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.

The Seeing Scroll

Here is a book description and links to buy of a thrilling Middle Grade fantasy/mystery adventure. It is also available to borrow on Kindle Unlimited for free. I have updated this post to include my review at the bottom of the page.

“Stray too long where you don’t belong and the world you’re from could be forever gone.”
A children’s mystery adventure with a little bit of magic.

When police exhume the body in her grandfather’s coffin, 12-year-old Gia Lance already knows that it isn’t him. And given that her dad won’t believe her, what choice does she have but to enlist the help of her drama-king best friend? Their daring, behind the scenes search for her grandfather leads to the discovery of a secret riddle, a hidden plateau and an enchanted scroll steeped in mystery. It lures them by exposing visions – fragments of well-kept secrets.

Gia soon grapples with an eerie tale of a dungeon, an ill-fated ship, a missing child, and the legendary curse of the Seeing Scroll. But whose secrets are they? How does the scroll decide what she sees? Who can she trust? More importantly, what does it any of it have to do with her grandfather?

Time is running out. For Gia to connect the dots, she must confront the idea of her grandfather not being who she thought he was and acknowledge the possibility of him being cursed. But there are people after the scroll. Dangerous people! Clearly, they’ll do anything to ensure their secrets remain buried. Maybe even their crimes. Can Gia evade them on her quest to solve the riddle and figure out how to save her grandfather without being duped by the scroll’s delicious secrets, or will he be forever lost?

BUY ON AMAZON (OR BORROW ON KINDLE UNLIMITED)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

.T. GROBLER lives with her husband and daughter. She shares her space with two formidable Staffordshire terriers. Her dog of choice, but honestly, anything four-legged that lets her hug it surely has a kind soul. 

When she isn’t writing, she’s probably strolling with her furry friends through the local farmer’s vineyards or dawdling along the beach. She adores boat rides, watching an active slipway and the wind on her face. 

She also has a pair of African Grey parrots who love to jabber about what she said yesterday. 

Her first writing job came from a third-grade teacher – 100 lines of “I must not eat in class”.

Thank you for reading!

You can visit her at this link

REVIEW–BONNIE READS AND WRITES

This is a middle grade fantasy thriller/adventure set in South Africa that takes you right into the action from the first page. Gia knows with all her heart that her grandfather is alive. Along with her best friend Vuyo, she follows a sometimes treacherous path of clues to a mysterious scroll. The scroll may help her find her grandfather, but it comes with a high price, and dangerous people are trying to possess it. The story can get a little complicated and sad at times, but it is an intriguing tale full of magic, adventure, danger, love, and loss. The importance of family and friendship, and the sacrifice of those who love us, are underscored in this thrilling tale. I would recommend to young adults and above, as well as middle graders with parental supervision.

Book Review–Loving Modigliani (Updated: Blog Tour and Sale through Feb 17th)

Diamond Level Read

See my previous review of Loving Modigliani below. I really enjoyed this one! Loving Modigliani is on sale starting Feb 14th through February 17th on Amazon. The ebook price has been reduced to $3.99. It’s a great time to pick up your copy (Amazon Link). As you can see from my raving review below, I highly recommend you check this out. I’ve joined another blog tour to help promote this great book. The tour schedule is:

February 8 – RABT Book Tours – Kick Off
February 8 – Readers Alley – Excerpt
February 9 – The Avid Reader – Interview
February 10 – Book Review Virginia Lee – Spotlight
February 11 – Teatime and Books – Spotlight
February 12 – Silver Dagger Book Tours – Spotlight
February 12 – The Indie Express – Review
February 13 – Dina Rae’s Write Stuff – Spotlight
February 14 – Jazzy Book Reviews – Excerpt
February 15 – Lynn Romance Enthusiast – Excerpt
February 15 – Bonnie Reads and Writes – Review
February 16 – Momma Says to Read or Not to Read – Spotlight
February 17 – A Slice of Orange – Guest Post
February 18 – Quirky Book Reads – Review
February 19 – Nesie’s Place – Spotlight
February 19 – RABT Reviews – Wrap Up

REVIEW

Loving Modigliani is one of those books that is so good that I don’t feel my review will do it justice. It is so good that I stopped halfway through and bought it in print version because I only had an electronic copy. I always keep print copies of my favorite books. It is so good that I didn’t want to put it down, and I was sad when it was finished. It made me realize that if I ever write a book I need to demand this type of excellence in my own work. I even created a new Category on this blog, Diamond Level Reads, for books that are beyond special. Below is my humble attempt at a review and my bow to an accomplished author, Linda Lappin, who has woven together a remarkable piece of fiction based on real events.

