CelebrateLit Review & Blog Tour Giveaway: Shadow by Kara Swanson


About the Book

Book:  Shadow (Heirs of Neverland #2)
Author: Kara Swanson
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Release date: July 13, 2021

Peter Pan has crash-landed back on Neverland. But this is not the island he remembers.

Desperate to rescue Claire and the fractured Lost Boys, Peter must unravel what truly tore his dreamland apart. But with each step, he is haunted by more of his own broken memories. Not even Pan himself is what he seems.

Claire Kenton is chained to a pirate ship, watching the wreckage of Neverland rocked by tempests. When she finally finds her brother, Connor is every bit as shattered as the island. Claire may have pixie dust flowing in her veins—but the light of Neverland is flickering dangerously close to going out forever.

To rescue Neverland from the inescapable shadow, the boy who never grew up and the girl who grew up too fast will have to sacrifice the only thing they have left: each other.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Kara Swason _ Floral Headshot

As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent her childhood running barefoot through the lush jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the fantasy genre. The award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See, Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light shattering darkness, connecting with readers, and becoming best friends with a mermaid—though not necessarily in that order. Kara chats about coffee, fairytales and bookish things online (@karaswansonauthor) and at karaswanson.com.

Connect with Kara: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

My Review

by Kara Swanson
Book 2 in the Heirs of Neverland
Rating: 4.5/5

Wow. This story was nonstop in the adventure in Neverland. Reading the first book, Dust, is probably necessary to understand what’s happening. The author’s use of imagination and creativity just screams from the manuscript (or literally, since I listened to the audiobook borrowed from the library). The perspectives go back and forth between Peter and Claire. Peter is desperate to save Claire while Claire is desperate to save her brother Connor. Darkness and shadow have crept up in Neverland and Peter and the Lost Boys with some other familiar friends are trying their best to keep Neverland from disappearing.

The first book, Dust, started a bit slow for my liking but this second (and final) installment started right where we left off (when it was just getting really good). I liked seeing the character development and delving into Peter’s past and how he created Neverland. I loved how the author was not afraid to address the darker subjects and inner turmoil that we all have to eventually face. Reading the author’s thoughts at the end made me like the story even more – in light of the past year we’ve experienced with COVID, we still must go on. We have to allow ourselves the space to heal.

Highly recommend if you enjoy revisiting Peter Pan’s adventures in Neverland with some romance and lots of action and pixie dust. I also highly recommend listening to the audiobook – it is excellent.

My thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

More from Kara

One of my favorite CS Lewis quotes is this:

“Some day you’ll be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

There’s something subtly profound about the idea that the very stories which captivate our imagination and shape our perspective on good and evil as children, will reveal more gems when we return to them later. When we’ve conquered some dragons of our own.

This was especially true when I write my Peter Pan retelling duology Dust and Shadow. These YA novels literally return to a fairy tale. I took a familiar story and dug even deeper, pushing Peter himself to grow a little more and see what new bits of pixie dust and hope there may be in a familiar story.

But there is another reason why our hearts gravitate toward fairy tales.

I think GK Chesterton put it brilliantly in a quote that is actually at the very front of Shadow:

Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

Because maybe even more than being reminded of the whimsy of a fairy, we need the reminder that even in a world filled with dragons – they can be killed.

We can conquer.

And that simple truth, told a hundred different ways, will always lift our hearts and our chins.

Shadow was not an easy book to write – and it is not a particularly lighthearted tale. It is raw and vulnerable and at times lives up to it’s title in some darker moments. But there is always a sense of courage there too. A reminder that even in the shadowed places, the valleys, the instances that steal our breath and twist our hearts and make us wonder if all is lost –

There is another page to turn. Another step to take.

We are not finished.

No matter how young we are, we can strap on our armor, lift our swords, and fight for the light.

We are not overcome because our strength does not come from us.

It comes from our King.

And in the end, He will make all wrongs right, and there will be a happy ending to our tale, even if it may not be the ending we expect.

Because it may not be easy to slay the dragon, but as the fairy tales do remind us –

The important thing is that they can be slain.

