Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Heart of Aleppo: a Young Adult Story of Courage in a War Zone

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Why Ammar wrote The Heart of Aleppo

In an over-politicized world, my wish is for this work to humanize those we call “refugees”. The Heart of Aleppo is not about the politics of the Syrian Civil War or any other conflict. Its aim is not to convince readers to support any faction or political party. Instead, this story is about the unbreakable spirit of humanity. It is about how humanity often shows its true strength during the darkest times. . .


Two days before Nabeel leaves for the last time, I find him standing at the kitchen counter with his friend, Zakariah. I don’t know his rank, but Zakariah serves directly under Nabeel in the army and only lives two miles down the road. The two of them always seem to be on leave at the same time.

Their voices are low, almost secretive, but I catch the look in Nabeel’s eye. Except back then, I didn’t recognize it.

“What are you guys talking about?”


"This "stand alone" novel is a bittersweet tale of family, friendship, war, and sacrifices. It is a highly recommended reading material for Young Adults and Adults alike. It raises several good discussion points. It is ideal reading for Book Clubs."


He looks back at me with a smile, but it fades when he sees my expression.

“What’s wrong, Zaid?”

I glance at the ground before replying, “I don’t think I want to be a doctor anymore.”

“Why not?”

“…I don’t think I can.”

He takes a few steps towards me before crouching down to come to my eye level, urging me to continue. “Ms. Farooq said I’m not smart enough.”


"The Heart of Aleppo starts with an explosion of action that drags you into the story immediately. That momentum slows at points, but picks up near the end, making it easy to breeze through in one sitting."


He takes a deep breath and glances down at my feet. His eyes look like he’s weighing something, wondering if he should say it or not. When he does speak, his voice is different. It’s no longer speaking to me as his younger brother but as his friend. “You know, Zaid, Zakariah was joking about what we were talking about.”

“Really?”

He nods before his gaze focuses back on me. “Not even a few weeks ago, my soldiers and I were in a bit of a… well, situation.”


"As with most war stories, the story told in The Heart of Aleppo is heartbreaking. Ammar Habib does a great job with the voice of a 13-year-old enduring the destruction of Aleppo during the Syrian Civil War. One of the things that impressed me was Habib’s ability to tell the story without including the politics of the war. It is truly a story of the spirit of humanity in difficult circumstances."

Wishful Endings - Excerpt

The foul stench is everywhere. It floods the buildings and road. It’s in every crevice. It’s soaked into the very brick and mortar of these streets I used to know.

We walk in a single file: Salman up front and me in the back. The sack quickly grows heavy on my shoulder, soon seeming as if it’s filled with bricks. But I trudge on. The weight of the sack is nothing compared to what my heart is feeling right now as I see the city I call home—a city that has stood for over 7,000 years—suddenly turned into wreckage.


Not even a day and a half ago, we walked from school to the bus stop. The roads were crowded with cars, trucks, and buses blaring their horns. The sidewalks were packed with pedestrians and merchants. Now, it’s a ghost town. It’s as if there was never any life here.

The city is… hollow.

A wall of smoke and smog surrounds me on all sides, preventing me from truly seeing anything clearly. Is it a blessing or a curse? I don’t see any of the destruction until I’m right on top of it. If Salman was even five more steps ahead of me, he would be lost behind the wall. We’re out on an open street; yet, it feels as if I am trapped in a prison. The dark walls of this prison follow me, not allowing me to escape their grasp.

Heidi Reads... - Excerpt

Every step is harder than the last. My feet become weighted stones. I almost can’t feel the uneven and cracked concrete underneath me. It’s as if I’m moving in a trance. I don’t know where I am or where I’m going. I’m simply walking through the abyss and listening to the only sound: my soft footsteps.

The longer we travel and the heavier my sack becomes, the more a fear grips me. The fear that we don’t know if we’re fleeing danger or walking into a den of hungry wolves. The fear that by the time we do reach home, what happened to Jari may have already happened to everyone.


Every time I look up above, hoping to catch some sight of the heavens, all I see is smoke. It’s blocking out any light from the stars. There will be no relief tonight.

I notice a silhouette up ahead. It… it appears to be the minaret of a masjid. Hope is suddenly injected into my heart. With every step, the minaret breaks out of the smoke, and I can better perceive the masjid itself. I see its domed roof. It’s standing tall above all the destruction. If it’s still standing, it’ll be safe inside, right? Nobody will come into a masjid and harm us.


Salman hops down to join Fatima. I follow him. My feet hit the ground hard, shooting a shot of pain up my legs. The sack violently smashes against my sore upper knee, and I almost fall over before Salman catches me. That hurt more than I thought it would. As I rise back up, the foul odor immediately hits me.

The fear-striking silence surrounds me once more. It’s my only companion. The hollow sound of silence is worse than gunfire and explosions. Worse than screams. Worse than terror. Because mixed into this silence is abandonment and suffering.


"The Heart of Aleppo is a very powerful read. . . . I am giving The Heart of Aleppo a well deserved five stars. I highly recommend it for all readers. It is definitely not one to be missed."

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post...

The Heart of Aleppo:
A Story of the Syrian Civil War
By Ammar Habib
YA Contemporary
Paperback & ebook, 252 Pages
July 26th 2018

Winner of the 2019 Independent Press Award
#1 Bestseller in "Coming-Of-Age" Fiction
#1 Bestseller in "Asian-American" Literature

From the ashes of the Syrian Civil War comes this story of hope, love, and courage...

