Weekly Update #401, lots of rain and cold weather...

Welcome to my Weekly Update where I share what's been going on and what's coming up!

I'm linking up to The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

We had a ton of rain and cold weather over the past week! I loved the rain and just wanted to relax and read with some hot chocolate. Of course, that wasn't possible with the kids doing school and other things going on, but I did get some late-night reading in. I've found between COVID and all the politics in the US going on that I'm feeling a strong aversion to being online or on social media at all. I feel like there are just more important things than seeing people be rude and fight online or give ultimatums that sound a lot like Anakin "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy." Even if I disagree with someone, there is absolutely no reason not to be kind. I hope you choose to share more kindness this week!

This Week

Other Things of Note

There are some books up for review if you're interested (click on the images to go to the sign-up forms):

Last Week

New Releases/#Free & Bargain Books for January 25th - January 31st #freebook #booksale #booklinkup #booklinky

Here are the New Releases / Free & Bargain Books, hosted by
Sharon over at Beck Valley Books, for this week! Check it all out below...

Authors please feel free to add your own books.
Readers please free to add your own finds.
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs...

For Pre-orders post - PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author
For New Releases post - NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post - FREE / genre / title / author / end date 
For Bargain Books post - SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Here is this weeks awesome selection!

By adding your link, you acknowledge that the information you provide will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and transmitted to Inlinkz in accordance with their Privacy Policy.

Would you like to share our linkup on your site? click here
Would you like to become a weekly host? sign up here

Come back and check out the new selection every week!

A haunted house with secrets and a girl with special DNA... Altered Helix by Stephanie Hansen (Review & #Giveaway) #yalit #fantasybooks @prismbooktours

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out my review and enter the tour giveaway below...

Altered Helix
(Altered Helix #1)
By Stephanie Hansen
Young Adult Fantasy Novella
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 96 Pages
May 19, 2020 by Hypothesis Books


I didn’t want to take the traditional path. First, I wasn’t ready for college. Second, I was going to live with my best friend, Tiff, and work at the Haunted House. Third, did I mention the hot guy Josh that works there too?

The most exciting thing about Austria’s new job, at a local haunted house, was the fact that the toughest looking people screamed the loudest. But when she meets the boy without a home, Josh, Austria's life takes intriguing and eventful turns. Up until now, Josh has managed to hang with his Street crowd, but they’re in danger, and so is Austria, the girl Josh recently fell for. The group finds themselves joining forces with previously considered enemies who also now find themselves in danger.

Deeply compassionate and full of twists, Altered Helix captures the struggle of polarized people that must work together for the greater good.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

ALTERED HELIX is a story about a girl out on her own for the first time and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life, but who is also missing her father terribly and has taken a job at a haunted house to reconnect with his memory. With a slightly fantasy and paranormal edge and plenty of romance, it's a quick start to this novella series for YA fans.

I liked the characters in this story. Austria seems like she has a pretty good head on her even though she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. The haunted house job is supposed to be kind of a filler before she goes to college or really starts a career. She's fresh out of high school. I liked her friend and the haunted house is an interesting setting with plenty of its own secrets, which I'm assuming will be revealed more as the series continues.

The plot is interesting. As it's a novella, you only get pieces of the story at this point. Things are explained more in later books. It's an intriguing concept to have a character who can see memories and relive them and can also see what others might be thinking about. Although Austria can't do that with everyone. It's also an interesting concept to have people with special DNA, which plays an important part in this story. Then there is the fall of the government and the three groups of people who work at the haunted house: those who live on the street, those who don't, and those attending college or FRAT boys. This first book leave plenty of questions to be answered in the following ones.

I also thought there could have been a lot more development and dialogue. There is the insta-love trope, which very rarely works for me and here it is just really quick and the kids don't even know each other before they're pretty much living together (although the author keeps it clean, which I appreciate). There's not a lot of dialogue between the characters so there isn't that teasing and flirting, and character development that I prefer. The story is also a bit all over the place. The kids aren't necessarily safe or mature in their choices and some other characters seem to have free rein to do some bad things that I didn't quite understand.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was an intriguing concept and story to read with likable characters and plenty of romance. There are plenty of questions and things to be resolved in the following books, but an overall interesting start to this novella series.

