Self-Published Saturday/Repost of Songbird

I know it’s not Saturday, but I’m going to be gone all day watching grandkids on Saturday, so the SP Saturday posts are going up early. This is a repost of my Review for Songbird.

Self-Published Saturday (SPS) is my effort to help self-published and indie authors with the heavy task of marketing their books. Self-published authors have to do it all, from cover design to marketing and more. This is my effort to take a bit of that load and help promote their books on a Saturday. Please share these books on your social media, so all of your followers can see these great books as well. Today’s first review is of Songbird, a wonderful cozy historical mystery by Gail Meath set in New York City, 1923.

Following the review is a short Q&A with the author, Gail Meath.

FULL DISCLOSURE

I am the editor of this particular book. I wanted to make sure you had full knowledge of that before you read my review. My review is honest and my opinions are my own. This was my first editing adventure, and I want to thank Gail Meath for allowing me the opportunity. I am planning to start freelance editing next year and am doing a few editing jobs right now free of charge in order to gain experience. So let me know if need any help!

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Normally I come up with a paragraph describing the book on my own. But Gail Meath’s description is so good I couldn’t possibly come up with anything better, and it’s so clever I wanted to share it with you. So here is the book description written by Gail Meath.

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Meet Jax Diamond, a sharp, sophisticated, skilled, no-nonsense private detective. Or is he? Glued to his side is his canine partner, Ace, a fierce and unrelenting German Shepherd whose mere presence terrorizes criminals into submission. Well, maybe not.

But the two of them are a whole lot smarter than they look. And they have their hands full when a playwright’s death is declared natural causes, and his new manuscript worth a million bucks is missing.

Laura Graystone, a beautiful rising Broadway star, is dragged into the heart of their investigation, and she’s none too happy about it. Especially when danger first strikes, and she needs to rely on her own ingenuity to save their hides.

Join Jax, Laura and Ace on a fun yet deadly ride during the Roaring Twenties that takes twists and turns, and a race against time to find the real murderer before he/she/they stop them permanently.

BOOK REVIEW

This is a fantasically fun cozy mystery set in 1923 New York. The characters don’t just jump off the page, they pull you into their world. Jax’s sidekick, Ace, the wonderfully charming German Shepherd, will make his way into your heart in no time. The setting in 1923 New York City is well described and transports us back to that place and time. The portrayal of Coney Island makes you feel as if you are there, hanging on for dear life in the Steeplechase or winning a prize in the baseball toss. The mystery is so well done, with puzzles and red herrings that will keep you guessing. The main characters are complex and interesting. Jax, private investigator and former cop, has his own secrets to keep, and Laura’s talents are revealed to expand way beyond singing.

There is a sweet romance, but the complex and fascinating mystery is the star of the show, along with the lovable Ace. I highly recommend this book, the first in the Jax Diamond Mysteries series, to all mystery fans and to anyone who loves reading about our canine friends.

I received a free copy of this book from the author. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Songbird will be released November 11, 2021.

Q&A WITH GAIL MEATH

Songbird is a fun cozy mystery, and a little more lighthearted than your complex and wonderful previous historical novels, such as Agustina De Aragon and Countess Jacqueline.  Where did you get the inspiration for Songbird

 A while back, I found and fell in love with the cover, and I knew that I had to write a book around it.  Over the summer, I had so much fun researching the Roaring Twenties era; the story just became a reflection of how I envisioned life on Broadway back then.  And it was a nice break from writing about the struggles of war.   

The series is set in 1923 in New York City.  Did you face any challenges in setting a mystery during this time and place?  

Choosing New York City made research easier than other places since it is one of the largest cities.  And I found tons of information regarding historical restaurants, speakeasies, theaters, etc.  There was so much more I wanted to include in the book, but I didn’t want to distract from the story.

Your description of Coney Island is fascinating and the rides sound like deadly fun.  Seriously, I’m not sure how anyone survived some of these rides.  Was there a lot of research material available for 1923 Coney Island?  

