Saturday, March 21, 2015

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund


ONE MONTH...ONE DECISION

Due to her parents' promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie prepared herself to become a nun the day she turns eighteen. But a month before her birthday, everything changes when a friend of her father's enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents' will left a second choice--if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow. 

Soon, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the cloister is the best place after all. If only one of the knights--the one who appears the most guilty--had not already captured her heart. 


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This book is full of adventure, danger, romance and courage. Lady Rosemarie is now an adult and is suddenly faced with a choice she didn't know she had. This is a great book for young ladies because it shows how you can come into adulthood with grace and wisdom. She was totally new to courting but handled herself well. Although young, she is not weak. She has compassion for the people that she rules and will not tolerate the cruel tortures of the times. The three knights are great, each in their own unique way. They are the best of friends that even courting the same girl did not destroy. Two are fun loving and one is more standoffish, but not because he doesn't feel drawn to her. I don't want to give away any spoilers but I can say that I love the one she chooses the most. I am looking forward to reading the other two knight's stories in the second and third books. I recommend this book to preteen and teen as well as any age above that.  GREAT book!

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About the Author...
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances for both adults and teens. As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she's not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.  She loves reading almost as much as she loves, writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee. 


HER BOOKS

The Hearts of Faith Series...
The Preacher's Bride
The Doctor's Lady
Rebellious Heart

The Michigan Brides Collection...
Unending Devotion
A Noble Groom
Captured by Love

The Beacons of Hope Series...
Out of the Storm: A Novella
Love Unexpected
Hearts Made Whole
Out of the Storm

The Noblest Knights Series
The Vow: A Novella
An Uncertain Choice
A Daring Sacrifice - March 2016



Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Vow: A Novella by Jody Hedlund




Young Rosemarie finds herself drawn to Thomas, the son of the nearby baron. But just as her feelings begin to grow, a man carrying the Plague interrupts their hunting party. While in forced isolation, Rosemarie begins to contemplate her future—could it include Thomas? Could he be the perfect man to one day rule beside her and oversee her parents’ lands? 

Then Rosemarie is summoned back to her castle in haste. The disease has spread, and her family is threatened. And the secret she discovers when she returns could change her future forever.

This novella is a prequel to Jody Hedlund’s An Uncertain Choice



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What a great prequel. I love getting the back story to the main character in a book. This one takes place several years before An Uncertain Choice. It shows the type of person Rosemarie is and her relationship with her parents. It gives you a look at the time period the book is set in. You easily learn to love Rosemarie and want to know the rest of her story. I recommend reading this before you start An Uncertain Choice just to give yourself a bit more background information as you begin the book. Great for preteens and teens, plus anyone older than that. 

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About the Author...
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances for both adults and teens. As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she's not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.  She loves reading almost as much as she loves, writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee. 




HER BOOKS

The Hearts of Faith Series...
The Preacher's Bride
The Doctor's Lady
Rebellious Heart

The Michigan Brides Collection...
Unending Devotion
A Noble Groom
Captured by Love

The Beacons of Hope Series...
Out of the Storm: A Novella
Love Unexpected
Hearts Made Whole
Out of the Storm

The Noblest Knights Series
The Vow: A Novella
An Uncertain Choice
A Daring Sacrifice - March 2016

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

Born A Baron's Daughter,

Lady merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes know as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's know. 


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I LOVE fairy tales. This one was really fun because she is like a female version of Robin Hood, in a way. But there is so much more to it than that story. The writing is very well done. You are given plenty of description, not too much, not too little. She went from different points of view, not just one characters viewpoint. Merry is strong and yet compassionate. She commands respect in her actions but behind it all is the love she has for the children. Timothy is a typical younger son wishing he could find his place in life, living under the shadow of what his older siblings have accomplished. But his family is loving and supportive, so it seems to be mostly in his own mind that he needs to compete somehow. He is smart but acts impulsively at times. There are many memorable characters among the orphaned children. The story is longer than some but I personally like more depth instead of less and having the story over quickly. I found myself thinking about the characters and where I had left off as I went throughout my day. I looked forward to getting back to the book to find out where the author took them next. 