Content: Some innuendo, attempted rape, references to characters sleeping together (completely off screen), one s-word, and some violence.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author through Prism Book Tours, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to Amazon affiliate links.)

About the Author

Stephanie Hansen is a PenCraft Award Winning Author. Her short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind's Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She's part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers' conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Tour Schedule

Tour-Wide Giveaway

One winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card and a signed paperback of Altered Helix (US only)

Ends February 3, 2020

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What do you think? Does this sound like a story you'd enjoy?

Read an excerpt from The Certain Hope from the Hope Series by E. C. Jackson (Excerpt & #Giveaway) #christfic #romancebooks @prismbooktours

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to my tour stop! I'm sharing an excerpt from the third book in
this series today, so check that out and enter the tour giveaway below...

The Certain Hope
(Hope Series #3)
By E. C. Jackson
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 318 Pages
December 5th 2018


Love at first sight. It’s every girl’s dream. But Tara Simpkins is finding out it’s not as easy as it seems. Is this truly the man God sent to be her husband, or is she just desperate to escape her loneliness? The recent loss of both parents has left her reeling, and close friends don’t think she’s in any position to make major life decisions. She and her new-found love are convinced they can live happily ever after in the home of their dreams. His family thinks he’s moving way too fast and might disappoint the kind-hearted woman he’s fallen head over heels for. And then there’s Leah. Leah is supposed to be part of his past, but what if she decides she’s his future? Tara’s match made in Heaven may be over before it truly begins.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt from The Certain Hope

Thursday, before meeting Luke, Tara ate lunch with Shelli and Olivia. Neither one had taken a breath since they’d joined her. She concentrated on the spicy chicken sandwich she’d prepared last night. Savoring each bite while the sisters gabbed, Tara tuned into the conservation when Olivia named co-workers she said were undatable. Shelli switched subjects to an upcoming holiday.

“Memorial Day’s coming. Olivia, did you—”

“Hush. I was talking.” While Olivia chewed a tater tot, smug eyes focused on Tara. “Luke probably broke up with the woman he’s dated for five years. But she wasn’t his girlfriend, or so he claimed. You aren’t his usual type. I can’t wait until he sees you in person.”

Tara shuddered. Vegetables fell onto her lap. She laid her fork on the table, then pushed aside her half-eaten sandwich.

I may look ordinary, but I treat people right. You never have.

Shelli rolled her eyes at Olivia before smiling at Tara. “Luke has always dated the wrong women. Rick explained he did the same thing in high school. We both agree he needs someone grounded in his life; like you.”

The backhanded compliment annoyed Tara. Yesterday she’d suppressed the urge to cancel the date. But today’s lunch with these two placed her back into retreat mode. Her friends’ opinions and her anxiety had been troublesome enough. Olivia’s rudeness forced Tara to reconsider going. Again.

Still, she refused to bail at the last minute. Besides, it would feel good to get out of the house, regardless of why it happened. The old home she loved was filled with nostalgic and sorrowful memories. Both of her parents had died agonizing deaths at home.

Other Books in the Series

A Gateway to Hope
(Hope Series #1)
By E. C. Jackson
Christian Contemporary Romance
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 297 Pages
May 20, 2015

Twenty-one-year-old Neka is a bit of an introvert, she also happens to be stunningly beautiful.

When she discovers her friend James is about to be dumped, she sees the perfect opportunity to escape from her quiet life. Can she summon the courage to leave it all behind?

James Copley comes from a ruthless family. It’s rubbed off.

Years ago, he disengaged from his brother’s smear campaign, but now his father has offered him an ultimatum, “Get married or lose your seat at the table.”

Plotting to stamp his design on the family business, he proposes to a woman, even though he doesn’t love her.

But his carefully laid plans start to unravel when she leaves him on the day she’s due to meet his family.

Could years of planning his comeback vanish with her departure?

A possible solution comes in an unexpected form: Neka. She’s not only a friend, but the daughter of his benefactor. And she’s right there, offering to support him.

But will her support stretch to marriage?

He attempts to win her over to his plan but collides with her powerful father who wants to leverage the situation for his own gain.

In their fight for survival and love, they are forced to face some uncomfortable truths.

