Friday Fiction Reading Recommendations

Happy Friday, readers! Snuggle up with a cozy sweater and a cup of tea (or coffee or cocoa). Here are my reading favorites from October through December. It was a good quarter for reading with nine to choose from! Did any of these make your list?

~ Kelsey


In Pieces by Rhonda Ortiz

Historical Fiction – 1793 Boston

In Pieces opens with Molly Chase raiding her late father’s warehouse before the lawyers sell off his assets. While there, she experiences a PTSD-induced attack brought on by memories of her father’s suicide. Josiah Robb, returned from a sea voyage as first mate, rescues his friend back to his home, insisting she stay with them while she navigates her grief. What follows is a story of misunderstanding, rumors, and gossip that threaten to destroy any chance of the romance Josiah has set his life’s plans on, but Molly isn’t yet aware of. Throughout the novel, tough questions are asked that do not always have clear or easy answers, but certainly make one think about what they believe and why. Not every question is resolved in this first novel, but the story ends with both characters at a place of peace, at least for the moment.

Bridge of Gold by Kimberley Woodhouse

Dual Timeline – 1933 and Present Day San Francisco

Bridge of Gold combines a murder mystery, an undersea treasure hunt, the history of the Golden Gate Bridge, and two romances, one in 1933 and the other in present day. The dual timelines play well off of each other and gradually come together until the big whodunnit reveal at the end. My biggest complaint is that the cover doesn’t include any of the major elements of the story, portraying it as a standard historical romance without expressing any level of suspense. The Golden Gate Bridge and the shipwreck discovered in the first chapter are almost characters unto themselves and my marketing side wishes they were shown front and center. This is my first read by Kimberley Woodhouse, but I would definitely read another.

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin

Historical Fiction – World War I Scotland

As Dawn Breaks, is a tale of government secrets, hidden identities, and tender romance on the Scottish home front. Trapped in an abusive engagement, Rose Graham’s life seems hopeless until the munitions factory explodes and she is mistakenly listed as dead. Taking a daring risk, she escapes to Gretna, Scotland, but as her lies start to spiral, she fears everything she’s worked for may soon unravel, including her growing affection for former air force pilot, Alex Baird. Both Rose and Alex have scars on their hearts from lost loved ones and guilt over their past actions—or inactions. Thankfully, it is through their common experiences that they are slowly able to heal and find forgiveness.

Sorcerous by Susan Laspe

Historical Fantasy – 1356 England

Sorcerous is the perfect tale for fans of the mythological world of Percy Jackson mixed with the spirituality of Narnia set within the history of medieval England. After receiving a dire prophecy and being set upon by a sorceress, English Knight Padric de Clifton finds himself tasked to find the sorceress’s lair and an ancient artifact that could help save the world. But the clock is ticking, made more cumbersome by the fact that he’s now cursed…and not exactly altogether human anymore. The three main characters were a nice blend from Padric’s serious nature to Brynwen’s romantic (yet strong-willed) femininity, and Talfryn’s quirky demeanor. I enjoyed how Christian characters were brought into a mythological world and deciphered what it meant to them as believers. It is a subtle theme, not preachy at all, but an important one for the time period.

Last Wish by Valerie Howard

Contemporary Fiction

Last Wish follows Miranda Lewis, a high school senior who has everything going for her until a brain tumor diagnosis shatters all her carefully planned dreams. Together with the pastor’s son, she goes on a journey of discovery and faith, racing to find answers before time runs out. While this novel is heartbreaking, it is also an inspiring example of the hope and change of heart which can come from tragedy. How do we still have faith in a loving God when we are struck with an impossibly unfair situation? Valerie Howard tackles this question with realistic research and rebuttals, proving that faith and science can stand hand in hand and not to have blind faith, but one that is built on truth.