After standing for over 7,000 years, Aleppo's ruin came overnight. Separated from his family during the night the rebels attacked the city, thirteen-year-old Zaid Kadir is lost in the middle of a war zone. Alongside his friends, he is forced to survive the dangers of a civil war he does not even fully understand. Zaid witnesses the destruction of the brutal Syrian Civil War as it grows more deadly by the day and rips his city apart. However, as he braves this destruction, as he desperately tries to survive this catastrophe, he discovers something. Zaid realizes that it is in the darkest hours when humanity's spirit of hope burns brightest.

(Affiliate link included.)

About the Author


Ammar Habib is a bestselling and award-winning author who was born in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1993. Ammar enjoys crafting stories that are not only entertaining but will also stay with the reader for a long time. Ammar presently resides in his hometown with his family, all of whom are his biggest fans. He draws his inspiration from his family, imagination, and the world around him.


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a signed copy of Habib's national award-winning novel, Memories of My Future (US only). Memories of My Future is an historical/inspirational novel that was published in 2016. It received several accolades after its release, including the Independent Press Award in May 2017.

Ends November 13, 2019

Grab Our Button!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Sword of Soter: a Fantasy Novel with a Giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Sword of Soter
By Ralene Burke

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Author Interview

For those new to the series, what should they know?

Yes, the series is written from a Christian worldview. In fact, the trilogy was inspired by the premise question, “What if the Armor of God were real?” But, no, I did not endeavor to preach or convert or anything like that in the story. It is just a fun epic fantasy adventure!


Karina thrust the sword toward Tristan’s gut, but he sidestepped her advance. She stumbled forward a couple of steps, then growled, spun around, and lunged again.

“No.” Tristan batted her blade away with his and swatted her behind. “You’re too impatient. You have to wait for the right opening.”

Karina sucked in a breath. The more she trained with Tristan, the more she wanted to take the dull blade in her hand and run him through. Releasing a long breath, she squared her shoulders, turned around slowly, and smiled as sweetly as she could manage. “I am sorry. I have no idea what has come over me.”

JeanBookNerd - Guest Post

A SWORD OF SOTER CHATTERER PANEL — RALENE BURKE

Interviewer: Welcome one and all to the Sword of Soter panel. We have got the noble questers for the sacred armor with us today: Karina, Queen of Aletheia and Prophetess of the Creator; Tristan, Prince of Tzedek; Rashka, Guardian of Shadowed Wood; and Sam, Knight of Aletheia.

Sam (growls): I am not a knight.

Karina: Of course, you are! You have shown more courage and strength of character in the last weeks than most of the knights of Aletheia have shown in lifetimes. It’s an honor that would have been bestowed upon you more officially if we’d been in Aletheia.

Sam: Thank you, Your Highness.


4.) What drives you as a writer?

I am an encourager and a “fix-it” type person. As a writer, I seek to combine both of those traits in a way that can inspire and encourage readers. That can be pretty difficult in fiction, but I don’t mind the challenge. I live for the days when I hear from a reader and they say that my stories helped them in some way.

Remembrancy - Excerpt

Tristan stared off in the direction of the sound. “That definitely lends to the mystery of what lupens are doing this far south."

Another howl echoed through the chasm and across the plains. Karina took a step toward Tristan. An answering bay came from the east, from the distant woods. More than one? Her heartbeat skittered.

A chorus of howls brought frightened whinnies from the horses. Dom stomped his feet. “We need to go, Prophetess.

Wishful Endings - Guest Post

Top 10 Things to Bring on a Quest

We’re going on a trip…a journey…a QUEST.

First, we have to pack. Now, this ain’t a trip to the Bahamas—we can’t bring 3 suitcases on a plane to unload onto a cart and then into a car. If we’re lucky, we’ll have a horse to strap a couple extra small bags to. . .

Hallie Reads - Review

"I enjoyed getting to know Karina and the characters that surround her on her quest, as well as the challenges they face and overcome. An uplifting spiritual thread, too, can be found throughout the two stories. All in all, these books left me ready for the next one."


“And what has you two stooping to eat humans again?” The woman paused before the two ogres and raised her head to meet their glares with one of her own.

Bogey jerked his thumb in the other ogre’s direction. “Madge’s stomach.”

“What have I told you two about engaging with innocent folk?” The mysterious woman crossed her arms.

From here, Sam could tell her eyes were a beautiful emerald green, the same color as her dress. No wonder she hid so well on her approach. Whoever she was, at least she seemed to be on his side. Or at least on the side of not letting the ogres eat him.

Faithfully Bookish - Interview

What did you learn or discover about yourself (or your characters) while writing Sword of Soter?

R: Well, I discovered I could write 10k words in a single day on multiple Saturdays. Ha! Life was kind of hectic, and I kept having to catch up on my word count goals.

On a more serious note, writing Rashka’s story in this book, helped me work through some of my own issues of “trying to do it all on my own.”


"Armor of Aletheia and Sword of Soter present an action-filled allegory of faith set against the backdrop of good vs. evil . . . the author has clearly drawn some intricate world-building and left some intriguing possibilities for the third and final book in the trilogy. A great choice for young adults, to entertain as well as strengthen their faith."