Can they overcome thwarted dreams and missed chances to find true love, or does forcing destiny’s hand only lead to misery?

(Affiliate links included.)

A Living Hope
(Hope Series #2)
By E. C. Jackson
Christian Contemporary Romance
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 287 Pages
July 31, 2016

It was a match made in heaven. Or so everyone thought. Sadie Mae Cummings is all set to marry her childhood sweetheart, Kyle, when she is assigned to tutor Lincoln, the new college football running back. This sophomore phenomenon has all the girls on campus knocking on his door. But Sadie isn't interested in his advances.

Lincoln’s overblown ego doesn't take well to being shunned, and he resolves to make Sadie his own. He pursues her relentlessly, until finally Kyle finds himself shut out of Sadie's life, with their shared future crumbling around him.

After two years, Sadie’s relationship with Lincoln ends, and she is left having to put the pieces of her life back together. She desires nothing more than to recapture her relationship with Kyle. He has stayed true to the dreams they had planned together, living the vision even without Sadie by his side.

When she moves back to her hometown, she labors to rekindle their love. But things have changed, and Kyle has moved on. Sadie quickly discovers how hard it is to rebuild burned bridges.

Follow Sadie’s story as she fights for a chance to restore broken dreams. Will love endure?

This inspirational romance by E. C. Jackson is book two of the Hope series and is a standalone book.

(Affiliate links included.)

The Confident Hope
(Hope Series #4)
By E. C. Jackson
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 338 Pages
September 28, 2020

Is there hope for this love between friends?

Pamela Hayes is a smart, successful business owner with a supportive family and a thriving bakery. She should be the happiest girl in the world. But she can’t shake the melancholy that accompanies every conversation she has with her best friend, Mark. Pamela doesn’t know how much longer she can hide her true feelings.

Why can’t Mark see how perfect they would be together? She would make a much better girlfriend than the one he currently has. Pamela prays he’ll come to his senses soon and realize he’s with the wrong girl. But when her dream comes true, it isn’t the fantasy she had envisioned.

There is trouble in paradise from the start, and all the red flags she’s been ignoring are starting to threaten her confidence…and her relationship with Mark. She’ll have to rely on family and her faith in God to help her secure the hope she so desperately needs.

(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author

E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. Thirty-one years later, she adapted the play into Pajama Party: The Story, a companion book to the second book in the five-book standalone Hope series.

Jackson’s favorite pastime is reading fiction. She enjoys taking the journey along with the characters in the books. That also led to her unorthodox approach to story writing. Her vision for each book she writes is to immerse readers into the storyline so they become connected with each character.

“The Write Way: A Real Slice of Life” is the slogan on her website and Facebook author page. She feels that if every person reading her books feels connected to the characters, her job is done.

Tour Schedule

Tour-Wide Giveaway

$50 Amazon eGift Card (US only)

Ends February 10, 2021

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What did you like about the excerpt?

A story of heart and romance set in Scotland... Beauty Among Ruins by J’Nell Ciesielski (Review & #Giveaway) #histfic #historicalromance #mustread @ThomasNelson @celebrate_lit

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out my review and the tour giveaway below...

Beauty Among Ruins
By J’Nell Ciesielski
Adult Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 416 Pages
January 12, 2021 by Thomas Nelson


American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming.

Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off his family history bit by bit. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to an old injury, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for the shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light.

Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to ruin the future of Kinclavoch. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late, or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

BEAUTY AMONG RUINS is a story of a man trying to hold on to his heritage and provide for those in his care, and a woman who is trying to find her place in the world and her own independence. It's full of wonderful characters, affected by war, shrouded in mystery, and full of friendship and romance. Highly recommended to historical romance fans!

I loved visiting Scotland with this quaint village and laird of the castle! I loved the accents and the old Gaelic words as well as the traditions, although those have started to fade at this time in history. I also really liked the castle being a place for recovering soldiers until they could go home or return to the front lines. The war definitely affects these characters, but it's a bit removed (think Downton Abbey). The setting was just really wonderful as an escape read and I'd love to visit again.

