New Releases/#Free & Bargain Books for July 19th - July 25th #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!

Check out an interview with the author... The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore (Interview & #Giveaway) #MirielleWest #AmandaSkenandore #HFVBTBlogTours @ARShenandoah @KensingtonBooks @hfvbt


Welcome to my tour stop! Check out an interview with the author and enter the giveaway below...

The Second Life of Mirielle West
By Amanda Skenandore
Adult Historical Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 304 Pages
July 27, 2021 by Kensington Publishing

Summary

In this thought-provoking and sensitive novel, inspired by the true story of a Louisiana leprosy hospital where patients were forcibly quarantined, acclaimed author Amanda Skenandore tells an extraordinarily timely tale of resilience, hope–and the last woman who expected to find herself in such a place…

1920s Los Angeles: Socialite Mirielle West’s days are crowded with shopping, luncheons, and prepping for the myriad glittering parties she attends with her actor husband, Charlie. She’s been too busy to even notice the small patch of pale skin on the back of her hand. Other than an occasional over-indulgence in gin and champagne, which helps to numb the pain of recent tragedy, Mirielle is the picture of health. But her doctor insists on more tests, and Mirielle reluctantly agrees.

The diagnosis–leprosy–is devastating and unthinkable. Changing her name to shield Charlie and their two young children, Mirielle is exiled to rural Louisiana for what she hopes will be a swift cure. But the hospital at Carville turns out to be as much a prison as a place of healing. Deaths far outnumber the discharges, and many patients have languished for years. Some are badly afflicted, others relatively unscathed. For all, the disease’s stigma is just as insidious as its physical progress.

At first, Mirielle keeps her distance from other residents, unwilling to accept her new reality. Gradually she begins to find both a community and a purpose at Carville, helping the nurses and doctors while eagerly anticipating her return home. But even that wish is tinged with uncertainty. How can she bridge the divide between the woman, wife, and mother she was, and the stranger she has become? And what price is she willing to pay to protect the ones she loves?


Interview

What inspired you to write about a woman with leprosy in the 1920s?

As a writer, I’m drawn to stories and voices left out of the traditional narrative of history. In the case of this novel, I came across this tiny book at my local library titled Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America. I was so struck by the heartrending stories it contained. Before that, I knew almost nothing about leprosy (which is now preferentially called Hansen’s Disease) and its history in America. I knew nothing about the laws that condemned those with the disease to lifelong quarantine. I knew nothing about the toll the stigma had on patients’ lives and the lives of their families. Their stories felt like something important to share with readers.

Would you tell us more about the main characters from THE SECOND LIFE OF MIRIELLE WEST?

As the title suggests, the main character is Mirielle West. She’s the wife of a silent film star, living a glamours but sorrow-filled life in 1920s Hollywood. Unexpectedly, she’s diagnosed with leprosy (a disease for which, at the time, there was no cure). She’s ripped apart from her family and sent to live in isolation at the National Leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana, hundreds of miles from her home. There, she meets the other main characters:

Frank, a WWI veteran who has been living with the disease for several years and is committed to bringing a measure of cheer to their bleak lives at the colony. Irene, Mirielle’s spunky housemate, who helps her adapt to life at the colony. And Jean, a nine-year-old girl, whose father left her at the colony when she was six and never looked back. These are not their real names, however. Almost everyone who came to the colony took a new name to spare their family the shame of the disease. They called them their Carville names.

What advice would Mirielle give about navigating her new world at the hospital?

When Mirielle first arrives at the hospital, she’s in complete disbelief and avoids the other residents. But once she comes to accept her situation, the advice she would give those new to the colony would be: have hope.

When researching the book, did you find anything that surprised or inspired you?

I was surprised by how committed many of the residents were to making a community at Carville. They started a newspaper, threw parties at Christmas and Mardi Gras and Fourth of July, raised money to support the troops during WWII, created bands and book clubs and sports teams. All of this with almost no access to the outside world. Of course, there were stories I read about during my research that surprised me by their sorrow and cruelty too. But it was residents’ support of one another and determination to make meaningful lives for themselves that truly inspired me.

What part or aspect of this story do you love the most?

There’s a scene with Mirielle and Frank frog hunting in the swamp that l love. The growth of their friendship is one of my favorite aspects of the story. Mirielle, a big-city socialite, is totally out of place in the swamp, and it’s fun for Frank (and the reader, I hope) to watch her squirm and flounder but ultimately succeed in snatching a bullfrog from the water. I also really enjoyed writing the letters back and forth between Mirielle and her husband, Charlie. There’s so much subtext in what’s said and unsaid between them. And it was a fun, albeit sometimes heartrending, challenge to chart their relationship this way.

What are you hoping readers will feel or get out of this story after they’ve finished it?

