Boondock Ramblings

Book Review: Songs in the Storm. A story of love, trust, and triumph over trials

Book: Songs in the Storm

Author: Kathy Geary Anderson

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

My rating: 5 out of 5



Songs in the Storm is a moving story about a newly married couple struggling with a difficult diagnosis for the husband. The story walks the reader through the ups and downs, triumphs, and trials in an emotional way.

The characters of this book are so well written that I immediately fell in love with them and wanted to be sure their lives turned out okay. Yes, there was some heartbreak for both of the main characters, but they walked through the heartbreak together. This isn’t a book where the book shows the main characters meeting and falling in love. They are already in love when the book begins but their happiness is threatened when a medical tragedy strikes.

The reader is pulled into Anderson’s story through the vivid characters but also through vivid details which capture the atmosphere of the time period.

I’m not someone who reads a ton of historical fiction, but I have read some, and the books in this genre which capture my interest the most are those which immerse me in the time period they are set in. Anderson did this in such a flawless way and none of the information about the time frame or the characters seemed forced or awkward.

Be prepared to feel a range of emotions in this book but don’t let that deter you because underlying beneath it all is a comforting, sweet buzz of hope that only God can bring even in the moments we think he has left us.

I was provided with a  complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Book Review The Rhise of Light by Max Sternberg

Book: The Rhise of Light

Author: Max Sternberg

Genre: Christian Fantasy

Description: This is not your typical Christian Fiction story…

The entirety of living civilization stands on the very brink of death. Undead hordes have rampaged across the world. Determined to do his part, Leon Rhise left his wealthy father’s estate and chose to defend the last living kingdom by joining the military. It had seemed to be a good idea at the time.

After his career in the airship navy came to an abrupt end Leon arrived home, hoping for a warm reception. Instead, he was abruptly tossed out. Disowned, unemployed, and friendless. All hope seems lost. Then Leon discovers a mysterious relic, which opens up the possibility of him becoming a Judge: a hero of legend. One that has not been seen for centuries.

As Leon travels the road less taken his destiny converges with newfound companions, each one surrounded by mystery. Advised by strange beings in dreams and visions, Leon learns that the undead onslaught the world has suffered is part of a much larger problem. A solution can be found by learning about the forgotten being known as Adonai. But the world is ending, and time is running out.

Delve into a world that brings a unique twist and interpretation to faith-based high fantasy. With emotional highs and lows, certain peril, dysfunction, and humor; tough questions are asked, and answers will come to light.

My Review

Let me get this out of the way first: I don’t read fantasy, Christian or not. I just don’t do it. But I’d met the author of this book in an online writing group, and he seemed nice so I thought I should read it to support him. I dragged my feet on it. I did. I cannot lie. I was like a little child. I folded my arms across my chest, slouched down on the couch and pulled my hood down over my face.

I pushed my lower lip out. “I don’t like fantasy books. All those ridiculous names and magic and sword battles with fantastical creatures.”

I huffed out a breath and grabbed my Kindle. “Fine. I’ll try it, but only because Max is a nice guy.”

Now, after reading The Rhise of Light, I can’t say that I will keep reading fantasy, but I can say I will read more fantasy written by Max Sternberg.

The Rhise of Light is not only full of well-written prose and dialogue and good, smart fun. It is also deeply theological, thought-provoking, and spiritually moving.

I fell in love with the main characters, Leon, Miala, Duame, and Kelleren but then there were even more characters to fall in love with as the book went on.

Creative well-developed characters and his descriptions make you feel like you are right there and all the characters are alive and real – whether they are human, elf, dwarf, dog, or an undead zombie.

Sternberg paints a vivid image of the world Leon and his friends live in, so vivid that sometimes it is a bit scary, considering that when people die they immediately become undead zombies who want to kill everyone else, no matter how nice they were in life or how they died. The only way to kill them for good is to dispatch them a second time and often in a grisly way.