I also loved the overall plot of the story. Here is this girl, Lily, who is becoming her own woman and trying to do her best to revive these soldiers' spirits, much to the chagrin of the matron. She is a great friend to her cousin and others, even if she can be a bit pushy in wanting everyone to find joy in life. She puts on a good front, but she has wounds that she keeps hidden and has to come to terms with. She realizes that she wants something specific in her life, more than the top tier of New York society and being an ornament on someone's arm can give her. Then there's Alec. He's a rugged Scottsman trying to keep possession of his land and castle, provide for his mother and sister, and do his part in the war by helping soldiers. He's looked down upon because of an injury that exempts him from fighting and his aloofness. He's become a bit of a hermit and loneliness is a constant friend. His sister is a delight, but his mother is quite judgmental. Lily and Alec find surprising friendship in each other and pieces of their walls begin to break as they come to know and care for each other. However, there are others who want to see Alec fall so they can get what they want, among other things standing in their way of happiness.

This story had all the feels. There are parts that will make you laugh (the mouse!), cry (Alec and his situation as well as Lily's with Esther and her parents) and swoon (there are quite a few swoon-worthy moments). I loved these characters! I loved that they were complex with their own vulnerabilities and strengths. Lily and Alec were marvelous, but so were Bertie, Viola and Guthrie. Even Matron Strom grew on me. It was a heartbreaking to read these characters' journey in some ways, but also enjoyable seeing these character persevere and the joy that Lily brought to those around her and eventually earned for herself.

There were a couple of things I thought could have been developed more or less. The mystery aspect wasn't constant through the story, so sometimes there's a feeling of something nefarious and at other times there's not. Most of that part of the story actually didn't make sense to me. Maybe if it would have just been minor things here and there to build to something climatic, but it more felt like things happened and people made choices that didn't make sense to me. I also thought Alec's mother is a half-formed character. She's there, but she never is really fully developed nor are things really ever concluded. However, then there were things all tied up that I didn't feel were necessary. Just small things really, but things that could have been edited out or developed more.

In the end, was it what I wished for? The story was entertaining, heartfelt, and a delight to read with the sweeping setting in Scotland and wonderful characters. It was a sweet romance with enough grit to add some poignant moments as well. Highly recommended!

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary ARC from the publisher through NetGalley, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

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 INSPY and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

More from J’Nell

Inspiration for Beauty Among Ruins

Once again, blame it on Downton Abbey. This time on Lady Rose. She was impulsive, spoiled, a free spirit, yet with a good heart. I knew I wanted to take on the challenge of writing a heroine like her. A character who starts off one way and by the end of the book has completely charmed you over. So I started writing and everything was going great until … it wasn’t. The plot just stopped on me. No matter how hard I tried the story refused to reveal itself to me which is incredibly frustrating for someone who doesn’t like to give up once they’ve started something. But I had to. In the end, I had to put the story, affectionately titled Love on the Limp, away for several months while I wrote The Socialite. Then one day the story clicked. It was meant to be a WWI telling on the classic Beauty and the Beast story. Everything fell into place and the story and characters burst onto the page in glorious technicolor.

Lily and Alec took me by surprised with how much I fell in love with them. Bubbly Lily and brooding Alec. Never had two more opposites been so perfect for one another (at least in my writing experience). They had so many obstacles to overcome, many of them self-imposed, that I often found myself in tears over their heartaches, but golly gumdrops when they came together, boy o boy were there fireworks!

You may have also noticed that the story is set in Scotland because I happen to believe that every good story is set there. I had the privilege of staring at pictures of this breathtaking landscape for months so I could imagine the characters strolling among the heather and watching the river twist through the green moors. To me, nothing rivals the awe inspiring beauty of a certain place, and hopefully readers will feel that through these pages.

Tour Schedule

Fiction Aficionado, January 27
Sara Jane Jacobs, January 27
Wishful Endings, January 28
Genesis 5020, January 28
lakesidelivingsite, January 29
Connect in Fiction, January 30
CarpeDiem, January 30
Artistic Nobody, January 31 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Rebecca Tews, February 1
Texas Book-aholic, February 2
As He Leads is Joy, February 2
Robin’s Nest, February 2
Older & Smarter?, February 3
Remembrancy, February 4
Mia Reads, February 5
Joanne Markey, February 5
Splashes of Joy, February 5
Mary Hake, February 5
Betti Mace, February 6
She Lives to Read, February 7
The Write Escape, February 7
Simple Harvest Reads, February 8 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Novels Corner, February 8
Pause for Tales, February 9
Lis Loves Reading, February 9

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J’Nell is giving away the grand prize of a paperback copy of the book and an audiobook copy of The Socialite!!