Blog Stops

Babbling Beck L’s Book Impressions, July 31
Inside the Wong Mind, July 31
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 31
The Write Escape, August 1
Remembrancy, August 1
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 2
Connect in Fiction, August 2
Blossoms and Blessings, August 2
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 3
Texas Book-aholic, August 3
Where Faith and Books Meet, August 4
Losing the Busyness, August
For the Love of Literature, August 4
Worthy2Read, August 5
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5
Wishful Endings, August 5
Inklings and notions, August 6
Mia Reads, August 6
For Him and My Family, August 7
Sodbusterliving, August 7
Mary Hake, August 7
deb’s Book Review, August 8
Nancy E Wood, August 8
Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 9
Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9
Through the Fire Blogs, August 10
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 10
Artistic Nobody, August 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 11
Cats in the Cradle Blog, August 11
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 12
Simple Harvest Reads, August 12 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
The Book Chic Blog, August 12
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 13
Labor Not in Vain, August 13


To celebrate her tour, Kara Swanson is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Blog Tour & Giveaway: Secrets of Stonebridge by Anita Stansfield

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

About the Book

Title: Secrets of Stonebridge
Author: Anita Stansfield
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: July 1, 2021

Since the untimely death of her young husband, Regina Everleigh has been consumed by her grief. After more than a year spent sequestered in her rooms at Stonebridge Manor, the once lively young woman is encouraged to venture into town—her first small step toward healing. But Regina is shaken out of her stupor when she makes a most unexpected discovery: a foundling baby girl. Regina is instantly enthralled with the infant and determines that she will claim the child as her own—a deception that seems, in the moment, to be harmless. But when her husband’s cousin Radcliffe comes back into her life, Regina quickly becomes entangled in a tenuous charade. 

Radcliffe is immediately taken with both the charming baby girl and the woman he believes to be her mother. As Regina and Radcliffe are drawn together, first as friends and then as something much deeper, the future is bright with unspoken promise. But when the truth of the baby’s parentage is revealed, Regina stands to lose all that she has come to cherish.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Anita Stansfield has been the reigning queen of LDS romantic fiction for more than two decades, although her general market releases have been among her readers favorites. Her work has shattered the stereotypes of romance novels with her trademark ability to combine great storytelling with intense psychological depth as she focuses on the emotional struggles of the human experience. Her novels cover a huge spectrum, from the eighteenth century to the present, from heart warming to heart stopping. Hundreds of thousands of readers agree: Anita Stansfield’s characters and the lives they lead are not easy to forget.

Connect with Anita: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

My Review

Secrets of Stonebridge
by Anita Stansfield
Rating: 4/5

With such an interesting premise, I knew I had to read this book right away. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this story before. The miscommunication and hidden secrets were not new but the Moses arc was new for a regency story. I have never read anything from the author before and was surprised at how quickly I became invested in Gina’s life and her secrets. For this book, I kept wanting to read Sir Radcliffe’s perspective but the book was only written from Gina’s point of view. I always think the most frustrating part of these stories is when there’s a secret that needs to be revealed but the main character keeps putting it off. The romance between the leads was very sweet and gradual which I liked. The characters were full of their own backstories and baggage which gave them depth and motivation. The story gives me the feeling of Jane Eyre due to some darker themes but it still stands on its own.

PG content.

Highly recommend if you enjoy clean, regency romance with endearing characters and lots of heart.

My thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Read An Excerpt

“Gina knew that some form of a lecture was coming. In most situations, a maid would never speak so comfortably and casually to the person for whom they worked. But Emerald and Ruby had grown up with Gina, and they mutually shared an attitude of responsibility for Gina’s best interests, every bit as much as they worked together to care for her daily needs. Occasionally they both shared tea or a meal with her since she’d not eaten any meals outside her rooms for months now. But she couldn’t recall both being in her room together at this time of day. She sensed some kind of conspiracy and discreetly slithered deeper beneath the covers until they flew abruptly from over her face and she found herself looking up at Emerald, with the much shorter Ruby at her side. Both were scowling with determination, and Gina wished she could feign ignorance regarding what this might be about, but she knew exactly why they might feel the need to unite in confronting her. Nevertheless, that didn’t mean she wanted to discuss the matter—even with these women she trusted completely. She only wanted to continue on as she had been doing since Dwight’s passing. Life beyond her bedroom, sitting room, and personal parlor held no interest for her whatsoever. She had devoted herself to Dwight in every way, perhaps believing that her efforts could eventually create positive changes between them; but now she would never know. She’d worked hard to convince herself that there was a happy and hopeful future with him. And then he’d abandoned her. Of course, she knew he’d not intentionally met with a riding accident that rainy spring morning, but he had gone out riding when she had requested that he stay in due to the weather being so dreadful. He’d promised he wouldn’t be gone long, insisting that he only felt the need for a brief jaunt to get some fresh air. But the drizzle had turned to a downpour, and the meadows and woods through which he frequently rode had become muddy—or at least that’s what she’d been told by those who had found his body. When he’d not returned after many hours, his cousin and some of the servants had gone searching for him. It had been the unanimous opinion of all who had seen the location of the accident that the horse had apparently lost its footing on a muddy incline and Dwight had fallen from the saddle. The horse had loyally remained with its owner of many years, unharmed but very dirty. Apparently, Dwight had died instantly, according to what the local doctor had said about the way he had hit the ground. Gina found some comfort in knowing he hadn’t suffered, but in the depths of her grieving she had never been able to shake the feeling that he’d abandoned her, even if he’d never meant to do so. And with his death, all hope of creating a better marriage—and becoming a mother—had shattered into far too many pieces to ever be mended.”

Follow along on the Blog & Bookstagram Tour!

July 26
Inside the Wong Mind
Life Is What It’s Called

July 27
Inklings and Notions
My Book A Day

July 28
Lisa is a Bookworm

July 29
Why Not? Because I Said So

July 30
Reading with Emily

July 31
She Lives To Read


WIN a PAPERBACK copy of Secrets of Stonebridge by Anita Stansfield (US addresses only).

Enter here: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ae98b8a275/

CelebrateLit Tour & Giveaway: The Ice Swan by J’nell Ciesielski

The Ice Swan

About the Book

Book:  The Ice Swan
Author: J’Nell Ciesielski
Genre: Historical Romance
Release date: July 6, 2021

Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian court, a Russian princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it.

1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory.

Born the second son of a duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. While treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter and underground Russian clubs where drink, culture, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.

Out of money and options, Svetlana is forced into a marriage of convenience with Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn can’t help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. As the Bolsheviks chase them to different corners of the earth, Wynn and Svetlana begin to see they will never be able to outrun the love they have for one another.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

J'nell Ciesielski official

With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle.

Connect with J’nell: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest | Bookbub

My Review

The Ice Swan
by J’nell Ciesielski
Rating: 4.5/5

Wow. This book was very good. The author weaves a fascinating story set during the Great War surrounding Russian royalty and a Scottish surgeon. I was pulled in from the beginning and didn’t want to stop reading. There’s some suspenseful elements within the narrative since the Bolsheviks are still after any remnants of the royal family but the swoony love story is beautiful. I loved the female lead, Svetlana, so much because she was trying to go against her snobby upbringing and Russian coldness but she still had her own trust issues like so many of us. As a medical student, I liked the male lead, Wynn, a lot because he was just trying to save his patients. He really cared about them but also had to acknowledge the “god-complex” that many surgeons have to deal with. The two of them really seem like a perfect match – obviously, they are not perfect individuals but they were perfect for each other. I wouldn’t have minded some more dancing in the book but the story didn’t necessarily need it (I just love ballet). As someone who has been to Russia, I also enjoyed all the Russian language and foods slipped into the story. I would have loved a Russian recipe at the end 😉

Although the book is published by Thomas Nelson, I would not classify this book as Christian fiction because the faith aspects are brief and almost non-existent. As intense as the situation was in Paris, I would have preferred more incorporation about how faith encourages during dark times, but the story is still very exciting and eye-opening.

Highly recommend if you enjoy clean, historical romance with action, suspense and a lot of heart.

My thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

More from J’nell

When we think of the Great War we often only think about events happening right on the battlefield of France, Belgium, and Germany. It was a time of great upheaval for so many people and countries, none more so than Russia. It was during the Great War that the Bolsheviks rose up against the monarchy, assassinated the tsar and his family, and plunged Russia into civil war. The country was in such chaos that they pulled out of the war to deal with their own revolution. The Russian Revolution was the result of centuries of oppression and imperialism that finally boiled over. As the Bolsheviks seized power, nobles and anyone associated or favorable to the monarchy were stripped of their privileges and homes, many killed, and still thousands of others fled in fear of their lives where they became the great wave of White emigres.

