Common’s Blog Tour: Book Review and a Giveaway!

One of the perks of participating in blog tours is the books I get to read ahead of the rest of the world. I love getting a sneak peek at the latest fun stories.

So when the opportunity came to be a part of Laurie Lucking’s blog tour for her YA fantasy, Common (and, ahem, an ARC of said YA fantasy), of course I said YESSS!

I mean, who doesn’t love diving into a brand new story full of memorable characters, a fascinating new kingdom, and a slow-burn romance?

Um.

No one.

And I’m giving YOU get a chance to own your own Kindle copy…

But first…my review!

First of all. Can I say how much I loved Leah? She is sweet and spunky. Fun and fearless. And while she may be a servant, she possesses a fine character many of the royals would do well to emulate.

A sweet fairy-tale romance with a handsome prince, a cunning villain, and a plucky heroine who saves the day.

I enjoyed her friendship with Rafe, the prince. It felt natural and not forced. She’s such a lovely young lady, I don’t blame Rafe for seeking out her company and caring what her opinions are.

Her loyalty to Rafe is what gets her into trouble, but I admired her for the courage she displayed.

There was just enough gorgeous descriptions to transport me to Imperia, the dialogue gave me a real sense of everyone with distinct voices for each character, and I loved Leah’s adventures as she deals with the fallout of her from her decisions.

Get ready for nuns who I’m sure have the most interesting back story ever (rumour has it that one of them may feature in the next Tales of the Mystics), some court intrigue, and enough adventure and romance to keep you turning the pages.

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and all thoughts and opinions are my own. And I loved the book so much, I pre-ordered it too ❤


Only one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished. Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason. Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late.

But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, textDon’t forget to go to Common’s Facebook party. That’s right! On Thursday, February 15 at 8pm Central, you have an opportunity to chat with author Laurie Lucking along with Laura Pol, Michele Israel Harper, and yours truly, as well as have a chance to win some fabulous prizes.

RSVP right here –> –> here


Laurie Lucking Author HeadshotAn avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, releases in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of http://www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting www.laurielucking.com.

Connect with Laurie!
Facebook
Twitter
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Goodreads
Pinterest
You can also purchase Common here!


I love this story SOOOOO much (have I said that yet?!?), that I’m giving you a chance to win a Kindle copy of it. All ya gotta do is enter my giveaway via this portal to the magical kingdom of Imperia (jk…it’s a link to Rafflecopter) and follow the instructions. I’m drawing the winner in ONE WEEK so hurry!
Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favour 😉

Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

 

 

Finding Worth: The Allegiance Blog Tour

It’s blog tour time again! This time, I get to help introduce the world to Sarah Addison-Fox’s debut fantasy, Disowned, which is book one in the Allegiance series.

First of all, the cover is gorgeously pink and purple and lovely!

Second of all, the author also lives in New Zealand! Woohoo! Of course, we’re on different islands (she’s at the bottom of the South and I’m in the middle of the North), but one day we might have an opportunity to connect!

Third of all, when I signed up for this tour, I was given a choice of topics like an author interview or a book review. But one topic caught my attention.

Finding your worth.

Intriguing!

It’s a major theme of this story, and I thought it would be fun to briefly touch on it since it’s something that many of us struggle with.

I don’t know about you, but I find it really easy to fall into the comparison trap–especially on social media–where I see a friend’s life and wonder why mine doesn’t look as exciting, glamorous, or successful.

The next thing I know, I can begin to have a poor view of my own worth because I’m basing it on someone other than who I’m supposed to be.

But the truth is, we are each a unique person who is passionately loved by the Creator of the world. We bring talents and gifts that are exclusive to our personality into our sphere of influence. And then it’s the Christ in us that sets these gifts on fire and gives us the power to  walk in the lifetime of good things that he’s set before us.

That’s where our worth comes from! When we embrace the person God has made us to be, when we’re aware and accepting of his unstoppable love for us, and when we use our own particular gifts to love those around us.

So get out there, believing these truths, and knowing that you are a precious person of inestimable worth.

Now…on to Disowned!


Disowned: Allegiance series #1 by [Addison-Fox, Sarah]

Two countries, two choices, one life. When Kyraenean slave Celeste risks her life to reach the free nation of Etraea, a country filled with technology and wealth, she unknowingly sets off a chain of events that will change her life forever.

After escaping her new owner, Celeste awakens in the home of an Etraean soldier, sworn to protect the fragile peace. For Corporal Mick Haynes, life is simple. Follow the rules, do your job and work your way up the ranks. Getting shot and finding a wanted slave at his family’s farm wasn’t part of the plan.

When a Kyraenean bounty hunter locates Celeste, Mick’s loyalty will be stretched to the limit. With war on the horizon, Celeste faces two impossible choices. Both securing her freedom, but both at a cost she could never have imagined. Will Etraea provide the freedom she’s longed for or shackle her to an entirely new master?

