Category Archives: Young Adult Reviews

Reviews for young adults and teens

CASTLE OF REFUGE, / by Melanie Dickerson (JustRead Tour)

Meadow with wildflowers under the bright sun. Summer landscape.


ABOUT THE BOOK

castle of refugeCastle of Refuge, / by Melanie Dickerson (A Dericott Tale, 2)
Thomas Nelson     ISBN     9780785234043
YA     Rating:     4

In this Ugly Duckling retelling, New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson brilliantly crafts a high-stakes, encouraging tale
about the power of love.

Ever since she was a child, Audrey wanted her life to be extraordinary. But as the daughter of a viscount born in late fourteenth-century England, the only thing expected of her was to marry—until an act of malice by her sister, Maris, four years ago damaged her face and her prospects. Though Maris was sent away, twenty-year-old Audrey is still suffering the scars of her sister’s cruelty. When her father announces his plans to marry off his damaged daughter and bring Maris home, Audrey decides to flee in search of her true destiny.

However, life outside her home is dangerous, and she soon finds herself attacked, sick, and in desperate need of help. She is taken in at Dericott Castle to be nursed back to health. While there, she decides to keep her identity a secret and work as a servant in the castle. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with the young and handsome Lord Dericott, who lost his arm several months earlier and bears scars of his own.

Meanwhile, Edwin—Lord Dericott—is curious about the new, well-educated servant’s identity. All he knows is that he’s quickly becoming smitten with her. When the man Audrey’s father wanted her to marry comes looking for her, she and Edwin must make life-changing decisions about what to believe and whether or not love is truly worth trusting.

PURCHASE: AMAZON


GIVEAWAY

(3) winners will receive a print copy of the book(US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics. Instagram is not affiliated with nor responsible for this giveaway. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on June 1, 2021.)

Giveaway_CastleOfRefuge_IG_JR

To enter, follow @melaniedickerson123 @tnzfiction @justreadtours & Tag 2 friends in the same comment on this post or any other hosted post of this tour. Enter up to 3x per post. 


My Review

Known for her medieval young adult retellings, Dickerson pens this Ugly Duckling retelling, with likeable characters and detailed narrative. Audrey is sweet and compassionate, even towards her sister. Edward is generous and kind, caring for those who labor under him. Edward struggles with balance, walking, and mounting his horse. He shows vulnerability, resilience, and bravery as he adapts to the loss of his arm. Audrey not only suffers the scars from the injuries her sister causes, but emotional scars from a father who ignores her abusive sister’s actions. 

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

The theme is finding love that looks beyond the surface to see the beauty in one’s character; there are two scarred people who find love, despite their physical and emotional scars. Both Audrey and Edward struggle in their faith as a result of their life-changing afflictions (caused by others’ actions). 

Book 3, Veil of Winter, is expected in 2022.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are written for books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, or authors. I voluntarily reviewed this book, and my review represents my honest opinion.

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COURT OF SWANS, / by Melanie Dickerson

Court of Swans / Melanie Dickerson (A Dericott Tale, 1)

Thomas Nelson     ISBN     9780785234012

YA     Rating:     3

court of swans

Award-winning author Melanie Dickerson kicks off her new series set in medieval England and featuring the Raynsford family.

In Court of Swans, Lady Delia Raynsford, the Earl of Dericott’s only daughter, lives a quiet life after her widowed father marries a much younger woman. When the earl dies a few years later, Delia’s stepmother arranges for Delia’s seven brothers to be (falsely) accused of treason against the Crown and imprisoned in the Tower of London. 

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Dickerson, known for her medieval young adult retellings, takes the Wild Swans fairy tale as her inspiration for this novel. It is an entertaining read with a strong heroine, a sweet romance, and faith elements.

Recommended especially for young adult collections in school and public libraries, for teens, young adults, and those who are young at heart.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors.