I was writing the second draft of the story when the Coronavirus lockdown began. In addition to writing, I also work as an infection prevention nurse and was called to the hospital a lot in those early days of the pandemic. Suddenly I could relate to my characters—their fear and isolation—in a much more visceral way. But I also found great hope and perspective in their story and the real-life stories of the patients at Carville. Despite their circumstances and the stigma surrounding the disease, they found ways to love and laugh and support one another. In THE SECOND LIFE OF MIRIELLE WEST I hope readers will find the same strength and inspiration.

When you’re not reading or writing, what do you enjoy doing?

I love being outside—walking, swimming, hiking. That can be tricky here in Las Vegas when it’s 115 degrees outside in the summer, though. So I try to bring nature indoors too by cultivating and propagating house plants. I’m still a novice, but I’ve managed to keep most of my plant babies alive so far.

What are you working on next?

I just finished the rough draft of my next novel. I still don’t have a title. (I’m terrible at coming up with titles!) It’s set in 1880s New York at America’s first nursing school. The main character is Una, a rough-and-tumble thief who’s wanted for a crime she didn’t commit. To evade the police, she disguises herself as a nurse trainee at Bellevue Hospital. But when a patient on her ward is murdered, she must risk expulsion and arrest to catch the culprit before he kills again.

About the Author


Amanda is the author of Between Earth and Sky, winner of the American Library Association’s 2019 Reading List Award for Best Historical Fiction, and The Undertaker’s Assistant, released from Kensington in July 2019.

She grew up in the mountains of Colorado and sang and danced her way through 68 cities on both sides of the Atlantic with the service organization Up with People before starting college. Her love of historical fiction started early with the stories of Kenneth Thomasma, Mark Twain, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

When she’s not writing, Amanda works as an infection prevention nurse. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their pet turtle Lenore.

Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. Between Earth and Sky was her first novel. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Readers can visit her website at www.amandaskenandore.com.


Tour Schedule

Follow the tour here.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Enter to win a paperback copy of The Second Life of Mirielle West!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Second Life of Mirielle West

What did you like about the interview? Does this sound like your kind of book?

I Can't Wait for... The Gathering Table by Kathryn Springer (Can't-Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #womensfiction #christianfiction @LoveInspiredBks


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've been a fan of this author since reading The Dandelion Field years ago. I was quite excited to see this pop up when I was browsing NetGalley and I'm hoping I'll love it just as much as her other books. It sounds like a good, cozy read. It's my pick this week...

The Gathering Table
By Kathryn Springer
Christian Women's Fiction
Audiobook & ebook
September 28, 2021 by Love Inspired Trade

Summary

From USA TODAY bestselling author Kathryn Springer comes a tale of starting over when life takes an unexpected turn.

Winsome Lake, Wisconsin, is postcard-pretty, but for chef Jessica Keaton it’s also a last resort. Fired from her dream job, Jess is starting over as a live-in cook and housekeeper. When she arrives, she finds her new employer is in rehab after having a stroke, and Jess expects she’ll be all alone in Elaine Haviland’s quaint house. A chef with no one to cook for.

But instead, she encounters a constant stream of colorful visitors who draw her back into the world. As Jess contends with local teenagers, a group of scrappy women and a charming football coach, Elaine faces some battles of her own that extend past her physical challenges. For both of them, all the ingredients for a fulfilling life are within reach, if they’re willing to take a leap. And maybe Jess will start to see that it’s not just what’s on the table that matters—it’s the people gathered round it.

(Affiliate links included.)


Will you be reading this one?

A second chance at love... The Cowgirl's Sacrifice by Tina Radcliffe (Review & #Giveaway) #inspirationalromance #cleanromance @prismbooktours

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

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

The Cowgirl's Sacrifice
(Hearts of Oklahoma #4)
By Tina Radcliffe
Inspirational Romance
Paperback & ebook, 224 Pages
July 27, 2021 by Love Inspired

Summary

This cowgirl has wandered back home…

Will she choose her past or her future?


Needing time to heal after a rodeo injury, Kate Rainbolt heads to her family ranch to accept the foreman job her brothers offered her months ago. But the position’s already been filled by her ex-boyfriend, Jess McNally, and the only open job reports to him. With Jess as her temporary boss—and turning into something more—might he finally convince Kate to put down roots?

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

THE COWGIRL'S SACRIFICE is about a cowgirl who is at a crossroad in her life and back home to figure things out, and the cowboy she left behind who just might get his second chance at love. It's about family, trust, faith, letting go and romance. An enjoyable read from beginning to end.

There are some stories that you can tell from the beginning that you'll enjoy and this was one of those. I immediately liked the characters and the writing style of the author. I didn't feel like any of the characters fell flat, but were all complex and unique. I loved the way family played a role in this story between Kate and her brothers, and Jess with his mom, sister and niece. You could feel the bonds in these relationships as well as other friendships, and the chemistry between Kate and Jess. I also thought the faith element was woven through well without being too heavy. The ending was especially lovely. It's also not necessary to have read the other books in the series to read and enjoy this one.