The Forgotten Queen by Kortney Keisel

Dystopian Romance

The Forgotten Queen is the fourth book in Kortney Keisel’s romantic-dystopian-that-isn’t-quite-dystopian Desolation series, an altered version of our world where North America has been restructured into kingdoms. This time we travel to the coastal kingdom of Cristole where an arranged marriage pairs King Marx, a man who is lost about who he should be after his brother’s death, with Sydria, a woman who doesn’t know who she is after losing most of her memories. Like Kortney’s other novels, I loved this one. Marx and Sydria were wonderful together and I also really enjoyed the secondary relationship of Marx’s sister, Dannyn and Kase. All of our favorite characters return from the previous books for a spectacular edge-of-your-seat ending. You do need to read the previous ones first, otherwise this book will be one huge spoiler. 

The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake

Historical Fiction – 1840’s London

The Girl in His Shadow is an early Victorian medical adventure by the writing duo of Jaima Fixsen and Regina Sirois.

After losing her entire family to cholera, Nora Beady is spared a similar death by London physician, Horace Croft. Nora finds herself drawn to his knowledge, assisting with procedures until she is able to perform them herself. Unfortunately, the credit for her accomplishments remains hidden behind Dr. Croft, for if anyone learned their secret, it would mean ruin for them both. Even though she “lived” 180 years ago, many of the moral and ethical dilemmas she encounters still hold true today.

Note for my clean readers: Contains minimal profanity.

A Class Coveted by Susie Murphy

Historical Fiction – 1840’s Boston

In A Class Coveted, Susie Murphy wields her pen in her usual style, making the reader both cheer and weep for her characters. Some of our favorites search of a long lost family member, but are met with roadblocks at every turn. As they become more discouraged, they also discover that a life of promise is opening up elsewhere. It is not without hard work and heartache, but also brings a freedom and fulfillment they haven’t yet experienced. In the end, however, a decision is made that could bring an enemy back into their lives, threatening the happiness they’ve built. Each book in this series is better than the last!

Note for my clean readers: Contains moderate profanity, a semi-explicit brothel scene, and an open-door sex scene between a married couple.

The Living and the Lost by Ellen Feldman

Historical Fiction – Post-WWII Germany

Often the story of WWII is presented as a happy ending upon armistice, but the reality is the effects continued long after the white flag flew. The Living and the Lost follows Millie Mosbach, a Jewish woman who escaped Germany with her brother while their parents and younger sister were forced to stay behind. She has spent her entire life wondering about their fate and has now returned to Berlin in hopes of learning what happened to them. A city alive, but lost in the fragile remains of a life they once loved, metaphorical ghosts are everywhere. It is only through their shared experiences that they begin to find light in the darkness and a way to step into a brighter future.

Note for my clean readers: Contains profanity, including several f bombs, and a few PG-13 rated sex scenes.

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Holiday Cheer and How to Create a Cover

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Book Quotes - MineHappy (one day until the) New Year! I hope you had a very merry Christmas and happy holidays! Here in Missouri, I enjoyed amazing 65 degree weather, attended a Christmas concert and ice show, and spent much needed time with friends and family. Unfortunantly, part of my family also encountered illness, although nothing major, so our celebrations will continue in a few weeks once everyone is well. Being Catholic, we already celebrate for 12 days after Christmas, so why not add a few more?

 

For a Noble Purpose – Writing Updates

As part of my writing process, I like to take a break between rounds of edits, allowing me to return to the story with fresh eyes. The “too close to the forest to see the trees” concept. Luckily for me, the break for For a Noble Purpose happened to fall during December which meant enjoying the Christmas season without a writing schedule.

While For a Noble Purpose patiently waited for my return, I researched for Book 2 (Dusk Shall Weep) and worked on plotting some of the finer details. Most of my reading involved James Gilchrist Swan’s book, The Northwest Coast: Or, Three Years’ Residence in Washington Territory, which provides a detailed account of his residence in a Pacific Northwest settlement during the same years my book takes place. Tomorrow, however, it’s back to Book 1 and my editor’s cap!

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For a Noble Purpose is Available Worldwide – June 7, 2022

Pre-Order Ebook Today!

For a Noble Purpose will also be published in paperback, but due to distribution channel limitations, is not currently available for pre-order.

