Book Review and Blog Tour: Then Came The Thunder

*Book Review at Bottom of Page


Then Came the Thunder by Rachael Huszar

Publication Date: July 2, 2021
eBook; 160 pages

Series: Three Willows, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fantasy


Jessalyn Joy loves her husband, but she can’t help the feelings that arose when he volunteered for the Union army. When he comes back to her in a box instead of on his feet, those feelings complicate even more.

Jessalyn’s mourning period is cut short when something begins to attack the livestock in their small town, and greater dangers begin to threaten their provincial life. Thrown together with the new reverend, one of her own students, and a strange man somehow related to her husband’s passing, Jessalyn must find a way to stop the evils that threaten her husband’s first and ultimately last home.

Set in the Southwestern home front, Huszar blends a taste of fantasy into a startling down-to-earth world, creating a high stakes adventure for this strong female protagonist and her band of amateur sleuths.

Amazon

About the Author


Rachael Huszar kept her life steeped in stories from a young age, and she began her own journey in story-making when she reached adulthood. In the time since, she has taken up swimming, roller skating, and consuming tabletop RPG streams. She spends the bulk of her time with her dog, Silo, and works full time as a designer in Dallas, Texas.

Website | Instagram | Goodreads


Giveaway

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Then Came the Thunder Giveaway

BOOK REVIEW

This is a fascinating story that appears to be a Western, but is so much more. Jessalyn Joy’s husband has been killed in the Civil War, and she is still in mourning when she meets Sam Brooks, a stranger who needs a place to stay. Jessalyn is also distracted by a number of strange livestock kills in the town of Three Willows. Three Willows seems like any Civil War era western town, but it holds a secret, and the element of fantasy that is thrown into the story makes this Western unique. The author has a great ability to create and build a mystery, and the relationships between the characters are dynamic and real. There is also a touch of comedy at times. I would recommend this story to readers of both Fantasy and Western fiction, and those, like me, who love genre mashups.

I received a free copy of this book via HF Virtual Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

BUY THEN CAME THE THUNDER

AMAZON

*Kindle Unlimited Subscribers Can Read This Book For Free

Self-Published Saturday, July 31, 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 includes two books, both by Brett Salter. They are books 3 and 4 of his Talisman Series. I reviewed Books 1 and 2 already, and I have provided links below. The Talisman Series is a young adult/middle grade fantasy adventure–with dragons! As always, if you buy the book, please remember to leave a review. This is so important for self-published authors.

Book Review: Windy City Ruins (Book 3)

In Book 3 of the Talisman series, Rome, Julian, and Mrs. Case head to New York to meet with a contact and learn more about the talismans and their mission. Circumstances land them in the “Windy City” of Chicago, and they meet new friends and face new challenges. With targets on their backs and evil drawing ever closer, they continue to search for information on how to defeat the Tyrant King and his armies. I continue to enjoy this series, as Rome and Julian learn even more about talismans and their mission, and they meet fascinating new friends along the way. Rome continues to grow and learn. While I was still frustrated with Julian’s rudeness early in the book, he begins to show some growth as well. The group meets even more players in this game and we are introduced to another type of dragon. There is a shocking surprise that will provide more challenges than ever. I continue to be fascinated by the dragons in this series and the good vs. evil battle as a whole. Brett Salter has given us a fascinating world to explore in the Talisman series.

Book Review: The Battle for Verdana (Book 4)

Rome and Julian’s search for true synergy takes them to the forests of the Pacific Northwest where they search for answers and deal with the ever-pursuing enemy. More surprises and new friends await them in the latest book in the Talisman series.

Wow! Five stars for this one as Rome and Julian continue to grow in strength and humility. There are ups and downs, and a fantastic surprise at the end that will not disappoint. As always, epic battles abound, and I really enjoyed the character growth I saw in this book. This book teaches kids important lessons in integrity, humility, and team building. A team is made up of those with different strengths and talents, and I am glad to see this lesson shown so well in these books. I am looking forward to Book 5 and the adventures that await.

LINK TO MY REVIEW OF BOOK 1: THE SEARCH FOR SYNERGY

LINK TO MY REVIEW OF BOOK 2: RIDERS OF FIRE AND ICE

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 TALISMAN SERIES

You will find links buy all four books of the Talisman Series by clicking on the photo above.. Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read them for free.

Q&A With Brett Salter

Brett Salter was kind enough to answer some questions for me, and I thank him again for taking the time out to do that. Here is the Q&A below:

What inspired you to write the Talisman Series?  I’ve told this story a bunch of times.  And it’s completely true.  My mother dared me to write a book off a premise we came up with together, and I just went with it.  Before I knew it, I had the first book done and since it ended on a cliffhanger, we were like, “What next?”.  I realized that I liked writing so much that I just kept on going.  Now, I’m sitting on 4 self-published books and 7 more waiting in the wings (get it?)