Sternberg doesn’t pull any punches in fight scenes, but he also isn’t overly graphic. He weaves humor in the midst of heavy and serious and touching in the midst of heartbreaking.

Perhaps you’re not a fan of fantasy either. Don’t overlook this one because of your preconceived notions. You might just be as surprised and as enchanted as I was with Sternberg’s debut novel.

Sunny (The Weather Girls Book One). Book Review with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: The Weather Girls: Sunny

Author: Jennifer Lynn Cary

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: September 6, 2021

TheWeatherGirls1 Sunny Cover

She got stood up on Valentine’s Day…

…Then she lost her job

Could the legend of the cardinal change her luck?

With a disposition as bright as her name, Sunny shakes it off the worst day of her life and makes a new start. She’s got the brains that it takes, but she’s more than a little scared. It’s not just her reputation on the line.

Would this cockeyed adventure be the thing her siblings need too?

Pat only wants peace in the family and never dreamed doing a favor for his sister could drop him into so much hot water. Torn between what he’s always wanted and what is staring him in the face, someone is bound to get hurt.

Odds are it will be him.

But then, only the cardinal knows for sure.

Return to 1970 Indiana with Sunny, the first book in The Weather Girls series—get into the miniskirts, bell-bottoms, and Christian family values.

You’ll love Sunny for the music, the fashions, and the hilarious antics, because who can resist a romantic trip down memory lane?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

If you are looking for a light read with minimal conflict, then Sunny (The Weather Girls Book One) is the book for you. The story takes place in 1970 with Sunny Day as the main character. Yes, that’s right, her name is Sunny Day, much to her embarrassment. Her sisters are named Stormy and Windy Day and when Sunny ends up starting a new endeavor it isn’t long before she has help from family and a new handsome friend, Pat Whitcomb, of the very well-known Whitcomb family. 

I fell in love with the characters, which were well developed, and felt like people I might know myself. Sunny and her sisters supported each other through each trial, showing a close-knit family, but not one without flaws and heartache. There isn’t a large focus on the heartache, though, making this book mostly light-hearted and touching. Humor and romance are sprinkled throughout. I’m a sucker for a book with a meddling grandmother and this one definitely has one and Gramma is one of the brightest spots of the book, besides Sunny herself.

The only aspect of the book which left me a little confused was that there was very little to no mention of a relationship with Jesus throughout the book until it was thrust upon the reader suddenly and in a somewhat awkward way with what I felt was an abrupt “salvation scene.” I don’t disagree with the scene’s content in any way, I just felt it could be written in a little bit more of an organic way. I do not, however, feel that this took away from the book overall and I am looking forward to snatching up a copy of the next book, Stormy, which focuses on the story of Sunny’s sister and is already available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited (at the time this review was written anyhow). 

I was given a complimentary copy of this book to review in exchange for an honest review. I give it a 4 out of 5.

About the Author

Jennifer Lynn Cary likes to say you can take the girl out of Indiana, but you can’t take the Hoosier out of the girl. Now transplanted to the Arizona desert, this direct descendant of Davy Crockett and her husband of forty years enjoy time with family where she shares tales of her small town heritage and family legacies with their grandchildren. She is the author of The Crockett Chronicles series and The Relentless series as well as the stand-alone novella Tales of the Hob Nob Annex Café and her recent split-time novel The Traveling Prayer Shawl.

More from Jennifer Lynn

I was born in the 50’s, grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, and married in 1980. I relate to K.T. Oslin’s song “80’s Ladies” a little too well. 😉

Though we moved from Kokomo, Indiana in 1972, it always will be my hometown.

A few years ago my sister headed up a plan to have an annual Cousin’s Reunion in Kokomo. Two cousins came from Ohio and my sister and I came from the west to converge on our family who still call Kokomo home. Each trip back reminded me of how much I loved growing up there.

One day Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” came on the Oldies station and caught my attention. Then I remembered the songs “Stormy” and “Windy” and wondered what it might be like for girls with that sort of name—especially if their surname was Day. Would their dispositions match their names? Why would their parents give them those names? The questions kept coming and I fell in love with the whole storyline.