I recommend this book to preteens that enjoy reading, for some who don't, the length may be too much for them. Teens and over will enjoy this book. It is clean but is not lacking in depth and emotional connection. The spiritual content is very real as Merry struggles with her belief after tragedy and hatred took her family from her. I give this book 5 stars. I look forward to the next two books in this series. If you haven't read the author interview that I posted last week, check it out. 

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Dina Sleiman writes stories of passion and grace. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, won an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Selah Awards. Also look for her novels, Love in Three-Quarter TimeDance from Deep Within, and her Valiant Hearts series with Bethany House Publishers. Dina serves as an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire Publishing as well, and she loves to teach at writers conferences throughout the US.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Guest Post by Author Dina Sleiman (Valiant Hearts Series)

Please welcome Dina Sleiman today. I know you are going to love her new series!!! 

From Bethany House Publishers

Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior, prepare to meet your historical counterparts!


Hello and thanks for having me today. I would like to share with you about my YA inspirational medieval adventure/romance series. Yeah, that’s a lot of adjectives. LOL. This series is pretty unique, especially in the Christian market, and so requires quite a bit of description. But let me start by sharing a little of how it came about. A few summers ago I saw a picture of a female knight, strong and courageous, bold and valiant, and I realized that somewhere in my many years of marriage and raising children, I had lost my fight. And you know what: I wanted it back!

 
Photo by Silly Little Sparrow

Meanwhile, I had been considering trying my hand at a young adult medieval romance series for several years, but I didn’t have a strong idea. Quite a few more months would pass before everything came together for me. I was walking and praying about a series concept, when the BBC’s new Robin Hood came to mind with its bold Maid Marian who is a crusader for the poor in her own right, its female Djaq, and its tough villainesses. That’s when it hit me. Put strong, young medieval women in legendary male roles, et voila, my Valiant Hears Series was born.

I’m so thankful for this opportunity to create strong and courageous role models for young women. I feel that all too often Christian girls are sent mixed messages. “You can be whatever you want to be, but you should be…” (insert small box of your denominational choosing here.) I want to inspire young women to be all that they can be and empower them to reach their full potential in Christ.

“What is a Valiant Heart heroine?” you might ask. A young woman who is both feminine and strong, vulnerable and tough, gentle and passionate. She is fearless, intelligent, and full of life. A heroine who contains within her both the tender beauty of a blossoming flower and the fierceness of a lioness. One who uniquely reflects her creator God and is willing to pursue her dreams with all her heart. A woman who is open to love, but not defined by a man.





Each book in the Valiant Hearts Series will feature a strong, young medieval woman in a traditionally male role as she lives out a story of adventure, romance, and faith. The series is geared toward teens, but will appeal to adults as well


Shown above is Merry Ellison, my heroine for the Robin Hood inspired Dauntless. Merry will go to any length to save the outlawed children of Ellsworth from the treacherous King John. Dauntless is available now online, as an ebook, and in local bookstores. 




In book 2, Chivalrous, Gwendolyn Barnes longs to be a knight, but such cannot be her fate, even in the Camelot inspired region where she dwells. Meanwhile, her father intends to use her as a marriage pawn. In this story that flips the Lancelot/Guinevere legend on its head, Gwendolyn struggles with issues of gender and worth as well as her faith in God. Chivalrous is available for pre-order online and will release in September.


My heroine Rosalind for book 3 (working title Relentless) has a role in book 2 as well. I'm picturing Katie McGrath from the series Merlin. She serves as Gwendolyn's handmaid in book 2, but in book 3 she will face her own adventure as she goes on crusade in search of redemption. I just started writing this one, and it will be fun to see where this story takes me.

And I have ideas for more: pirates, body guards, spies, even a quest!

I hope you will consider giving my Valiant Hearts Series a try, or perhaps purchasing it for some special young woman in your life! And please join me on my Valiant Hearts blog to stay in touch. http://valiantheartsseries.blogspot.com/

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Dina Sleiman writes stories of passion and grace. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, won an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Selah Awards. Also look for her novels, Love in Three-Quarter TimeDance from Deep Within, and her Valiant Hearts series with Bethany House Publishers. Dina serves as an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire Publishing as well, and she loves to teach at writers conferences throughout the US.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Guest Post by Author Jody Hedlund (Noble Knights Series)

With the release of her newest book, An Uncertain Choice, I am excited to have Jody on my blog today answering some questions. 




