News and Reviews

Friday Fiction – All That Shines and Whispers & The Promised Prince

Friday Fiction

Welcome to the February 2021 edition of the Friday Fiction newsletter! This month I’m reviewing two fantastic 5-star reads: All That Shines and Whispers by Jennifer Craven and The Promised Prince by Kortney Keisel.

56303099._SY475_ (1)All That Shines and Whispers by Jennifer Craven

World War II Switzerland and Austria

I am thrilled to be on Jennifer Craven’s launch team for this fantastic World War II novel, releasing on February 25, 2021. 

After the Nazis force Gerald and Marlene Weiss to flee Austria for neighboring Switzerland, they are struggling to maintain a normal life for their seven children. They go about their days as they might have back home – work, school, family dinners – but the reality of their happy little sing-along family is much darker than the children know. At least all the children except for Lara. Homesick for Austria and heartbroken over her boyfriend’s betrayal, she knows the secret her parents hide, and she’s not sure if she can live a lie forever. But is she willing to risk her family’s future in order to have the life she wants?

All that Shines and Whispers is only 275 pages, but it packs a punch in such a short span. I finished this novel in only two days because I couldn’t leave the characters alone. There are ten people in the Weiss family and Jennifer Craven makes them all feel like individuals with their own unique personality traits. As a writer, I can tell you that it isn’t easy to write a scene with ten characters and ensure no one speaks too much or is left out entirely. Jennifer Craven made me care about every person in the Weiss family, tugging on every heartstring I have – maternal, spousal, and the memory of young love. They’re a family I won’t soon forget and Jennifer Craven is an author I will definitely return to.

GIVEAWAY: Jennifer Craven is providing an opportunity to win one signed paperback of All That Shines and Whispers. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by February 23, 2021. Winner will be contacted directly. Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page. For more information on Jennifer Craven’s books, visit:  https://www.jencraven.com/

Enter the Giveaway

THE PROMISED PRINCE.b1306708The Promised Prince by Kortney Keisel 

Technically Futuristic Dystopian but reads more like a mix of High Fantasy and Historical 

I followed Kortney Keisel online for several months before The Promised Prince came out. After seeing all the rave reviews from her advance readers (and such an intriguing cover filling my Instagram feed), I ordered my copy as soon as it became available. I am so glad that I did.

This is not your typical Dystopian story. If you’ve read books such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, or 1984, put your assumptions aside and read this with new eyes. (All three of those novels are great reads; they just aren’t a good comparison to The Promised Prince.) To me, this novel felt like a blend of high fantasy and historical fiction, while actually taking place in the future. 200 years have passed since The Great Desolation, an incident which caused the world as we know it to be destroyed and rebuilt on top of North and South America. At that point in time, the Council of Essentials was created to dictate law and separate the world into two classes: nobility and everyone else. The concept of the Council of Essentials was particularly interesting as they had control of who received what and what was deemed “essential.” It’s a topic that wasn’t hit on enough in the novel, but relates so well to our world today as we struggle with who deserves basic human rights such as health, dignity, and even life.

Living within this world are two young nobles in love, Trev and Reena. Not being completely forthright at their first meeting, Reena assumes Trev to be a palace soldier and Trev (the future king) assumes Reena to be the princess to whom he is betrothed, but has never actually met. There’s one problem though. Reena is the daughter of a queen, but it’s her stepsister, Seran, who is promised to Trev. What follows is a fantastic, often hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking tale of love lost, won, and sacrificed. I, of course, rooted for Trev and Reena right from the start, but the author threw a wrench in my expected allegiances by making me also like Reena’s competition, Seran. Her stepsister is kind, caring, and graceful and its these traits that make the ending all the more emotional. This novel leaves us asking which is more important: duty to country or duty to oneself? It’s an action-packed romance not to be missed.

GIVEAWAY: Kortney Keisel is providing an opportunity to win one signed paperback of The Promised Prince. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by February 23, 2021. Winner will be contacted directly. Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page. For more information on Kortney Keisel’s books, visit:  https://kortneykeisel.com/

Enter the Giveaway

 

Share the Book Love

Read it? Loved it? Tell others by writing a review!

Need a copy of any of my books? All three can be read on their own or in order of publication. Click the photo below to grab your copy!