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

What do you think? Will you be reading this one?

An interview with the author on the new series & TV rights... Knight's Ransom by Jeff Wheeler (Interview & Review) #fantasybooks #firstargentines #epicfantasy #fantasyreader #KnightsRansom #JeffWheeler @lindsaylwallace

Today I'm excited to share an interview with Jeff Wheeler, whose Kingfountain series was optioned for television with Nucleus Media Rights and Morgan Gendel (Star Trek Next GenerationDresden files, and Law & Order). This new release that starts a new series is based in the same fantasy world but years earlier, so new and old fans will be able to dive right in! Read the interview and my review below...

Knight's Ransom
(The First Argentines #1)
By Jeff Wheeler
Adult Epic Fantasy
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 432 Pages
January 26, 2021 by 47North


Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. A brutal war of succession has plunged the court of Kingfountain into a power struggle between a charitable king who took the crown unlawfully and his ambitious rival, Devon Argentine. The balance of power between the two men hinges on the fate of a young boy ensnared in this courtly intrigue. A boy befittingly nicknamed Ransom. 

When the Argentine family finally rules, Ransom must make his own way in the world. Opportunities open and shut before him as he journeys along the path to knighthood, blind to a shadowy conspiracy of jealousy and revenge. Securing his place will not be easy, nor will winning the affection of Lady Claire de Murrow, a fiery young heiress from an unpredictably mad kingdom. 

Ransom interrupts an abduction plot targeting the Queen of Ceredigion and earns a position in service to her son, the firstborn of the new Argentine dynasty. But conflict and treachery threaten the family, and Ransom must also come to understand and hone his burgeoning powers—abilities that involve more than his mastery with a blade and that make him as much a target as his lord. 

KNIGHT’S RANSOM kicks off an epic new Arthurian-inspired fantasy series perfect for fans who love the writing of fantasy greats such as Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb, and Megan Whalen Turner.

(Affiliate links included.)


KNIGHT’S RANSOM is in the same world as your Kingfountain books. What should readers new to your books and this series know?

When the idea came to write this series, I decided to make it so far back in the history of Kingfountain that having read the previous books wouldn’t be necessary to enjoy it. There are easter eggs that fans will pick up, but those are special treats. Even with the setting being the same, the political landscape is different as are many of the borders. We even did a brand new map to give it an older look and feel. In the previous series, readers were slowly introduced to the magic system, called the Fountain, and they’ll get the same treatment in Knight’s Ransom. In this story, the hero doesn’t have a mentor who teaches him about the magic of the world. He has to figure it out on his own.

What should fans of the Kingfountain books look forward to in this new series?

I think they are going to love the dynamic between Ransom and Claire. It may feel familiar to them, like Owen and Evie, but trust me – they’re both very different. In this series they will also get to visit places they haven’t been before, like the Occitanian capital of Pree and the Kingdom of Legault. Both places are very significant in this story. But there are familiar ones too, like the beach of sea glass in Brythonica and, of course, the palace of Kingfountain.

Who is your favorite character so far in the new series, if you can have favorites?

Probably Claire de Murrow, she was so fun to write! In nearly all of my books, I introduce chapters with little quote snippets written by different people. It’s a device I like to use to help explain information to readers gradually instead of dumping it all at once. For this series, Claire is the author of those tidbits and so the reader gets to know what’s going on inside her head. She becomes another narrator, with her own perspective. It was such a delight to offer that point of view. And she’s so funny too.

What was the process like to have the Kingfountain series picked up for television?

It really came out of left field and surprised me. I don’t have an agent, so no one was actively trying to pitch the series to studios. It turns out that a screenwriter at Nucleus Media Rights was asked for recommendations for family-friend fantasy authors that the company might approach. He was a fan of my books and so recommended me to them and then they asked him to reach out to me. You can imagine I was pretty skeptical at first. Most of the times I got approached for film or TV rights, it never got past hello. This was different. I had a meeting with Bruno Zarka, the CEO, and we talked about my writing. Then he read The Queen’s Poisoner (listened to it actually), and fell in love with the story. We discussed the rights he offered with my attorney and everything looked good. I’ve enjoyed the journey and getting to know better an amazing lead writer as well as the director, who has an Academy award. I’m hoping we’ll have more to announce early this year.