Like the rest the city, there was a great deal of research, but none of the articles tells you more about the Coney Island Amusement Park than the video I found.  It is a hoot!  Note from Bonnie: Please check out the link here of old 1920s Coney Island rides. You won’t want to miss it, and you will also be wondering how anyone survived! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wz5vZmU8Dc&t=47s

One of your main characters is a German Shepherd, and he is delightful!  Was it challenging to make an animal a major part of the story, and do you have any dogs yourself?  

I am an avid animal lover and have a little Boston Terrier now.  Years ago, as soon as I married and moved to the country, I adopted Gretchen, the most beautiful, loyal and loving friend I’ve ever had.  She even saved my son’s life once.   She is still sorely missed, so it was very easy and fun finding a place for her as Ace in this book.

Was Gretchen a German Shepherd?

Yes, Gretchen was a shepherd, and she looked just like the pic I have of Ace under the covers in the book.

It appears there will be a sequel to Songbird.  Can you confirm that? 

 BLACKSTONE, Jax Diamond Mysteries – Book 2, should be ready in March and takes place in New England, but I’m not done with BROADWAY yet (Book 3)

Thank you Gail, for another great interview and for answering my questions today on short notice!

PRE-ORDER SONGBIRD

Amazon US

Amazon UK

COVER RATING

I love this cover. You instantly know you are in the 1920’s, and Ace and Jax are represented by the cards in the left corner. Very well done. The cover was done before the book, which is unusual, but as Gail stated above, it served as inspiration for the story.

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Saturday: 10 Great Self-Published/Indie Books to Check Out

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published/indie authors promote their books. Self-published authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. If I can help promote their books in even a small way, I am happy to assist! I thought I’d attach links and covers of some of the wonderful Indie books I’ve reviewed in the past. Be sure and click on the cover to check out the book description and buy links on Amazon. Check them out and you won’t be disappointed! I’ll do other lists of this type regularly.

This is the first in the Robin Hood Trilogy. The second book is Robin Hood’s Widow, and the third is Robin Hood’s Return. These are five-star reads that combine the Robin Hood legend with Historical Fiction.

This wonderful novel by Gail Meath was an Editor’s Choice for the August 2021 edition of Historical Novels Review Magazine, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. It got 5 stars from me, too.

Another five star read, the Siege of An Loc is a historical novel about the Vietnam War told from the perspective of a South Vietnamese soldier.

This is Book one in the fascinating dystopian series Juche by Adria Carmichael It set in a North Korean concentration camp in the 1990s. There have been three books released currently.

This is a collection of Tanka poems that explore the issue of grief and celebrate the lives of the author’s departed family. This 5 star collection will cause you to both smile and cry.

Another 5 star poetry collection. Louise Bélanger’s Your Word, Your World is a collection of Inspirational poems that celebrates God and his creation.

This is Book 1 in the Talisman Series by Brett Salter. Rome is a boy who accidentally sets a tree on fire and eventually finds out he is really a dragon! Great 5-star Young Adult Series.
This is the first book in the Alice and Trudy mystery trilogy. Alice and Trudy have opened up a hotel that caters to the elderly, and their gang of residents is a hoot!

This fantastic book by Patricia Furstenberg takes you, through photographs, illustrations, and 100 word stories, on a trip through time in Transylvania’s history. You start in Neanderthal times and work up to the present. Really an entertaining and educational 5 star read.

Full disclosure, I am the editor on this book. But it’s a wonderful start to a cozy mystery series by Gail Meath that is set in the 1920s. Jax Diamond, private investigator, and his canine assistant Ace are on the case when a talented Broadway playwright is murdered. It will be released November 11, 2021.

BEFORE YOU GO

If you decide to check out some or all of these wonderful books, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and any other sites you use. Reviews are like gold to self-published authors.

Self-Published Saturday: September 4, 2021/Transylvania’s History A to Z

It’s another installment of Self-Published Saturday, as my goal is to share with you as many Indie books as I can, and I hope that you share them with others. Remember to push those Facebook, WordPress, and Twitter buttons and help these Indie authors show their books to the world. The next feature is an amazing book of stories, photos, and historical facts about Transylvania, written by Patricia Furstenberg.