My only complaint would be with Kate. I didn't like how she gave Jess a hard time about not trusting her when she kept telling him she was looking at other job options and leaving. It's like she wondered why he would have doubts, doubts that I thought he was justified in having. I think I just wanted her to be a bit more honest and vulnerable instead of putting it on him. 

In the end, was it what I wished for? I really enjoyed reading this and now need to read the other books in the series. Definitely recommended to readers who enjoy inspirational romance with great characters, a well-told story, second chances and cowboys and cowgirls.

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy 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


A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina Radcliffe is a Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers Honor Roll member, and a four-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Her Harlequin novels have won the ACFW Carol Award, the Holt Medallion and appeared on the Publishers Weekly Bestseller list. Besides her novel-length fiction, and her independent publishing releases, Tina has sold over three dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. A US Army Veteran, a former registered nurse, and library cataloger, Tina resides in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance and cozy mysteries. Visit her on the web at https://www.tinaradcliffe.com/


Tour Schedule


Tour-Wide Giveaway


One winner will receive a print copy of The Cowgirl's Sacrifice, a $25 Amazon gift card, Kitchen Aid Aqua Spatula, and Magnolia Table, Volume 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering (US and Canada)

Ends July 28, 2021

 
Grab Our Button!

Have you read any of the other books in this series? Will you be reading this one?

Check out an interview with the author... Untethered by KayLynn Flanders (Interview & #Giveaway) #yalit #yafantasy #yabooks #newbook #untethered #TBRBeyondTours #kaylynnflanders @DelacortePress @TBRBeyondTours


Welcome to my tour stop! I'm thrilled to be sharing an interview with Author
KayLynn Flanders today!! Check that out and enter the tour giveaway below...

Untethered
(Shielded #2)
By KayLynn Flanders
YA Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 464 Pages
July 20, 2021 by Delacorte Press

Summary

For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes the thrilling sequel to Shielded about a world in a deadly magical war and the newly crowned king and feisty princess who must defeat the deadliest of foes before there's nothing left to save.

Although King Atháren's sister, Jennesara, saved Hálendi from the Gray Mage, the reprieve came at a steep price--the life of their father. Now Ren rules over a divided kingdom, with some who want him dead, and a Medallion that warns of worse trouble brewing in the south.

As second born, Princess Chiara is the perfect Turian royal--perfectly invisible. She longs to help restore peace on the Plateau, but with no magic and no fighting skills, she doesn't stand a chance against a mage. So when a member of the Turian royal family goes missing and Chiara finds a clue about the rumored resting place of the mages' long-lost artifacts, she decides it's time to be seen.

As Ren's and Chiara's paths cross, they find the depth of the mages' hold on the Plateau is more powerful than anyone suspected, and that they must learn to trust themselves, and each other, before the mages retrieve their artifacts and become too powerful to ever defeat.

(Affiliate links included.)

Interview

I think (and I’m sure you’ll agree) that if readers haven’t read Shielded yet that they should, but for those who are new to the series, what would you like them to know?

I do recommend reading Shielded first, but here are some key points to start off with. There are evil, ancient mages loose on the Plateau, and everything is hanging by a thread. Hálendi suffered a bigger loss than we thought with Leland’s betrayal, and Turia is now unwilling to trust those that they should be able to rely on. The choices made by the main characters will have a widespread, lasting effect on the fate of the Plateau.

Would you tell us more about the main characters from Untethered?

Ren has been working toward becoming king his whole life, yet now that the opportunity is here, it came at a great cost and it’s nothing like he expected. His kingdom is in tatters from the general’s betrayal, and it seems like every choice he makes is the wrong choice.

Chiara longs to be useful, to make a difference, yet she’s always overlooked. She knows she doesn’t have magic or any skill with a sword, but she wants to do something to protect her kingdom and family.

Which character do you most relate to and why?

I put bits of myself into both Ren and Chiara, but I think I relate to Chiara more. I’m quiet like her, and I’ve been learning more and more how powerful kindness can be.

What advice would Chiara and Ren each give about navigating their world?

It depends on if you ask them at the beginning of their journey, or at the end. But Chiara would tell you to give people the benefit of the doubt and ask for help when needed. Ren doesn’t trust as easily, and would tell you to use your wits to get your way on your own.

How was writing this second book different from the first?

With the second book, there were more expectations involved—both my own, and my readers’. I’d never written a book knowing people would read it, and it’s easy for that fact to get into your head and stifle confidence. So I tried to focus on the story, on creating something I loved and was proud of, and though I didn’t have five years to write Untethered, I think it’s an awesome book, and a great companion to Shielded.

What was a book that taught you something, a book that made you cry, a book that made you laugh and a book that made you swoon?

There are more than just these, of course, but here’s what came to mind. Six of Crows taught me the proper use of flashbacks. The book that made me cry most recently was Moment of Truth by Kasie West. I laughed a lot reading the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, and swooned with Edenbrook by Julianne Donaldson.

What’s something you enjoy doing when you’re not reading or writing?

I love playing volleyball and traveling, even if it’s just a quick road trip!