The best part was putting the house I grew up in into the book(s). Yep, as you read the story, Hazel Day’s house is set up mostly like the one where I grew up only I added a den and an extra bedroom upstairs.

Ferguson House is based on the Seiberling Mansion—I love that place and tour it every chance I can when I get back to Kokomo. It’s amazing.

I also included favorite landmarks. Scotty’s Drive-In saw a lot of me in my early teen years. Great for grabbing a coke and not that far from either school or home.

The funny thing about memories is that they can blur and morph over time. Thankfully someone from my hometown has put together a Facebook page where I can ask questions and get more than enough answers.

Many locales I remember no longer exist, so writing about them helps them live on.

I hope you will check out Sunny and 1970 Kokomo and come back for the rest of The Weather Girls trilogy.

Abundant blessings!

Blog Stops

Blogging With Carol, October 6

CarpeDiem, October 6

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 7

By the Book, October 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 10

The Author Reads, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 11

Inklings and notions, October 12

Boondock Ramblings, October 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 13

Connie’s History Classroom, October 14

For Him and My Family, October 14

Batya’s Bits, October 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 16

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 17

deb’s Book Review, October 18

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, October 18

Vicky Sluiter, October 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon card with signed copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/11fdc/the-weather-girls-sunny-celebration-tour-giveaway

Blood From a Stone Book Review with Just Read Blog Tours

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Blood From a Stone by David James Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The continuing adventures of Rembrandt Stone from the creative minds of James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren, and newcomer David Curtis Warren, writing collectively as David James Warren.

Title: Blood From a Stone

Series: The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone #5

Author: David James Warren

Publisher: TriStone Media

Release Date: October 5, 2021

Genre: Time Travel Detective Series

He fled the future with blood on his hands. Now, he’ll do anything to stop a killer.

Tragedy has yet again taken from Detective Rembrandt Stone everything he loves. Now, he has one last chance to get things right and stop a killer he’s been hunting across four timelines. Instead, he gets tangled in a petty crime that just might cost him his one chance at justice.

With two murders to stop, and thirty-eight lives still in the balance, Rembrandt must play his hand against time just right if he wants to win his future. Play it wrong and his life will stay shattered beyond repair.

What sacrifices will he have to make to come home to his wife and daughter?

The stakes have never been higher in the heart-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat fifth story of the True Lies of Rembrandt Stone.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub

BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

CONNECT WITH REMBRANDT STONE: Website | Instagram


REVIEW

I have loved every book in the Rembrandt Stone series so far and the fifth book, Blood From A Stone, was no exception. There were aspects of this book I didn’t enjoy as much as others, but that was only because certain situations weren’t working out the way I wanted them to. I wanted the parts of the main character’s life that were broken in other books to be fixed. Fixed I tell you!

I was hooked on this series from page one of the first book, Cast the First Stone. I fell fast in love with Rembrandt and his wife Eve and their daughter Ashley and all the supporting characters around them.
My fast attachment is probably why I have read these books with a “fist in my gut” as Rem would say. I’m on edge, anxious to know if it will all turn out okay, if the family will be happy again, which isn’t a spoiler if you know these books are time travel thrillers. In time travel there is always a chance things will go wrong, but that they can be corrected again. They can be corrected again, right? Right?! Of course, they can, as long as the author (or in this case authors) want it to. Oh, I truly hope these authors want it to.

Most who review this book, and others in the series, are going to tell you they love the fast-paced action, the way Rem breaks the fourth wall, the characters, the backstories that are woven through the series and I love all those aspects as well. What I also love, though, is how marriage is portrayed in these books. It’s not boring, mundane, or something to get out of. It is passionate, special, something to fight for. The bond between Rem and Eve spans timeline after timeline but each time Rem knows that Eve belongs with him, that without her his life isn’t worth living, no matter how many cases he solves, how many wrongs he makes right.