BOOK REVIEW

By Patricia Furstenberg

Transylvania’s History A to Z by Patricia Furstenberg is a wonderful combination of stories, photos, history, and legends about Transylvania, Romania. Each historical fact is accompanied by a photo and a 100- word story arranged in alphabetical fashion. It is a fantastic way to learn more about Transylvania. Although this book is just 68 pages, I feel I learned so much I didn’t know before! The reader is transported from the Paleolithic era to the 20th century. The history, change, war, and upheaval over the centuries is shared so well in the stories, and each story is accompanied by photos and historical facts.

This book will take you on a journey through time as you watch Transylvania change and grow and learn so much about its history, people, and legends. My favorites were A Paleolithic Murder, Dacian Horses of Bronze Age, Motives of Christianity, Romanian’s Brother, The Woodland, and Quest Beyond the Forest, but I encourage readers to check out this little gem for yourself, learn about Transylvania, and choose your own favorite stories. I would recommend this book to all fans of history and historical fiction, as this is a fantastic combination of both.

I downloaded this book via Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patricia Furstenberg

(In Her Own Words)

I have always been drawn to discovering more about the people and the dogs who featured in historical and contemporary events. Why they chose to fight that war; what was it that they sacrificed, silently. What was the lay of the land that they walked upon, the color of the sky or the scent carried by the wind… It is such stories that I find they still resonate today. Discovering these secrets, writing these books, thrills me. Thus, my passion for historical and contemporary fiction books and historical events was born.

As an armchair historian, I love researching such tales, traveling (researching my next book we visited medieval Sighisoara), exploring hidden corners, and unearthing new facts, forgotten characters, or hidden clues. I love to give them a voice and to bring them into the light in my tales. Be it people, animals, or the land and its architecture, no details are too small, no voice is too soft. What was once overlooked now brings history alive in my historical or contemporary fiction books and short stories, such as the 100 Words Stories based on the history of Romania.

Facts belong in the history books, but the passion, the thrill, and the fantasy, these are the realm of the novels. Welcome to my writing world.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon (Only $1.99 to purchase the e-book, or read it free via Kindle Unlimited)

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Poll Regarding Self-Published Saturday. Your opinion needed.

So recently I was commenting online about Self-Publishing, and a lady commented that Self-Publishing was the term for people who just want to write a book for family and friends, and the correct term for people who want to sell books is Indie Authors. I don’t know if she was being rude or if I should listen to her. Would you prefer Indie Saturday to Self-Published Saturday? I certainly don’t want people to think I’m not serious about promoting these books. Or is she wrong and I should just ignore her? Please vote in the poll and comment below. I want to do the best thing for Self-Published/Indie Authors.

Agustina De Aragón by Gail Meath–made an Editor’s Choice by Historical Novels Review Magazine.

As many of you know, I’ve been singing the praises of this fabulous historical novel for some time, and other reviewers agree! Historical Novels Review Magazine, the magazine of The Historical Novel Society, made this an Editor’s Choice book for the August 2021 edition, and gave it a fabulous review!

I’m especially happy about this because the author, Gail Meath, a wonderful person by the way, is a self-published author. As you know, I have a heart for self-published authors so I am thrilled to see this book in the magazine alongside books from top traditional publishers like William Morrow and Revell.

Here is a link to my review back in April on a Self-Published Saturday and here is a link to buy this great book on Amazon.

Congratulations, Gail. This book deserves that distinction and more!

Self-Published Saturday: July 24, 2021

This is the newest edition of Self-Published Saturday, where I highlight self-published books and their authors. As you know, self-published authors have to do their own marketing, and I hope with this feature to help spread the word about their books. This week’s feature is With Face Aflame by A.E. Walnofer. It is a historical novel set in England, 1610. Below is my review, an author spotlight, links to buy, and a Q&A with A.E. Walnofer. As always, if you buy the book, please remember to leave a review. This is so important for self-published authors.