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Recent Reviews Posted (MARCH 2021)

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Anderson-Torch-666x1024


The Indebted Earl

unknown threat
groom for gracie 
  

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Recent Reviews Posted (JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021)

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Recent Reviews Posted (November/December 2020)

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Recent Reviews Posted (November)

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Review: BESOTTED / Jody Hedlund

Besotted, / by Jody Hedlund (The Fairest Maidens, 3)
Northern Lights Press     ISBN     9781733753470
YA (Ages 13+)     Rating:     4

In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . .

A young queen trying to stay alive until she comes of age to rule,
and a prince turned into a pauper.

Award-winning author Jody Hedlund pens the final book in her young adult trilogy, especially geared to teens ages 13-18 who enjoy a fairy tale retelling.

In Besotted, young Queen Aurora of Mercia — disguised as a peasant — is hiding from her aunt, Queen Margery of Warwick, waiting to turn twenty-one and ascend to her throne. Now that she is almost old enough, Queen Margery is doubling her efforts to kill her, and take over her country as well.

Prince Kresten of Scania, disguised as a woodcutter, is working in the same forest as Aurora. Both of them hide their true identities from one another, despite their growing attraction to one another. Can they set aside their personal wishes, do what is best for their own countries, and thwart the evil plans of Queen Margery?

Hedlund creates a world based on elements of fairy tales and the real world. Kresten is kind-hearted and noble, learning to deny his personal desires and sacrifice for others. Aurora is innocent and dedicated to being the best queen to her people. Her storyline is filled with a light faith element, action, and a clean romance. Besotted is a clever twist on the familiar Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, where “true love’s kiss” plays a central role. Loyalty, faithfulness, and self-sacrifice are central themes to this series. Like the earlier books, there are monsters, battles, triumphs, and victories. All the loose ends are sufficiently tied up in this conclusion to the series.

Fans of fairy tale retellings, whether they are young adult or adult readers, will want to read the entire series! 

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

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APPRENTICE, / by Kristen Young (Celebrate Lit Tour)


About the Book

Book: Apprentice

Author: Kristen Young

Genre: Christian – Science Fiction

Release Date: October 20, 2020

The Love Collective is everywhere.
It sees everything.
Be not afraid.

Apprentice Flick remembers everything, except the first five years of her life. And for as long as she can remember, Flick has wanted to enter the Elite Academy—home to the best, brightest, and most loyal members of the Love Collective government.

Flick’s uncanny memory might get her there, too … even if it is the very thing that marks her as a freak. But frightening hallucinations start intruding into her days and threaten to bring down all she has worked so hard to accomplish. Why is she being hijacked by a stranger’s nightmare over and over again?

Moving to the Elite Academy could give Flick the future she’s always wanted. But her search for truth may lead to a danger she cannot escape.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Kristen Young is an Aussie children’s and youth worker who always has a notebook on hand to catch ideas for her fiction and non-fiction. She loves hanging out with her family, watching movies with subtitles, and chocolate.

More from Kristen

An interview with Kristen Young

Q: How long have you been writing?

I was the kid who used to create little booklets and puzzle magazines for the family. So writing is something that I’ve been doing for a long time. It wasn’t quite publication-worthy back then, but it was fun. I had to practice a little more before people outside my family wanted to see it.

Q: Where do you write?

Anywhere I have access to a laptop or a pen. I have a desk at home where most of the writing happens, but I usually carry a notebook in my bag in case inspiration hits when I’m out. People think I’m a little eccentric when I’m madly scribbling in the middle of the supermarket. But I have to get that scene idea down before I forget!

Q: What is your writing Kryptonite?

Distractions. For me, writing preparation is a little like building a house of cards — that process of getting my thoughts in order and working out the story direction. Distractions are like the gust of wind that knocks the whole construction over. I usually wear noise-cancelling headphones to try and keep me focused on the process.

Q: Where’s your favourite story setting?

I’m still looking for that wardrobe with a door to Narnia.

Q: What’s the first book that made you cry?