What are you working on next?

My current work in progress is another YA fantasy with an enemies to lovers romance, about a cursed boy trying to save his sister, and a girl who has to stop him if she wants to save her village.

Other Books in the Series

Shielded
(Shielded #1)
By KayLynn Flanders
YA Fantasy
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 352 Pages
July 21st 2020 by Delacorte Press

Summary

For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It's losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn's--her brother's--magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong--the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it's too late--for her and for her entire kingdom.

Read my review here.

(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author


KayLynn Flanders has a degree in English Language and editing, and has been a freelance editor and book designer for over twelve years. Her debut novel, Shielded, was published by Delacorte Press/PRH, with the sequel, Untethered, forthcoming. KayLynn and her family live in Utah between some mountains and a lake, and she is directionally challenged without them. She loves reading, writing, traveling, and volleyball, and thinks there’s nothing better than a spur-of-the-moment road trip.


Tour Schedule

Follow the tour here.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

One winner will receive a finished copy of Untethered
Ends July 26, 2021

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you read Shielded? Will you be reading Untethered? What did you like about the interview?

Her whole life she has hidden the one thing that might save her... Shielded by KayLynn Flanders (Review) #yalit #yafantasy #yabooks

Shielded
(Shielded #1)
By KayLynn Flanders
YA Fantasy
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 352 Pages
July 21st 2020 by Delacorte Press

Summary

For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It's losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn's--her brother's--magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong--the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it's too late--for her and for her entire kingdom.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

SHIELDED immerses readers in a fantasy world whose kingdoms are in danger from an ancient, wild magic. It's a story about a girl who thinks she knows what her role will be who has everything stripped away and must find the strength to forge forward. A story full of family, friendship, magic, danger and first love. Definitely recommended to YA fantasy fans!

First off, I loved these characters, especially Jenna who is the main focus of this story. She was so easy to relate to and to cheer on as she faces betrayal and loss. I felt like her emotions and actions came across naturally without added drama that can be a bit more prevalent in the genre, so kudos to the author for not over dramatizing things. I also really loved how Jenna meats her betrothed and how things progress as the story moved to a climatic end. There were plenty of moving pieces to keep things interested and provide a few twists, with a bit of sweet romance for us romance lovers. I also felt the ending provided good closure while also leaving things open for book two.

I think my only complaints would have to do with Jenna hiding some specifics and some of the things that felt a little too easy for the bad guys. However, these were very minor. I really just wanted to be even more immersed in this world and more added depth to the story.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was a thoroughly enjoyable read from beginning to end! Great characters, plenty of magical elements, some action and a well-written plot made for a great book. I'll definitely be reading book two as well as future releases from this author!

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy through the Whitney Awards, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Have you already read Shielded or does it sound like a book you'd enjoy? You can check out an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of book two, Untethered, here.

A Q&A with the author... Escape from the Everglades by Tim Shoemaker #yalit #yabooks @tyndalehouse


Welcome! I'm sharing an interview with the author from
the publisher for this new YA release. Check it out below...

Escape from the Everglades
(High Water #1)
By Tim Shoemaker
YA Suspense, Survival Story, Christian
Paperback & ebook, 464 Pages
July 6, 2021 by Focus on the Family



Summary

Escape from the Everglades is the first book in the High Water series and blends contemporary mystery and suspense, dramatic situations, and high adventure that both boys and girls will love.

A park ranger’s son hates the Everglades, and he thinks he’ll just die if he doesn't escape Southern Florida soon . . . and he’s right. After Parker Buckman is mauled and nearly killed by an alligator, he sees the glades as a place of death. All he wants to do is get out of the area, and he’s convinced he won’t truly be okay until he does. But he can’t leave until he finds a friend who goes missing.

Escaping a bad situation isn’t a matter of a geographical change. Sometimes the best way to a brighter future is to face the darkness of your past.

(Affiliate links included.)

Interview

This is your second book this year! Can you share about your writing process and what it is like to balance multiple writing projects?

As for writing process, I don’t plan a story out in advance. I may start with a title, or an idea, or a situation. As I develop the characters and some kind of inciting incident, the story unfolds from there. Normally I only work on one fiction project at a time, but this situation was a little different. Sometimes writing is a bit like those circus performers who work to keep plates spinning on sticks. I may spend focused time on one project to get it to a good stage. Then I get some work done on the other. If I leave a story for a bit, I’ll come back with fresh eyes and see ways to strengthen the writing. If I leave the story for too long, I’ll lose too much momentum. So it’s a balancing act. Fortunately I had both manuscripts in pretty good shape when I got the contract, so it was a matter of alternating back and forth to polish and strengthen each one. But I still caught myself putting the wrong character name in a story at times—which is definitely not something I want to do!

What sparked your idea for this story?