You rarely find a series of books that can balance suspense, mystery, action, and romance. Thankfully, the Rembrandt Stone series is one of those rare, to-be-treasured finds.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren, David Curtis Warren

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He’s the best-selling, Christy Hall of Fame author of ten novels and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s dad to the two most outstanding sons on the planet and lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at http://jameslrubart.com/

CONNECT WITH JAMES: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award–winning author of more than eighty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. The mother of four grown children, and married to her real-life hero for over 30 years, she loves traveling and telling stories about life, adventure, and faith.

For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com.

CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

David Curtis Warren is making his literary debut in these novels, and he’s never been more excited. He looks forward to creating more riveting stories with Susie and Jim, as well as on his own. He’s grateful for his co-writers, family, and faith, buoying him during the pandemic of 2020, and this writing and publishing process.

CONNECT WITH DAVID: Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Blood from a Stone and a $15 Amazon gift card!

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight October 5, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on October 12, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Two books free on Amazon this week (I know. I hate advertising too!)

I hate advertising on my blog. I just like rambling and sharing and connecting with my blogging friends, but I guess I will mention that you can get my books, The Farmer’s Daughter and Harvesting Hope, free through Kindle on Amazon (so ebooks) today and tomorrow.

If you have read the books and enjoyed them (even a little) and would like to leave a review that would be great, as it helps with sales. I do NOT make a fortune off these books but every little bit helps put money toward feeding my kids and paying for things like heating oil. Reviews don’t have to be indepth. A short little “Hey, I liked it” and a rating are just fine. For those who have read the books, reviewed them, and pointed out improvements I can make for later, thank you so much! I appreciate it more than you could ever know. Truly.

Book Review: Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong Book Tour with Audra Jennings PR

Book Title: Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong

Genre: Christian Romantic Comedy

Publisher: Kregel Publications

Release Date: August 17, 2021

Description: How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she’s handed a strange present at the latest wedding–a 1950s magazine article of “ways to get a husband”–she decides there’s nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can’t get any more single, can she?

Her brother’s roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love–Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it’s an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she’s looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.

REVIEW

This is a witty and humorous/light hearted and fun read. The characters are — specifically Meri and Kai, but also Gemma — are immediately likeable.

What I liked about this book was how real and raw it was, mixed in with the humor. I loved how Strong wasn’t afraid to be blunt about issues of marriage without being crass or crude. When the subject of sex in marriage was broached, it was done so in a mature, natural, and to the point manner without descriptions or any kind of detail. In other words, there are zero sex scene in this book, making it very clean; but the subject was discussed in a very appropriate way.

Strong also knows how to get in the head of a man and show how clueless they can be sometimes. I know. That sounds super sexist but let me explain. Men and women are wired differently (obviously). Men don’t often sit and debate issues in their head to death like a lot of women do. Men just go do things and figure it out later.

That’s not always bad, but sometimes, like Kai in this book, it is. I love the differences between men and women and too many female authors write their male characters like they are women — emotional, sentimental, dramatic.

That’s not realistic.

Strong wrote a realistic man in this book, which is why there are many women who aren’t going to like him. I, for one, did. I don’t know if I agreed with some of the ideas that he or Meri had that led to the ending of this book, but it has me thinking and I don’t see that as a bad thing.

I see women reviewers write things like, “I didn’t connect with HIM”, about books like Strongs all the time. The reason for that is because the author wrote a realistic male character, and most female readers want to read a book where the man thinks and acts like a woman. That’s just weird. If I’m not confused by the male character, then I know the author doesn’t know how to write from the point of view of a man.

Bottom line, this was a fun and easy read that I needed and one I have a lot of other people need these days. Yes, it featured some deep thoughts and challenges, especially for Christians, but those deep thoughts aren’t enough to pull the book, or reader, down.

I received a complimentary copy through Audra Jennings Book PR, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about.