She opened her eyes to a shimmering green flame, reminiscent of the bonfire from their night in Greenhorn. She shrunk against Tristan’s side. He nudged her farther behind him and stood, pulling his sword.

Masculine laughter rose from amid the unusual flames. Rashka, her face a stoic mask, rounded the fire with her bow poised as she made her way toward Karina.

“What is happening?” Karina asked.

“I do not know, Prophetess.” Rashka fixed her gaze at the fire. “Stay back.”

Library Lady's Kid Lit - Review & Interview

"After reading Armor of Aletheia earlier this fall, I was eagerly anticipating Sword of Soter. Ralene Burke did not disappoint. Burke continues the epic adventure begin in book one. Some of the characters continue in Sword of Soter and new ones are introduced. . . . If you enjoy epic fantasy like Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia, I highly recommend Sword of Soter."

Who did you have in mind as you wrote the book?

The Sacred Armor trilogy was written for those who are still searching for their calling. Or those who have found their calling but are unsure they are worthy of it or how to embrace it. Each character is the story is called to something they are uncomfortable with for different reasons, much like we are.


Holding his monocle, the man offered a deep bow, to which Karina nodded. There was something familiar about him. “Greetings, Queen Karina. How nice to see you again. You are welcome indeed. I am sure you have forgotten by now, but I am Bormain, steward of the roy—by the Creator, Tristan Lemur, is that you?”

Karina fought to maintain her composure as she turned to Tristan, who stiffened before holding out his hand in greeting. “Bormain, my good man, it is good to see you again.”

Bormain looked a bit flustered. “I did not realize we had two royal guests.” He quirked a brow. “Much less that you were traveling together.”

Colorimetry - Guest Post

Building a Storybook World

One of the best aspects of being a fantasy writer is the freedom to build our own story worlds. Granted, to an extent, we are still bound by the laws of science. But there is still massive freedom in creating a new world, including geography, creatures, and cultures. . .

Inspirational Reading Adventures - Interview & Review

Q: Which genre is your favorite? If you could only write or recommend readers read one, what would your ‘go-to’ genre be?

A: FANTASY! I love that fantasy allows us to expand our imagination, to create new worlds, new peoples, new creatures. We can explore all the stuff we face in real life, but in a way that is removed and still provides a sense of escape.

"If I enjoyed the first, I loved reading Sword of Soter! From the start, I was quickly pulled back into to this series, and having already met some of the main characters, this one holds more character growth and I loved all the awkward tension as Tristan and Karina learned to work together both with each other, and with others. I also felt this one is a smoother read, and the pacing was much better."

Red Headed Book Lady - Guest Post

#SHINEBeyond in Soter

Readers often ask me where I came up with the #SHINEBeyond tagline and what exactly it means. And I’m all too happy to take the time to answer as this philosophy is something dear to my heart. Essentially, #SHINEBeyond was a culmination of all my work in writing, editing, and ministry—a cohesive theme seen in everything I tried to do. . .


As the steward opened the door, Karina cleared her throat. “Please remind the king that my business is urgent. I need to take my leave as soon as possible.”

“I will, Your Majesty. Enjoy your stay at the palace.” And then he was gone.

Karina turned back to the room. Tristan stood in the corner not bothering to hide his smirk. Rashka paced by the windows, looking out over the courtyard below and the sea beyond. Lady Moriah and the two handmaidens stood off to the side, watching them expectantly. What now?



Sabreen clasped her hands together and held them near her heart. “And you found her.” The words sounded sarcastic, yet there was a hint of some other emotion—something Sam could not determine.
He chuckled. “Yeah, I found her with a bounty hunter.”

She gasped. “How did you all get away?”

“We didn’t. Turns out the bounty hunter was helping her. At least he was by then. After he kidnapped her. After he took her to Faramos.”


". . . Burke’s passion for Christ shines through the pages of Sword of Soter through her characters, especially the main character Karina. Sword of Soter is a pleasant story and great for reading on rainy days."

J. L. Mbewe - Review

"Ralene Burke knows how to weave a story! . . . Sword of Soter was an enjoyable read that kept me turning the page to see what will happen next."

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post...

Sword of Soter
(Sacred Armor Trilogy #2)
By Ralene Burke
YA Fantasy, Christian
Paperback & ebook, 275 Pages
September 25th 2019 by Elk Lake Publishing Inc

NEW KINGDOM. NEW FRIENDS.

NEW DANGERS.

NOT EVERYONE CAN BE TRUSTED …


Karina, Tristian, Rashka, and Sam venture forth into the wilderness of Soter on the next leg of their quest to retrieve the Armor of the Creator. With the ancient evil already affecting the kingdom, nothing in Soter is what it seems—from what skulks beneath the canopies of the woods to what lies within the sleek white and gold of the capitol city to the people Karina and Tristan have known since they were children.

Danger lurks around every corner. Discerning who to trust is paramount to staying alive and discovering the location of the Temple of Soter. Yet, to Karina’s horror, Faramos’s reach finds them time and again. The longer they are forced to dawdle, the more people are affected by the growing panic in Soter, and the closer Faramos is to taking over the Three Kingdoms. Can Karina retrieve the information they need while Tristan keeps his brother at bay? Or will the entire quest disintegrate before they even arrive at the temple?

