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.

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COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2020

October Newsletter – Book Tour Countdown

Tomorrow is Halloween which means a few things in our house: only one more day until sugar-induced craziness and several pounds of excess candy sent off to deployed American military and first responders. If you weren’t aware that this service is available, several organizations like Operation Gratitude, Operation Shoebox, and Soldiers’ Angels have drop-off locations across the country or check with your local law enforcement, fire station, or dentist. My family loves it because it’s an easy way to give back to the community and support our troops. Plus, last year we donated over seven pounds, which is seven pounds of sugar I was happy to say goodbye to.

Also, I know many of you may be nervous about trick-or-treating due to COVID. You need to do what’s best for your family, whether that means going out or staying home. My children will be wearing masks and distancing exactly as they would do at school, and as always I continue to pray that whatever festivities you partake in find you safe and healthy.

Latest News

Broken Lines Book TourWe’re only a few days away from the virtual book tour for Broken Lines. I am so blessed to have 22 amazing authors, bloggers, and bookstagrammers participating and am looking forward to hearing their reviews on my latest novels. Make sure to follow their pages to keep up with each day of the tour including additional author interviews, book features, and chances to win an e-book copy of Broken Lines.  A full list of tour stops is included below. Instagram or Blog are linked; however, many tour stops will also participate on Facebook and/or Twitter. 

Amanda M. Barrat

Amanda Tero

Another Open Book

The Book Distiller

Books and Tea with Me

Cart Full of Books

The Clean Read Book Club

Danielle’s Writing Spot

Diana Brandmeyer

Hasty Book List

Heather Manning

Jennifer Q. Hunt

Jenny Knipfer

Joy Within Pages

Leslie L. McKee

Living the Cozy Life

Living That Bookish Life

Marisa Joy

My Glitterary Retreat

Northern Reading

Sassy Bookish Mama

Splashes of Joy

In other news, the first draft of Unsettled Shores is now about 50% complete, which keeps me on schedule for completion by the end of 2020. Stay tuned!

Recommended Reads

This month’s reads included two wonderful historicals linked by a common theme: The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor and All That Was by Tanya E. Williams.

IMG_2851The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor

I love historical fiction, but it’s especially enjoyable to read when it reflects a little known mystery of the past. The Paper Girl of Paris is exactly that. Although the Jordyn Taylor doesn’t include historical notes in her book, the minute I read this book’s blurb, I knew it was based on the true story of Marthe de Florian’s Paris apartment, locked up and unchanged since the Nazi occupation in 1942.

This emotional dual timeline novel switches between Alice in the present and Adalyn in the early 1940’s, telling an engrossing tale of Nazi-occupied Paris and the resistance efforts performed at the time. The story is both tragic and hopeful, switching between moments of victory sliding into moments of despair. Each woman had distinct characteristics and was strong in her own way, but had times of emotional vulnerability too. I did find it interesting how, even though Alice’s grandmother left her the apartment, her role was relatively minor in the overall WW2 story. Where she did play a major role was in highlighting how grief takes its toll on people in different ways. In particular, the author did a great job showing how that grief can cause someone with chronic depression to tailspin. She approached the topic in a kind way and showed that there isn’t one correct way to help our loved ones with mental illness, but that we shouldn’t be afraid to try.

For more information on Jordyn Taylor’s books, visit: https://www.jordynhtaylor.com/

BookBrushImage489All That Was by Tanya E. Williams

Tanya E. Williams’s latest novel, All That Was, released October 20, and I was thrilled to once again beta read for this fantastic author. This novel which I’m dubbing contemporary women’s literature with a historical flair, involves two women, one who can’t confront her ghosts in the present and an actual ghost who can’t let go of the past. Through an old church and a box of diaries, the two women discover all they are through all that was.

What I loved about this book, other than everything, was that it provides a realistic yet hopeful look at the all consuming power of grief. Emily, a lawyer in the present, believes by stifling the pain of her past, she’s moving forward, when in reality she is doing anything but. By comparison, Elizabet, after spending her entire life consumed by grief over her husband’s untimely passing, is now a ghost and refuses to “move on” due to her fear of possibly spending eternity without him. They are both stuck in place and although they do not realize it, have become comfortable in their idleness. Moving forward is frightening, so it is better not to move at all. Through a wonderful cast of supporting characters, All That Was shows the importance of grieving as a community, of having the courage to share our pain with others, and having compassion for those who are still in the midst of their grief journey. Although the two women are unable to physically speak to one another, they must work together to overcome their grief and finally allow themselves to truly live.

Also, this month only, Tanya E. Williams is providing an opportunity to win one e-book copy of All That Was. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by November 20. Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page.

Enter the “All That Was” Giveaway Here

For more information on Tanya E. Williams’s books, visit: https://tanyaewilliams.com

Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of All That Was from the author; however, a positive review was not solicited or required. All opinions expressed are my own. The giveaway copy will be provided directly from Tanya E. Williams.