BOOK REVIEW: WITH FACE AFLAME

In England, 1681, Madge works in her father’s inn and goes out of her way to escape notice. She is constantly trying to hide a flaming birthmark that starts below her eye and reaches to the bottom of her cheek. She lives and dies every day by her birthmark and the reaction of others to it. When she meets a friendly and inspiring minstrel, she learns she can sing, and then she hears her father utter words that shake her to the core. Madge decides to join the minstrel and his companion, a juggler, on their travels, and in the process learns a lot of life and herself.

With Face Aflame is a powerful coming of age historical novel. We are transported right to 1610 England, and we learn so much about what life was like then. The characters are so thoughtfully written and it is easy to see a lot of consideration and care went into their development. The issue of self-acceptance is what makes this book so important and real to readers. Madge limits herself and does not try and reach for her talent because she’s so self-conscious about a birthmark. Many of us can relate to that, as most, if not all, of us have something about ourselves that we feel does not quite measure up. The journey from town to town is also a journey of the soul, as Madge learns truths about herself and others, and event after event leads her to question her perception of herself. I would recommend this book to all, because we all can benefit from a journey of self-discovery.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A.E. Walnofer

A.E. Walnofer has been creating stories since before she could put pen to paper. Presently, she spends weekdays mobilizing the soft tissue and synovial joints of patients, and weekends typing out stories that are incessantly brewing inside her head. There are lots of these tales and she hopes to share many more of them with you in the future.

Q&A WITH A.E. WALNOFER

Tell Us A Little Bit More About Yourself:

By day, I work as a physical therapist’s assistant, helping patients move, function and feel better. On the weekends, I write as much as I can on my works-in-progress. Any other spare time is spent reading or planning the next trip my husband and I will be taking, which usually includes hiking in some lush, green location. 

What inspired you to write “With Face Aflame” and set it in 1681 England?

At my job, I see countless people who would be so thankful to have a healthy body regardless of how exactly said-body looked. That being said, I know that body positivity isn’t a concept that is unique to the 21st century. One day, I got thinking about teenaged girls through the centuries and how they would have handled their physical anomalies both emotionally and socially. Madge and her story were born out of that. My hope is that everyone can have confidence as they love, take care of and appreciate the body they are in. Winnie Harlow is a fine example of this. She is a very unusual looking model due to her vitiligo, but she is gorgeous, confident and successful.

Your book cover is so well done and eye-catching.  I’m always saying that a book cover must really pop, because readers are scrolling through millions of books on Amazon and it must stand out.  Who designed your cover and how important do you think the cover is to sales?

Thank you for saying so! Julie Hopkins of IndieCoverDesign created it and I think she did a great job, too. 

A book’s cover is absolutely vital to sales. We all judge books by their covers, and that often takes less than a second as we’re scrolling on by! 

What are you working on now?

Presently, I’m working on the sequel to my very first book, A Girl Called Foote. It focuses on Beatrice Wellington, the young red-headed scullery maid who was dismissed in disgrace from serving at the Clyde Family’s estate, Whitehall. It’s about eight years after the previous book ends and it’s time for Beatrice to come to terms with some internal demons and to fall in love!

What authors inspired you to write?

Norah Lofts is hands-down my favorite historical fiction author because her characters are so real. The situations and settings in which she put them are generally commonplace, yet she brought them to life in such intriguing ways. She wrote more than fifty books in her lifetime. My hope is to create books with believable, relatable, lovable characters just like she did, though I’m doubtful I’ll accomplish that fifty times over!

Recently, I’ve greatly enjoyed books by Amy Harmon, Allie Cresswell and Deborah Swift.

You have self-published before.  Tell us about your other works.

A Girl Called Foote is the story of a very clever maid at Whitehall, Lydia, who catches the eye of the heir, Jonathan, while she is reading the books she is supposed to be dusting. This begins a series of respectful yet secretive interactions between the two which eventually blossoms into mutual admiration and affection. It’s an amusingly tasteful romance between members of different classes.

