Book Review: The Promised Prince by Kortney Keisel

The Promised Prince
By Kortney Keisel 
Rating: 5/5
Release date: January 12, 2021

Wow. I can’t even describe how awesome this book is. I literally started reading right before bed and then read straight through for the next four hours. I could not put the book down. So good! The book is full of many laugh out loud moments, grief-stricken tears, and heart-pounding romance. This is a standalone novel but I believe the author is going to continue writing within the world and I definitely cannot wait to read more. (Signing up for her newsletter grants you a free story from the same world). 

Renna Degray has felt displaced ever since her father died and her mother remarried the king of New Hope. When a trip to her childhood farm allows her to visit her father’s grave, she finds more than she bargained for in Trev, someone who works for the king’s guard. Just a few hours with him has her mischievous side coming out and she feels a hope of belonging again. But anguish comes when Trev turns out to be already engaged…to her stepsister, Princess Seran. Renna must try her best to hide her attraction and chemistry with Trev in order to let the political alliance continue. There is trouble in Albion and Prince Ezra Trevenna (Trev to his friends) is trying his best to rein in his father’s animosity toward Tolsten, the bordering country, and avoid all out war. Marrying Princess Seran would give his country access to their substantial army and help him in his campaign for king. Can Trev find a way to make Renna his bride or is he stuck fulfilling his duty to crown and country?

This debut novel is brilliantly written and will make you want more from this author! Her characters are endearing and imperfect. Her story has depth and so much heart. And it is CLEAN romance. The world the author has built is interesting and I look forward to reading more about it in future books. 

Highly recommend if you enjoy YA dystopian romance with lots of humor and political intrigue. 

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.

Celebrate Lit Book Review & Giveaway: Dawn of Vengeance by Ronie Kendig

About the Book

Book: Dawn of Vengeance
Author: Ronie Kendig
Genre: FICTION / Science Fiction / Space Opera
Release Date: December 8, 2020

A haunting prophecy upended his identity. Now it demands his life.

Once a formidable bounty hunter, Marco Dusan is plagued by insecurity as he tours the realm he now rules. This quiet, backwater planet is not as untouched as he’d once thought. Evidence of collusion between Droseran factions and the powerful Symmachians with their forbidden technology litters his encounters. Worse, all signs indicate Xisya, the alien who tortured him, is still snatching Kynigos Brethren—but to what end?

Lance Corporal Eija Zacdari works hard to win a coveted place on the Symmachian hyperjump program, but instinct tells her their intel is flawed. Despite nearly failing the tests, she is assigned to the team-and lands in the middle of a bewildering conspiracy.

Haunted by a prophecy that promises pain and war, Marco forges alliances to protect the primitive world against Symmachia’s devastating influence. But one truth becomes painfully clear: the biggest threat to their world may be much, much closer to home.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of over twenty titles. An Army brat, Ronie lives a short train ride from New York City with her husband, twin sons, and two fur-sons, VVolt N629, a retired military working dog, and Benning the Stealth Golden. Described as an empath by her literary agent, Ronie has used her degree in psychology to write books that have won the coveted Christy Award, RomanticTimes Reviewers’ Choice Award, The Realm Award, HOLT Medallion Award, and more. Her books have also hit the CBA Bestseller List multiple times.

My Thoughts

Dawn of Vengeance
by Ronie Kendig
Book 2 in the Droseran Saga series
Rating: 5/5

I did not think it was possible but the Droseran Saga just keeps getting better and better. Dawn of Vengeance sweeps you away to a world that you don’t want to leave making you wish the next book was already out. You will definitely want to read this book after reading first book, Brand of Light.

Your favorite hero is back! Marco is not just your hunter (Kynigos), but he is now the king (medora) of Kalonica. After embarking on a tour of his new country, he encounters more than he bargains for including meeting Isaura, a beautiful young lady who can makes him feel again after his heartbreak. Together they find that raiders are somehow equipped with banned technology and weapons which could mean war for their planet. Can Marco find out what’s happening before it’s too late?