Buy Disowned: Allegiance series #1 here!

Sarah Addison-Fox's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, smilingSarah Addison-Fox is a New Zealand-born home-schooling mother of two who loves action-packed, clean, fantasy with strong heroines. She has an astonishing amount of nail polish, has all her creative writing credentials shoved in a drawer somewhere, and has a husband who, after 27 years, can still make her blush. When she’s not working on both her YA fantasy series’ she can be found fangirling on Goodreads or sending GIFs on Twitter.

Connect with Sarah

Instagram|Facebook|Website|Twitter|Goodreads

LivyLynnBlogTours


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

Sign up for my newsletter! I give away an e-book in every one.

5 Wonderful Writer-ly Things to Accomplish This Year

Ah, yes. The obligatory New Year resolution post.

Cos it’s 2018. A new year. A fresh start.

While I’m generally a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants’ kind of person, there is something exhilarating about making resolutions at the beginning of the year.

For the last few years, I chose a word instead of making resolutions (which always seem to fly out the window after a few days or weeks). Thrive. Expect. Joy. Those were fun, and I liked watching God work through those words, often in ways I didn’t foresee.

But I decided this year to set some goals to push me further in my writing. I’ve felt the need to be more intentional, and while I’m sure I will add to this list, I’ve got five writer-ly things I want to see done and dusted by the time 2019 rolls around…

Visit Quills & Inkblotts to read the rest of this post.


Jebraun-Clifford

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

Have you signed up for my newsletter? I give away an e-book in every one!

Cover Reveal for The Chronicle of the Three: Eden Sword by Tabitha Caplinger

I got a sneak peek of the cover of Tabitha Caplinger’s final book in The Chronicle of the Three trilogy just before Christmas.

Then I had to sit on it.

For.

Two.

Whole.

Weeks.

Now I can FINALLY share.

 

.

.

.

Here it is!

edensword coffee

Isn’t it it awesome?!?

Here’s what it’s about:

The final showdown is fast approaching, and a grief-stricken Zoe is forced to count the cost of her destiny. As the losses mount, her strength wanes.

Even if the Chosen find the Eden Sword in time, will Zoe be strong enough to wield it? Will she be able to stand against the darkness as the promised Daughter of the ancient prophecy? Or will she be consumed by the fear of her nightmares becoming real?

Fear or faith?

Even the Chosen must choose.

In this final installment of The Chronicle of the Three, light and darkness collide as Zoe discovers there is more than one battlefield in this war.

Eeep! That sounds so exciting! To make it even better, the author is hosting a giveaway featuring the first two books in the trilogy, some book swag and Amazon gift cards, so follow the link to enter.4.jpg

You can also go to her website and subscribe to her newsletter to get a free sample of book 1, Bloodline, as well as be among the first to find out more Eden Sword release news and updates. And if you want to purchase the first two books or contact Tabitha about a speaking engagement, that’s the place to go, too.


Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling, indoor

Tabitha Caplinger is a wife, mom, youth pastor and professed TV addict. It’s seriously a problem but she doesn’t plan on getting help anytime soon. Mostly because she loves the stories. She can’t help but get lost in the worlds created and invested in the lives of the characters. She brings that same passion for the story to her own writing. Aside from writing and watching TV, Tabitha can be found singing off key and dancing in the kitchen or car with her two adorably sassy daughters and awesome husband who she thinks is kind of cute.

Connect with her on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

Have you signed up for my newsletter? I give away an e-book in every one!

Do You Want a $10 Amazon Gift Card?

My last newsletter of the year will go out Christmas Day, and I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky subscriber.

Who doesn’t want some extra $$$ to throw around at the after-Christmas sales?

This is just my way of saying thank you to everyone who has walked along with me so far on my writing journey.

If you haven’t signed up, please do.

—> right here! <—

2018 looks like it will be a banner year!


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

Cover Reveal for “Common”

Don’t think I can contain my excitement!

 

I may actually faint.

 

Because I get to share with you…

 

Something really spectacular!

 

That’s right. It’s the cover for Laurie Lucking’s debut YA fantasy, Common!

So without further ado…

 

Here it is!

 

Is it amazing or what?!?

 

And if you think the cover is beautiful, wait until you read what it’s about:

One person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Unexpected feelings for Rafe surface just as his parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess. Then she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. Her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by a mysterious group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

An avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, releases in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting www.laurielucking.com.


Now comes the challenge…waiting for its release!

Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity,
stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

Sign up for my newsletter. I give away an e-book in each one!

 

Second Place in our Flash Fiction Contest: Sunchaser by Caroline Madison

Another awesome entry that snagged second place in our ‘Stories of the Stars’ contest: Sunchaser by Caroline Madison.  We hope you enjoy the vivid imagery and lush descriptions.