Out of the Bower is a bit grittier. It also tells the story of a gentleman, a young street preacher named Barclay, who becomes enamored with a woman born below him, Honora. However, she has just escaped from a brothel, unbeknownst to him. (Note: the book does not contain any gratuitous or detailed scenes of sexual encounters.) The two begin to fall in love, but she is determined to liberate the friend she left behind at the brothel. Will Honora tell Barclay of her past? Will he still love her? Will her friend ever escape from captivity? Read Out of the Bower to find out! 😊

Do you have any advice for new self-published authors?

I guess the first thing I’d suggest is that would-be authors decide exactly what their goals are in publishing. If they simply want to put together a work that they can hold in their hands and say “I created this” then I’d recommend they watch a few online videos about self-publishing on Amazon and go for it. However, if their goal is to make some actual money by selling lots of books to voracious readers, I’d suggest they study the market very carefully for the genre in which they want to write, then watch a TON of online videos on how to write and sell novels successfully, then go for it.

Personally, I’m somewhere between the two types of authors mentioned above. Although I do want my works to get into the hands (or onto the Kindles) of many, many readers, I don’t want to alter the types of stories I enjoy writing just for the sake of making them ultra-marketable. That’s not me criticizing authors who do that as I know there can be a lot of money and satisfaction in doing so. However, I’m content writing compelling, vital books that might be considered a bit quirky even if the audience they resonate with is smaller.

Thanks so much Aimee (A.E.) for your great answers and for sharing your wonderful book with us!

Thanks for asking such great questions, Bonnie, and for giving With Face Aflame some appreciated attention!

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon

*Kindle unlimited Subscribers can read the ebook for free, or it can be purchased outright for only $2.99!

BARNES AND NOBLE

OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA

MY AMAZON REVIEW (“HELPFUL” VOTES APPRECIATED)

SELF-PUBLISHED SATURDAY ON INSTAGRAM (LIKES AND SHARES APPRECIATED)

REMINDERS

*If you read the book, remember to leave a review. Reviews are so important to self-published authors.

*If you push the Twitter and Facebook “share” buttons below, you can help promote this author by sharing her work with your social media followers.

Book Review: Shadows of Lions

This is another book I reviewed for the May edition of Historical Novels Review Magazine.

This is Book 2 of the In Spite of Lions series set in 1840s Africa and England. It can be read as a standalone. Catherine Kensington, an unmarried heiress, has been manipulated back to England from Africa by her abusive and violent mother, Lady Kensington. After her mother’s scheming caused great harm to Catherine’s friends in an African village, Catherine has gone back to deal with her and find her missing twin brother. She knows that sometimes to survive a lion attack, you must run straight at the lion.

This Victorian-era adventure is much more than a romance. It becomes almost a psychological thriller as Catherine engages in a long game of deception to outsmart her mother while her friend/protector, Mebalwe, searches for her brother. They are also trying to find a stolen child, Motsasi. Catherine’s love, Captain Ashmore, is desperate to protect her from the evil Lady Kensington, who has no qualms about harming her children to get what she wants. The characters are complex, and the battle of wits between Catherine and Lady Kensington is mesmerizing. This is a mother/daughter battle to the extreme. I truly enjoyed this book and will definitely read Book 1 and any others to come in this series. Four and a half stars. Rounded up to 5 on sites with no half star option.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scarlette is a mother of three, wife to one, and friend to many. In her spare time she enjoys scuba diving and gardening – sometimes at the same time! Pike is also interested in emotional health for kids and she writes children’s books with True Worth Books under her real name – Jamie Jensen.

BUY SHADOWS OF LIONS

Amazon

BUY BOOK 1: IN SPITE OF LIONS

Amazon

*Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can download both books for free or they are both priced very low to buy outright. Book 1 is only 99 cents and Book 2 is 2.99 (ebook only).

Self-Published Saturday: June 19, 2021

Today’s Self-Published Saturday feature is The Search for Synergy, the first book in The Talisman Series by Brett Salter. As always with self-published books, be sure to leave a review if you decide to read it. Reviews are extremely important for self-published authors who have to do all of their own marketing.