I’m not sure if I can share that without giving spoilers! But I’d have to say Charlotte’s Web. When I read that as a child, it had me wrecked for ages.

Q: Have you read anything that totally changed your idea of the way fiction could be written?

There are a couple of books that totally changed my view of fiction. The first was Margaret Atwood’s novel The Blind Assassin. I was totally captivated by the way she mixed newspaper articles and other media with the narrative sections. It was mind-blowing at the time.

Jasper Fforde’s series that started with The Eyre Affair was also pretty amazing. It took a whole pile of literary references and completely messed with them. It was enormous fun.

Q: So why set something in a world called the “Love Collective”?

I like words, and I’m fascinated by the way people often play with them, or even weaponise them. I kind of wanted to explore this word ‘love’ and what it means. In English, we have this one word to refer to so many different kinds of concepts. I wanted to write an exciting story, so it seemed right to have this concept as a backdrop behind the action, where you’re asking, “What does this mean?”

Q: Your main character never forgets anything. Is she like you?

No way. I think Flick’s memory is a bit of wish fulfilment from me. It was so hard writing her, because I forget so many details! In some ways forgetting is protective. But in other ways I’d love to have her memory.

Q: What can we expect in the rest of the Collective Underground Trilogy?

I can’t tell you the whole story, that would ruin the fun. But in the first book, Flick’s world has started really small, and she’s going to broaden her horizons. She’ll get to explore more of this Love Collective. There also might be some more danger, too. Or more love. We’ll see…


Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 1

Blogging With Carol, November 1

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 2

Texas Book-aholic, November 3

Inklings and notions, November 4

April Hayman, Author, November 4

For Him and My Family, November 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 6

deb’s Book Review, November 6

Worthy2Read, November 7

Woven by Words, November 7

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

Emily Yager, November 9

Artistic Nobody, November 9 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 10

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

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 11

Adventures of A Travelers Wife, November 12

Through the Fire Blogs, November 12

Splashes of Joy, November 13

Inside the Wong Mind, November 13


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kristen is giving away the grand prize of a $100 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/102f1/apprentice-celebration-tour-giveaway


MY REVIEW

Kristen Young kicks off a young adult science fiction trilogy with a dystopian novel set in a world where things are done in the name of love, but it isn’t the hearts-and-flowers love expects: it is the government-controlled Love Collective.

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Young creates an interesting dystopian society, where love controls every action and thought. This society is more socialistic and oppressive than one expects. Everyone and everything is being watched, especially Kerr. Someone will do anything to prevent her from finding out the truth. The Love Collective stresses complete obedience, no questions asked, and no individual thought. When Flick begins to uncover the truth, will it set her free? 

The second book in this series is expected in September 2021.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

 

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Recent Reviews Posted (October)

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Review: BEGUILED / Jody Hedlund

Beguiled, / by Jody Hedlund (The Fairest Maidens, 2)
Northern Lights Press    ISBN      978-1733753463
Young Adult (ages 13+)     Rating: 4

In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . .
A princess rejected and hunted by her mother, and a prince who lives as a shunned outcast.


Award-winning author Jody Hedlund presents the second book in her young adult trilogy, especially geared to teens ages 13-18 who enjoy a fairy tale retelling.

In Beguiled, Princess Pearl of Warwick lives in disguise on the Isle of Outcasts, hiding her face (and identity) with a veil. She escaped to the isle after her mother, Queen Margery, tried to have her killed. Hiding in a different outcast group on the same isle is Prince Mikkle of Scania, who is also in disguise. Neither reveal their true identity to the other, even after they join forces to fight the Queen’s plans and attempt to rescue Ruby, Pearl’s younger sister. They build their relationship based on respect and character instead of physical beauty and birthright. Will they be victorious in their fight against the Queen’s evil plans? 

Hedlund creates a world based on elements of fairy tales and the real world, even providing a map of the Great Isle, where these kingdoms are found. Not only does she creates a believable world, but her storyline is filled with action, plot twists, and clean romances between the lead characters, making this series an excellent read for teens and those who are young at heart.

