Monday, November 5, 2018

Deadly Obsession Book Review


Find it on: Goodreads | Kindle | Paperback | Audiobook
Age Appropriate For: 15 and up
Best for Ages: 15-20
Description: As a teenage FBI agent Kennedy Stevens has put her life on the line numerous times in order to catch criminals. She believes it's her purpose in life, but every time she helps to put one predator away it seems that ten more are waiting to take their place. Kennedy has pretty much seen it all in her life on the job but past events in her personal life have caused her to turn her back on God and the faith she grew up with. Kennedy is used to people trying to kill her, it's all part of the job, however when someone begins stalking her, things get personal. Will Kennedy allow the world to make her bitter? Or will she give it all to God? Will a killer's Deadly Obsession with Kennedy prove fatal? Find out in this breath taking new inspirational suspense novella from author Caitlyn Santi and prepare yourself for a thrilling ride that will bring you to the edge of your seat.

I think one of that hardest thing for me, as both a lover of books and an author, is to rate first novels. This book is no exception. Santi has so much talent and the book, but it lacked some of the polish of an experienced writer. However, she isn’t an experienced writer, so it isn’t really that surprising.

First off, this book deals with older men preying on young girls. This is done in a non-graphic way. However, I wouldn’t hand this to young or sensitive readers. However, older teens will find this an appropriate read.

This story has a very classic, yet fun set up. A young person doing a job that normally only adults do. While it isn’t a huge secret, her classmates don’t know. She is leading a double-life so that she can help others. It may be classic, but it works and is fun. I liked that it felt less like Kennedy was lying to her school friends about what she was doing and more like her work and her school life were separate things. I get tired of most books/movies that are full of deceit to keep this kind of storyline going.

The faith message was good for the age group that this is targeted for. For older readers, it will probably feel too simplistic. Dealing with why bad things happen to good people, and anger toward God are some of the things dealt with.

Did I mention that there is an awesome sibling relationship? Well, there is. Kennedy works with her brother. Her brother is protective, loving, and tries to help Kennedy deal with the pain in her past. They also have loving, and supportive parents.

There is a lot of tense scenes in this, a lot of action, and you probably won’t want to put the book down. The villain is pretty evil and scary. As I said before, this isn’t a book for young or sensitive readers.

As I listened to the audiobook, I also have to say that the narrator, Peggy Sowersby, did a wonderful job. While not a youthful voice, she gave the story a very youthful feel.
I recommend this book to teens who like action, suspense, with a dash of faith.


I received this audiobook from the author for the purpose of writing a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All the thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Presumption and Partiality Book Review


Find it on: Goodreads | Kindle | Paperback
Age Appropriate For: All Ages
Best for Ages: 12 and up.

With this book, this series is drawn to a close. That would be sad, but it is hard to be sad when the final book is so amazing. I think that those who might worry that the final book might not live up to their expectations can stop worrying, because this was amazing.

Jones did an amazing job weaving Jane Austen's original stories into farm life in Arizona. I think out of the whole series, this had to be the most creative setting. The farm life fit the story so well and gave it so much depth.

I was blown away with some of the faith and moral elements that were seamlessly woven into the story without ever feeling preachy. I especially loved how Alice (Jane) had feelings for Richard (Mr. Bingley), but still worked to guard her heart. So many books make either it all about feelings or make it sound like you shouldn't have feelings at all. I appreciated that Alice had feelings, but didn't let them get out of hand.

Eloise was a wonderful leading lady with just the right balance of faith, spunk, and lady-likeness. I loved her and felt a kinship with her, as I suspect many girls will. She makes some rash judgments but learns from her mistakes. Above all, she goes to God for help.

Sidney Dennison (Darcy) was also very well done. At first, I wasn't sure about how him as an Indian was going to work, but in the end, I couldn't have thought of anything better. I like the depth of character and his faith.

Two major changes were made from the original story. The first was the interaction of the parents. While Mrs. Bailey is given to headaches, complaining, and matchmaking, her husband is loving and her daughters respectful. This was a beautiful change that was inspiring. The second was how the story ended. While the story’s actual ending didn’t change all that dramatically it was just...so much more satisfying. I can’t say any more because I don't want to give it away.

Overall, this was a beautiful retelling and a fitting end to the series. I highly recommend it to those who have loved the other books in the series, enjoy Jane Austen retellings, or those who love books with strong faith messages.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Solve by Christmas Book Review


Find it on: Goodreads | Kindle | Paperback 
Age Appropriate For: 13 - 30
Best for Ages: 13 and up (topic of suicide, very mild romance)
Description: When sabotage threatens the Rudin Sugar Factory, Detective Jasper Hollock believes this will be his first real case. But dear Mr. Rudin—the only father Jasper has ever known—holds a different assignment for his private investigator. 

“I’ve struck a deal with God, Jasper, and you’re my angel.”

Mr. Rudin charges Jasper to build a “case” of reasons for his employer to continue his life. If he fails, Mr. Rudin will end it in suicide on Christmas night.

As the incidents at the factory become life threatening, Jasper’s attempts at dissuading Mr. Rudin prove futile. Time is ticking. Jasper must solve both cases by Christmas before Mr. Rudin and the company are dragged to perdition.

This was the best Christmas book I read this year. I bought this one and read it toward the beginning of the Christmas season. It isn't a light read. A man is threatening to end his own life. However, I'm really glad I read this story.

This story had the feel of a Sherlock Holmes mystery, but with a distinct Christian feel to it. Detective Jasper Hollock is a lovable character with real faults, a good brain, and fun quirks. He is someone you can feel sorry for, cheer for, and wish you could be his friend. I really hope that this is not the last book with Jasper in it. I would love it if this became a series.