What have you found to be most surprising, challenging and rewarding about the upcoming television series?

The most surprising thing, I can’t share yet because it hasn’t happened yet, but if it does, I will literally squeal. As for challenges, there are always plenty. When you publish a book, the initial investment for a publisher is a lot smaller than what you need for a studio, so there are a lot of hurdles along the way. Some novels get optioned but then they languish for months or years before the studio is ready to start working on them. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case for me so far. We have some of the key players already committed to the project—we just need to pitch it to a network where the show will be picked up. Fingers crossed that this happens soon! As for rewarding, I’ve already learned a lot about the business and have really enjoyed making professional relationships with people in the industry and learning from them, first-hand, how things work. I ask a lot of questions and they’re very patient with me. But for me, I think the most rewarding moment will come when I can sit down and binge-watch the first season with my family and see characters which only existed in my imagination come to life on a screen.

How do you envision the story coming alive on TV and what are you most excited about seeing played out on the screen?

For me it’s the characters even more than the setting, although I’m excited for that too. Costumes, acting, props—all of that will need to come together and I think we have an experienced and professional team who can pull it off. There are specific actors who I hope we get for the series but others I’m looking forward to discovering during the casting process. I may or may not geek out a little when I get to meet Ankarette in full costume. Although I might be careful if she offers me something to drink. And finding two children to play Owen and Evie will be challenging but super fun. The range of ages and motivations for these characters will really make this an amazing story to follow.

What other projects do you have in the works that you can share about?

I’m about to pitch a new series to my publisher 47North, so I can’t officially announce anything yet. I recently turned in the final book of The First Argentines series and my editor e-mailed me that it made her cry (which is a good thing! The ending made me cry too!) and she’s anxious to hear about the new series I’m going to start writing coming in 2022. For now, I’m perfectly excited about fans reading Knight’s Ransom when it comes out. I started writing it before Covid shut everything down and it’s been a rollercoaster since.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?

If I can, I’d like to put to rest any concerns that this new series is just a regurgitation of old plots and characters. I’ve seen authors do that when they try to keep milking an idea for more material and after so many books, they all start to feel the same. I always try to push myself and flip things around and try to do something I haven’t done before. I really tried to make Knight’s Ransom and its sequels tell a different story and put challenges in front of my characters that I haven’t done before. I think having unexpected twists and turns really delights readers, makes them keep guessing—sometimes right, sometimes way off. I think that I’ve pulled this off again with this series. I hope new readers will give it a shot. Even if you’ve never read one of my books before, this is a good place to just dive right in.

My Review

KNIGHT'S RANSOM is a story set in an Arthurian fantasy world with likable characters and an engaging plot. The author does a fabulous job of slowly unravelling this story so both old and new fans are pulled right in and easily fall in love with these characters. Definitely recommended to fantasy fans!

This story reminded me so much of some older classics, like Robin Hood by Paul Creswich, The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Boy's King Arthur by Sidney Lanier. It's honestly one of the best compliments I can give. The time period is comparable and the writing is also paced similarly, but much less wordy and easier to read. 

This first book in the series is very character driven and I loved these characters! Marshall or "Ransom" begins the story as a young boy, as does Claire who has journal entries at the beginning of each chapter. It was fun to see them both grow up and come into their own. At the end they have both endured great loss, challenges and have had to come to terms with different futures than what they had originally hoped for. Their journeys are both continuing on as there are two more books in the series and this was really just the start.

The plot itself is intriguing from beginning to end. There is this mysterious magic that the reader learns about right along with the characters. Ransom still has a ways to go before he understands it and what his final role will be. There are different villains and I was never quite sure who Ransom should be loyal to. It is very much like a Medieval time period where lords and ladies are vying for favors and power plays, and where battle is constant even amongst families. I'm definitely curious to see where the story goes next, especially as Ransom is an easy hero to cheer on. May can't come too soon with book two!