Beguiled is a clever twist on the familiar Snow White fairy tale. Readers will find true love and inner beauty is central in this tale, and perhaps be encouraged to look to inner qualities over external ones. Loyalty and caring for others despite their outward appearances is also a key part of the story. 

The three books build on one another and are best read in order. Book 1 (Beholden) was published last month, and book 3 (Besotted) will be available next month.  Fans of fairy tale retellings, whether they are young adult or adult readers, will want to read the entire series! 

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

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CHRISTY AWARD FINALISTS 2020

This is an abbreviated list of the 2020 finalists with links to my reviews.

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

  • The Land Beneath Us, Sarah Sundin    Revell/ Baker Publishing Group
  • The Painted Castle, Kristy Cambron    Thomas Nelson
  • The Number of Love, Roseanna M. White    Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

  • Just One Kiss, Courtney Walsh    Courtney Walsh Writes  (read but not reviewed, rating: 4)
  • Now and Then and Always, Melissa Tagg    Larkspur Press
  • Sweet On You, Becky Wade    Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group

HISTORICAL

  • The Bright Unknown, Elizabeth Byler Younts    Tyndale House Publishers
  • The Medallion, Cathy Gohlke    Tyndale House Publishers (read but not reviewed, rating: 4)
  • Memories of Glass, Melanie Dobson    Tyndale House Publishers
  • My Dearest Dietrich, Amanda Barratt    Kregel Publications

VISIONARY

  • Cry of the Raven, Morgan L. Busse    Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group  (read but not reviewed, rating: 4)
  • Hidden Current, Sharon Hinck    Enclave Publishing
  • The Story Raider, Lindsay A. Franklin    Enclave Publishing

YOUNG ADULT

  • The Means That Make Us Strangers, Christine Kindberg    Bellflower Press
  • The Piper’s Pursuit, Melanie Dickerson    Thomas Nelson
  • The Winter King, Christine Cohen    Canonball Books

Winners will be announced on November 12, 2020.

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Recent Reviews Posted (September)

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Review: BEHOLDEN / Jody Hedlund

Beholden, / by Jody Hedlund (The Fairest Maidens, 1)
Northern Lights Press    ISBN     9781733753456
Young Adult (ages 13+)     Rating: 4

In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . .
A beautiful noblewoman with a terrible secret, and a prince subjected to slavery.

Award-winning author Jody Hedlund pens a new young adult trilogy, especially geared to teens ages 13-18 who enjoy a fairy tale retelling.

In Beholden, the death of Lady Gabriela’s father also means a loss of her privileged life. She is sentenced to work in Warwick’s gem mine as a laborer, excavating jewels for Queen Margery. Despite her circumstances, Gabriela maintains her kindness and tenderheartedness. Gabriella wants to expose Queen Margery’s evil secret (her need for the gems from the mine). First Gabriella must escape the mines, then get to the palace in time for the summer ball. After that, she plans to sacrifice everything in order to succeed. 

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

As always,  Jody Hedlund  writes relatable characters in this clean romance, suitable for adults and older teens.

 Hedlund is planning a rapid publication of the three books in this series. Fans of fairy tale retellings, whether they are young adult or adult readers, will want to watch for Beguiled (Book 2, October 2020) and Besotted (Book 3, November 2020).

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

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Review: CAROLINA HOMECOMING, / by Heather Blanton

Carolina Homecoming, / by Heather Blanton
Heather Blanton     ISBN     9798674770107
Adult     Rating:     4

Author Heather Blanton pens an inspirational frontier novel set during the Civil War, inspired by the biblical story of Ruth and Naomi set during the Civil War.

In Carolina Homecoming, widowed Noemie decides to return to her small South Carolina hometown following the death of her son. Her son’s widow Ruth accompanies her. When they get to her farm in Walhalla, they find the farmhouse deserted and fallen into disrepair — as well as no sign of the caretaker she left in charge years earlier. Apparently he died a few years earlier, and a cousin claimed it as his own. 