 

In the Night Season Cover Design

I had the honor of designing the covers for all three books in Jennifer Q. Hunt’s inspirational Sorrow and Song trilogy, including her upcoming novel, In the Night Season. This World War II story weaves romance, faith, and suspense in beautiful, heartbreaking, and often unexpected ways. Several times the characters brought me to tears, and I only read the unpolished beta reader version!

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Although In the Night Season is a war story, it takes place across multiple locations. Therefore, the background needed to feel violent and broken, but not descriptive enough for any singular location. To get the night look the author wanted while still highlighting our lead’s facial expressions, we placed the moonlight from behind and changed the original model’s suit to a non-descript grey. Over 40 layers were combined into the final full-cover layout. (Licenses: Cover Model is from Adobe Stock, Additional Photos from Unsplash)

In the Night Season is available now in paperback or to pre-order for eBook release on January 22, 2022. 

If you are an author in need of an affordable cover design and/or interior layout, I am now offering these services on a limited basis. Submit a request via the Author Services page and let’s see what we can create together!

The Book Shop

Need a copy of my books? All four can be read on their own or in order of publication. Click the covers below to purchase! Available online in ebook and paperback or by request from your favorite indie bookseller or local library. For book club appearances, contact me here.

Unsettled Shores Cover - Front     Broken Lines Cover - Final 4-25-2020 small     Across Oceans Cover - 2.27 small     Twisted River Cover Final - 2-27-2020

Due to variability in social media algorithms, the best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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Cover Reveal, Release Date, and a Giveaway!

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Happy November and Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! I have lots of exciting news this month, so let’s get to it!

If you missed my post on Monday, I have now finished drafting and initial edits for For a Noble Purpose! This means I have now written five novels, which still seems completely surreal. Being a published author still seems like a childhood dream rather than an adult reality, but real it is. As always, I thank all of you for your supportive e-mails, comments, and reviews. They give authors powerful motivation!

Now for the big news. Originally, I promised you all a cover blurb and a release date in today’s newsletter. You’ll find that, but I also have a cover to share and a pre-order link! (November was a very productive month, my friends.)

For a Noble Purpose – All the Details!

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What if your worst curse could also be your greatest gift?

Anxious to be free from a family legacy he would rather not claim and a slave-built society he doesn’t support, Tobias Lark believes the only way to find his perfect town is to create it himself. Joined by his three brothers, he sets out for the Washington Territory with a collection of carefully curated supporters, all determined to build a new life in the West. When a young plantation widow unexpectedly joins their party, he fears the curse she carries will crack the solid foundation upon which all his plans are built.

As a Missouri plantation owner’s daughter, Sarah Walcott has always experienced the best society has to offer, yet her charmed life also carries unexplainable tragedy. She’s been widowed six times, always on her wedding day. When a seventh husband meets the same fate, her parents determine to send her to an asylum, where she can no longer be a burden to them or a danger to society. In desperation, Sarah joins the Larks on their way to the West and soon learns that her saviors also harbor extraordinary gifts…ones that may finally bring her the answers she needs.

With each step along the trail, Tobias and Sarah encounter hardships that test their resilience and threaten the idyllic life they’re searching for. Will they stand together in the face of adversity or is the community of Larksong just another unobtainable fantasy?

Available Worldwide – June 7, 2022

Pre-Order Ebook Today!

For a Noble Purpose will also be published in paperback, but due to distribution channel limitations, is not currently available for pre-order.

 

Kate Breslin Paperback Giveaway

51dGt7qZL3LInspirational Historical Fiction author, Kate Breslin’s latest World War I novel released earlier this month, a tale of government secrets, hidden identities, and romance on the Scottish home front. Due to a pre-order mixup, I ended up with two copies of this fantastic novel and have decided to pass one along to you! Giveaway runs through Sunday, November 28, 2021. Due to shipping costs, U.S. residents only please.

Enter the Giveaway!

 

Twisted River in Paperback for $5

I honestly have no idea why Amazon keeps dropping the price on my second novel, Twisted River, but they have yet again. You can now grab a paperback copy for less than $5 USD. This book features fun and complex characters, a marriage of convienience, scandelous secrets, and a twist ending I hope you won’t see coming. Also, if you’ve read my War Across Waters series, you’ll have the opportunity to see the beginnings of a fan favorite, Emil Kisch. Note: You do not need to read the first book in the series to enjoy Twisted River.