She is the author of the Resort to Love series and the CafFUNated mysteries. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. Finding Love in Big Sky was recently filmed on location in Montana and will air soon. Her latest release is Husband Auditions.

Strong also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho and teaches as an expert online at Write That Book.

Learn more at www.angelaruthstrong.com, and follow her on Facebook (Angela Ruth Strong Fan Page)Twitter (@AngelaRStrong), and Instagram (@ang_strong)

GIVEAWAY

To enter a giveaway for a copy of this book visit Audra Jennings PR.

To enter a giveaway for a free flight on Alegiant Air by Angela Ruth Strong click HERE.

Book Review: Rose Among Thornes by Terrie Todd with Just Read Blog Tours

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Rose Among Thornes by Terrie Todd, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Rose Among Thornes

Author: Terrie Todd

Publisher: Iron Stream Media (Heritage Beacon)

Release Date: August 31, 2021

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Forgiveness is the deadliest force on earth.

War might be raging overseas, but Rose Onishi is on track to fulfill her lifelong goal of becoming a concert pianist. When forced by her government to leave her beloved home in Vancouver and move to the Canadian prairie to work on the Thornes’ sugar beet farm, her dream fades to match the black dirt staining her callused hands. Though the Thorne family is kind, life is unbearably lonely. In hopes that it might win her the chance to play their piano, Rose agrees to write letters to their soldier son.

When Rusty Thorne joins the Canadian Army, he never imagines becoming a Japanese prisoner of war. Inside the camp, the faith his parents instilled is tested like never before. Though he begs God to help him not hate his brutal captors, Rusty can no longer even hear the Japanese language without revulsion. Only his rare letters from home sustain him—especially the brilliant notes from his mother’s charming helper, which the girl signs simply as “Rose.”

Will Rusty survive the war only to encounter the Japanese on his own doorstep? Can Rose overcome betrayal and open her heart? Or will the truth destroy the fragile bond their letters created?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terrie Todd

Terrie Todd is the award-winning author of The Silver Suitcase, Maggie’s War, Bleak Landing, and Out of My Mind: A Decade of Faith and Humor. Her next novel, Rose Among Thornes, releases in August 2021. The Last Piece releases in November 2021. Terrie is represented by Mary DeMuth of Books & Such Literary Agency. She lives with her husband, Jon, in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada where they raised their three children. They are grandparents to five boys. When she’s not writing, Terrie can usually be found reading, cleaning, cooking, painting, weeding, watering, or watching something. You can follow her at www.terrietodd.blogspot.com

CONNECT WITH TERRI: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

REVIEW

Rose Among Thornes offers a unique story that I don’t believe a lot of people are aware of, especially Americans.

As an American, I knew there were Japanese internment camps in the United States during World War II. I didn’t realize this happened in Canada as well. The story told in his book will open the eyes of many Canadians to their nation’s history, which, sadly, is as heartbreaking as my own nation’s past.

It’s hard to read Todd’s book without falling in love with the main characters, Rose and Rusty. Their story is what carries the reader on through the pages, hoping to find some happiness within the very difficult journey they both find themselves in the midst of.

Rusty’s story of being a prisoner of war and Rose’s of being forced into an internment camp are equally heartbreaking. This book isn’t only about heartbreak, though. It’s about forgiveness, about not judging an entire race or group of people based on what one person or small group has done, and it’s about hope rising out of what looks like hopeless situations.

Rating: 4 stars

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author and Just Read Blog Tours. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive the winner’s choice of one print copy: The Silver Suitcase, Maggie’s War, or Bleak Landing!

Rose Among Thornes JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight August 30, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 6, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Interview with the authors of Set in Stone, the fourth book in the Rembrandt Stone series, with Just Read Blog Tours (with giveaway)

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Set in Stone by David James Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The continuing adventures of Rembrandt Stone from the creative minds of James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren, and newcomer David Curtis Warren, writing collectively as David James Warren.