Meanwhile there are other characters involved in this story but Marco is my favorite. lol. I really can’t explain how hesitant I was to pick up this sequel and pray that it was as good as the first. However, I shouldn’t have worried. I did not want to stop reading this saga – this space opera. It was thrilling to read and catch up with old and new characters. The author switches perspectives throughout to focus on different characters which works really well for this story.

Highly recommend for those who enjoy an exciting adventure in space and other worlds with clean romance and mystery.

My thanks to the author and CelebrateLit 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 Ronie

Throughout the Droseran Saga, Marco Dusan—our much-loved hero—enjoys his favorite drink, warmed Cordi. The inspiration for his citrusy-spiced drink came from a favorite family holiday tradition—“Christmas punch.” My mother-in-law received this recipe while they were stationed in Germany from a colonel’s wife. We make this every Christmas (okay, I make it a lot starting in about late October because it’s so delish). The piquant scent of cranberry, cloves, and orange fills our home every fall and holiday.

The scent of this is apropos for Marco, who tracks by scent. And, interestingly, our noses and smells are connected to memories, which just seemed to demand I come up with some way to create “Marco’s Cordi” for readers. So, this year, I used Adagio Tea’s custom-blend feature to craft a more citrusy blend of Marco’s drink. Now, that’s tea—something Marco doesn’t really enjoy—but add a quarter cup of warmed orange juice, and you’re starting to hit the sweet spot. Marco would be proud!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 12
April Hayman, Author, December 12
Texas Book-aholic, December 13
Book Love, December 13 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Worthy2Read, December 14
Locks, Hooks and Books, December 14
Sara Jane Jacobs, December 15
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 15
Where Faith and Books Meet, December 16
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16
Wishful Endings, December 17
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 17
deb’s Book Review, December 18
Simple Harvest Reads, December 18 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Artistic Nobody, December 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 19
For Him and My Family, December 20
Mia Reads, December 20
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 21
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 21
Through the Fire Blogs, December 22
Rachael’s Inkwell, December 22
Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 23
Inklings and notions, December 23
Inside the Wong Mind, December 24
Blogging With Carol, December 24
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 25
Mary Hake, December 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Ronie is giving away the grand prize package of an “Isaura” themed candle, “Marco’s Cordi” Custom Blend Tea from Adagio, a signed Hardcover of Dawn of Vengeance, and Isaura’s amulet!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/104a8/dawn-of-vengeance-celebration-tour-giveaway

Audiobook Review: The Coffee Corner by Amy Clipston

The Coffee Corner
by Amy Clipston
Book 3 in the Amish Marketplace series
Rating: 4/5

I was lucky enough to receive a free ARC of the audiobook of this story and it did not disappoint! I am a fan of Amy Clipston and she is very good at writing sweet, yet authentic, stories of romance set in the Amish community. This story can be read standalone since I have not read the other books in this series but now I need to. LOL.

Bethany Gingerich has a thriving business as the coffee and donut stand at the Amish market. She and her cousins have successful booths but everything is changing since her cousins are getting married one by one. Bethany feels overlooked as a potential mate but finds her eye drawn to the new-in-town, Micah Zook, who is helping with his grandfather’s custom furniture shop. Micah has his own sad past, but he’s determined to do what he loves and that’s helping his grandfather continue his business. He finds a sense of peace when he grabs his Saturday morning coffee and donut from Bethany’s booth and can’t wait to try her newest flavored coffee. Antics and miscommunications ensue on this couple’s journey to love.

I thought this story was very sweet but the only problem I had may have been caused by the narrator of the audiobook than the actual heroine as written. I found Bethany’s character to be so confusing and frustrating at times. She’d go from competent businesswoman to insecure teenager to naive friend and back again. I’m not sure if that was more because of the narrator’s interpretation, but I found Bethany’s character very unlikeable. (This is incredibly strange for me as a reader since I almost always give the MC the benefit of the doubt). I tried really hard to sympathize with her character and her internal struggles but she came out more annoying than anything else. As a single woman, I definitely share some of her struggles and insecurities, but I felt her immaturity was a little over the top. However, the story itself was great and I really liked Micah’s character. I really loved all the interesting coffee flavors Bethany came up with – they sounded great (even to a non-coffee drinker). The family aspects of this story were very strong, and the faith aspect was also woven throughout the story in a meaningful way.