I wanted to write an adventure. Something with mystery and suspense set in a really creepy place. Don’t you love reading a book like that? Well, the Everglades is one of the creepiest places on earth, in my experience. Alligators, snakes—I hate those beasts. Black water, and an area with a dark history . . . Yeah, the Everglades was perfect as a setting.

When I was there doing research, I found the place gave off a vibe that felt, well, evil. The longer I was there, the more I wanted to get out—and never come back. But I knew my work wasn’t done there . . . and I took increasing risks to get the material I needed. I think that’s when the seed for Escape was planted. And sure enough, as the story unfolds we’ve got a boy who is desperate to escape the Glades . . . but can’t seem to get away. Worse yet, when a friend goes missing in the Everglades, he feels compelled to join the search—to go deeper into the very place he’s trying to get away from.

Why are you passionate about putting clean, compelling fiction in the hands of middle grade and YA readers?

There’s tons of fiction on the shelves that contain some really bad content—and that isn’t doing readers any favors. I love this age. It’s a fun, awkward, and often difficult time for them. There are so many “traps” readers can get caught in during their teenage years. I want to help them see the traps, help them make better choices. I want to help them avoid the pain of making bad decisions. And I want to do all this through a story that grabs readers and won’t let them go.

What kind of reader will enjoy this book?

Both guy and girl readers, for starts. I love writing about average kids who get in over their head somehow. They don’t have a superpower or a magic sword to get them out of the trouble or danger they’re in. They must make choices, and how they decide will determine if they become a hero . . . or lose big. I think that type of story resonates with a ton of readers out there.

In this novel, you explore an adolescent’s response to trauma. What was it like writing this perspective?

I think I got an adrenaline rush just writing some of the scenes. It helped for me to reach back to times I’d been hurt. And I got great input by talking to paramedics, doctors, and nurses. And then there was the really, really close call I had while doing research in the Everglades. Only by God’s grace did I come out of one situation alive—and with both hands to write the story. The incident haunted me at night. Believe me, after that happened, writing the scenes with trauma came easier—and felt very real.

Tell us about your main characters in Escape from the Everglades.

Parker Buckman is the son of a National Parks ranger. Stationed in the Everglades, he has a life-and-death encounter with a gator. Consequently, his dad puts in for a transfer, and Parker thinks he’s just going to die if the new assignment doesn’t come soon. And he’s right. When a friend goes missing in the Glades, Parker joins the search. Parker is a decent kid who is striving to be a person of integrity, but sometimes he’s not even sure what that means.

Angelica “Jelly” Malnatti is Parker’s best friend—and the daughter of a ranger herself. She fears something bad is going to happen to Parker if he goes back into the glades. She does everything in her power—both good ideas and bad—to keep Parker out.

Wilson Stillwaters is half Miccosukee and pretty much all trouble. He’s superstitious and feels maybe his good friend Parker is cursed. His efforts to get Parker over his fears—and back in the Glades—have a way of backfiring . . . on everyone.

Who was your favorite character to write and why?

I think Parker was my favorite character to write. Maybe because I identify with him on some deeper levels. But each character had something that made writing them so much fun. I think when I’d start a chapter from Wilson’s point of view I was probably sitting there smiling. And I loved writing Jelly (Angelica)—both the burden of the secret she was keeping, and all the hoops she went through to keep Parker safe.

What lessons can be learned from your main characters?

Parker’s journey is especially helpful. He so badly wants to get away from the Everglades after being mauled by the gator. He thinks everything will be okay—if he can just get out of there. We often think a change of plans, or geography, or maybe even a different family is going to make all the difference when we’re in a spot we don’t like. But Parker helps us see how the real answer to a bad situation is often changing what is inside us.

Jelly shows us the high price of keeping secrets for others instead of talking to her dad— or somebody who could really help. We see how her double life only multiplied her trouble. Wilson learns a bit about friendship and the extent a true friend like Parker will really go to help.

Escape from the Everglades is the first book in the High Water series. What is your hope for these books?

I hope those who buy the books will get more than just a great read. I want readers to experience life with some characters they’ll grow to love in this series. I hope the characters make them think . . . and inspire readers to grow in character and integrity. I hope readers will make better choices, and avoid some traps and pain because they learned from the experiences of the characters in the story.

About the Author


Tim Shoemaker is the award-winning author of the Code of Silence series and a popular speaker—especially for school assemblies. When he isn’t on the speaking and teaching circuit, he’s busy working with kids and writing more great stories!

He’s the author of eleven books, including Super Husband; Super Dad; Code of Silence; Back Before Dark; Below the Surface; Smashed Tomatoes, Bottle Rockets . . . and Other Outdoor Devotionals You Can Do with Your Kids; Dangerous Devotions for Guys; and more.

He speaks for schools, churches, and parachurch organizations (such as Focus on the Family, Iron Sharpens Iron men’s conferences, International Network of Children’s Ministry, and the Moody Pastors’ Conference). He also speaks at men’s retreats, women’s gatherings, couples’ retreats, youth worker conventions, homeschool conventions, and writers’ conventions, and he conducts family devotion workshops all across the country.