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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 Home page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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Release Date and Cover Blurb for Unsettled Shores

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Nearly a month has passed in 2021 and what a busy month it has been! As always, I continue to pray for each and every one of you that your new year might be blessed in abundance. I have some exciting updates this month, so let’s dive right in!

Writing Updates

It’s always an exciting time when an author can finally see all the pieces of a novel coming together and equally exciting when those details can be shared with you, the readers! Unsettled Shores travels three countries during WW1 (United States, England, and France), making it more challenging to write than its predecessor, but the end result is one I am proud to share. The latest draft will be off for beta reader review in just a few days and then I will dive into a re-read of Broken Lines, ensuring continuity between the two novels.

Ready for your first look at the back cover blurb? Here it is!

us-blurb-1

Now for the detail you’ve all been waiting for – the release date. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been able to move my original release up from late summer or fall to … May 15, 2021! Over the next few months, I will be revealing the cover and pre-order details to newsletter subscribers first, so make sure to keep an eye out.

Recommended Reading

January marked the first month of dividing my newsletter into two: one for writing updates and one for book reviews. The first Friday Fiction newsletter released on January 15 with recommendations for Silver Moon by Jenny Knipfer and The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green. Thank you to Jenny Knipfer for providing a giveaway copy of her fantastic WW1 novel!

February’s Friday Fiction will be posted on February 12 with reviews for The Promised Prince by Kortney Keisel and All That Shines and Whispers by Jennifer Craven. Plus, both authors are providing a chance to win one copy of these new releases!

53425786._SY475_ 30259051 THE PROMISED PRINCE.b1306708 56303099._SY475_ (1)

Read a book you’ve loved? Tell others by writing a review! Reviews help authors connect with readers and help readers find books they’ll enjoy.

The Book Shop

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

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

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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COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2021

Friday Fiction – Silver Moon & The Mark of the King

Friday Fiction

Welcome to the new Friday Fiction newsletter! As noted in my previous monthly newsletter, I have split my updates into two with recommended reads mid-month and writing updates at the end of the month. Let me know your thoughts on this change!

This month I’m reviewing two fantastic 5-star reads: Silver Moon by Jenny Knipfer and The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green.

53425786._SY475_Silver Moon by Jenny Knipfer 

World War 1 Canada and the Western Front, 1914-1917

Although Silver Moon is the third in a series, I found it made for a highly enjoyable standalone novel. The story switches between life on the Canadian home front during WW1 and the trenches on the Western Front. While I enjoyed both aspects, I found the chapters involving the soldiers to be the most compelling and beautifully written. Having researched World War I myself, I can say that Jenny Knipfer does an excellent job of showing the horrors the soldiers endured and the difficult decisions made in the heat of battle. As the story progresses, we see characters perform actions they never would have done prior to the war and suspect the worst of friends they used to trust. Back home, their families have little knowledge of the reality they face, worrying only that tomorrow will herald news of another death. Each character brings a unique perspective to the war, allowing every reader to ask the question, “How might I feel if it was me?” I found this novel to be an emotional ride, but certainly one I would recommend.

One item to note: At the beginning of the novel, Jenny Knipfer has an interesting writing style involving a number of time jumps amid lots of character introductions. It took me several chapters, but once I became familiar with the story’s rhythm, I was completely immersed. If you are struggling in the beginning, don’t give up! There are so few novels about Canada’s involvement in World War I, and I found this one to be rich in detail.

GIVEAWAY: Jenny Knipfer is providing an opportunity to win one e-book copy of Silver Moon. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by January 26, 2021. Winner will be contacted directly. Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page. For more information on Jenny Knipfer’s books, visit: https://jennyknipfer.com/

Enter the Giveaway

 

30259051The mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

Paris, France and French Louisiana, 1719

After having read Veiled in Smoke last year and now this novel, Jocelyn Green has quickly become one of my go-to authors (with a rather large backlist I might add). She has such a way with words and an ability to write incredible amounts of description without being overly thick, boring, or unnecessarily flowery. Mark of the King pulled me in and held me and when I finally came up for air, I had to look around to reorient myself with the world. I love books like that.

This story starts with death, deceit, and drudgery and ends with hope, but it is not a hope earned easily. The heroine of our story, Julianne, is a midwife imprisoned for killing her patient, although she had no intention to do so. Branded with the mark of the king, a French symbol given to all murderers, she accepts a place on a ship bound for French Louisiana after being forced to marry a fellow convict she only met that day. What follows is a tale of heartbreak, not only for Julianne and her new husband, but for her fellow colonists, all trying to make sense of a world which looks nothing like the salvation they were promised. In the end, there is grace and love and forgiveness, but it does not come without sacrifice.