Buy Now!

 

The Book Shop

Need a copy of my books? All four can be read on their own or in order of publication. Click the covers below to purchase! Available online in ebook and paperback or by request from your favorite indie bookseller or local library. For book club appearances, contact me here.

Unsettled Shores Cover - Front     Broken Lines Cover - Final 4-25-2020 small     Across Oceans Cover - 2.27 small     Twisted River Cover Final - 2-27-2020

Due to variability in social media algorithms, the best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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Extended Sale and Ask me Anything

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Happy October, readers!

This month has been a great for writing. I’ve passed 75% complete in drafting For a Noble Purpose (Larksong Legacy #1) with plans to finish the last 25% by the end of November. Only about 25,000 words to go. Right now my biggest challenge is figuring out how the climactic scene/big reveal will end up. This scene sets the stage for many plot lines throughout the rest of the series, so it’s important to get it right. Thankfully, I have the world’s best beta readers who won’t hesitate to tell me if it goes completely off track. Over the next few months, I plan to provide the back cover blurb, cover reveal, and if all stays to schedule, an official release date for early summer 2022.

Ask Me Anything: Character Edition

While work continues on For a Noble Purpose, I plan to share a series of character introduction posts for Over the Atlantic and War Across Waters. So, tell me, what would you like to see related to my characters? This could include aesthetic photos, fun facts, favorite quotes, etc. Send them over and you may see the answers included. Any answer that involves a major spoiler will not be posted publicly; however, I will reply to you directly. If you do not have social media, I will also provide summary graphics within my newsletters.

Amazing Deal

In case you missed the announcements, Twisted River is still on paperback sale at Amazon for only $5.99! I’m not sure when this sale will end, so make sure to take advantage while it lasts. Sometimes Amazon chooses to mark books down, but the great part for authors is that they covers the loss, not us. Which means, I will still receive my full profit even at the discounted price. It’s a win for me and you! 

What’s the story? After suffering too many tragedies and one enormous betrayal, Reuben Radford and Maggie Archer thought they could put their complicated history behind them in America. But when the past comes to call, they know that nothing will ever be simple again. As secrets are revealed and old wounds opened, one all encompassing question may be their downfall: Which path do you take when the person you are isn’t who you were supposed to be? Twisted River examines the fine line between what makes us and what breaks us, and the happiness we all must find in the most unexpected of places. Note: You do not need to read the first book in the series to enjoy Twisted River.

Buy Now!

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The Book Shop

Need a copy of my books? All four can be read on their own or in order of publication. Click the covers below to purchase! Available online in ebook and paperback or by request from your favorite indie bookseller or local library. For book club appearances, contact me here.

Unsettled Shores Cover - Front     Broken Lines Cover - Final 4-25-2020 small     Across Oceans Cover - 2.27 small     Twisted River Cover Final - 2-27-2020

Due to variability in social media algorithms, the best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday Fiction Reading Recommendations

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Happy Friday, readers! Here are my reading favorites from July through September.

The Good German Girl by Erica Marie Hogan

World War II Historical Fiction

The Good German Girl“We sometimes forget there can be a difference between a German and a Nazi. When it comes to life and death, a gray veil falls across our view of the world. Even our view of people. You reminded me that no matter what country may have fallen under tyranny, there are a courageous few who will fight back if they must.”

Even though it takes place in 1944, I found The Good German Girl to be an incredibly relatable novel. Even today, our world feels like chaos, pitting friends against friends and entire groups denied our love and compassion simply because they do not hold the same beliefs. We’ve been told to reject anything that does not simply fall in line and anyone who questions why should immediately be silenced. But life is more complex than that. There are good people everywhere, those willing to stand up for the truth and protect their fellow man, even in places as horrible as Nazi Germany. We can have a love for our country and a loyalty to its founding principles even when we do not agree with what is going on inside of it. The Good German Girl dives into these aspects of our humanity, what loyalty truly means, and the lengths one person will go to save another, even when that person isn’t like themselves. This was a gritty and emotional read, bringing me to tears at several points, and so beautiful to experience. For more information, visit: Erica Marie Hogan

To Stand in the Breach by Danielle Grandinetti

Great Depression Historical Fiction

Inheritance battles, labor strikes, and a sweet Irish romance to root for ... To Stand in the Breach is the Depression-era tale you won't want to end.New Release October 12!

