid is struggling to get his new ranch up and running and is in town to purchase cattle when the mayor proposes the most unlikely of bargains. He'll invest in a herd of cattle for Wyatt's ranch if Wyatt agrees to help the town become more respectable by marrying and starting a family. And the mayor, who has promised to try to help Greta, has just the candidate in mind for Wyatt to marry.

My Thoughts:

A Cowboy for Keeps by Jody Hedlund is an entertaining historical romance. The author plays around with several familiar tropes including the marriage-of-convenience. While some predictable situations occurred, Greta’s devotion and determination to help her sick sister added originality and depth.

A Cowboy for Keeps includes Jody Hedlund’s trademark romantic tension. I enjoyed watching Greta and Wyatt’s relationship grow. As they shift and adjust to their new life together, both characters learn life lessons. Greta’s learning to trust in God reminded me to do the same. I appreciated the theme of a person being valuable, not an object to be bartered with. With the romance, an entertaining storyline, and themes to contemplate, I enjoyed this novel and did not want to put it down.

A Cowboy for Keeps is the first installment in Jody Hedlund’s Colorado Cowboys series. Returning fans of Jody Hedlund will likely enjoy this novel. For readers not familiar with Jody Hedlund’s books, this is a good place to start. 4.5 Stars!



 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Hamlin Stoop Series (Day 2)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We're celebrating the release of the third book in the Hamelin Stoop series, The Ring of Truth! Today, the author talks about the storybook world for the series. If you missed his post about the inspiration for the series, you can check that out HERE. Come back HERE on Friday, January 15th, to read an excerpt from book three. Plus, there's a giveaway to enter below. Enjoy!

The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge
(Hamelin Stoop #1)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 332 Pages
November 15, 2016 by 12 Gates Publishing

Afraid of being caught by trackers from another world, a young mother abandons her baby boy in a tomato box inside the screened porch of a children's home. The staff at the orphanage name him Hamelin Stoop, but he grows up longing to learn his real name, find his parents, and thus discover his true identity.

Life is not easy for Hamelin. He belongs to everyone, though in some ways to no one fully. And the people he is closest to leave him one by one. A letter from an older friend advises Hamelin to "keep waiting and keep hoping." Bitter experiences force Hamelin to wait, but he has to learn how to hope.
When the children's home forgets his eighth birthday, he sneaks away at night. He soon discovers that he isn't just running away -- he is being summoned by the Ancient One. Guided by the Great Eagle through a mysterious cave, Hamelin must pass a dangerous test of courage before he can find his parents.

Hamelin's failures, fears, and hopes become part of a larger story, a story of a great struggle between worlds and kingdoms where the old myths of magic, evil contracts, and enslaved children turn out to be real.

(Affiliate links included.)

The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna
(Hamelin Stoop #2)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 304 Pages
February 7, 2017 by 12 Gates Publishing

Hamelin finally makes it across the footbridge only to learn that his quest to find his parents and learn his true identity will not be quickly done or easy to fulfill. The Great Eagle leads him through the dangerous Waters of Death and Life and into the Land of Gloaming, where Hamelin is thrown into the midst of a war already being waged between the evil Chimera and the mysterious Ancient One. He must help two new friends find a kidnapped princess and recover a stolen jewel, tasks for which they have special gifts that must not be misused: a scarf of sight, shoes of speed, and a sword of death. But these quests are only part of the larger story, a story including Chimera’s plan to use Hamelin—a child of two realms—to seize the kingdoms on both sides of the Atrium of the Worlds.

(Affiliate links included.)

The Ring of Truth
(Hamelin Stoop #3)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 580 Pages
December 29, 2020 by 12 Gates Publishing

Will Hamelin be summoned again?

Hamelin suspects that his friend Layla is the lost princess from the Land of Gloaming. As he describes his daring adventures to trusted friends at the children’s home, an intricate tapestry of stories emerges. Layla admits that she has had dreams – or are they memories? – of another world with faded light. The orphan boy is not alone in his struggle to learn the truth, search for family, and question the Ancient One's purposes.

Meanwhile, dangerous forces continue to pursue the boy of both worlds, but the evil Chimera gives his agents an additional task: find the fourth princess, the missing daughter of Carr, and stop her. She must never return home.

(Affiliate links included.)