#BOOK REVIEW: The Search For Synergy

Rome is a 14 year old boy who suddenly finds himself seeking out fire and danger.  When he accidentally sets the neighbor’s tree on fire in an unusual way,  he catches the eye of a schoolmate, Julian.  Julian begins watching Rome closely and soon discovers what he suspects is true.  Rome is a dragon, and Julian will be his knight counterpart, once they achieve Synergy and get their full power.  They are descendants of dragon and knight families of old.  Together, they can save the world from dark forces that are coming.  Rome soon meets Mr. Jones, who has been training Julian for this moment since he was seven years old, and they begin to try to unlock the secrets of Synergy.

The whole concept of hidden dragon and knight families with special bonds and powers from the time of King Arthur is exciting and interesting.  The beginning 30 percent or so of the book is spent on Rome learning about who and what he truly is.  Then the first epic battle between good and evil happens, and it is awesome.  I enjoyed this hidden world where dragons are real and live among us, knights are still training to save the world, and evil creatures keep trying to break through into Earth from the void.  

The friendship and bond between Rome and Julian is believable and fun.  The evil creatures we’ve seen so far, the Garms, are powerfully described.  Rome’s fantastical transformation is a joy to read and experience along with him. This start to The Talisman Series reminds me a little bit of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia.    I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series, Riders of Fire and Ice. 

Although I have seen this book described as middle grade fiction, which would be roughly ages 8 – 12, I think kids under the age of 13 should read it only with parental supervision, and I would categorize it as young adult instead of middle grade.  The battles with evil creatures could be scary for young kids, and the fact that Julian has been trained by Mr. Jones since he was seven and the two of them keep a lot of secrets from his parents set off some alarms for me. 

Even as someone who is in her 50’s, I truly enjoyed the start to this young adult series.  After all, as C.S. Lewis said, “No book is really worth reading at the age of 10 which is not equally—and often far more—worth reading at the age of 50 and beyond.”

I have rated this gem of a book four and half stars, rounded up to five on sites without a half star option.

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited where subscribers can read it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brett Salter

Brett Salter’s background in writing stems mostly from the inspiration he found as a kid in Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. These include The Chronicles of Narnia, The Xanth Novels, The Time Quintet, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and everything from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss.  In his formative years, he joined several punk rock bands and wrote songs, poetry, and short stories aplenty.  As an adult he took on a dare and wrote The Talisman Series.  He has published four books in this series so far:  The Search for Synergy, Riders of Fire and Ice, Windy City Ruins, and The Battle for Verdana.

BUY THE ENTIRE TALISMAN SERIES ON AMAZON (Kindle Unlimited Subscribers Can Read It For Free)

THE TALISMAN SERIES WIKI FAN PAGE (SPOILERS!)

*REMINDER: AS ALWAYS, IF YOU DECIDE TO READ THE BOOK, PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW. THE AUTHORS APPRECIATE THIS SO MUCH!

Self-Published Saturday: June 5, 2021

This is my weekly feature in which I highlight a great self-published book. Below is my review of Jalopy by Wes Verde, set in 1928. As always, if you decide to read this very well-written book, be sure to leave a review. Reviews are so important to self-published authors.

#BOOK REVIEW

Etta and her father are all that are left of their once large and thriving family, as illness and tragedy have visited them often. It is 1928, and they are struggling to meet a huge tax burden on their failing farm. Etta goes into town to sell eggs every day, and on the way back she often walks to a secret, hidden place she has found in the countryside. Resting in that place is an old, abandoned jalopy, and Etta often sits in the broken-down jalopy, opens a map she found in the car, and dreams of places she wants to go.

Art, even at over 6 feet, is in the smallest of all of his brothers, and they are all towered over by their strict, controlling father. Art’s father is a very successful and well-to-do salesman of refrigerator units. He spends his days on sales calls trying to convince business owners to switch from ice houses to electric refrigeration. Art’s mother is controlling in her own way and has arranged a marriage for Art. Art is not enthusiastic about any of this, but has learned not to rock the boat. He is going along with everything, and spends his days on uncomfortable sales calls with his father. In his his free time, he is avoiding his new fiancee. Then a night out with his brothers ends with Art sleeping it off in Etta’s barn.