To Stand in the Breach is a quick read, but packed with action, well-rounded characters, and memorable moments. The story follows Dr. Katy Wells, one of the first female veterinarians in the small town of Eagle, Wisconsin who, although highly intelligent and able to stand with the best in her field, is often underestimated by the dairy farming community. Her best efforts to prove her worth are met with one roadblock after another through labor strikes, an inheritance battle, and navigating her blossoming romance with police officer, Joey Moore. Danielle Grandinetti gives us an introduction to Irish culture in the 1930’s and what it meant to be a female Irish immigrant during that time. Unfortunately, we really only start digging into the depth of these characters when the novella ends, and I’m looking forward to finding out more in the next novel, available April 12, 2022.

Thank you to the author for an advance copy. I was not required to provide a positive review in exchange for a free copy. All opinions expressed are my own. For more information, visit: Danielle Grandinetti

Secrets in the Mist by Morgan L. Busse

Dystopian Steampunk

IMG_4054“We live in a broken world, but we are not overcome by it.”

While I enjoy steampunk and science fiction, I typically prefer to watch rather than read stories about zombies (or the Turned as they are called here). Thankfully, Secrets in the Mist pleasantly surprised me. With its zipper flyers, metal men, and corsets on the outside, it feels like a steampunk novel which met I am Legend combined with a less graphic version of The Walking Dead’s early years. (You know, when the walkers were scary and it wasn’t just about living people brutally killing each other.) I enjoyed that there was a legitimate-and frighteningly relatable-reason for the existence of the Turned and that even in this fantasy world, Morgan L. Busse isn’t afraid to approach real-world topics like the effects of biowarfare, retaining faith in God even in a less than perfect world, and the value of human life in an overpopulated society. The author literally leaves us hanging in mid-air at the end and all I want is to read the next one…right…now. For more information, visit: Morgan L Busse

You Belong with Me and Until I Met You by Tari Faris

Contemporary Romance

Screenshot 2021-09-24 083901Every contemporary romance reader needs to have Tari Faris on your bookshelf. I picked her books up at the library one day, expecting a quick light romance, but they were so much more than I expected. They also contain deeply moving stories about personal wounds, fractured faith, and forgiveness. All of the characters are intertwined in some way whether through family or friendship, but the books can also stand on their own. These are steamy yet Christian romances (yep, it’s a thing) with swoon-worthy yet imperfect couples and happy endings. I don’t read a lot of contemporary romance, but Tari Faris is one of my new favorite authors! The third book in the series, Since You’ve Been Gone, recently released and I have it on my to-read list for next quarter. For more information, visit: Tari Faris

The Rejected King by Kortney Keisel

Dystopian with a Historical Feel

Untitled design (1)If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I am a huge fan of Kortney Keisel. She published four books this year which is amazing in itself, but all of her books are beautifully written as well.

The Rejected King is the first in her Desolation series, but it can be read at any point. I actually read it after finishing Book 2 and 3. Like her other novels, this one contains all the romance and witty banter we’ve come to know and love with a great introduction to the Desolation world. This book can best be summed up as a royalty version of The Bachelor (but so much better) with 50 ladies all vying for the king’s hand and of course, the king falling for his assistant and the one girl he can’t have. For more information, visit: Kortney Keisel

The Book Shop

Need a copy of my books? All four can be read on their own or in order of publication. Click the covers below to purchase! Available online in ebook and paperback or by request from your favorite indie bookseller or local library. For book club appearances, contact me here.

Unsettled Shores Cover - Front     Broken Lines Cover - Final 4-25-2020 small     Across Oceans Cover - 2.27 small     Twisted River Cover Final - 2-27-2020

Due to variability in social media algorithms, the best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Follow me on:

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COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2021