(Affiliate link included.)
GoodreadsAmazon
Also available on KindleUnlimited.

Other Books in the Series

Armor of Aletheia
(Sacred Armor Trilogy #1)
By Ralene Burke
YA Fantasy, Christian
Paperback & ebook, 268 Pages
August 29th 2018 by Elk Lake Publishing Inc.

The death of her king changes Karina’s life forever. Fleeing the royal house, she must leave her life behind to seek out the Armor of the Creator—to save the very people who now hunt her.

Faramos, the evil warlock waiting to unleash hell, knows the Creator has already chosen his warrior, so he sends his bounty hunter to retrieve her. After Tristan abducts her, he witnesses Karina’s gentle nature and strong independence, and he finds he can’t complete his assignment.

Together, they set out to retrieve the armor and defeat the hordes of creatures sent to destroy them. But is Tristan’s heart secure as he faces certain death for defending the queen? And will Karina have the courage to become all the Creator intends her to be? Failure will condemn the world to eternal darkness.

(Affiliate link included.)
Also available on KindleUnlimited.

About the Author


Whether she’s wielding a fantasy author’s pen, a social media wand, or a freelance editor’s sword, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone #SHINEBeyond their circumstances! Her fantasy novels are available on Amazon.

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all-around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . . You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or at her website.


Bookstagram Tour


This has its own giveaway, so go check it out! Enter at each stop for extra entries.

October 28th: @TheReadingCornerforAll
October 29th: @h.szott
October 30th: @mamabear_reads
October 31st: @brenyandbooks
November 1st: @bookishdelightz

Tour Giveaway

One winner will win a prize pack that will include print copies of Armor of Aletheia and Sword of Soter, a plush blanket, a tumbler with candy, a journal, and a pen all inside a half-bushel basket inlaid with a gorgeous book print material.
US only
Ends November 6, 2019

Grab Our Button!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Sojourner: a Fantasy Novel with a Giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Sojourner
By Janalyn Voigt

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Note from the Author

...Mara is one of my favorite characters in Tales of Faeraven. Her keen mind and strength of will serve her in good stead. She doesn’t always make the best choices but eventually learns from her mistakes. In that respect, I’d like to take a leaf from her book.

—Janalyn


"The third book in the Tales of Faeraven is just as surprising as the first two. Just when you think things are okay the story pulls you left and right. Janalyn Voigt has such a way of crafting a fantasy world while weaving scripture into the story and making it relatable as always. . . . This book is centered around Mara and the secret of her life. . . . Overall, great addition to the series! Excited for DawnKing which is book four."

Heidi Reads... - Excerpt

“Don’t grillons prefer the bog? I’ve never seen one in the cove before this.”

Da and Hael always returned from cutting turf for the fire in the bog lands with tales of the strange creatures they found. Last summer, Da had brought home a grillon trapped in a jar. Mam had been none too pleased about that. He’d explained that he meant to take Mara along next time and wanted to warn her about the grillons. Mam made him promise to put an end to the grillon, but had it somehow escaped?

“Sometimes they stray. Don’t be afraid. I’ll search him out for you.”

He’d never gazed at her with such a soft look on his face before. What did it mean?


"...I quickly found I wanted to know more and couldn’t wait find out what happens! I was pleased with how this one turned out, and enjoyed seeing some of the secrets and things that weren’t covered but were hinted at, or missing in the first two books."


“What does a farmer know of romance?”

“I want nothing to do with it myself.” There. She had let him know how she felt.

“It seems we are agreed.”

Relief washed over her. He had come around so quickly. “I believe so.”

“That’s well then.” He nodded. “I will ask for you.”


"SoJourner starts with a new character, Mara, whom I think might just be one of my favorites so far. Her spunk and courage are endearing, as well as her deep, forgiving nature. Also new to the scene is Rand, the son of an enemy. His character really adds depth and a new dimension to the story. . . . Voigt once again delivers a novel of beautiful descriptions and a unique world all her own. While I felt the novel could have been fleshed out just a little more, the overall pace and plot were done excellently."


“Am I such a burden?”

Mam’s face softened. “Nay, child, never that. But can you not see that to wed our neighbor would keep you near?”

“Not marrying at all would leave me closer.”

“Foolishness.” Mam shook her head, her brow puckered. “You’ll want to marry.”

“Why?” Mara said in desperation. “Why can’t I stay here with you and Da?”

“Hush, child. T’is the way of things, and naught to be done about it. Fledglings fly the nest.”

Jorie Loves A Story - Spotlight

Splashes of Joy - Excerpt

Seated at a scarred table in the inn’s common room, Rand did his best to ignore the hostile stares from more than one pair of rounded eyes. He’d chosen a dark corner away from the lanthorn light in the hope of escaping notice. As a Kindren among the Elder, he’d expected to encounter suspicion. From the look of this crowd, he’d better keep watch to avoid being knifed in his bed. He couldn’t let anything happen to him, not with his father’s errand to carry out, although the thought of it made his stomach churn.

Uplifting Reads - Excerpt

Mam pushed into the chamber. “What’s this? Lingering abed?”

“My head aches.”

“Hmm…” Mam’s eyes narrowed. “I’ll brew an infusion. You’ll recover before Rohan arrives.”