It is Paris, 1920. It is also Jeanne Hébuterne’s day of death, 48 hours after her common-law husband, Amedeo Modigliani, died of meningitis. Modigliani was an early 20th Century artist of post impressionist inspired portraits and nudes who died basically destitute, but became famous years later. As the book begins, we meet Hébuterne on the street where her body lies after she fell or jumped, despondent and hugely pregnant, out of a window. We follow her spirit to a wheelbarrow rumbling through the streets of 1920’s Paris, which is described in such detail that we feel we are there. We watch along with Hébuterne’s spirit as her belongings are stolen, including her diary, a bangle, and a family portrait. We flash back with her to her life with Modigliani and her own growth as an artist. We cheer her as she struggles to move forward and begins to search the afterlife for her beloved “Modi.” 

In a separate timeline in the 1980s, an art student stumbles upon some long hidden secrets and is given a window into the life of Jeanne Hébuterne. What will she do with this information and who will try to stop her?

This is an amazing historical novel with sub-genres of fantasy, mystery, and the paranormal. It is a tribute to the art world of Paris, specifically the post-impressionist era of the early 1900s. Linda Lappin’s ability to describe the sights, sounds, and smells of 1920’s Paris transports us there immediately. Her portrayal of the art and artists of that time is meticulously researched. Her ability to create a work that seamlessly binds together history, mystery, fantasy, and the paranormal is awe-inspiring. Her characters are so real you can see them, feel them, love them, and hate them. Lappin’s description of Hébuterne’s afterlife is full of unexpected turns, pitfalls, and surprises with huge nods to the art world. The realities of Jeanne’s life with Modigliani are shown to us, from infidelity to drunkenness to abuse and neglect, but above all we are shown Jeanne’s all-consuming love for this man, so well described in this book. Lappin shares the spirit and talent of Jeanne Hébuterne in so many ways, through her art, her music, and her steadfast determination and willingness to buck the rules of society. I wish I could speak more of the last line of the book without giving out any spoilers, but it is a perfect ending, tying everything together.

My personal rules for historical novels, regardless of sub-genre, is that they must transport me to that time and place. Loving Modigliani did this instantly. They must also teach me something, and I learned so much about the 1900s Paris art scene that I am interested in exploring it further. 

Although I was given a free digital copy via Netgalley, I also bought a print copy on Amazon. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

About the Author:

Prize-winning novelist Linda Lappin is the author of four novels: The Etruscan (Wynkin de Worde, 2004), Katherine’s Wish (Wordcraft , 2008), Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery (Pleasureboat Studio, 2013), and The Soul of Place (Travelers Tales, 2015). Signatures in Stone won the Daphne DuMaurier Award for best mystery of 2013. The Soul of Place won the gold medal in the Nautilus Awards in the Creativity category.

Buy the book on Amazon

Buy the book on Barnes and Noble

Purchase on Ibooks

Visit Linda Lappin’s Website

Visit My Goodreads Review

My Amazon Review (Helpful Votes Appreciated If You Are So Inclined)

The Ring of Truth

The Ring of Truth by Robert B. Sloan is the third book in the Hamelin Stoop Series. This is not a standalone. The books must be read in order or you will be lost when you read Book 3. Book 1 is The Eagle, The Cave, and the Footbridge and Book 2 is The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna.

In Book 3, Hamelin has come back to the orphanage in order to return a lost princess back to her land. He has a definite idea of who this princess might be. There are a lot of delays and betrayals, and the people in his life continue to hide information from him, but Hamelin is determined to finish his mission and ultimately find his parents. 

This is a great young adult series with memorable characters that people of all ages will love. There are definite nods to Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, as well as the Bible, in this series. I continue to enjoy the adventures of these characters, especially the trio of Hamlin, Lars, and Eraina. Each of our heroes are aided by their special magical objects as they travel the Land of Gloaming on an important mission to stop the evil Chimera and his sons. They continue to receive guidance and help from SueSue and The Talking Eagle. Hamelin’s Earth friends, Bryan and Layla, also figure prominently in this story. 

I gave this five stars because of how much I love the overall series, but this one did move too slowly for about the first 25% of the book. There was too much time at the orphanage before attempting to return to the Land of Gloaming and not much happened during this time. At the orphanage, the core characters’ continual refusal to share information with each other started getting ridiculous. However, the last two thirds of this 580 page book were much more action filled. But again, even in the Land of Gloaming, there was the constant problem of people keeping secrets from each other. I feel this book would have been even better if it had been cut down to about 400 pages.

That being said, I continue to love these characters and look forward to their next adventures. There are six books planned in this series and I cannot wait until the next one.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers via BookSirens. My review is voluntary. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Robert B. Sloan is president of Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. 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.

Robert B. Sloan’s Website

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

Link to My Amazon Review (Helpful Votes Appreciated)

Link to My Goodreads Review

The Book of Uriel

The Book of Uriel begins in World War II Poland, when a Jewish village is destroyed and its people slaughtered. A little boy, Uriel, finds himself on his own. Unable to speak, Uriel has always written stories in his golden notebook, stories of angels and demons. Taken in by Uwe, a linguist for the Nazis, Uriel sees his stories coming alive. He begins an amazing mission to find the missing Archangel Michael and strikes a bargain with the Angel of Death.