Title: Set in Stone

Series: The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone #4

Author: David James Warren

Publisher: TriStone Media

Release Date: August 10, 2021

Genre: Time Travel Detective Series

Rembrandt Stone is on the case of a serial killer. But when the killer finds him first, he puts the one person Rembrandt loves in his cross hairs. Now, Rembrandt must outwit time to save the people he loves.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | BookBub

BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

CONNECT WITH REMBRANDT STONE: Website | Instagram

INTERVIEW

I’m so excited to introduce my readers to the Rembrandt Stone series through an interview with the three authors who are writing it, Susan May Warren, James L. Rubart, and David Warren. Together, these three authors writer under the name David James Warren.

This series has kept me enthralled for the last two months as I breezed through the first three books so I could read book four for today’s blog tour. I read the books thinking I had signed up for a review. Instead. I had signed up for an author interview (yes, I do have memory issues. Why do you ask?) but was told I am welcome to offer a review as well, so at the end of this post you will find my review of book four. Spoiler alert, it will be a positive review.

Thank you to the authors for taking time to answer my questions.

What inspired you all to join forces for this series of books?

Early in their friendship, Susie and Jim discovered their mutual love of time travel stories. One day they were on an airplane together coming back from a writing conference and they started brainstorming a book. Nothing came of that story idea, but the desire to write a book together someday was cemented in both their minds. Then, in the summer of 2016 Susie called Jim and said, “I’ve got it! The story is a series about a time traveling detective named Rembrandt Stone who goes into the past in order to solve the cold cases that have haunted him for decades. What do you think?” It took Jim a milli-second to shout, “Yes!” So in February of 2017 Susie and Jim and Susie’s son David gathered at Jim’s home and brainstormed the entire series over a long weekend.

Did you find writing a book series together to be a rich or challenging experience for all of you? Or both?

All of the above. When you bring three creative minds together (with strong personalities as well) there are going to be different approaches and ideas on what the best outcome is going to be for a project. But thankfully we all have great respect and love for each other so it’s been an extremely rewarding experience.

Was there a particular literary character or person who inspired your main character Rembrandt Stone? Or maybe a combination of people?

I’m (Susie May) a rabid fan of Henry Cavill and he has a little known movie called Night Hunter. In this movie, Henry plays an on the edge police detective who is searching for a serial killer. Now—I watched this movie AFTER we conceived Rem and his plot, but as soon as I saw it I knew Henry, in this movie, was Rem. I saw him both as young Rem and old Rem, so it helped tremendously as I wrote his character.  Oh, and I also wrote the books for Jim to voice, so he was in my head, too. So, let’s say a morph of Henry Cavill and Jim, who are very much alike anyway. 😊

These books are being released close together in a type of serial style, which this reader, and many readers love. What was behind the decision to release these books this way?

So glad you like the way we’re releasing the books! From the start we saw the stories as if they were a TV series. Episodic. In other words, we knew each book would end on a cliff hanger which meant readers would want the next book FAST. (We’ve tried to let our potential readers know upfront, the Rembrandt Stone books are NOT stand alones.) With the above in mind made sure we were going to be able to release them every other month so the series would conclude quickly.

Now that you’ve combined forces with other authors, do you think you will do it again with other authors? 

I think each one of us is very open to the idea if the right project comes alone. The reality is getting input and ideas and perspective from others is always going to make a story stronger. When Susie and Jim write their stand-alone novels, they still get a tremendous amount of input from others, so getting to work directly together with other creatives is only going to enhance a project.

How important are books in our times when things in the world can feel chaotic and unsteady to many?

They’re critical. If only to pull people away from an increasingly divided nation and world. Good stories entertain, inform, heal, offer a chance to escape and show truth in ways non-fiction simply can’t. We hope readers will be taken on a thrill ride by The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone, but also come away with more hope and joy in their lives.

What future projects do each of you have coming up and where can readers learn more about those projects?

Susie -I’m currently writing the third book of an epic Alaska series due out next year with Revell. I’m very excited because I think readers will enjoy meeting the brothers of Sky King Ranch. Readers can always stop by www.SusanMayWarren.com for more updates on what’s going on!