But a distant relative, widower Montgomery Boaze — an older and wealthy farmer — helps them get the ranch back in running order, and he appoints himself their protector. Together, they face the battle over her land which had been left unattended while Noemie lived up North. 

Blanton is an excellent storyteller, providing good character development and descriptive narratives, allowing the reader to picture themselves in the midst of the story. Known for her inspirational Westerns, Blanton tells an engaging story in this rendition of the familiar biblical story. She even adds a brief introduction of the biblical story of Ruth for readers who may be unfamiliar with it. Needless to say, the faith element is strong and evident, at the same time, it is not preachy. 

Ruth was not just a Northern girl (avoiding the usual North vs. South storyline), she was an Irish immigrant — and that was a welcome twist. The relationship between Ruth and Montgomery is May-December romance (he is about fifteen years older)  and that was delightful to watch unfold. . This book would be appropriate for older teens as well as adult readers. 

Recommended for adult collections in school and public libraries, as well as Western fans, and fans of second chance clean romances.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

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SWIFT / by R. J. Anderson (Celebrate Lit Tour)


About the Book

Book: Swift

Author: R. J. 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

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)

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

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


MY REVIEW

R. J. Anderson, author of the No Ordinary Fairy Tale series, returns to the fairy realm with a new series about piskeys, faeries, and spriggans. Previously published in the UK, her fantasy series is now available for American readers.

In Swift, a wingless piskey — Ivy — lives underground with the rest of her community. Considered disabled because she doesn’t have wings, Ivy manages to keep the family unit together after her mother mysteriously disappears — or was she kidnapped?

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Swift is a captivating story, created especially for young teens (ages 12-16). The first chapter pulls in the reader and keeps them engaged until the very end, with plot twists galore. Ivy grows in courage over the course of the book. She learns to look beyond what is accepted by others to discover for herself what is true.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

 

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Recent Reviews Posted (July/August)!

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ESME’S GIFT, / by Elizabeth Foster (Prism Tour)

Esme’s Gift, / by Elizabeth Foster (Esme Trilogy, 2)
Odyssey Books ISBN     9781925652246
MG/YA (ages 12+) Rating: 4

Australian author Elizabeth Foster returns with a second book in her middle grade/young adult fantasy trilogy, suitable for readers ages 12 and up.

In Esme’s Gift fifteen year old Esme Silver tries to get her father to return with her to Aeolia, but he is broken by Esme’s disappearance (in Esmes’ Wish). Her stepmother is in full control, and Esme discovers some startling information about her. She is torn between Aeolia where her mother lies in a coma and the “real” world where her father lives (and he doesn’t believe Aeolia really exists). 

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Foster does an excellent job in creating Aeolia and building on the breathtaking world she first created in Esme’s Wish, with its memorable characters and descriptive narrative.

Readers will look forward to Esme’s Voice, coming in 2021. Esme’s Gift is the winner of the 2020 Ippy Award (for best YA fiction) and a Purple Dragonfly Book award (for best fantasy).

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are written for books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, or authors. I voluntarily reviewed this book, and my review represents my honest opinion.

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ESME’S WISH, / by Elizabeth Foster (Prism Tour)

Esme’s Wish, / by Elizabeth Foster (Esme Trilogy, 1)
Odyssey Books     ISBN     9781925652246
YA (ages 12+)     Rating:    4

Australian author Elizabeth Foster pens a middle grade fantasy novel, the first in a trilogy. Winner of best science fiction/fantasy book in the 2018  Purple Dragonfly Book Awards (recognizes excellence in children’s literature), Esme’s Wish is geared towards teens (ages twelve and up).

In Esme’s Wish, fifteen year old Esme Silver objects to her father’s wedding, even though her mother has been missing for more than seven years. Esme believes her mother Ariane didn’t just disappear; her loyalty to her mother leads her to seek the truth. In her attempt to do so, she is swept into the world of Aeolia where she starts to retrace her mother’s footsteps. Untangling the truth reveals a different mother than the one she thought she knew. Can she uncover the truth and get the answers to her questions?