Audiobook: The narrator was okay. She was good but I didn’t think her German pronunciation was very good. Her interpretation of Bethany seemed whiny to me, which is frustrating when I’m trying to root for the MC. The production was well done and flowed well.

Highly recommend if you enjoy Amish romances with some humor and spunk.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley 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.

Book Review: The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson

The Cul-de-Sac War
By Melissa Ferguson
Rating: 4.5/5

Who doesn’t love a good rom-com? This book is pure joy and fun! Having read the author’s previous work, I was excited to jump in and read this new one that casually mentions previous characters. The story can be read as a stand-alone though. 

Bree Leake hasn’t quite found where she fits in career-wise. She’s tried so many different jobs but never quite found one that stuck. After moving away from home, Bree tries her hand at acting in the nation’s oldest live performance theater, The Barter. While she still feels restless, her parents’ offer to give her their part of grandmother’s house if she stays put for one full year is something that she cannot pass up. She loves the house and all the memories. However, her new neighbor might be the one thing that she can’t stand despite his handsome face. Chip McBride is striking out on his own as a contractor and is eager to show that he can make it without being part of his father’s family company. He wants to make a name for himself and remodeling the Barter might just be his ticket to recognition. He also enjoys antagonizing his new next-door neighbor who happens to be an actor there. Bree and Chip won’t stop until it goes too far and they can’t help but constantly be thinking about one another every day. Pranks ensue while these two duke it out.

You won’t stop smiling and laughing throughout this book. There are a couple more serious parts (don’t get me wrong) but the chemistry between the two characters is undeniable and the author portrays their relationship beautifully. I really enjoyed this “enemies-to-lovers” type of romantic comedy and it ends up being an entertaining read full of spunky characters who you may have read about previously.

Highly recommend for those who enjoy romantic comedies.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley 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.

Book Review & Celebrate Lit Giveaway: To Steal a Heart by Jen Turano

to steal a heart banner (1)

About the Book

Book: To Steal A Heart

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Comedic Historical Romance

Release Date: November 17, 2020

To Steal a Heart

After spending her childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. Using her old skills to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella unexpectedly encounters Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.

After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agrees to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.

As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Jen

Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by BooklistJen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado.

My Thoughts

To Steal a Heart
by Jen Turano
Book 1 in the Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency series

Wow! I never stop laughing when I read any of Jen Turano’s books. I’m always excited to dig into her world and see what shenanigans her characters are up to. The combination of quirky but strong-willed female characters always makes for entertaining stories that you won’t want to stop reading.

Gabriella “Gabe” Goodhue has not had the easiest life but she is a strong, independent woman living in a boarding house with a job as a seamstress. Having grown up on the streets of the Lower East Side of London, Gabe dressed as a boy and got into trouble with Nicholas Quinn until she got caught and was sent to an orphanage. She’s surprised to see Nicholas again while attempting to break into a safe after thinking he abandoned her all those years ago. This chance meeting has Nicholas floored that Gabe is back in his life and although he’s learned to be a society gentleman, he still wants Gabe to understand what happened. The mysterious Knickerbocker Bandit is still at large and Gabriella is on the case to solve the mystery. Together Gabriella and Nicholas embark on an adventure to discover the truth about their pasts and what it means for their future.

As always, Jen Turano can weave a ridiculously funny story that still has romance, drama, and mystery. Her main characters are lovely and have a past that has made them who they are. I love being part of their journey to find out who they really are and I loved all the other characters too. As a big fan, I’ve read all of Jen Turano’s books and enjoyed reading about places/characters from some of her previous series. The other supporting characters bring much needed intrigue and hilarity to an already fun script.

Highly recommend if you enjoy historical fiction that has humor, romance and mystery.

My thanks to the author and CelebrateLit 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 Jen

To Steal a Heart” is the first book in a new series. How did you come up with the idea for this series?