What is the main message you want readers to take away from this series?  I think the main thing I want to impart on young readers is to always take that first step into adventure.  It could be a situation in real life or cracking open a book and following along with characters.  Preaching creativity is really what I strive for with my life and my kids’ lives.  I want them to be passionate about their interests and always be creative because this world need creativity now more than ever.  

How is Book 5 coming along?  Can you share the title yet, and how many books do you have planned for this series?  I plan on releasing the 5th book of my proposed 12 by winter of this year! It needs an edit or two….or three or four. And it needs some cover art, but it should be out early 2022. Book four ends with a pretty big cliffhanger regarding our heroes and their powers.  Well, that DOES get resolved, but the 5th book opens so much more trouble for our heroes in the form Darkbrand threats. Plus, we get a ton of reveals regarding the “big bad’s” plans, more Talismans, and we maybe, possibly, definitely get to visit a new dragon den???  I have several titles in the mix, but I have not settled on one yet.  This book is going to be a little darker than the previous 4, so I need title reflective of the darker turn in the series.  I’m open to suggestions

In your bio you mention being inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings, among others.  Both series feature scenes with dragons, of course, and Eustace from the Chronicles of Narnia even turns into a dragon at one point.  Obviously Eustace was a boy who was turned into a dragon and Rome finds out he is a dragon disguised as a boy.  However, is Eustace an inspiration of sorts for Rome?  That’s an interesting question.  I think the idea of Rome transforming into a dragon may have unintentionally been inspired by Eustace Scrubb or perhaps a similar character from another work of fiction.  But I will say this.  The main difference between Euastace and Rome is that Eustace’s transformation furthers his character development by forcing him to look at his attitude and behavior and change the way he treats people for the better.  Whereas Rome’s transformation is meant to be more in keeping with his destiny.  Confirming he is a dragon DOES change him for the better, but It’s more of realizing his future than trying to make up for past indifferences.  I do see the similarities though.  

What other authors are you reading now?  I read everything E.C. Meyers puts out because most of his books are cannon side projects to my favorite show RWBY.  I’m reading “The Breadwinner” by Deborah Ellis alongside my son for a school assignment.  I just finished “Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut.  And, I intend to start “War for the Oaks” by Emma Bull on a friend’s recommendation.

Do you have any other series planned for the future?  Abso-lutely!  I do have the humblest beginnings of a second series in the works.  I have the plot of the first book and the “Legendarium” already put to paper (or hardrive).  That series will be a work of portal fiction mixed with destiny fiction and entail more adult themes as compared to The Talisman Series.  I came up with the idea in between writing books 8 and 9, and I WILL eventually get around to writing that series.  Maybe after I put out book five of The Talisman Series this winter.

Thanks again to Brett Salter for his great responses to our questions!

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!

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Abdication.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity. They built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.

Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo. Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!

The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.

BOOK REVIEW: THE ABDICATION:

I would best describe The Abdication as a fantasy thriller with elements of historical fiction, the supernatural, and biblical imagery. I might even add alternate history, as biblical characters appear, but in a different way. Angels, Devils and Moloch play heavily in this story and are, of course, also found in the Bible. Some characters, such as Ruth, Sarah, and Enoch, share names and certain traits with Biblical characters. In this novel, mankind decided to leave Unity after being granted the gift of free will, similar to the Bible story of Adam and Eve, who were forced to leave Eden after gaining the knowledge of good and evil. I see Unity as Eden, and Tula as the representation of mankind trying to return to Eden, or mankind trying to seek out God. Child sacrifice to Moloch is an element of history that is brought into this book and is one of the consequences of man receiving free will. To me, the rope bridge between Topeth and Unity is a symbol of man’s separation from God, and Tula as a symbol of those who try to cross that breach.

The very name of the town Topeth provokes thought, as it is a slightly different spelling than tophet, which comes from the Hebrew toph “a drum,” because the cries of children sacrificed by the priests of Moloch were drowned by the noise of drums, or from taph or toph, meaning “to burn.” The Middle English definition of tophet from Merriam Webster literally refers to the shrine used to sacrifice children to Molech or Moloch in the book of Jeremiah. The author has put a great deal of thought and meaning into every detail of this book.

This novel is entertaining, but will also make you pause and reflect, especially about the consequences of free will and man’s relationship with God. This is a thought-provoking read that will make you consider the results of actions and how evil comes about.

I received a free copy of this book via Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

OTHER BOOKS BY JUSTIN NEWLAND

The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind. 

The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times. 

Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution. 

BUY THE ABDICATION

AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

APPLE BOOKS

ZOOLOO’S BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE

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: 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