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Foster creates a breathtaking world in Aeolia, with memorable characters and descriptive narrative. Aeolia is filled with blue water, orange dragons, sirens, folklore, and magical gifts, as well as an engaging storyline.

Readers will look forward to the second book in this series, Esme’s Gift, 2020 Ippy Award winner, coming later this summer.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are written for books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, or authors. I voluntarily reviewed this book, and my review represents my honest opinion.

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Review: THE PEASANT’S DREAM, / by Melanie Dickerson

The Peasant’s Dream, / by Melanie Dickerson
Thomas Nelson     ISBN     9780785228332
YA     Rating:     4

Award-winning author Melanie Dickerson finishes her long-running young adult fairy tale retelling series with this reverse Cinderella story.

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Adela, the Duke of Hagenheim’s youngest daughter, lives most of her life within the castle. She longs to prove herself as an artist and experience a taste of freedom beyond the castle walls. Disguised as a peasant, she explores the village and meets Frederick, a poor farmer who is also a talented woodcarver. They become friends, although Frederick is unaware of Adela’s parentage. Their shared interest in art lays the foundation for a friendship which develops into a romance. The path to true love is not smooth, and there are a few plot twists along the way, putting their happy ending at risk. Will they find a future together? Read The Peasant’s Dream and see!

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors.

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DUST / by Kara Swanson (Celebrate Lit Tour)

Dust FB Banner


About the Book

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

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.


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

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


My Review

Award-winning author Kara Swanson pens a creative retelling in this young adult version of Peter Pan, showing the darker side to this children’s story.

In Dust, nineteen year old Claire Kenton is looking for her twin brother, Connor, who disappeared when he was fourteen. 

When her search eventually takes her to London, she meets Peter Pan who is growing up, because he isn’t in Neverland anymore. He is stranded in the real world, unable to return there, as is Captain Hook. Claire’s illness is really magic, the kind both of them need to get back to Neverland. Who can she trust? Peter isn’t the same boy in the children’s tale she read.  

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Recent Reviews Posted (Summer 2020)!

Click on a book cover to read my review!



 

 

 

 

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Filed under Adult Reviews, BOOK REVIEWS, GENERAL INFORMATION, General Reviews, Young Adult Reviews

EXTREME BLINDSIDE, / by Leslea Wahl (JustRead Tour)

eXtreme Blindside Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for eXtreme Blindside by Leslea Wahl,
hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: eXtreme BlindsideeXtreme Blindside
Author: Leslea Wahl
Publisher: Pauline Books and Media
Release Date: December 1, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Mystery

After winning Olympic silver, teen snowboarder Jake Taylor is struggling with sudden fame when he’s offered a gig he can’t refuse: becoming a spokesperson for a state-of-the-art athletic training facility. Training for its first competition, Jake relies on his faith to help him find ways to use his fame to help others . . . when athletes mysteriously start getting sabotaged one by one. Time is running out for Jake and his girlfriend, Sophie, to figure out what is going on before he is also sabotaged . . . or worse.

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leslea Wahl

Leslea Wahl lives in beautiful Colorado with her family. Leslea is the author of three other Catholic teen novels, The Perfect Blindside, An Unexpected Role, and Where You Lead, and strives to write Young Adult novels that will encourage teens to grow in their faith through fun, adventurous mysteries.

In addition to writing her own books, Leslea has begun reviewing Catholic and Christian teen novels on her website to help families find faith-based novels. She is also one of the founding members of the joint-website CatholicTeenBooks.com.

For more information on her award-winning Young Adult mysteries please visit www.LesleaWahl.com.

CONNECT WITH LESLEA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(5) winners will each receive a signed print copy of Extreme Blindside, a custom bookmark, and scented soap!

Extreme Blindside JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below.

Giveaway will begin at midnight June 15, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on June 22, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. 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!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.