Oddly enough, this series was inspired by a lot of different things. I keep this idea box, and whenever I stumble on something interesting, I throw the idea into the box. When I was getting ready to assemble a proposal for a new series, I took out the box and began rifling through it. Unfortunately, nothing struck my fancy. What did strike my fancy though, was the movie “My Fair Lady.” I’d recently watched it for the millionth time, and I thought…hmmm…what could I do with that? Well, I didn’t want to do a recreation of “My Fair Lady” and that’s when it hit me – what if I used a gentleman instead of a lady and improved his circumstances in life with the help of a professor? That wasn’t really enough, though, for me to formulate an entire series, but then I went to New York City for a research trip. While there, I roamed around Bleecker Street for hours. It was the perfect place to set a series, and then I saw this older building that my tour guide thought might have once been a boardinghouse. That was what really started me thinking, and before I knew it, I’d created an inquiry agency run by women that came about when a resident of a boardinghouse was unjustly accused of theft. When the police would not investigate further, believing they had the true culprit behind bars, the ladies who lived in the boardinghouse felt compelled to step up and clear their fellow boardinghouse resident of the charges brought against her. The series took off from there, the first book centering around one of the lady inquiry agents, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who used to live on the mean streets of the Lower East Side and, at one point in her life, was best friends with Nicholas Quinn, the man who has now found his circumstances vastly improved from the time he knew Gabriella. Throwing the two of them back together made for an interesting storyline, especially since Gabriella believes Nicholas abandoned her all those years ago, which makes it next to impossible for her to trust him.

Are there other interesting characters in this series?

Of course. All of the lady inquiry agents come with their own secrets. Miss Daphne Beekman is a reclusive author who lives in the attic of the boardinghouse. She has the propensity to faint at the drop of a hat, which makes for a few amusing scenes in the first book. She’ll get her own story in “To Write a Wrong,” coming out later in 2021. Then there’s Eunice Holbrooke. She’s the owner of the boardinghouse, and she only wears full mourning garb, covering her face with numerous veils and refusing to speak to anyone about her past. Clearly, there’s a mystery just waiting to be solved there, one that will be solved in book three, which I’m just now beginning to work on. The other residents of the boardinghouse provide a lot of color to the story, from the two sisters who work as paid companions by day to gossip collectors and carriage drivers by night, to the resident artist, Miss Judith, who has recently decided to dip her toe into the portrait market even though she’s really not proficient with painting people. There’s also a one-eyed, patch-wearing dog by the name of Winston, a parrot that likes to nick sparkly items named Pretty Girl, and a neurotic poodle that falls for Winston that goes by the name of Precious.

Did the pandemic affect the writing process at all for “To Steal a Heart?”

Luckily, I had already turned in the book before the pandemic hit. With that said, though, I then had to do some of the edits during the first few months of the pandemic. That was interesting. I have very specific conditions I need in order to write and edit and having Al (the husband person) working from home isn’t one of those conditions. It took me far longer than it normally does to complete the editing process, which threw off my schedule for the next book in the series, “To Write a Wrong.” Drastic measures were needed. That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a she-shed. Al thought I was joking when I first broached the subject of a she-shed, but after I had my millionth meltdown, he decided that might be a really good idea. Turns out sheds are in high demand at the moment, so getting a shed in a timely fashion wasn’t possible. It took 6 weeks for us to get a shed delivered and then we had to frame the inside and put up a ceiling and walls. I was not actually very involved with that process because I’m a danger to everyone surrounding me when nail guns are being used. 🙂 I did paint the outside of the shed, then painted the inside. Of course the air conditioning unit I had to order was delayed, so I painted in 100 degree heat. Lost about five pounds doing that, so…unexpected bonus there. I just recently finished decorating the inside, and I’m typing this interview from my new space. I’m thinking I’m going to call it “Jen’s Novel Nook” but that might change, so don’t quote me on that.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just that I hope everyone is surviving these crazy days. I know there are many people out there who are suffering from many different problems this pandemic has caused. Know that you’re not alone, and that brighter days will show up again. Until that time, try to remember to smile and, perhaps, read a few books.

Wishing all of you the very best!