Jocelyn Green’s next book, Shadows of the White City, releases February 2, 2021. More information on her books can be found here: http://www.jocelyngreen.com/

Share the Book Love

Read it? Loved it? Tell others by writing a review!

Need a copy of any of my books? All three can be read on their own or in order of publication. Click the photo below to grab your copy!

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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 Home page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2021

December Newsletter – 2020 in Review

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Well, readers, we made it! Tomorrow marks the first day of 2021 and the end of 2020. This year has been unlike any other in living history with too many unusual and crazy events to even begin to list. Despite the tough times, however, there was a lot of good in 2020 as well. I witnessed how neighbors stepped up to help one another, often giving their time, talent, and treasure when they doubted they had enough to give. 2020 forced us to look at life in a different way and find the good in every day, even when we might not feel like getting out of bed in the morning. I have these days too. I understand how the uncertainty and anxiety can feel so overwhelming. In those times we do as Anna did in Frozen 2: “Just do the next right thing.” One step at a time, we get through it, and we get through it together.

From a writing perspective, 2020 actually ended up being a great year. I wasn’t able to have any in-person book signings, so it meant finding other ways to engage. I organized my first virtual book tour with 22 participants, led my first Facebook takeover with American Historical Novels, hosted the Two on Tuesday Author Spotlight program, joined Instagram and MeWe, published my third novel in August, nearly finished drafting my fourth (Est. Early Fall 2021), and began the outline for my fifth (Est. Winter 2022). Through social media and newsletter engagement, I made some wonderful new author and reader friends and had the opportunity to talk to folks from all over the world. Based on some of these interactions, I’m also making a change for my newsletter starting in January 2021. I will be splitting my updates into two. Updates related to my own books, events, and giveaways will continue to be available at the end of each month, while book reviews and giveaways for other authors will be available mid-month. 

January 15th will be the first edition of the monthly Friday Fiction newsletter, featuring two of my 2020 5-star reads: Silver Moon by Jenny Knipfer and Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green.

So tell me, what were some of your best accomplishments and/or favorite reads of 2020 (my favorites are listed below)? I want to hear all the good things that happened to you this year! Wishing you all health and blessings in 2021!

2020 Reading Review

2020 was a great year for reading! 5-Star indicates a book I absolutely loved, couldn’t put down, and would possibly read again. 4-Star indicates a book that I highly enjoyed and would definitely recommend, but probably wouldn’t read again. Many of these novels also have a review posted in either a past newsletter or on Goodreads.

2020 Covers - 5 star

2020 Covers - 4 star

Share the Book Love

Read it? Loved it? Tell others by writing a review!

Need a copy of any of the books? All three can be read on their own or in order of publication. Click the photo below to grab your copy!

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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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COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2020

November Newsletter – Giving Thanks

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the United States and I would like to take this time to express my thanks to you, my wonderful readers. I am so grateful for your continued interest and support, for your kind comments on social media, and thoughtful personal e-mails. Your words, whether they are few or many, have brought more joy than you may realize. This holiday season, I encourage each of you to continue to spread messages of hope wherever you can. Write an encouraging note to a friend (perhaps even through snail mail), call a family member who you aren’t able to speak to very often, or maybe even send an anonymous gift asking nothing in return. The media is quick to focus on the anger and division in our world, but it is gratitude, kindness, and faith that unifies us. As always I continue to pray for each of you.

Latest News

Broken Lines Book Tour

The Broken Lines Virtual Book Tour was the first tour I’ve run and I’m pleased to say it was a great success. It’s always exciting (and a little nerve-wracking) to hear what readers think, and I was pleased to read all the wonderful reviews combined with so many lovely photographs. All the reviewers really made the cover of Broken Lines shine with autumn colors! If you missed any stops on the tour, it’s not too late. Giveaways have ended, but you can still check out the reviews and author interviews. Don’t forget, there are still two stops remaining!

If you’re on Facebook or Goodreads, next month I will be doing a takeover on the American Historical Novels group. Each day from December 13-18, I will be posting some special behind the scenes tidbits related to Broken Lines. As newsletter subscribers, some of the details you will have heard, but others are new. I will also be hosting a paperback giveaway with every comment another chance to win. 