MY REVIEW

In eXtreme Blindside, snowboarder Jake Silver faces unexpected fame after his silver medal win. He tries to balance living his faith, helping to raise new funds for a state-of-art athletic facility, and a relationship with Sophie, his girlfriend and aspiring journalist. 

Jake competes in an extreme winter sports competition. When the games are plagued by equipment tampering, and athletic injuries, Jake and Sophie become amateur sleuths. Someone seems to be interfering with the events and putting people at risk.To reach the truth, they will risk being blindsided by those they trust. 

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Wahl’s book keeps the reader engaged with her fast-moving plot, and authenticity in her sports narrative. One feels the crispness of the snow and the thrill of the sporting competition. Their investigation ends up putting both of them into grave danger. The danger is not only from those trying to wreck the games, but from their own struggles with life in the media spotlight.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are written for books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, or authors. I voluntarily reviewed this book, and my review represents my honest opinion.

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THE STORY HUNTER / Lindsay Franklin (Celebrate Lit Blog Tour)

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About the Book

Book: The Story Hunter

Author: Lindsay A. Franklin 

Genre: Christian Fantasy, Action & Adventure

Release Date: May 19, 2020

Redeeming the past is a fatal quest.

In the wake of a deadly coup, the capital city of Urian has descended into chaos. Heartbreak and bloodshed await Tanwen and her friends as they discover the unlikeliest leader now rules Tir.

If they want to save the realm, Tannie and the Corsyth weavers must rescue Queen Braith and unmask the Master, ending the strife once and for all. But the success of their hunt depends upon an ally no one trusts.

The Master has a new target in sight: fragile, trauma-scarred Digwyn, whose unique weaving ability could turn the tide of any war. When the desire for vengeance proves too powerful for Digwyn to resist, Tanwen must face a terrifying truth: the fate of Tir rests in the hands of a volatile, shattered girl.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Lindsay A. Franklin  is a Carol Award–winning author, freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her scruffy-looking nerf-herder husband, their precious geeklings, three demanding thunder pillows (a.k.a. cats), and a stuffed marsupial named Wombatman.


More from Lindsay

Someone asked me recently where my story ideas come from. In fact, that’s one of the author questions I get asked most often. Honestly, the answer is different for every single project I’ve worked on, every single thing I’ve written. I’ve gotten ideas from news headlines, from dreams, from random musings while washing dishes. I even got an idea for a novel from a throwaway remark made by an editor teaching a workshop (that’s how The Story Peddler started).

The idea for The Story Hunter started with a title that turned into a girl.

After The Weaver Trilogy was acquired, my publisher and I brainstormed a list of titles for books two and three in the series. My editor loved the title The Story Peddler and wanted to keep that format for subsequent books. On his brainstorming list was the title The Story Thief. Obviously, this title did not make it all the way to publication. The middle-grade best-selling series Story Thieves wasn’t on our radar at the time, and once it was, I knew we would have to work with a different title (and I absolutely love the title The Story Hunter, so there’s no lingering sadness over here). But the moment I saw that phrase, The Story Thief, a new character popped into my head. It was one of those rare instances when a complete person arrives in my imagination all at once. I knew who she was, what she wanted, and what her unique gift would be. She was Diggy, my story thief, and I knew book three would belong to her.

There were many things I loved about writing this final installment of The Weaver Trilogy but none more than getting to write my story thief’s journey. That’s her hand on the cover of the book, stealing lightning and battling her inner monsters. Though I knew who Diggy was the moment I imagined her, I wasn’t sure how her story was going to end until I wrote it. I can recall saying to my best friend during Hunter’s writing process, “I don’t know if Diggy is going to be okay.” Her backstory is very difficult and deeply personal to me. When we’re facing the kind of odds Diggy is facing, sometimes we don’t win. And even if we do, rarely do we come out unscathed. So I built the book around that question: is Diggy going to be okay? And I didn’t know the answer until I scribbled it down on my outline.