Jen

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 17

Soulfully Romantic, November 17

Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 17

Blessed & Bookish, November 17

Robin’s Nest, November 17

Through the Fire Blogs, November 18

The Avid Reader, November 18

Losing the Busyness, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

She Lives To Read, November 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 19

Wishful Endings, November 19

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 19

Artistic Nobody, November 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

lakesidelivingsite, November 20

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 20

Reviewingbooksplusmore, November 20

The Write Escape, November 20

Older & Smarter?, November 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 21

Christian Bookaholic, November 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 21

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22

Mia Reads, November 22

Writing from the Heart Land, November 22

Betti Mace, November 23

Inklings and notions, November 23

Blogging With Carol, November 23

Life of Literature, November 23

Texas Book-aholic, November 24

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 24

Batya’s Bits, November 24

Joanne Markey’s blog, November 24

For Him and My Family, November 25

Inside the Wong Mind, November 25

Mary Hake, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 25

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, November 26

EmpowerMoms, November 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 26

Novels Corner, November 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 27

Connie’s History Classroom, November 27

Captive Dreams Window, November 27

Book of Ruth Ann, November 27

deb’s Book Review, November 28

Blossoms and Blessings, November 28

Daysong Reflections, November 28

Bigreadersite, November 28

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 29

Splashes of Joy, November 29

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 29

Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Vicky Sluiter, November 30

Pause for Tales, November 30

Spoken from the Heart, November 30

Hallie Reads, November 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the grand prize package of copy of To Steal a Heart, plus all three books in the American Heiresses series and a 30 second mystery kit (Link: https://amzn.to/3nqrIpC)!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/103a4/to-steal-a-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

Here’s my quick review of Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano:

Always love everything by Jen Turano. Her quirky and laugh-out-loud characters always keep me reading to the end. You definitely won’t want the story to end. I highly recommend this book and series. You won’t regret reading this story and won’t be able to stop till you finish. Miss Permilia Griswold is one of my absolute favorite characters. She is everything and more.

My thanks to NetGalley 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.

Here’s the blurb from the book:

Miss Permilia Griswold, the wallflower behind “The Quill” gossip column, knows everything that goes on in the ballrooms of New York. When she overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Asher Rutherford, she’s determined to warn him. Away from society’s spotlight, Asher and Permilia discover there’s more going on behind the scenes than they anticipated.

Book Review: While It Was Snowing by Tari Faris

While It Was Snowing
by Tari Faris
Book 2.5 in the Restoring Heritage series
Rating: 4/5
Release Date: November 5, 2020

I am a huge fan of Tari Faris and this novella was such a sweet, charming holiday story about two best friends. I highly recommend reading the other books in this series but it is not required.

Growing up without a mother, Danielle “Dan” Fair is a young mechanic working at her father’s garage in Heritage. When Danielle gets pulled into becoming the last minute replacement bridesmaid, she puts on her first dress ever. After a quick makeover, she is walking down the aisle with her hair in curls and hoping that maybe Gideon Mathews, her best friend and secret crush of two years, will start seeing her as a woman and not “just one of the guys”. Of course, Gideon can’t take his eyes off his best friend, but despite being a sought-after bachelor, he’s never been good at talking with the opposite sex. With Gideon trying to forge his own career path and Danielle trying to convince her dad that she’s ready to takeover the business, can the two of them admit their feelings and trust that they deserve their own happily ever after?

I love returning to Heritage. It’s always fun “seeing” characters from other books and getting a life update. I always enjoy Tari Faris’ writing and her characters. They are not perfect. They are flawed and have insecurities just like you and me. They have fears about taking a risk for love. They find it hard to trust and like to avoid conflict.

Don’t hesitate to read this cozy Christmas story!

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.

Book Review & Celebrate Lit Giveaway: Apprentice by Kristen Young

About the Book

Book: Apprentice
Author: Kristen Young
Genre: Christian Science Fiction
Release Date: October 20, 2020

The Love Collective is everywhere.
It sees everything.
Be not afraid.

Apprentice Flick remembers everything, except the first five years of her life. And for as long as she can remember, Flick has wanted to enter the Elite Academy—home to the best, brightest, and most loyal members of the Love Collective government.