This is a captivating novel that draws you into Etta’s world immediately, starting with the gorgeous book cover. The author does a good job of depicting the drudgery and fear involved in barely scraping by with the tax man looming. The class division in the town between the locals and the part-time, wealthy lakeside resort visitors is well portrayed. Etta is an endearing protagonist, and you will begin rooting for her immediately as she finds herself in more than one life-threatening circumstance. Art’s situation of being bullied in his own family is also well written, and I found myself wanting to knock some heads together on his behalf. 

My only criticism is that the book ended rather abruptly, followed by an epilogue that was set five years later and basically explained how everything turned out. I would rather have been shown what happened than told in an epilogue. That being said, this is a beautiful, endearing novel that will transport you to a time when life was hard, loss was prevalent, and love, if you could find it, was cherished.

This book is available on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free. I highly recommend you check it out.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wes Verde

Wes is an engineer by trade, a busybody by habit, and a lifelong Jersey boy.

Writing has been a hobby in one form or another since 2006 when he started drawing 3-panel comics. When he is not putting words down, he is picking them up; the “to-read” pile only seems to grow larger.

A fan of nature, he spends as much time outside as possible

BUY JALOPY ON AMAZON

WES VERDE’S WEBSITE

MY AMAZON REVIEW (HELPFUL VOTES APPRECIATED)

Self-Published Saturday: May 29, 2021

Once again, it’s time to feature a great self-published book. I really enjoy this feature because it helps independent authors with the monumental task of promoting their books. If you decide to read this book, please write a review and post it on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites where you talk about books. This helps authors so much. I can’t stress that enough. Your review makes a difference.

Today’s book is the first in a series that captivated me from the beginning, The Hamelin Stoop series by Robert B. Sloan. In fact, I have been known to drop everything and ignore my giant TBR list in order to read the next installment. See the review below.

BOOK REVIEW: THE EAGLE, THE CAVE, AND THE FOOTBRIDGE

Hamelin Stoop is an exciting young adult/middle grade fantasy adventure series in the vein of the Chronicles of Narnia and even Harry Potter.

In The Eagle, The Cave, and The Footbridge, Hamelin’s mother Johnnie is on the run from evil trackers, so she places him, still a little baby, on the stoop of an orphanage in a tomato box. One of the only legible words in the note she left was “Hamelin,” and since he was found on the stoop, he was named Hamelin Stoop by the orphanage staff.

Upset and frustrated, Hamelin runs away from the orphanage when he is 8 years old. That’s when strange things begin happening. He is drawn to a cave by a talking eagle, and then he begins to learn more about his parents and his true purpose. There is a related story about three princesses in another land as Sloan begins to weave this tale together.

This is a “good vs. evil” adventure series which drew me in immediately, and I am always excited to see the next book. This book has everything–talking creatures, evil overlords, distant lands, and lost princesses. So far, there are three books, and I’m anxiously awaiting the fourth. I see definite nods to C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, which is always a good thing. I would recommend this to anyone over 10 years old who enjoys fantasy, adventure, and good vs. evil stories.  As C.S. Lewis said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” And this is a great children’s story that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

I received a free digital copy from Booksirens. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Robert B. Sloan is President of Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. He is also a former President of Baylor University. Dr. Sloan and his wife Sue have seven adult children and more than 20 young grandchildren. He is an author, communicator, educator, and leader—all hats he has worn many times for a variety of reasons. These four areas represent life experiences that have provided him and his family with many memories. It is in the experiences of life that memories are made and lives are shaped.

Robert Sloan has a passion for Christian higher education and the spiritual formation of young people for the glory of God, which can be seen in both his professional and personal life.

Dr. Sloan’s Website

FASCINATING Article by Dr. Sloan About Why He Wrote The Hamelin Stoop Series

BUY BOOK 1: THE EAGLE, THE CAVE, AND THE FOOTBRIDGE

BUY BOOK 2: THE LOST PRINCESS AND THE JEWEL OF PERILUNA

BUY BOOK 3: THE RING OF TRUTH

*If you are a Kindle Unlimited Subscriber, you can borrow all three books for free.