When readers reach The End for the final time in this series, I hope they will feel I’ve done Diggy’s story—and the stories of all my beloved Weaver characters— justice.


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lindsay is giving away the grand prize package of a signed set of The Weaver Trilogy paperbacks, set of four character cards with art by Laura Hollingsworth, set of three Weaver-themed Novelly Yours candles (The Corsyth, The Cethorelle, and The Craigyl), an “I Ship It Mor” enamel pin designed by Dust & Pages, Custom tea tins from Adagio Tea (Braith’s Blend and Diggy’s Spikefruit), and an assortment of bookmarks, stickers, and art prints!!

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/fab3/the-story-hunter-celebration-tour-giveaway


MY REVIEW

Lindsay Franklin concludes her young adult fantasy series where creating a story can be a weapon used by those in authority.

The story weavers are on a mission to find out the identity of the Master who is behind the evil happening in their world. Tanwen, Mor, and the others on this journey face circumstances that are formidable, and some will be lost.

<MY FULL REVIEW>

The Story Hunter is an epic young adult Christian fantasy filled with action, magic (especially the magic of a well-told story), adventure, political intrigue, suspense, and sweet romance.

Also reviewed in this series: The Story Peddler, and The Story Raider.

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ESME’S WISH, / by Elizabeth Foster (JustReads Tour)

Esme's Wish by Elizabeth Foster - Book Review, Preview


Esme’s Wish, / by Elizabeth Foster (Esme Trilogy, 1)
Odyssey Books     ISBN     9781925652246
YA (ages 12+)     Rating:    4

Australian author Elizabeth Foster pens a middle grade fantasy novel, the first in a trilogy. Winner of best science fiction/fantasy book in the 2018  Purple Dragonfly Book Awards (recognizes excellence in children’s literature), Esme’s Wish is geared towards teens (ages twelve and up).

In Esme’s Wish, fifteen year old Esme Silver objects to her father’s wedding, even though her mother has been missing for more than seven years. Esme believes her mother Ariane didn’t just disappear; her loyalty to her mother leads her to seek the truth. In her attempt to do so, she is swept into the world of Aeolia where she starts to retrace her mother’s footsteps. Untangling the truth reveals a different mother than the one she thought she knew. Can she uncover the truth and get the answers to her questions?

<SEE FULL REVIEW>

Foster creates a breathtaking world in Aeolia, with memorable characters and descriptive narrative. Aeolia is filled with blue water, orange dragons, sirens, folklore, and magical gifts, as well as an engaging storyline.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are written for books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, or authors. I voluntarily reviewed this book, and my review represents my honest opinion.

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Review: WHERE YOU LEAD / by Leslea Wahl

Where You Lead. / by Leslea Wahl
Vinspire      ISBN     9781732711228
YA     Rating:     4

Author Leslea Wahl’s latest book — Where You Lead – continues her collection of inspirational teen fiction.

In Where You Lead, Eve Donahue (a professor’s daughter) and her new friend Nick Hammond (a senator’s son) follow clues all over the Washington, D. C. area. They are solving a mystery surrounding Civil War treasure. But not everyone wants the mystery revealed — and as they uncover a conspiracy, will they solve the mystery before that someone stops them?

Their relationship is a clean romance, and the story is filled with believe-able characters, a light touch with faith elements, and an adventurous mystery. Eve reminds the reader of Nancy Drew, the teenager who is known for solving mysteries.

Although there are references to Catholicism, the book can be read by anyone, regardless of religious background. Eve starts on this mystery when she sees a vision featuring Nick, who lives thousands of miles away. She feels called to a mission of solving the mystery surrounding the lost Confederate gold. Meanwhile, Nick has his own experience which leads him to convince his dad to run for the Senate. When they meet, both feel called to work together to solve the century-old mystery. As clues become entangled in deception and leaving them unclear whom to trust, they believe that God calls people every day to big and small tasks.

Recommended for high school libraries and young adult collections in public libraries.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

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