“But Mam—”
“Stir yourself. He means to ask you to marry him.” She took herself off to make the remedy.

Mara swallowed against a lump in her throat. She’d never thought Mam would be happy to see her gone. There seemed nothing to do but drag herself from bed and endure today’s ordeal. Rohan wanted a wife, did he? Maybe she could persuade him to look elsewhere.

J. L. Mbewe - Excerpt

Mara felt the Kindren looking at her out of long eyes a strange hue between green and amber, deepened by the dim light in the far corner. He had a look she’d seen before, that of a care-worn sojourner. How far had he come, and what errand thrust him upon the mercies of the road?

The front door opened and the lanthorns suspended from overhead beams swung in the draft that fanned her face. Light flared across the stranger, turning his hair red-gold. She’d taken him for older than he now appeared, but guessing a Kindren’s age wasn’t easy. His kind hardly ever stopped at the inn these days, and she’d forgotten how intriguing she found them.

jypsylynn - Review

"...this remains a well written, inventive, entertaining and complex read with dynamic unforgettable characters and an underlying current of faith. I'm interested to see where things are going next. Janalyn Voigt has written a great addition to the series and I recommend for anyone who has enjoyed the books!"


"Sojourner is the third novel in the speculative/fantasy series The Tales of Faeraven. I think that the world-building in this series is second to none, with the culture and customs of this fictional land being solid and credible. I do like it that some of the characters and evens (at least in the early books) are based on actual Medieval European History. . . . So what did I enjoy about this book? Most of it really. I liked how alongside the political intrigue with a growing threat from an enemy army threatening the heroes, there was a hint of romance between Mara and the mysterious Rand."


A creature loomed black against the pewter sky. He knew the flapping sound its wings made from his early days at Pilaer. He’d loathed the giant raptor birds but had pretended to admire their savagery to please his father and avoid Draeg’s mockery. This one was a long way from its roost in the east of Elderland. The rider on its back provided an explanation for that but roused other questions. On what errand would his father send a welke rider? And did it have anything to do with his own?

Bookworm Lisa - Review

"This was my favorite book of the series so far. . . . I loved the interaction of the characters and the weaving in of the past, present, and future that is to come. This is story of finding love, hope, friendship, and honor in a time of war."

That Georgia Gypsy - Spotlight

Jessica Belmont - Review

"Sojourner is the third book in the Faeraven series, and is my third read from Janalyn Voigt. These novels seem like they could be read as standalones, but the books are so good, I recommend checking them all out. . . . Overall, Sojourner is a fantastic read with beautiful descriptions and compelling characters. Recommended for sure!"

Remembrancy - Review

"Sojourner ends with a little more of a cliffhanger than the first two books, but my guess is Voigt is gearing readers up for something epic in the next installment. As this series continues, I become more invested in these characters and Voigt’s story world. And I really want Kai and Shae to get their HEA!"

Wishful Endings - Excerpt

“I’m certain you wouldn’t run away without cause.”

“I didn’t want to marry.” She hadn’t meant to blurt that out.

“And now you are on your way to Torindan? Something’s missing from your story.”

She shrugged. “There’s not much else.”

He touched her arm, and a tingle ran down her spine. “I’ve an idea you’ve left out the important part.”

Pause for Tales - Review

"I was happy to be back in this world. I enjoyed the continuation of this story and I think this one just might be my favorite as many loose ends of the previous story are tied up. The story arc is one that is keeping me glued to the pages and looking forward to the next in the series."


Rand had promised his mother he would never abase a maiden. He wanted Mara beyond reason but would not take her by force or persuasion and should not have stolen so much as a kiss from her.

Restraining the impulse to offer his hand to help her rise, he picked up his saddle bag. Touching her presented too much of a temptation. “It’s time to leave.”


"I eagerly anticipated reading SoJourner having recently enjoyed DawnSinger and WayFarer. Janalyn Voigt did not disappoint. . . . I look forward to reading book 4 in the Tales of Faeraven series. I highly recommend reading these books in order in order to fully understand the plot."


"I have to say that I've been quite enjoying Janalyn Voigt's Tales Of Faeraven series and SoJourner was no exception. Readers are once again transported right into the story by author Janalyn Voigt's vivid word-painting of her magical fantasy realm. So, if you are into epic journeys, sword fights, hidden identities, and flying horses, you really should check into this book and series..."

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post...

Sojourner
(Tales of Faeraven #3)
By Janalyn Voigt
Fantasy, Christian Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 322 Pages
November 1st 2019 by Pelican Book Group

Mara didn't know her parents were living a lie.

After learning a secret that causes Mara to question her heritage, she runs to Torindan, the High Hold of Faeraven, to seek the truth. What the innkeeper’s daughter doesn't know is that Rand, the mysterious tracker she’s hired to guide her through the wilderness, has been sent on an errand that puts her life at risk.

Helping Mara furthers Rand's purposes, but he doesn't count on his emotions interfering.

With Faeraven on the brink of war, Rand is faced with a life-altering choice, Mara is torn between escape and learning the truth, and the future hangs in the balance.

Will Mara be heir to the Faeraven throne? Can Rand escape the terrors of the dungeon?

As Torindan and Pilaer prepare for battle, anything can happen.