Sunchaser by Caroline Madison

I am Abrihet Beyene, born Eddel Beyene, but my people allowed me a new name when they told me I would be a Sunchaser.

It means “she brings light.”

The Daystar himself whispered the name to me when I was small.

Don’t look at him, my daughter. He will scorch your eyes, and then how will you see anything beautiful?

But the Daystar has always been a part of me. I think he dimmed his glory so I could find him.

Now, here I stand, twenty years later, the sixty-seventh Sunchaser.

Ancient sands shift beneath my feet as the surf foams over them. It fills me with a warmth that shoots up my legs to my core, because even the waves know that tonight, the existence of our world rests on my shoulders.

It is my task to meet the Daystar at the horizon and lead him back to his place of beginning so he can rise again.

No boat follows. If I succeed, I won’t need one; if I fail, drowning is a mercy. The rest of the world will slowly freeze to death.

You must be afraid, the young ones say, to run with nothing but black water beneath your feet.

They do not understand that I am Abrihet, child of the light, and the Daystar calls me.

“Habibti…”

My father’s gentle voice draws me back to the celebration on the beach behind: voices chanting, bells ringing, feet stamping rhythmically in dance. The beating heart of what it means to chase the light.

I turn, responding to the pressure of his hands on my shoulders. “It is almost time, Abee.”

“But not yet,” he says with a smile and nudges my cheek with one finger. Then he sweeps an arm out across the beach, the gesture provoking a chorus of shouts joined almost at once by his rich laughter.

I close my eyes as my father’s voice swells like music.

“Do you smell what the wind carries you? The gift she brings?”

The sweet scent of fruit drifts down from the mountain groves, mingling with salt tossed up each time the ocean collides with nearby rocks.

“Hear the drums…”

Vibrations thrum through the bones in my feet, up my legs to my chest. “They reach the earth’s heart, and she gives us her music.”

Hands press lightly on my head and shoulders as my tribe gathers around me with prayers for speed and surefootedness.

But every other touch fades away when my father’s hands cradle my face and he presses his forehead to mine.  

“May our love embrace and protect you. The Lady of the Night tries to come between you and the Daystar. But tonight, Habibti, you have wings on your feet.”

The pounding surf stills and a chant rises.

Not my name: the pulse of this task is not me or even the Daystar. It can’t be.

It is Life itself, and so my people cry “Haya!…Life!”

The crowd parts for me, clearing my path to the water where the Daystar stretches his golden beams across an ocean holding its breath for my arrival.

Run, Abrihet. Faster than you ever have before…Sunchaser by Caroline Madison.pngI launch forward, the balls of my feet springing off of sand that no longer sinks beneath my weight. When I reach the water, it holds as well, a path more certain than any land-bound road because the Daystar forges it for me.

I love you, Abee. Holding my father’s kind, aged face in my mind gives me more strength than I thought possible. He is my heart, and so the heart of all that lives.

The rhythm of it pounds in my ears with each desperate push of my legs, a deep throb that shouts for my success as loudly as my people do.

Ahead, the path of light stretches to the horizon where the Daystar hovers just above it: a brilliant orb of heat and flame, usually unchallenged.

But tonight is different. A shadow creeps between us, chiseling away at his right edge. The light path narrows slightly. Only then does my breath catch as fear squeezes my lungs like fingers constricting around them.

Tonight, Habibti, you have wings on your feet.

Setting my gaze on the Daystar, I ignore the darkness eroding his radiance. I will reach him in time and conquer this usurper, as others have before me.

Faster, faster, I can no longer feel the water beneath my feet. Now, Abee, I am flying.

With every stride, the Daystar grows bigger, brighter, until he fills my vision entirely, a third of his brilliance shrouded by the Lady of the Night. Then half. That darkness whittles away at my path until it is barely wide enough for my feet.

Only ten more strides…nine…eight

My legs do not shake, nor do my lungs burn as though unequal to the task. I am equal. This is the purpose of my first breath, and every breath after. Laughter bubbles up and spills from my mouth.

Then my foot plunges into dark water.

“Abee!” My cry is strangled by the ocean rushing up my nose and down my throat.

After several seconds of struggling, I break through the surface, choking and sucking in lungfuls of air. Air far colder than it had been a moment ago.

The brilliant pinks and purples have faded to the blue of twilight, and the Daystar is now a black circle ringed with a sliver of light.

I failed.

Tears spring to my eyes as I watch the Daystar slip beneath the horizon…alone.

Fear rushes back, colder than anything I have felt before.

Not for me. For my people waiting on the beach. Their celebration will continue long into the night, because they believe I will bring them another day. Abee will stand at the crest of a dune, waiting to gather me in his arms. But the day will not come, and neither will I.


 

Did you miss our first place flash fiction story? Check out The Birth of Gemini.


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity,
stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

Have you signed up for my newsletter? I give away an e-book in each one!