In the end, was it what I wished for? I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and plan on picking up the second and third books as soon as they release. There is so much I want to know about the magical system, if one country will be able to defend itself against another, if these characters will find their happily-ever-afters (Ransom so deserves some happiness!). If you enjoy sweeping fantasy that is character driven, with plenty of action and a sweet romance, then definitely grab this one!

Content: Some war violence (not too gory) and innuendo, but would consider this clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publicist, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to Amazon affiliate links.)

About the Author

Jeff Wheeler is the author of more than 30 epic-fantasy novels that have sold more than four million copies worldwide and earned him status as a Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Wheeler took an early retirement from his career at Intel in 2014 to pursue writing full-time.

Growing up in Silicon Valley, Wheeler fell in love with the work of Terry Brooks and decided that he wanted to create stories that inspired people, just as Brooks’ novels did for him. His writing journey began early on—writing full-length novels in high school. As a D&D enthusiast, many of his campaigns from high school were the inspiration for his early stories. His first self-published novel, The Wretched of Muirwood trilogy, catapulted Wheeler into the spotlight. Soon after, 47North came to Wheeler with an offer and published The Queen’s Poisoner trilogy in 2016. In July of this year, Wheeler secured an exciting deal to release TV rights to Nucleus Media for a PG or PG-13 adaption of the Kingfountain series. Morgan Gendel (known for his work in Star Trek Next Generation, Dresden Files, and Law & Order) will be leading the development of the series and has signed on as showrunner.

Jeff currently resides in the Rocky Mountains with his wife, Gina, and their five kids. He is a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ and The Latter Day Saints and has his time full drafting new stories and running Deep Magic (www.deepmagic.co), a quarterly e-zine featuring fantasy short stories and novellas by upcoming authors.

Have you read this author's Kingfountain series or any of his other books? What did you like about the interview and/or my review? When the Kingfountain series is televised, will you want to watch it?

I Can't Wait for... Is It Any Wonder by Courtney Walsh (Can't-Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #christfic #christrom #romancebooks #isitanywonder #nantucketlovestory #courtneywalsh @tyndalehouse

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

Tag me on your CWW posts on Twitter (@wishfulendings) and I'll like and retweet!

I have yet to not love one of Courtney Walsh's books. They are just full of heart and bring all the feels. I read the first book in this series, If for Any Reason, last year and enjoyed it. The second book comes out in a few months and I'm anxious to get to it in my reading list. It's my pick this week...

Is It Any Wonder
(Nantucket Love Story #2)
By Courtney Walsh
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 416 Pages
April 6, 2021 by Tyndale House Publishers


Can a promise made as kids bring them back together as adults? In this Nantucket-set beach read, “master of the genre” (Midwest Book Review) Courtney Walsh delivers a sparkling inspirational romance about first love and second chances.

Twelve years ago, Cody Boggs and Louisa Chambers made a pact that no matter where their lives took them, they’d return to Nantucket Island’s Brant Point Lighthouse on July 30, their shared golden birthday, and continue their tradition of exchanging birthday wishes. But that was before a tragic accident upended both of their lives, irrevocably pulling them apart.

Their worlds collide just months before that particular day when Louisa’s fledgling event planning company is hired by the local Coast Guard station, where she discovers Cody has recently returned to the island as the second in command. As they plan a regatta fundraiser, hoping to promote positive PR in the community, neither can deny the fireworks each encounter ignites. But working together also brings up memories of the day Cody’s father died, revealing secrets that have Cody and Louisa questioning everything they thought they knew and felt about their families and each other.

(Affiliate links included.)

Will you be reading this one?

A roller-coaster ride as an unsuspecting heroine tries to save the world... Unchosen by Katharyn Blair (Review) #yalit #dystopian #zombies #unchosen @KTegenBooks @mbeatie

It's been a long time since I've read a paranormal book like this. I've actually been
in the mood for vampires or werewolves or something, and I'll totally take zombies
(especially in this form)! Check out my thoughts on this new YA dystopian below...

By Katharyn Blair
YA Dystopian, Paranormal, Fantasy
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 416 Pages
January 26, 2021 by Katherine Tegen Books


Katharyn Blair crafts a fiercely feminist fantasy with a horrifying curse, swoon-worthy sea captains, and the power of one girl to choose her own fate in this contemporary standalone adventure that's perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and Seafire, and for anyone who has ever felt unchosen.