(Affiliate link included.)

Other Books in the Series


About the Author


Janalyn Voigt is a writer and professional speaker with a photography habit and a passion for travel. Her unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Tales of Faeraven, her epic fantasy series beginning with DawnSinger, carries readers into a land only imagined in dreams. She is represented by Sarah Joy Freese of Wordserve Literary.


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive  a Tales of Faeraven bookmark and choice of ONE of the following items (US only):
Ends October 30th, 2019

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Grab Our Button!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal: An Adventure in an Unusual Cookbook!

Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal (paperback cover)
My latest writing project is very different from anything else I've written. It's a cookbook! But those who know how much I love fantasy might not be surprised that this cookbook ended up with a fantasy theme. Many of the recipes have names inspired by fairy tales or fantasy stories, and I love the hints of fantasy in the two covers designed by the awesome Savannah Jezowski

Why two different covers? The paperback version of the cookbook is an unusual shape, due to the unusual recipe format (more information about that below), so it couldn't share a cover with the ebook.
Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal (ebook cover)
Some people might be surprised, though, that the whole book is focused on oatmeal. After all, isn't oatmeal that boring goop that nobody really eats if there's anything else available? 

NOT ANYMORE! In this book, you'll find recipes for delectable dishes like creamy mango coconut spice oatmeal, cinnamon almond oatmeal, blueberry cream cheese oatmeal, and (my personal favorite:) caramel banana oatmeal with peanut butter. (Okay, so that one is a little closer to the dessert end of the spectrum than the porridge end!) 

Take a look at the book blurb below for more details:
Are you tired of high-sugar, low-health-value instant oatmeals in tiny serving packets full of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives? Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal contains 70 hearty recipes packed with natural ingredients and brimful of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. All are gluten free, assuming you use gluten-free oats, and vegan (or they come with a vegan option). Most require no salt so are perfect for a low sodium diet. Almost all of these recipes can be prepared in ten minutes or less, saving you time in your busy morning.

Oh … and no more math! Whether you’re cooking just for yourself, for a family of six, or any number in between, every recipe comes in the form of a handy table that shows exactly how much of each ingredient you’ll need for however many servings you want.

Tasty enough for kids to crave, but wholesome enough to appeal to health-conscious parents, these mouth-watering recipes will give you plenty of energy for your day while pleasing your taste buds too. Download Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal now and say goodbye to artificial breakfasts that don’t fully satisfy.

Take a peek at a few of the fun recipe titles (with pictures courtesy of photographer Denise Johnson). Then scroll down for a free recipe!
And now for a free oatmeal recipe in the unique format I use in Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal:



Ready to grab your copy? Click here to download the ebook for your Kindle or here to order the paperback cookbook. (The Kindle version is on sale for just $1.99 for the next couple of days!) And if you enjoy the recipes, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or Bookbub!


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Evermore: a Fantasy Adventure with a Giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Evermore
By Jody Hedlund

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Author Interview

What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?

In addition to enjoying a sweet love stories set in the midst of exciting adventures, I hope that readers will take away a few nuggets of truth that they can apply to their own lives. Evermore specifically talks about the importance of gaining wisdom, and it’s my hope that readers will be inspired to seek more of God’s wisdom in their lives.


“I shall ride the final course.” I grabbed the great helm. “You know I have the better chance at vanquishing Lord Mortimer.”

“No, Adelaide.” Mitchell reached to divest me of the helmet, but I sidestepped him and thrust it on before he could wrest it away.

“I shall pretend I am you, and Lord Mortimer will be none the wiser.” My voice was hollow against the conical metal hood that covered my entire head except for the narrow eye slits and the small pricked breathing holes. I fumbled at the leather chinstrap, determined to tie it into place before Mitchell stopped me.


"Jody Hedlund has done a good job of making her readers care about the characters. . . . The fantasy elements remain consistent with those in the prequel. I look forward to reading the additional books in The Lost Princesses series once they are released."


“We need this victory more than any other.” I stiffened my shoulders as Mitchell began to thread the belt from my cuirass to the cross-shaped hole at the base of the helm. Though I couldn’t see Mitchell anymore, I sensed his troubled gaze upon me. With the customary Langley brown hair and eyes, he was small of stature for a man, more scholarly and interested in his studies than in tournaments. However, like any good nobleman’s son, he’d been trained to use both his mind and body.


"Jody Hedlund has a gift for writing. No doubt about it. This Lost Princesses series falls right in my sweet spot for reading. I am transported to the world she created with characters I can love and root for without even thinking about it. I love it."

Colorimetry - Excerpt

“That monster will not have you,” Mitchell had declared viciously after the hunting party. “Though you would be harder to control than a wild coyote, I would sooner marry you myself.”

I’d laughed at Mitchell’s passionate declaration. Only months my elder, he wasn’t my cousin by blood or birth. In fact, we weren’t related in any way. But I saw him as none other than my true kin. We’d been inseparable growing up, and he was my steadfast friend.

Remembrancy - Review

"Once again Hedlund delivers an engaging and well-balanced tale full of adventure, danger, romance, and characters becoming who God intended them to be."


Even now, I held out my gauntlet-gloved fingers and waited until I felt his hand in mine. “We shall prevail, Mitchell,” I assured him. “And if Lord Mortimer ever discovers our duplicity, he will certainly put his thoughts far from me, for he will not be able to abide a wife who has knocked him from his horse.”