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

September Newsletter – Two Giveaways!

It’s officially fall (or autumn depending on which you prefer) here in Missouri which means the days are getting cooler, unfortunately also shorter, and the leaves are starting to show their lovely colors. I know some of you have already experienced snow, others are still seeing hot temperatures, and those on the west coast of the U.S.A. and Canada are just trying to brave through another round of forest fires and smoke clouds. Whatever you are living through right now, know that as always my prayers are with you for a safe and healthy month ahead.

Latest News

It’s crazy to think that it’s already been almost a month since the e-book release of my World War I novel, Broken Lines.  I would like to thank each and every one of you who pre-ordered and purchased. If you would be willing to write a review, I would be extremely appreciative. With a wealth of books on the market, reviews are so important to an author in finding the right readers and ensuring that readers find books they’ll enjoy. Even one or two lines makes a big difference!

In other news, I have been diligently working on Unsettled Shores, having completed about 30% of the first draft. My hope is to complete the first draft by the end of December, push out to beta readers around March and be able to publish some time in the fall of 2021. This schedule is tentative and I will provide updates to the timeline as they are available. This book is proving to be my favorite yet with several exciting new characters, multiple settings, a double romance, and even more intrigue, so stay tuned!

Also, if you missed last month’s newsletter, to celebrate the launch of Broken Lines, I am giving away five e-book copies and one signed paperback copy. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by September 28.  Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page. 
BL Giveaway

Enter the “Broken Lines” Giveaway Here

Recommended Reads

IMG_2871

Susie Murphy’s A Matter of Class Irish historical saga series is a fantastic example of why a reader shouldn’t discount an author based on one book alone. When A Class Apart released in 2018, I had been following Susie Murphy for a few months online and decided to pick it up. Although the middle was a little slow, I loved learning about the Irish setting and the characters were well-rounded and immersive. The two main characters, Bridget and Cormac, come from opposite sides of the class divide: he a stable hand and she the lady of the estate where he’s employed. I was rooting for them from the minute Bridget told us how they met as children in the orchard and carved their names in a tree. And then it ended on a cliffhanger …

Wanting to know what happened to the characters, I picked up A Class Entwined and it was five times better than the first one. If you haven’t read the first book and don’t want spoilers, stop reading now. ……… After being torn apart, Bridget is trapped in a loveless marriage and Cormac has been banished from the estate, forced to participate in unspeakable means in order to keep himself out of poverty. Book two was so much grittier, the emotions more raw, and the characters gained a new depth we don’t see in the first one. They’ve seen how harsh life can be and are muddling through it, never expecting to find happiness or each other again. Despite the more somber nature of this novel, it does have a happy ending (and a few twists I wasn’t expecting) and will suck you back in for book three.

By the time A Class Forsaken released, I ordered it right away, finished it in only a few days, and wished I didn’t have to wait so long for the next one. A Class Forsaken takes us farther into the background of both Bridget and Cormac’s families and provides a stronger look at some of the Irish politics that were occurring between the lower class and the aristocracy during that time. Susie Murphy immerses the reader in vivid descriptions of the streets of Dublin, the Irish countryside, and one particularly tragic house fire where I could feel the heat on my face. I loved the hopeful ending and am very excited for book four. There will be six books in all. Normally, I’m not a fan of starting a series when there’s a long stretch of time before it will be finished, but trust me, this series is well worth reading as they’re released.

Also, this month only, Susie Murphy is providing an opportunity to win one paperback copy of the winner’s choice. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by October 28.  Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page.

Enter the “A Matter of Class” Giveaway Here

Content note: This series does contain profanity, brief open door sex scenes, and some violent episodes. I personally felt these were not excessive, tastefully done, and made sense within the context of the story. Each reader has a different level of acceptable content, however, and must decide for themselves.

Books reviewed above were not provided by the author and a positive review was not solicited or required. All opinions expressed are my own. The giveaway copy will be provided directly from Susie Murphy.

Upcoming Events

Broken Lines is going on virtual book tour! During the month of November, various book bloggers and bookstagrammers will be posting their photos and reviews of Broken Lines. Some will also be including author interviews and giveaways. A full list of tour stops is included below with links. Instagram or Blog are linked; however, many tour stops will also participate on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Amanda M. Barrat

Another Open Book

The Book Distiller

Books and Tea with Me

Cart Full of Books

The Clean Read Book Club

Danielle’s Writing Spot

Diana Brandmeyer

Hasty Book List

Heather Manning

Jennifer Q. Hunt

Joy Within Pages

Leslie L. McKee

Live the Cozy Life

Living That Bookish Life

Marisa Joy

My Glitterary Retreat

Northern Reading

Sassy Bookish Mama

Splashes of Joy

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!

cropped-twitter-3-books.jpg

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