Jim – At the moment I’m focused on narrating books five and six in the Rembrandt Stone series and I’m giving serious consideration to writing a book for fathers on how to have a stellar relationship with their sons. Readers can connect with me and sign up for my newsletter at: https://jameslrubart.com/

David – The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone is very much a first foray into writing for me. It’s been a heck of a ride trying to make these books the best they can be. I’m buckling down for Rembrandt Stone’s finale, and then I’ll see where the wind takes me.

My Thoughts on Set in Stone

In her book The Story Equation, Susan May Warren talks about how in a well-written book the main character must have a dark moment.

Well, Rembrandt Stone has dark moment after dark moment in David James Warren’s time travel series about him and it’s enough to make a grown woman cry. Each of the books provides a heart-pounding, never-ending emotional roller coaster ride for readers, and the latest installment, the fourth book, Set in Stone, is no exception.

Just when the reader thinks Rembrandt is going to get back to where he should be, after fixing some mistakes he’s made in past timelines, the authors send you skittering down the emotional slope again where you sit and wonder if you — er I mean — Rembrandt will ever see the light of a hopeful day again.

I have truly enjoyed these novels so far (there are two more set to be released) and I’m going to be brutally honest, I wasn’t sure if I would or not. When I started these books and signed up for this tour, I simply wanted to try something different by two authors I enjoy and one guy I hadn’t heard of yet. I’m not usually a reader of time traveler stories, despite being a fan of Doctor Who, but this one held my attention through all four books. The novels held my attention so well that I am literally vibrating with anticipation at reading the final two books in the series set for release in the fall and winter.

Thankfully, these books are being released in three-month (or so) increments so book five will come out Oct. 5 and book six a little earlier on November 23 (which also happens to be my husband’s birthday and my brother and his wife’s 25th anniversary).

I don’t know how this series will end, and I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it yet, but I want the authors to know that things better work out for my favorite characters or I am going to need a box of chocolates and box of tissues mailed to me personally by each one of them. It will be the only way I will make it through my grief.

It helps to know when you start the series that there are more books to come and there is still a chance it will all work out okay.

What is fun about a time travel series, especially when the book is about a character traveling back and forth in their own timeline, is that there are a plethora of twists the plot can take and paths the character can walk. This series reminds me a lot of those “choose your own ending” books, but instead of the reader being able to choose the endings we want, we are at the mercy of two men and one woman to bring us the ending we so desire.

However, we the readers have to remember that the authors have their own endings in mind, and we, or at least I, trust them to write the ending that is best for Rembrandt, Eve, Burke, Booker, and everyone else we’ve come to love.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

The bottom line: 5 stars out of 5


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren, David Curtis Warren

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He’s the best-selling, Christy Hall of Fame author of ten novels and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s dad to the two most outstanding sons on the planet and lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at http://jameslrubart.com/

CONNECT WITH JAMES: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award–winning author of more than eighty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. The mother of four grown children, and married to her real-life hero for over 30 years, she loves traveling and telling stories about life, adventure, and faith. For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com. CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter David Curtis Warren is making his literary debut in these novels, and he’s never been more excited. He looks forward to creating more riveting stories with Susie and Jim, as well as on his own. He’s grateful for his co-writers, family, and faith, buoying him during the pandemic of 2020, and this writing and publishing process.
CONNECT WITH DAVID: Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Set in Stone and a $15 Amazon gift card!

Set in Stone JustRead Blog Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight August 10, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on August 17, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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Book Review: Journey to ChiYah by Kimberly Russell. A deeply allegorical journey of our walk with Christ.