I'm hoping to get this read soon. What did you like about the interview?

Longing for Home in the Midst of Hardship... If it Rains by Jennifer L. Wright (Guest Post) #christianfiction #ifitrains #christfic @tyndalehouse


Welcome! I'm thrilled to be sharing a guest post from Author Jennifer
L. Wright today! Check that out as well as her new release below...

If It Rains
By Jennifer L. Wright
Christian Historical Fiction
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 382 Pages
July 6, 2021 by Tyndale

Summary

A story of resilience and redemption set against one of America’s defining moments—the Dust Bowl.

It’s 1935 in Oklahoma, and lives are determined by the dust. Fourteen-year-old Kathryn Baile, a spitfire born with a severe clubfoot, is coming of age in desperate times. Once her beloved older sister marries, Kathryn’s only comfort comes in the well-worn pages of her favorite book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then Kathryn’s father decides to relocate to Indianapolis, and only the promise of a surgery to finally make her “normal” convinces Kathryn to leave Oklahoma behind. But disaster strikes along the way, and Kathryn must rely on her grit and the ragged companions she meets on the road if she is to complete her journey.

Back in Boise City, Melissa Baile Mayfield is the newest member of the wealthiest family in all of Cimarron County. In spite of her poor, rural upbringing, Melissa has just married the town’s most eligible bachelor and is determined to be everything her husband—and her new social class—expects her to be. But as the drought tightens its grip, Henry’s true colors are revealed. Melissa covers her bruises with expensive new makeup and struggles to reconcile her affluent life with that of her starving neighbors. Haunted by the injustice and broken by Henry’s refusal to help, Melissa secretly defies her husband, risking her life to follow God’s leading.

Two sisters, struggling against unspeakable hardship, discover that even in their darkest times, they are still united in spirit, and God is still with them, drawing them home.

(Affiliate links included.)

Guest Post:
Where the Heart Is: Longing for Home in the Midst of Hardship
Jennifer L. Wright

As a military spouse, I am used to moving.

Every three or four years, the Air Force tells us to pack our things, say our goodbyes, and head off to a new assignment. It’s not an easy life, but after almost fourteen years, constant relocation has become a routine, if still sad, reality.

Nothing, however, could prepare me for a move during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the spring of 2020, in the midst of quarantines and toilet paper shortages, my husband received orders for a new assignment. We hadn’t left our house for weeks. The outside world was still a blur of uncertainty and fear. And now, apparently, we were supposed to go out in it.

I should have been used to it by now. Moving was standard procedure. And yet, something had changed within me during those weeks in quarantine. Those weeks when every news report streaming from our television was worse than the one before it, when everything closed down and nothing was safe. My house became more than my home; it became my anchor. Everything out there was scary and weird and different, but in here? In here, I was safe.

Until there was no more “here” in which to hide.

My debut novel, If It Rains, takes place way before the COVID-19 pandemic, in 1930s Oklahoma to be exact. But much like my military-mandated move, Kathryn, one of my protagonists, is thrust from her home—and her safety net—by forces outside her control: the Dust Bowl. Her family farm has been the one constant in her life of change: the death of her mother, her father’s remarriage, her sister’s wedding, even the rapidly disintegrating landscape. But now, to escape the drought, Kathryn must leave behind everything she has ever known, including the only thing that has ever remained steadfast: her home.

It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It’s terrifying.

It’s also full of grace.

Because through her journey, Kathryn learns what it took COVID-19 to teach me: God isn’t limited to one place. The longing for an earthly home—although understandable—is nothing compared to the promise of our true home in God’s presence.

Because of the uncertainty and rapid changes in the world around me, my peace had become tied to a physical location: the home in which I lived. It was only by removing me from that place that God’s truth became clear. It was never a building that made me secure. It was never even a place that kept me safe.

It was God.

Hardship often brings a longing for times past, for stability and stillness that existed before the chaos now in our lives. For both Kathryn and myself, it brought a longing for an earthly home to serve as a refuge against the harshness of the outside world. But this desire for a physical sanctuary only highlighted the yearning each of us harbors in the depths of our soul. We all have an aching for the arms of our Father.

No matter what your situation, our world is in a constant state of flux. Hardships will come. Change is inevitable. But we can take heart in knowing our shallow earthly roots allow for stronger spiritual ones. We never have to fear these rearrangements. Whether the ground beneath our feet begins to blow away as it did during the Dust Bowl or a pandemic renders the outside world stagnant as it has done during ours, the promise of God’s presence remains the same.

He is our heart and our constant. He is the answer to our longing. He is the home in the midst of our hardship.

About the Author


Jennifer L. Wright has been writing since middle school, eventually earning a master’s degree in journalism at Indiana University. However, it took only a few short months of covering the local news for her to realize that writing fiction is much better for the soul and definitely way more fun. A born and bred Hoosier, she was plucked from the Heartland after being swept off her feet by an Air Force pilot and has spent the past decade traveling the world and, every few years, attempting to make old curtains fit in the windows of a new home. She currently resides in New Mexico with her husband, two children, and one rambunctious dachshund.