I didn’t wait for Mitchell’s response. Instead, I shoved aside the tent flap and proceeded toward the lists. With spurs jangling and armor clanking, I joined the other knights with an air of confidence from years of training.


"Evermore is a masterpiece of fiction – this whole series is shaping up to be so. Adventure, romance, bravery, courage, loyalty, godly wisdom, and true love (even from unexpected sources) are all wrapped up in a tale laced with legend and intriguing possibilities. You’ll want to keep reading, unable to put it down, but at the same time you won’t want it to end."

Bookworm Mama - Excerpt

Mitchell handed me a lance made of solid oak and decorated with red and white to match the Langley heraldry. I braced the long weapon under my arm and against my ribs, tilting it slightly forward to maintain my balance. I pressed my thighs into Roland’s flank, needing to become one with the beast. This tournament was a partnership. I couldn’t succeed without Roland’s cooperation—his measured speed, his balance against the pressure of our opponent, and the ability to sense my needs.

Bookworm Lisa - Review

"I LOVE this series. That's all there is to it. . . . This story has many elements that I love. There is action, adventure, strong female characters, romance, medieval setting, self-sacrifice... if I don't stop now it could end up being a very long list."


"The setting is delightful, the twists and turns, engaging, filled with danger, and yes, even suspense. You never know just what to expect. This story kept me reading, and left me wanting more. I can’t wait to read the last two books in this series!!"

J. L. Mbewe - Excerpt

“God be with you.” Mitchell gave my gloved hand a final squeeze. He spoke with confidence, but I could still distinguish a thin strand of anxiety in his tone. Not only was he worried about his mother the same as I was, but so many responsibilities had fallen on his shoulders, including the weight of the earldom, a weight that had been growing steadily heavier.

As the youngest of three brothers, Mitchell hadn’t expected to carry such burdens. But Norbert had died in youth, and Christopher had run away five years ago. Older than Mitchell and me by two years, Christopher had a courage of both body and spirit I admired greatly. While I’d never been as close to Christopher as I had to Mitchell, I still held him in the highest regard.


"Evermore is book one in The Lost Princesses series. Adelaide and Christopher were so wonderful in this novel. Both of these characters had a real heart for doing right and caring for others. . . . This story was captivating from start to finish."


". . . the story caught my imagination and wonder with its gripping tale which bespoke of adventure and a promise to keep me enthralled from the first page. . . . An exciting tale the book foretold, a brilliant author the words revealed, and a plot which galloped at a swift pace made this a perfect read in the lazy afternoon."


Through my eye slits, I focused on my opponent on the other end of the list. Lord Mortimer was a formidable foe. Nigh on thirty, he was strong and experienced. But a greater weakness than his left side was his arrogance. He would expect Mitchell to come at him with his usual quick and powerful thrust. He would pride himself on knowing Mitchell so well.

But if God looked upon me graciously this day, I would deliver a thrust Lord Mortimer wasn’t expecting.

Heidi Reads... - Review

"The author did a great job of giving the reader a sense of her character and personality before the action and adventure swept the story into a faster pace. . . . I easily connected with the characters and felt the danger and excitement as I read. I'm looking forward to the next two books and am *very* appreciative that there won't be a long wait for them!"


"As with Always, I was delighted to read this! . . . The characters in this series are so real, and combined with the attention to detail that makes it easy to picture each scene . . . impossible to put down!"

Backing Books - Review

"The moment I realized that Adelaide was able to fight on her own, though not perhaps as well as an Elite Guard, I knew that she was going to be an interesting character. . . . For anyone looking to pick up this series, know that it is a sweet, fairy tale like romance."


The bugle call rent the air, clear and strong, quieting the crowd. Roland started forward, needing no urging on my part. His pace was perfect, providing adequate speed but smooth enough I could keep my balance.

With the thundering of horse hooves filling the silence, I focused on the part of Lord Mortimer’s armor I intended to hit. I ground my teeth together, tightened my grip, thrust the lance, and then braced for impact.


"I love how all of the books are connected and different pieces of the puzzle! Very clean. Jody Hedlund is such a great author!"

Among the Reads - Review

"I enjoyed the burgeoning romance between Adelaide and Christopher and the way they fought their attraction to one another. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen and was surprised by some of the events. . . . While the story is listed as Historical fiction, I would consider it more of a fantasy. Young adults (and adults) who enjoy fantasy should consider reading this interesting series."


"Incredible! I loved this teen historical fiction with romance and adventure! I went straight from reading the novella to this first book in the trilogy. . . . I loved this YA Christian Fiction! I plan to read the next two books as soon as they are released!"


"Evermore is the first book in the Lost Princesses series by Jody Hedlund. This story was packed with suspense and adventure. There was always something happening. It kept me thoroughly glued to its pages. . . . This book has so much going for it. I highly recommend this one."


We returned to our respective corners of the list, raised our lances, and then began to ride toward each other once again. I bent closer to Roland, needing his strength, begging him for it. Then I put all thought out of my mind, save one—the target on Lord Mortimer’s chest.

Roland’s gait lengthened. His canter quickened. And the pounding of his iron-shod hooves echoed the thud of my heart. I sensed we were working together. We were a team. And this time I had to hit my mark.