And last, but never least, progress continues to go well for Unsettled Shores. I have taken my first pass at editing the first half and plan to finish drafting the rest by the end of December. Fingers crossed that I can get a draft to my beta readers by March 1!

Recommended Reads

Book cover for Some Through the Fire by Jennifer Q. HuntSome Through the Fire by Jennifer Q. Hunt

Being a writer of World War 1 fiction, I’m always interested to read a book during this time period, especially when it’s written by a fellow indie author. Some Through the Fire is far more than a standard Great War story though. Jennifer Q. Hunt manages to pack a lot into only 274 pages taking us from 1917 to 1920 in wonderful fashion. We follow our main character, Violet, over these years as she comes to terms with her family’s life being upended again and again and wondering if there will ever truly be a time of peace or a future with the husband she longs for.

The story begins with the Atlanta Fire of 1917, a historical event I had never heard of and found very interesting to learn about, especially after reading Jocelyn Green’s Veiled in Smoke earlier this year which focused on the Chicago Fire of 1871. Some Through the Fire takes the reader through the devastation of that event then quickly transitions into the horrors of the first world war, showing detail from the trenches to the home front while incorporating a wealth of research without feeling like an information dump. Next we experience the devastation of the Spanish Influenza followed by a quick romp through the early jazz age and a look at the Boston police strike of 1919, another event of which I was not aware. Given the current events of our world, I found the influenza and police strike riots to be timely, thought-provoking and well-written.

Although the book is ultimately focused on Violet’s journey, Jennifer Hunt makes us deeply invested in the side characters’ stories as well. Each one seemed completely relatable, even when I hadn’t experienced exactly what the character was going through. I think we can all relate to the concepts of loss, grief, physical pain, as much as joy, excitement, and love. At its heart, this is very much a Christian-centered novel where the characters are unashamed to discuss their beliefs, or lack thereof. There is even one atheist character who constantly challenges Violet’s firm Christian convictions, ultimately making her even stronger in her faith. I also loved that the author was able to incorporate humor throughout such an otherwise dismal time in these characters’ lives with many witty lines including one continuing joke about a pair of foo cats found in their uncle’s library. Watching these characters grow (either in good or bad ways) kept me flipping all 274 pages in a single weekend.

Also, this month only, Jennifer Q. Hunt is providing an opportunity to win one e-book and one paperback copy of Some Through the Fire. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by December 18. Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page.

Enter the “some through the fire” Giveaway Here

For more information on Jennifer Q. Hunt’s books, visit: http://www.jenniferqhunt.com

 

Second Chances by Valerie Howard

Second Chances continues Valerie Howard’s inspirational style of immersive characters and relatable family situations. Even though I read a beta reader version (aka: not completely polished), I still loved this story from beginning to end. The story follows Kate Wilson, a mom who according to her blog, has a picture perfect life when in reality she is barely managing to tread waters. Even though she’s lost her kids’ respect and her husband’s love, she continues to believe that she can somehow blog her way to a happy ending. It’s a familiar story in today’s world when many people choose to share a fake internet life with their 500 “friends” than risk vulnerability with a few loyal ones. As Second Chances demonstrates though, vulnerability is the only true way to develop real relationships, ones that depend on face-to-face communications and no technology to succeed. As a mother and wife, I think this story would be relatable to any parent who has ever felt less than,  wondered if they could ever measure up to the world’s expectations, and perhaps most importantly doubted if their past could ever make them worthy of God’s love. It’s a powerful story of redemption, faith, and family and one that I highly recommend.

Second Chances is the fifth book in Valerie Howard’s New England Inspirations series, but only the second of hers that I have read, with the first being Saving Faith. Although these books are part of a series, each contains unique characters and can be read on its own.

Also, this month only we have two giveaway opportunities! Valerie Howard is also providing an opportunity to win one e-book copy of Second Chances. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by December 18. Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page.

Enter the “Second Chances” Giveaway Here

For more information on Valerie Howard’s books, visit: https://valeriehowardbooks.wordpress.com

Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of Second Chances from the author; however, a positive review was not solicited or required. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Share the Book Love

Read it? Loved it? Tell others by writing a review!

Need a copy of any of the books? All three can be read on their own or in order of publication. Click the photo below to grab your copy!

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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 2020