This one is on my list to read. Is it on yours? What connected with you in the author's guest post?

New Releases/#Free & Bargain Books for July 12th - July 18th #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 Q&A with the author... The Jade Talisman by Alanna Mackenzie (Interview & #Giveaway) #yalit #yabooks #scifibooks #jadechronicles @lolasblogtours


Welcome to my tour stop! Check out an interview 
with the author and enter the tour giveaway below...

The first book in this series, The Jade Rebellion, is currently
discounted, $7.99 for paperback and $2.99 for ebook!

The Jade Talisman
(The Jade Chronicles #2)
By Alanna Mackenzie
YA Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 250 Pages
March 30, 2021

Summary

A talisman. A song. A gift that bends time, and alters the course of destiny itself.

It is the year 2762 in the Empire of Khalendar, and AI Masters rule the civilized world, striving to crush all dissent. But they have not yet managed to quell the Jade Rebellion or its leader, Walter Saltanetska. The rebels have sailed beyond the Empire’s borders to the infamous isle of Vei’arash. Their mission is to find animal spirits exiled long ago by the AI Masters, and return them to the mainland. With any luck, the spirits will strengthen the fading magical powers of their allies, the Western Mages, and join the battle against their oppressive rulers.

As the rebels plunge deeper into the jungle, physical laws are upended. The plants and animals of the rainforest are inextricably linked to divine beings. An ancient shaman-god entrusts Walter with the Jade Talisman, an enchanted gemstone that warps the basic rules of time and space.

The Talisman allows Walter to gaze into a mesmerizing labyrinth of future possibilities. But the visions it offers up are troublingly dark, giving Walter insight into the potential fates of himself and his loved ones. This gift proves to be a crushing burden, and Walter desperately longs for an ordinary life. But there is no going back…

The gripping sequel to The Jade Rebellion, The Jade Talisman explores whether nature and spirituality are capable of persevering in a world dominated by the cold logic of artificial intelligence.

(Affiliate links included.)

Interview

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

Readers who are new to the series should know that these books are not typical science-fiction or fantasy novels, and they do not follow a linear, straightforward plot. I would say that they are geared towards people aged 15-35, so they are suitable for less mature readers, but should be read with an open mind. They are perfect for people who are looking for something a bit genre-bending, and who have an interest in questions related to artificial intelligence, environmentalism, spirituality, the nature of consciousness, and the interactions between emotion and reason. Most of all, readers should be interested in exploring these topics from a literary, as opposed to a scientific perspective. While the books touch on a number of complex topics, at their core they tell a story of one young man’s journey and the adventure he embarks on when he makes a single, life-altering decision. They approach high-level subjects but they are relatively simple to read and understand.

Would you tell us more about the main characters from The Jade Talisman?

The central character in the novel is Walter. He is a young man with a unique talent for languages and coding, and an ability to understand how computers and robots work. In The Jade Talisman, he acquires another gift – the ability to envision different possible futures. All of this makes Walter uncannily similar to the AI Masters, the artificially intelligent machines who rule the Empire of Khalendar. But Walter is not an AI, he is human. He grew up in Crystal City with wealthy socialite parents, but he was always drawn to more intellectual pursuits, like reading literature and tinkering with computers. He secretly idolized his strong and athletic brother Jonathan, who was his polar opposite. After Jonathan ‘died’, Walter became depressed and withdrawn and his memories and dreams began to fade. After he graduated from college, Walter obtained a prestigious job in the Khalendar government where he had to translate AI code into comprehensible Khalendi, so that the commands of the Empire’s rulers could be carried out. Walter appears on the surface to be a typical conformist, but rebelling against authority runs in his DNA – his ancestors were dissidents who were exiled to the island of Vei’arash after they resisted the AI Masters’ rule. It is in Vei’arash that Walter discovers his totem animal – the stag – and where he is bequeathed the powerful gift of seeing visions of the future by the god Shiva.

Elaine is Walter’s girlfriend, and her capture by the AI Masters is the reason why he decides to give up a comfortable life in Crystal City. She was born and raised in Te’yara, a village in a southern territory of the Empire, which was conquered long ago by the AI Masters. She moved to Crystal City so she could earn money as a caregiver for the children of wealthy Khalendi elite. Before she was captured by the AI Masters, her main goal in life was to make sure her family had enough food to eat, like in the old days before the AIs had conquered their territory. Walter is drawn to Elaine because she is the opposite of the wealth-coveting masses of Crystal City – humble, compassionate, and down-to-earth.