Book Title: Journey to ChiYah

Author: Kimberly Russell

Genre: Christian fiction/Christian fantasy

Goodreads Description: JADE PEPPERDINE HAS A PROBLEM

Her life is crumbling beneath the weight of the past, events of the present, and fears for her future. Things need to change, but she doesn’t know where to start.Answers come in the form of an unexpected opportunity when Jade finds herself stuck in a mythical land. She meets Mayor Dudley, who insinuates she is emotionally broken and in need of repair … a fact she’d just as soon ignore. He offers to help her get home if she is willing to face her issues through a process of restoration. Frightened and skeptical yet out of options, Jade grudgingly agrees. And soon figures out that change is a journey, not a destination.Come along on the adventure of a lifetime, and maybe you’ll find someone you never knew you lost: Yourself. 

Excerpt from the author (Thank you, Kim!):

Abaddon’s eyes darkened black like coal. “My idea is simple. You’ve got a gal coming in soon that I think will be perfect for this experiment.” He clucked his tongue. “Thirtyish, a bit, chubby, works in a library. Same tired scenario as the others. Past issues affecting her present. Fear and insecurities. Blah, blah, blah.”

Watch it. She’s one of mine.”

Abaddon’s mouth tightened. “Aren’t they all? Just send her off to gather her journey relics like always, but if I can get them away from her, she stays with me, and I get the Avnet, too.”

Mayor grunted in distaste. No wonder his nemesis’ name meant destruction in Hebrew. He opened his mouth to put the rogue in his place then hesitated. Maybe he could use Abaddon’s plan against him and teach him a lesson he wouldn’t soon forget. A deterrent against future complications.

But at what price? Did he really want to potentially position one of his own in harm’s way? No, but assigning his top emissaries to the case would keep her safe. The unsuspecting woman would be fine, and Abaddon would get what he so richly deserved. And it wouldn’t be the Avnet.

Mayor pushed to his feet. “Fine. Do what you have to.” He whirled and threw a scowl over his shoulder, “But you cannot hurt her. I’m warning you.”

“Oh, I won’t.” Abaddon shot him an evil leer. “Not much, anyway.”

My Review: 5 starts out of 5



Some who read the title of the book will be perplexed and think, “I don’t think this is the book for me,” but they would be wrong. This is a book for everyone.

The book is “fantasy”, I suppose you might say, but it is also deeply allegorical to our journey through life and especially our journey with God and Christ.

This book will transport you to a world of restoration, healing, redemption, and personal revision. It will remind you that we do not merely war against flesh and blood, but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

The book takes the reader on a fantastical journey with Jade Pepperdine, a 30-something woman who has faced her fair share of heartache, rejection, and flattened self-worth.

Hook yourself in, readers. This is a work of fiction but for many it will be a hard dose of reality wrapped up in a gentle embrace.

After an accident tosses Jade, quite literally, upside down, she finds herself in a mystical land, which she at first believes is part of a dream. She soon learns that ChiYah is very real indeed. A group of five eccentric helpers come alongside her to help her battle her way through the various dangers of ChiYah to reach her personal healing.

But reaching restoration won’t come easy for Jade. She’s agreed to the quest Mayor Dudley has offered to her, albeit grudgingly, so she can go back to her reality in “the real world” working at a library and fending off her overly critical mother. Now she has to sidestep the traps along the way, including unassuming attacks from a mysterious stranger who hopes to cause her to stumble and come work for him instead.

Journey to ChiYah is a book that will have you looking inside yourself, maybe not liking what you see, and then considering taking your own quest to make peace with every part of you  — the happy parts, the grumpy parts, the sometimes unreasonable parts, the parts that have been hurt, the parts that have been rejected, the parts that still have hope left in them.

Russell is a talented writer who uses well-written, engaging fiction laced with humor, well thought out dialogue, and entertaining characters to drive her point home. She uses fiction and prose to touch on so many issues we frail humans deal with, including anxiety, anger, unforgiveness, self-deprecating behavior, distrust, insecurity, a critical spirit.

Most of all, though, she uses her talent to point us to the only one who can heal us of the issues that threaten our joy — a Heavenly Father who wants to take us on a journey that might seem difficult but in the end will lead us into a meadow of peace, even with the chaos of life swirls around us.