Flick’s uncanny memory might get her there, too … even if it is the very thing that marks her as a freak. But frightening hallucinations start intruding into her days and threaten to bring down all she has worked so hard to accomplish. Why is she being hijacked by a stranger’s nightmare over and over again?

Moving to the Elite Academy could give Flick the future she’s always wanted. But her search for truth may lead to a danger she cannot escape.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Kristen Young is an Aussie children’s and youth worker who always has a notebook on hand to catch ideas for her fiction and non-fiction. She loves hanging out with her family, watching movies with subtitles, and chocolate.

My Review

Apprentice
by Kristen Young
Book 1 in the Collective Underground series
Rating: 4/5

Exciting new dystopian YA adventure from Kristen Young! I’ve never read anything from this author before and was very impressed with her world-building and character development.

Kerr Flick has an amazing memory. She can remember everything she’s heard or seen except for her first five years. Because of her amazing memory and short stature, she’s been the outcast and outsider all her life until she gets the opportunity to go to the Elite Academy. She is determined to be the best of the best. Being a Watcher in the Love Collective is her desire and she will do whatever she can to pass the test to become one…or will she? Apprentice Flick has also been having scary dreams or hallucinations which threaten her goal of becoming a Watcher.

This story is about a young girl trying to find her place in a world where all she wants is to fit in and be accepted. She has insecurities like you and me. She wants to prove her worth. She wants to be the Elite of the Elite. The author weaves a compelling story of finding out who you are that is only just beginning. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series!

Highly recommend if you enjoy YA dystopian fiction.

My thanks to the author and CelebrateLit 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 Kristen

An interview with Kristen Young

Q: How long have you been writing?

I was the kid who used to create little booklets and puzzle magazines for the family. So writing is something that I’ve been doing for a long time. It wasn’t quite publication-worthy back then, but it was fun. I had to practice a little more before people outside my family wanted to see it.

Q: Where do you write?

Anywhere I have access to a laptop or a pen. I have a desk at home where most of the writing happens, but I usually carry a notebook in my bag in case inspiration hits when I’m out. People think I’m a little eccentric when I’m madly scribbling in the middle of the supermarket. But I have to get that scene idea down before I forget!

Q: What is your writing Kryptonite?

Distractions. For me, writing preparation is a little like building a house of cards — that process of getting my thoughts in order and working out the story direction. Distractions are like the gust of wind that knocks the whole construction over. I usually wear noise-cancelling headphones to try and keep me focused on the process.

Q: Where’s your favourite story setting?

I’m still looking for that wardrobe with a door to Narnia.

Q: What’s the first book that made you cry?

I’m not sure if I can share that without giving spoilers! But I’d have to say Charlotte’s Web. When I read that as a child, it had me wrecked for ages.

Q: Have you read anything that totally changed your idea of the way fiction could be written?

There are a couple of books that totally changed my view of fiction. The first was Margaret Atwood’s novel The Blind Assassin. I was totally captivated by the way she mixed newspaper articles and other media with the narrative sections. It was mind-blowing at the time.

Jasper Fforde’s series that started with The Eyre Affair was also pretty amazing. It took a whole pile of literary references and completely messed with them. It was enormous fun.

Q: So why set something in a world called the “Love Collective”?

I like words, and I’m fascinated by the way people often play with them, or even weaponise them. I kind of wanted to explore this word ‘love’ and what it means. In English, we have this one word to refer to so many different kinds of concepts. I wanted to write an exciting story, so it seemed right to have this concept as a backdrop behind the action, where you’re asking, “What does this mean?”

Q: Your main character never forgets anything. Is she like you?

No way. I think Flick’s memory is a bit of wish fulfilment from me. It was so hard writing her, because I forget so many details! In some ways forgetting is protective. But in other ways I’d love to have her memory.

Q: What can we expect in the rest of the Collective Underground Trilogy?