Cyriana is a Mage princess, the daughter of Nuada, who rules a magical kingdom to the south of Crystal City. That kingdom, Serrahan, is one of the few remaining places in the world which has not been disturbed by AI conquest. When she was younger, Cyriana ran away from her village in a fit of rebellious rage and spent several years living in Crystal City. There, she naively fell for the first handsome young man she met, Walter’s brother Jonathan. When Jonathan unexpectedly disappeared, Cyriana was left without any guidance or direction, and she had no choice but to return to her quaint and sleepy village in Serrahan. Fortunately, she found happiness there because she met Tristan, a young Mage with a calm and wise personality. Cyriana is a minor character in The Jade Rebellion, but she plays a much more central role in The Jade Talisman. On the island of Vei’arash she meets her totem animal, a jaguar, which brings out her dark side.

Eva is the sister of the founder of the Jade Rebelllion, Emilia. Like her sister, she has supernatural gifts. Eva’s gift is best described as a “twisted version of telepathy” – the ability to communicate with others just by thinking, but only when the other person is using some sort of machine to communicate. Eva can also communicate with AIs, and she can transmit and receive thoughts from them, detecting their thoughts as if they are radio waves passing through the air. Eva has a special relationship with one AI Master in particular, named Asana, who helped her out when she was struggling in her youth. Eva considers Asana her friend, but this friendship makes Walter concerned about the possibility of Asana infiltrating and spying on the rebels through Eva.

Which character do you most relate to and why?

I think there are aspects of all of the characters that I relate to in some respects, but if I had to choose one it would probably be Walter. Many readers I’ve spoken to describe him as a feminine character, and I think that’s accurate. He lives in his head a lot, and he is very sensitive and emotionally aware. He has a lot of self-doubt, and he never wants to let others down. At the same time, he is not a passive character, and he grasps the urgency and need for action. He is driven to act by a sense of morality, but he recognizes that the boundaries of morality are blurry. He navigates challenging situations while facing an internal struggle about whether he’s choosing the right path. He is curious about intellectual and ethical issues, and he approaches life with a sensitive and open mind.

What advice would Walter give about navigating his world?

He would probably advise you to always be on guard - guard yourself against enemies disguised as friends, and try to make your mind a fortress. He would say that even if everything seems hopeless, there are glimmers of hope that make everything worth it. Occasionally in life, there are moments of perceptiveness and understanding that elevate you above the difficult and challenging maze that you have to navigate, that make the puzzle pieces come together. Live for those moments, and be patient because they don’t happen very often. He would also say that any risk is worth taking if it’s for love.

Was there anything more rewarding and more challenging as you wrote book two?

The rewarding part was knowing that the series didn’t just stop at book one, and that the real adventure had really just begun. The challenging part was creating characters that were believable, dynamic, and relatable.

What was a book that made you cry, a book that made you laugh and a book that made you swoon?

Cry: Martin the Warrior, Brian Jacques
Laugh: Version Control, Dexter Palmer
Swoon: Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro

What’s something you enjoy doing when you’re not reading or writing?

Swimming. I find it really meditative and relaxing, and I try to swim about once every week.

What are you working on next?

The next book in The Jade Chronicles series, of course!

Other Books in the Series


The Jade Rebellion
(The Jade Chronicles #1)
By Alanna Mackenzie
YA Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 204 Pages
March 30, 2021

Summary

A reckoning. A rebellion. The worlds of artificial intelligence and ancient magic collide.

​​Crystal City glistens with diamonds, but its dazzling beauty comes at a deadly price. The capital of Khalendar thrives on a steady supply of gemstones from the neighboring Barrens, a colony of the Empire. Walter Saltanetska translates AI code for the Khalendar government, helping to breathe life into the ambitious vision of the AI Masters. When Walter discovers a terrible secret which could destroy the life of his lover, Elaine, he decides to tell her despite strict orders to keep what he translates confidential. What begins as a catastrophe eventually grows into a rebellion. Elaine is taken captive by the AI Masters, and Walter must do everything in his power to rescue her. He starts his quest with a single goal in mind, finding Elaine, but along the way Walter discovers that saving her is only a small part of his destiny. During his travels, he encounters a long-lost relative, a warrior matriarch, and a mystical kingdom forgotten to time. Yet Walter's true journey occurs not in physical space, but the captivating depths of his mind.

An inventive blend of dystopian science-fiction and fantasy, the Jade Rebellion explores whether we can overcome technological determinism by preserving history, nature, spirituality, and ultimately, our humanity.

(Affiliate links included.)
Currently discounted! $7.99 for paperback and $2.99 for ebook!

About the Author


Alanna Mackenzie lives in Vancouver, Canada. She holds degrees in History, French studies, and Law from the University of British Columbia. An environmentalist at heart, she believes in using the law as a tool for social and environmental change. When she is not pursuing that passion, she can be found brainstorming the next chapter in her novels, playing Irish fiddle tunes on the violin, and hiking West Coast trails.


Tour Schedule

Follow the tour here.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

- 3 winners win paperback copies of both The Jade Rebellion (book 1) and The Jade Talisman (book 2)
- 2 winners win a paperback copy of The Jade Rebellion (book 1)
- US and Canada only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What did you like about the interview? Will you be reading this series?