Guest Post: The Storybook World of Hamelin Stoop

A strange portal connects the two worlds of the Hamelin Stoop series. On one side, the portal touches the world at the mouth of a cave outside of Middleton, Texas. The cave is one of many in West Texas, surrounded by small trees and shrubs, at the top of a small hill. Just a few miles away, 8-year-old Hamelin Stoop lives at Upton County Children’s Home, where he was abandoned by his parents as an infant in 1951. The children’s home is tended to by house parents, a cook, and an old farmer named Mr. Moore. Hamelin attends an elementary school in Middleton. He likes some of his teachers, especially Mrs. Eastland, but other people at school, like Mr. Litchie and Patton McBoggerson, make the orphan’s life miserable. The winters blow cold, and the summers are hot with the occasional fast and hard storm. It is one such night, when the rain isn’t expected, when Hamelin decides to run away.

On the other side of the portal, an Atrium with beautiful flowers and light abundant awaits, but it also hides an enchanting darkness beneath healing waters. Beyond the Atrium, there is a medieval world waiting. This world has many kingdoms, including Parthogen, which has been overthrown by an evil commander; Osmethan, where waters of unending life entice the weak-minded; and Periluna, an underground kingdom dependent on a precious jewel for light. These two worlds are connected, and a great evil is attempting to grasp for more power. Nevertheless, the servants of the Ancient One on both sides of the portal have hope.

About the Author


Robert is married to his college sweetheart, Sue. With seven married children and over twenty grandchildren, they enjoy large family gatherings with good food and lively conversation around the table. Favorite family activities include role-playing games, writing and reading stories, and, of course, storytelling. Robert is also a University president and scholar.

Photo Credit: Joannah Buffington

12 Gates Publishing: Website | Instagram

Blitz Giveaway


One winner will receive print copies of The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge and The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna plus bookmarks and a $15 Amazon Gift Card (US only)

Ends January 18, 2021

Grab Our Button!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: A Promise in Provence by Kyle Hunter

A Promise in Provence JustRead Blog + Review tour Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for A Promise in Provence by Kyle Hunter, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


A Promise in Provence

Title: A Promise in Provence
Series: Provence
Author: Kyle Hunter
Publisher: Monceau Publishing
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Genre: Christian contemporary romance

Lauren is at a turning point. If only she knew where to turn. Her long-term relationship with Mark is fading fast. Instead, she feels drawn to Jean-Pierre, an attractive Frenchman she’d met the previous summer. When she’s laid off from her job as a chef, she decides to go see him in Provence, France. 

Mark can’t get Lauren out of his heart, even though it’s been close to a year since she asked him to give her space. When she goes to France, he’s afraid he’ll lose her for good. That is, until he decides to go there, too, as a last-ditch effort to win her back. 

At first, Lauren is angry that Mark follows her to France. But a joint desire to help a young refugee boy leads them to work together. Lauren finds herself torn between the two men. Worse, she’s confronted with obstacles in helping the boy and even greater obstacles within herself.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | BookBub

BOOKS IN THIS SERIES


EXCERPT


Mark’s name was called by the barista. Lauren rose. “I’ll get them.” Maybe she wanted to break the tension, change the subject. Escape the conversation. She returned, a steaming mug in each hand, and sat down.

She looked at him, her face now purged of expression, and said, “I’m going to France for a little while. I think it will help me to sort things out. I can get closure on my final chapter with Le Bon Voyage.” She bit her lip and lifted her eyes to his. “And—”

“And?”

She sighed and looked at her hands. “Last year when I was in France, I met someone.”

Mark stiffened, feeling like a cannonball had fallen into a cavern in his stomach. She’d met someone. Up to now he’d been so thankful that she’d never said those words. Now his gratitude and hope melted like ice inside him. (from Chapter Three)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter loves to read and write stories about strong women (and men) who still have flaws, but are ready to pursue their dreams, even if it takes them out of their comfort zone . . . or their country. She writes inspirational romance novels and women’s fiction with a twist: her characters sometimes go places. Take a trip with them and experience their journeys. See how their lives unfold as they make decisions to trust God (or not) in their next steps, learning about themselves and their faith, and finding love along the way! Kyle lives in North Carolina but spent over a decade in France, where some of her characters find themselves.

CONNECT WITH KYLE:  Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card + Love in Provence series 2-in-1 ebook set!

A Promise in Provence JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight January 12, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on January 19, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.