This is an intricately woven tale that shows the cruelty of the Nazis and the horrors of the holocaust while at the same time portraying the spiritual war that is being fought alongside the physical war. Hoffman weaves together historical facts, the Bible, and Jewish folklore to create a written tapestry that you won’t want to put down. Her ability to combine historical fiction with a rich spiritual world is awe-inspiring. As a Christian, I don’t know anything about Jewish folklore, but I do know the Bible. The prophet Elijah, the Archangel Michael, and more familiar Biblical characters are also part of this story. It is a fascinating read, and I definitely believe that the actual battle of good vs. evil is both physical and spiritual.

Fans of the Book Thief will love The Book of Uriel. I also see just a tiny bit of a reminder of Christian author Frank Peretti’s writing, as he too shows the spiritual world alongside the physical world in some of his books.

I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited. I also received a free copy from the publishers via Reads and Reels. My review is voluntary.

BUY THE BOOK OF URIEL ON AMAZON

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elyse Hoffman strives to tell historical tales with new twists: she loves to meld WWII and Jewish history with fantasy, folklore, and the paranormal. She has written three books in The Barracks of the Holocaust series, with more on the way. Her first full-length novel, The Book of Uriel, is set to be published on January 26th. If you love history and want to read some completely unique stories, follow Elyse at Project613Publishing.com. 

LINK TO MY GOODREADS REVIEW

The Lavender Soul

Vera (Vera Xochiquetzal of Adowa) is a somewhat vain and spoiled teenager in the mythical world of Zerahlinda. She has a huge weight on her shoulders. Born with lavender eyes, she is known as a “lavender soul,” someone who will either save her world or devastate it. Protected by her guardian Yateem (Yateem Rukan Wulfgar of Xipili), she embarks on a journey to face the evil pursuing her and test her very soul. Along the way, she travels through magical lands full of fairies, pixies, moving trees, a shapeshifter, and more.

This is a well-written, highly descriptive tale of a magical world and its inhabitants. Although I do not normally read high fantasy, I feel that fans of young adult fantasy of this type are going to be thrilled with this land and its creatures. Although the character of Vera is a little selfish and spoiled, we get to watch her grow and learn along this great adventure.

The are only two things I did not like: First, Yateem is often described as Vera’s “handler.” I found this to be a very controlling term. I would prefer, guardian, advisor, and protector, because that those are the roles he serves. Secondly, I feel the cover of the book is a little subdued. It should be as colorful as the world of Zerahlinda.

My rating is 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

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

Buy the Book on Amazon

L.K. Walsh’s Website

BOOK TRAILER – UNWRITTEN

Book Trailer – Unwritten

Above is the captivating book trailer for Unwritten, by Alicia J. Novo. It is Book 1 in The Zweeshen Chronicles. The Book description from Goodreads is below:

“Books whisper to Beatrix Alba. But they aren’t the reason she has never fit in. Bullied at home and school, she keeps a secret—a power of violence and darkness.

When the spell that keeps her hidden fails, she’s catapulted into the Zweeshen, a realm where all tales live, and her dream of meeting her favorite characters comes true. But wishes are tricky, and behind its wonder and whimsy, the Zweeshen is under attack. A character is burning bookworlds in pursuit of a weapon to rule both stories and storytellers. To succeed, he needs a riddle in Beatrix’s keeping.

Now he’s hunting her down.

Joining forces with William, a cursed conjurer, Beatrix must face an enemy who knows her every weakness in a realm where witches play with time, Egyptian gods roam, and Regency heroines lead covert operations. And with her darkness as the only weapon, she may have to sacrifice everything to save a world that rejects her.”

Find out more at www.AliciaNovo.com

https://rrbooktours.com

The Nothing Girl

Jenny, orphaned as a young girl, goes to live with her aunt and uncle. She has a pronounced stutter and is set aside as an afterthought by the family. While contemplating suicide at a young age, she is suddenly visited by a giant golden horse, and here Jenny’s life actually begins.

This is so well written. The characters just jump off the page, especially Jenny, Russell, and Thomas. Jenny, ignored all her life, begins helping Russell, who has been jilted by the love of his life, renovate his farmhouse. Nudged along by her faithful companion Thomas, the giant golden horse, Jenny begins to live again. There is a wonderful cast of characters, and of course there are pitfalls along the way, and the brilliant Jodi Taylor once again makes us laugh and cry as we cheer Jenny on.

I recommend this for anyone who enjoys a magical, heartwarming story.

Link to The Nothing Girl on Amazon

Link to Signed Copies of The Nothing Girl on Jodi Taylor’s Website

Link to my Goodreads Review: (Like and Follow if you are so inclined)