For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice.

The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister.

The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.

Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse.

When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner.

The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found.

But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world.

Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning.


“A thrill ride from start to end, this book captivated me with its deadly stakes, breathtaking romance, and unforgettable characters. One of my all-time favorite reads!” —Kathryn Purdie, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Burning Glass and Bone Crier’s Moon

“In the spirit of Walking Dead and Divergent, Blair offers a deeply felt testament to love and survival and sisterhood—to everything that makes us whole and human—in a story that ultimately upends the idea of a chosen one to reaffirm the human heart.” —Margaret Stohl, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures novels

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

UNCHOSEN is an apocalyptic story set after a virus spreads that turns people into flesh-eating monsters, but there's more to it than that as its mixed with myth and legend. The story follows the heroine who is one of three sisters, so there's a strong bond of sisterhood with history between them. Then there's plenty of thrill rides between the zombies, pirates, unforbidden love, and prophecy of the chosen one. With a relatable heroine, sizzling romance and a story where readers won't be able to turn the pages fast enough, this is sure to be an entertaining read for YA fans!

This story is a mix of so many things I love! First off, there are these three sisters with the one in the middle, Charlotte and the main POV in this story, feeling a bit overshadowed by the other two. She doesn't feel like she is valued or loved for herself. Add to that her feelings for her sister's boyfriend who only sees her as a best friend and it makes her feel pretty small and invisible. I really liked seeing the way these sisters worked together, even if not in the best way. Their love and bond was strong. When their settlement gets raided and Charlotte has the chance to do something, she takes it. This starts a journey for Charlotte in figuring out what she's made of and really coming into her own. I loved seeing her develop, find her strength and figure some things out. I love character-driven stories and this one definitely has that aspect while also having a strong plot and great secondary characters. Some of those secondary characters end up becoming friends who push and draw her out. I also really loved how strong the female characters were without is seeming like they were coming across as too strong or like the males were weak. They were all fierce and likable. 

Let's talk a bit about some other aspects of this story I loved... like pirates, zombies and romance. The pirates were interesting. They have their own metal island and they generally trade in humans that haven't been infected, so there were quite a few villains. Then there were the zombies. This is a fairly loose term. They eat other humans, but they're fast, strong, have a heightened sense of smell, and some were quite intelligent. They pass along the virus through their eyes, which was another interesting concept. Next, the romance. I've never really loved romance plots where someone is in love with someone else's boyfriend, but the author made this work for me as the story developed (no spoilers here). I really loved the romance and the guy that falls for Charlotte. I also liked that it doesn't override the story. Then there is the whole "chosen one" thing. I thought the whole myth, research and plot about this was really interesting, plus the fantasy aspect this added. Just really cool and I can totally get behind: "You will not choose my end, this heart is mine." I seriously loved how this aspect of the story worked out!

I did have a few things I would have liked done differently. Some parts I thought could have been developed a bit more. There weren't a lot of parts with the Vessels (the zombies) and I thought that maybe could have been ramped up a bit - although I really appreciated that there was almost no gore. I would have liked a bit more development with the setting so I felt more immersed in the story. Less mature content (really, I don't think YA needs its characters sleeping together) and swearing.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This is definitely a page-turner with great characters, some thought-provoking moments, strong relationships, fierce female leads, and a romance to love. If you're looking for an entertaining thrill ride about the end of the world, this one is definitely recommended.

Content: Swearing (quite a few s-words and a few f-words), innuendo, references to a lesbian relationship, violence, and a few referenced fade-to-black love scenes.
Source: I received a complimentary copy ARC from the publicist, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Katharyn Blair is a novelist and screenwriter. She graduated with her MFA in 2015 and is finishing her MA in literature. She’s been a social media coordinator for several films at 20th Century Fox, an intern at her city’s Parks and Recreation Department, a gymnastics coach, and, most recently, a writing professor at Azusa Pacific University. She lives outside of Los Angeles with her family. The Beckoning Shadow is her debut novel.

Photo Credit: Oana Foto

Have you read this one or will you be? Do you like stories with zombies or vampires in them?