Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

If you enjoyed the feats of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, you will enjoy Dina L. Sleiman’s novel Dauntless. As the debut novel for her new Valiant Hearts series, Sleiman introduces us to the former Lady Merry Ellison, daughter of the man who dared to rebel against the loathsome King John.

Disguised as plain Merry, young Lady Ellison finds herself the leader of a band of children, all of them homeless and unprotected. With shrewdness and skill, Merry teaches her youthful band to survive and hide. Enter Timothy Grey and trouble. Grey is Merry’s former sweetheart and now favorite of King John’s local regent. With a story full of intrigue, hard decisions, and courage, Merry must find her way to protect the people who matter most to her.

I enjoyed the fast-paced action in Dauntless, and the strong characters who struggle to find their way. Sleiman is an excellent writer, and draws deftly upon eleventh century English history without belaboring details. I particularly enjoyed how Sleiman uses child characters in her story. Although I was wary of Timothy Grey through much of the story, I like how Sleiman reveals his struggles amid his unpredictability. Lady Ellison mirrored well the legendary Robin Hood, and I appreciated Sleiman’s clever portrayal of Merry as both strong and vulnerable. For how intense most of the story played out, I found the concluding chapters somewhat of a predictable ending.

Overall, I enjoyed Dauntless and look forward to reading Book Two in Sleiman’s Valiant Hearts series. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman for my candid review.

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E-Book Marketing 101: Promotion Sites for E-books by Heather B. Moore and Tracy Daley

I found E-Book Marketing 101: Promotion Sites for E-books by Heather B. Moore and Tracy Daley a concise, helpful resource for anyone interested in selling their own e-books. Despite it short length, this e-book is well organized and packed with pertinent know-how tips from experienced authors and online resources to help e-book authors consider their online marketing options.

Most of E-Book Marketing 101 focuses on providing us with the resources we need to begin marketing an e-book. While the authors acknowledge that this book focuses more on marketing e-book novels, there are resources that are applicable to all e-book genres.

The organization E-Book Marketing 101 is straightforward which allows readers to easily read the e-book from cover to cover or to use the e-book as a reference and skip to the chapters most valuable to them. The first chapter explains how to use this e-book to best advantage, with the following chapters organized according to potential marketing budgets. I like how the authors begin with free promotion websites. That lends adaptability for the new e-book authors but also provides resources for experienced authors.

My favorite part of the e-book was “Heather’s Promos used to become a USA Today Bestselling Author.” In this chapter, Moore walks us through her e-book marketing journey and shows us what worked for her and what didn’t. While each author and e-book are different, reading about Moore’s success was encouraging, and shows how the resources in this e-book are applicable in various marketing situations.

I definitely recommend E-Book Marketing 101 as a great marketing resource for both new and experienced authors who like a hands-on approach to marketing their own e-books. Heather B. Moore gave me a complimentary copy of E-Book Marketing 101: Promotion Sites for E-books by Heather B. Moore and Tracy Daley for my candid review.

Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

I have looked forward to reading Where Trust Lies since I read the first book in the Return to the Canadian West serious Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. As much as I wanted to be enthralled in Where Trust Lies I was somewhat disappointed in the slow plot and its predictability.

Where Trust Lies continues the story of Elizabeth Thatcher who returns home for the summer after teaching one year in Coal Valley. She embarks on a steamship tour with her mothers and sisters. During the journey, Elizabeth encounters new acquantainces and new perspectives about her family relationships while weighing her feelings for Jarrick, the Mountie she left behind in Coal Valley.

I like how Elizabeth’s relationship with Jarrick matured in this second novel and how she works through disappointments and setbacks as the story progresses. I was less enamored by the supporting characters in this novel which mainly comprise Elizabeth’s mother and sisters. While the relationship struggles between the women of this novel were realistic and believable, it became monotonous reading after a while.

Julie, Elizabeth’s sister seemed to be the star of all the drama in the novel, which is okay, but as she is not the main character, her escapades didn’t draw me in as much. I liked how Mrs. Thatcher was portrayed throughout the book, and how she and Elizabeth come to a deeper understanding of each other’s inherent strength by the end of the novel.

Overall, I didn’t dislike Where Trust Lies but I can’t unreservedly recommend it as a compelling sequel to Where Courage Calls. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan for my candid review.

The Boardwalk Antiques Shop by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobsen, Heather B. Moore

The Boardwalk Antiques Shop was a delightful read! It is a charming novel of love, hope, and finding happiness in ordinary, but unexpected ways. From the first chapter of Message in a Bottle I loved the surprises, the genuine characters, and the well written, seemingly effortless narrative that made up the 3 novellas of The Boardwalk Antiques Shop.

The three separate lives and three distinct stories of Jennifer, Abbie, and Cate intertwine in this most recent Tangerine Street Romance. I love how the authors take ordinary women, with ordinary challenges and life situations, and create stories of love, hope, forgiveness, and friendship.

Message in a Bottle introduces us to Jennifer’s deceased aunt Daisy who turns Jennifer’s life upside down when Daisy leaves Jennifer the Boardwalk Antiques Shop. Intent on dumping the shop and returning home, Jennifer meets Paul, immerses herself in stories from the past and rethinks her future.       I loved how Jennifer’s story inconspicuously shows why savoring stories from the past matter now.

Solving for X introduces us to Abbie who happily goes about her carefree life doing what she loves and doing it well. Enter the stuffed shirt Holden who meets Abbie, only to be bested by her and her outrageous cupcake appearance. What I like about this story is that both Abbie and Holden find that while appearance may matter sometimes what matters most usually compels us to look beyond appearances to find happiness.

Finally, A Stitch in Time takes Cate and Henry and weaves a touching story of grief and loss, hope and reclamation. I enjoyed reading all three stories but Cate and Henry’s story was my favorite of the three novellas. If you enjoy touching, unaffected stories, The Boardwalk Antiques Shop is for you.