Simply Susan - Review

"Hedlund has excelled once again with her medieval tale. Truly, I think this is her forte. She does a magnificent job with these stories. I love this time period and she is wonderful at it. I loved every minute and now I can’t wait for the next lost princess’s tale!"


"Evermore started with an opening that one would expect from A Knight’s Tale . . . Quite humorous as the switch takes place . . . this is a need to read not to be missed novel."

Hallie Reads - Review

". . . I loved these stories. Fun, heartfelt, exciting, they embody everything I expect from a medieval story, and each character proves to be strong and capable, in his or her own way, seeking the truth of God through the experiences. I cannot wait to return to the adventure in the next two Lost Princesses stories, and in the meantime, I highly recommend Always and Evermore."


"Evermore is one of the best books of the year! I absolutely loved this tale and the whole series! . . . I truly loved this tale, it is just filled with so much adventure, magic, and romance! If you love fairytales and a good romantic trope, than this is the book for you!"


"From the very beginning I was intrigued with Hedlund’s characters, especially the heroine, Adelaide . . . the plot moved quickly with twists and turns that kept me swiping the electronic pages of my Kindle long after I should have gone to bed. . . . As a writer of historical romance, I found this medieval tale packed full of historical details. . . . Readers who enjoy YA fiction or historical romance will enjoy this book."

Splashes of Joy - Review

"I love a good fairytale, and author Jody Hedlund writes just that in her new medieval series. I love the characters, and how they develop so well into the story. I was pulled into the story from the beginning, and this was a hard one for me to put down, once I started reading. . . . You can’t go wrong with “Evermore”."


". . . seriously, you need to read these books! . . . These books weren’t just all about romance though! In “Evermore”, it was about jousting, uncovering secrets buried for over seventeen years, fleeing a tyrant all while trying to gain the love and support of the people!


"Another wow for Jody Hedlund! She delivers yet another exciting medevil tale and doesn't disappoint!! . . . This story is full of action everytime you turn around and that is what I like in a book."


"Lots of great action, amazing and intense plot, smooth and clean storyline. I didn’t know it will be this good. There are so much happening in the story that gave me so many feelings about this book. . . . I loved the storyline and the plot, and I can’t wait to read the other two books that will focuses on Princess Maribel and Princess Emmeline."

Harlie's Books - Review

"This is such a great book. . . . Ms. Hedlund has written a wonderful story with an evil king, princesses, knights and a world that I wouldn’t mind living in. I can’t wait to meet the other princesses."

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post...

Always
(The Lost Princesses #0.5)
By Jody Hedlund
Christian YA Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 136 Pages
August 13th 2019 by Northern Lights Press

A fierce elite guard. A loyal lady in waiting. They must work together to save three princesses from certain death.

On the verge of dying after giving birth to twins, the queen of Mercia pleads with Lady Felicia to save her infant daughters. With the castle overrun by King Ethelwulf’s invading army, Lady Felicia vows to do whatever she can to take the newborn princesses and their three-year old sister to safety, even though it means sacrificing everything she holds dear, possibly her own life.

Gravely wounded in battle and knowing all is lost to his enemy, the king of Mercia tasks Lance, one of his fiercest elite guards, to protect his family along with keys to an ancient treasure. As Lance makes plans to sneak the princesses out of the capital city, he doesn’t need or want Lady Felicia’s help.

With the dark enemy in pursuit, Lance and Felicia must put aside their differences to outrun King Ethelwulf and prevent him from killing the princesses. In a desperate attempt to hide the young girls, Lance and Felicia agree to a marriage of convenience, a decision that will change their lives—and hearts—forever.

(Affiliate links included.)
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Also FREE through KindleUnlimited

Evermore
(The Lost Princesses #1)
By Jody Hedlund
Christian YA Historical
Paperback & ebook, 222 Pages
August 27th 2019 by Northern Lights Press

An ancient key. A secret treasure. And a princess destined to use them both to fight evil and restore peace.

Raised by a noble family, Lady Adelaide has always known she’s an orphan. Little does she realize she’s one of the lost princesses and the true heir to Mercia’s throne…until a visitor arrives at her family estate, reveals her birthright as queen, and thrusts her into a quest for the throne whether she’s ready or not.

Unable to tolerate King Ethelwulf’s cruelty and lawlessness, Christopher Langley left Mercia years earlier, training a group of rebels in neighboring Norland. When he returns home after his mother’s death, he discovers that not only is Adelaide all grown up, but she’s also the rightful queen of Mercia.

When King Ethelwulf discovers Adelaide’s location, he’ll stop at nothing to capture her and the key she holds to the ancient treasure. Christopher is just as determined to protect Adelaide so she can lead the growing rebellion. When feelings ignite between the two old friends, forces threaten to destroy their love and rip them apart forever.

(Affiliate links included.)
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Also FREE through KindleUnlimited

Other Books in the Series

Coming late September and October. Pre-order now! (Affiliate links included.)

About the Author


Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves fairy-tales and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five teen-aged children. When she’s not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading.


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive the prequel and all three books in The Lost Princesses series (Always, Evermore, Foremost and Hereafter) in paperback or ebook (winner's choice, if winner is outside the US ebooks only)
Ends September 25, 2019

Grab Our Button!