I can’t tell you the whole story, that would ruin the fun. But in the first book, Flick’s world has started really small, and she’s going to broaden her horizons. She’ll get to explore more of this Love Collective. There also might be some more danger, too. Or more love. We’ll see…

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 31
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 1
Blogging With Carol, November 1
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 2
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 2
Texas Book-aholic, November 3
Inklings and notions, November 4
April Hayman, Author, November 4
For Him and My Family, November 5
Locks, Hooks and Books, November 6
deb’s Book Review, November 6
Worthy2Read, November 7
Woven by Words, November 7
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 8
Emily Yager, November 9
Artistic Nobody, November 9 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Sara Jane Jacobs, November 10
Simple Harvest Reads, November 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 11
Adventures of A Travelers Wife, November 12
Through the Fire Blogs, November 12
Splashes of Joy, November 13
Inside the Wong Mind, November 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kristen is giving away the grand prize of a $100 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/102f1/apprentice-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: Curvy Girls Can’t Date Cowboys

Curvy Girls Can’t Date Cowboys
by Kelsie Stelting
Book 3 in the Curvy Girl Club series
Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: October 24, 2020

I’m always so impressed with stories about teenagers that deal with very real situations and emotions. Kelsie Stelting does not shy away from the hard-to-address topics that face teenagers and even grown adults. She has a way of drawing you into the story and making you face your insecurities and misconceptions. I would highly recommend these books for teenage daughters – if I had a teenage daughter, I would definitely have her read this series. I’ve read the other two books. I don’t think it’s necessary to read the other books beforehand but they are just as good and available on Kindle Unlimited – so why not?

Ginger Nash is the resident AV nerd that wishes to have what her friends have found – love and acceptance from a serious boyfriend. She’s had a distant crush on the local cowboy in her video class but never really talked with him. When she finally takes a chance to speak with him, the conversation takes a turn when she mentions working at her parents’ specialty grocery story. Ginger’s parents opened the health food store after Ginger recovered from antibiotic-resistant pneumonia. Ginger’s asthma and breathing treatments are a regular thing for her. Can Ginger find a way to get her overprotective parents to let her go off to UCLA and live in the dorms? Can Ginger find a way to work together with the cowboy for their school video project? What happens when she begins to see what Ray the Cowboy’s life looks like on a ranch?

Ahh. High school. So many feelings. Good or bad. LOL. But the author knows how to pull on the readers’ heartstrings and get the reader fall in love with the main characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read through it very fast. Its message is one worth noting. As a medical student, I enjoyed learning about how asthma had changed her life and her family’s life. (Pardon my yelling at her to not forget to her refill). As a creative, I loved seeing the impact her videos had. I definitely know the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into editing short videos. As someone who’s not at her ideal body weight, I’ve felt the insecurities and listened to the lies regarding what is beautiful. I applaud the author for so clearly addressing the issues around our identity that come up even after or maybe because of high school.

PG-13 – highly recommend.

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.

Book Review: Autumn Skies by Denise Hunter

Autumn Skies
By Denise Hunter
Book 3 in the Bluebell Inn Romance series
Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: October 20, 2020

She does it again! It was such an enjoyable experience going back to the Bluebell Inn and hanging out with the Bennett siblings again. I’ve read the previous two books in the series and highly recommend them. However, this book can be read as a standalone.

21-year-old Grace Bennett is ready strike out on her own and expand her business. After helping her siblings start and run a successful inn, the time has come to sell. Grace’s outdoor adventures rental and guide business needs its own location. Focused on her career, Grace doesn’t know what hit her when new guest, Wyatt Jennings, walks in the door to check-in. His gaze is intense but he’s also a bit mysterious since he doesn’t know how long he’ll stay. When Grace offers to help guide him in hiking around the area, two hearts begin their journey of falling in love. Can these two very different people find healing from their tragic pasts? What happens when Wyatt reveals who he is to Grace?

I loved this story so much. It was easy to read and empathize with the main characters. I felt all the panic and terror that occurs with PTSD. Mental health problems are very real and I love when authors can address them in a manner that is non-stigmatizing. The main characters had to fight their way back to health. They had to embrace their insecurities and fears and find resolution for their feelings.

Although this is a Christian romance, it was not at all preachy. Although there’s faith woven throughout and a couple church scenes, I would categorize this book more as inspirational.

And I’m not ashamed to say I might have a crush on Wyatt. (Sigh). 😉

Highly recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance in a beautiful setting.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley 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.