The stories of the ill-fated Anastasia and the evil Rasputin are legendary, but it wasn’t until recently when I watched a Russian miniseries called Road to Calvary that I became fascinated with the nobles and their struggle and from all that an idea sparked that would become my upcoming release, The Ice Swan. It’s about a Russian princess fleeing the Revolution to Paris in 1917 where she meets a handsome surgeon who is breaking new grounds in cardiology. We see the plight of the White emigres who have taken refuge in Paris and founded their own little Russia in the heart of the city, the exhausted City of Light after four years of war, the overflowing hospitals, and highly controversial advancements in surgery. Plus, a romance to prove that true love can overcome any difference and who doesn’t need a little more love these days?


To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Book Review: Unleashing Fire by Julie Hall

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

About the Book

Title: Unleashing Fire
Series: Fallen Legacies #3
Author: Julie Hall
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: July 22, 2021

The world will ignite and so will I.

The Forsaken hunger for vengeance, leaving Steel and me with no choice but to follow Camiel to the only place strong enough to protect me—Eden, an ancient, hidden city darkened by my family’s secrets.

But Eden isn’t the safe haven I expected, and family runs deeper than blood.

As Thorne grows stronger by the day, his Fallen forces threaten to raze London—and then the world—to cinders. In order to stop him, the entire angelic community has to unite, but ancient feuds and millennia of prejudice put everything at risk.

My heart knows where I belong—fighting beside my loved ones—but I have a secret that could doom them all. There’s a dark power growing inside me, hellish and spiraling beyond my control.

The realms have merged. The darkness calls to me. And there’s only one thing standing in my way . . . Steel.

Fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout and Cassandra Clare will love this Crescent City meets Crave mash up!

Purchase this book to conclude Emberly and Steel’s epic adventure of fantasy, magic, romance, angel lore, and found family! ♥

Click HERE to grab your copy or read on Kindle Unlimited!

About the Author

My name is Julie Hall and I’m a USA Today bestselling, multiple award-winning author. I read and write YA paranormal / fantasy novels, love doodle dogs and drink Red Bull, but not necessarily in that order. My daughter says my super power is sleeping all day and writing all night . . . and well, she wouldn’t be wrong.  I believe novels are best enjoyed in community. As such, I want to hear from you! Please connect with me as I regularly give out sneak peeks, deleted scenes, prizes, and other freebies to my friends and newsletter subscribers.

Connect with Julie: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Bookbub | Goodreads

My Review

Unleashing Fire
by Julie Hall
Book 3 in the Fallen Legacies series
Rating: 4.5/5

“Despite everything, I smile. The girl might be a bit of a head case, but she’s my head case.”

As always, I was excited to get my hands on an ARC of Unleashing Fire (although I preordered a copy) by Julie Hall since she is one of my favorite fantasy authors. She did such a great job writing the action and kissing scenes lol. This book is full of action, mystery and suspense in this supernatural world that she’s built since the first book. However, there’s also the brilliant relationship between the main characters that keeps the reader coming back. This book is written from multiple perspectives which keeps the book super interesting and also includes beautiful illustrations of the characters. In the beginning I did find the book a little confusing because of all the characters I had to remember. I wish there was a glossary for the characters (the author has a glossary at the end with the different types of angels and celestial classifications which is informative) or a family tree lol.

The story continues as Emberly must figure out why she keeps blacking out and Steel fights to keep her in his sights. The gang is all here with some new characters. Tinkle is a favorite and shows just how powerful he is. New love interests seem to be developing – I hope the author is going to expand this universe and tell some of the other characters’ stories. (She certainly sets it up that way). The team battles the Fallen and Forsaken and tries to find out what the plan is and stop it before the mortal world is overrun with the spiritual realm. Lots of battles – not overly bloody and graphic but enough to give the reader an idea of what’s happening. I thoroughly enjoyed this entire series and Julie Hall goes out with a bang! She’s created an exciting world of supernatural creatures and characters that draw the reader in and make them want to return again and again.

“Steel is mine, today and forever, and nothing can change that. The depth and breadth of my love for him only makes my power burn brighter. He’s seared upon my soul.”

Highly recommend if you enjoy clean YA fantasy with lots of action and a beautiful romance. PG-13 content.

My thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Books in the Fallen Legacies Series