After writing for the adult market, why did you decide to transition to young adult books?

I have five children and three of them are now teens. That means that over the past few years I've ended up reading a lot of books in the Young Adult genre not only to stay abreast of what my kids are reading, but also to have discussions about the topics and world views within the books.
All that to say, I've fallen in love with reading YA books! Naturally, as I've fallen in love with reading them, I had to consider the possibility of writing them. And while I have a lot of other things going on my publishing career, I decided I wanted to make this move into YA now while I still had teens at home to read my books (and give me feedback!).

What's the story about and who are the main characters? 

The heroine is a beautiful and wealthy young woman named Lady Rosemarie. She's on the cusp of her eighteenth birthday and knows her destiny is to fulfill a vow made by her parents. In light of their infertility, her parents had promised to give their firstborn back to God for a life of service and celibacy when she turned eighteen. Now with only one month before her birthday, Lady Rosemarie receives the news that there is an exception to the Ancient Vow–if she finds true love and is married by her birthday, then she's exempt from having to become a nun.

Faced with a growing loneliness and the possibility of losing control over the people she rules with compassion, Lady Rosemarie questions whether life in a cloister is really the best choice for her life. She agrees to allow the three handsomest and noblest knights in the land the chance to win her heart in one month.

Enter on stage, the three heart throbs! Sir Collin, Sir Bennet, and Sir Derrick. Each one is completely honorable and noble in his own way. Lady Rosemarie will have a tough choice ahead of her. Now you'll have to read the book to find out who she chooses and why!

How do you believe this story relates to the lives of readers?

Young people today really enjoy reality TV shows, especially ones that involve contests. My teens love watching Survivor, The Amazing Race, and even American Idol. There's just something about real competition that attracts us.

An Uncertain Choice is a little bit like reality TV, especially a show like Bachlorette (although a much sweeter and cleaner version!) where a young woman is presented with three really fantastic men. In some ways, she can't go wrong if she chooses any of the men. But readers get to join the adventure as she must narrow down her choices even as the clock ticks away to the day of her eighteenth birthday.

Aside from the many issues related to dating and marriage, the book also tackles issues like chafing under too much supervision, learning to become a strong leader, and how to display courage in different ways.

How do you hope parents will use this book with their kids?

While the book is an exciting and entertaining story that young women will enjoy reading, it's also a book that I hope facilitates discussion about dating, love, and marriage.

I've developed a free downloadable discussion guide to correspond with the book chapter by chapter that will is available on my website. It's my desire that mothers (or grandmothers) will read the book as a disciplining tool with their daughters and then use the story and study guide as a way to talk about relationship issues that often get overlooked.

An Uncertain Choice would also be perfect for mentors, small groups, youth groups, or Bible studies, where girls to come together to read and discuss the book as a way to spur thoughts about God's plans for dating.

What was the very first story you ever wrote? Was it ever published?

The first story I wrote was probably in first grade in a spiral notebooks, a book about princesses, princes and happily-ever-afters. And of course, it's long gone in the trash! But as far as my adulthood writing career, I wrote five novels that are collecting dust in a closet. They were my practice books, the books that helped me grow and become the writer I am today. 

Why do you write?

I write because I love telling stories. I love the quote by Toni Morrison because it sums up part of why I write: "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." Essentially I write the stories that I LOVE to read! Of course there are other, deeper reasons I write, too. But that's one of the main ones. 

What are your hobbies?

My main hobbies when I'm not writing or reading? Drinking coffee and eating chocolate, of course!

No, Seriously. At this stage in my life because I'm busy being a mom, I don't have much time for hobbies. However, I do make it a point of running and keeping my body fit. And I also try to carve out fun family time each week. I love taking family bike rides, playing games, and having family movie nights. 


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Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves fairy- tales and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five children. When she's not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading.

Contact Jody:

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com
For lots of fun pictures, follow me on Pinterest: pinterest.com/jodyhedlund
I get personal on Instagram: instagram.com/JodyHedlund/
Or you're welcome to email me at: jodyhedlund@jodyhedlund.com