The side characters were amazing. Denny was lovable and a great balance for Jasper. He added a lot of comic relief. Miss Leslie was one of my favorite characters. There are some hints of romance, but there isn't any touching or even much noticing.

There are two mysteries going on at once in this book. The first being a candy factory being sabotaged. The second is Mr. Rudin has asked Jasper to make a case for him to stay alive, as he is thinking of ending his life. The first mystery kept this book from being completely down. The mysteries were both built well, and the resolution was satisfying.

Schamel tackled a big topic - the meaning of life and the reason to keep living. She lived up to the challenge and gave a meaningful answer that wasn't easy, cheesy, or trite. That alone is worth a lot.

I highly recommend this book for those who love Christmas stories, books with depth, and tales that entertain and inspire.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Perception Book Review


Find it on: Goodreads | Kindle | Paperback 
Age Appropriate For: All Ages
Best for Ages: 12 and up

To me, Persuasion has always felt like Jane Austen's most realistic novel. It really deals with resentment, misunderstandings, and feeling like everyone one else has it better than you. This retelling did the story justice.

This book followed the original story very closely, yet with the feel of the 30s. Some of the changes went so well. The use of make-up that is just becoming popular, the types of music people are listening to, and mentions of prohibition all lent wonderful details to the tapestry of this story. We also get a very good look at a family that was losing their money because of the crash.

Abby was such a dear. I love her heart and how she does what is right even when it was hard. She also loved purely. It is hard to find characters these days that love without hope of it being returned, without demanding their way, without lust filling them. Abby is an inspiration.

Adding a prologue to the story really added a lot to the story. We get a glimpse into Freddy’s and Abby's parting that helped me understand both of them even more. Besides, it was a great way of showing how World War I affected some of the people in the 1930's.

Freddy was very lovable, and I loved how Emily gave him so much depth. I love his relationship with his sister, his understanding of the coming war, and his kindness. There were a few scenes from his perspective that made the book sparkle.

This book, like the original, didn't really have a faith element. However, it was clean and moral. It left me feeling happy inside.

I highly recommend this book to those who like Jane Austen retellings, stories with satisfying endings, and historical fiction.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Hannah Christensen on Should any Calamity Behall


Hannah, welcome to Homeschooled Authors. What makes your homeschooling experience unique?
My mother was the major influence in forming my homeschooling experience. She was always trying out new things, adding and replacing and experimenting. After the first few years, we mainly settled on Sonlight curriculum. I really enjoyed its emphasis on reading and its scope of the whole world in history. Still, there was no telling from year to year what Mother may have found to try out in language arts or PE or art.
Two other major factors were that I was the oldest in a large family, which lent itself to learning to do a lot of school independently and in partnership with the sister just younger than me, and moving to a community when I was 13 where the public school allowed us to join classes just for music.

How did homeschooling prepare you to write?
In writing assignments, while I was given parameters and specific assignments, I was also given plenty of freedom and was able to enjoy writing. It was never about a word or page count, or regurgitating a book or article in paraphrase. Sometimes I didn't like the assignment ("Comment on a current event? But I don't want to read any of these articles in the newspaper."), but there was always enough leeway to use creativity, and the biggest emphasis was just 'Get it finished.'

What caused you to start writing?
I've always loved reading and stories, and it just seemed natural to try my hand at making my own. Besides that, I have had great encouragers from my youth in family and friends. I am reminded of Dad bringing home information and an entry form on the 'Written and Illustrated By' contest for kids where the winners were published. A family friend helped by typing up the words; Dad sewed the pages together in a cover; the librarian looked it over before I sent it off. I didn't come near winning, but still have that bound copy of Hungry Joshy.

What inspired Should Any Calamity Befall?
One of our assignments in High School was to listen to a set of history tapes. In them was a brief mention of the Tripolitan War, which intrigued me as a whole chapter in history I had never heard of. Later, when I decided to write a historical fiction novel, that event presented itself as an interesting point to start at and a good excuse to do some reading on it.
One might also say Stephen Bly's Nathan T. Riggins series was an inspiration. Growing up, I really enjoyed the humor and adventure in them, and admired the way his character Nathan was just a Christian boy living out his faith, in fellowship with the Lord in an everyday type of way.

Would you give us a synopsis?
It is 1804, and Ezra has just come to Boston for apprenticeship to a merchant. Despite his high intentions, he and the other apprentice, George, just can't seem to stay out of trouble. Even dressing for Sunday is not free from disaster. Their master has finally had enough. He sends them on board his ship the Opulence to learn some discipline. Ezra is mortified, but George is terrified. He has lived near the sea his whole life, and knows the perils of sailing. He prevails on Ezra to enter into a vow to each other that, come what may, they will come to each other's rescue should any calamity befall. And plenty of calamities lie ahead: storm, squid, and disgruntled shipmates to name a few.  As he gets farther and farther from home, Ezra strives to do right in the face of every difficulty. But the closer they draw to their destination, the Mediterranean, the closer they draw where Rais Majid and his pitiless corsairs prowl the the waters. Through it all, Ezra must lean on God.

Who will enjoy Should Any Calamity Befall?
If rollicking misadventures catch your fancy, if you enjoy characters whose camaraderie is touched with humor and occasional wrangling, if you yearn for cleaner adventures in the Young Adult section, this is for you.

Where can people buy your book?
It should be available through Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon. You could find links to buy it at ambassador-international.com. Or you could try my website, hannahchristensen.net.

Do you plan to write more books?
I hope to. I'm a slow finisher, so it's hard right now to know what will come to fruition. Two stories I hope to try my hand at eventually are a princess trying to raise allies to defend her dowry land, and a band of warriors defending their city and country with inspiration drawn from Robin Hood and King David's mighty men.

Where can people connect with you online?
The best place I have right now is my website, Octopencil, at the address hannahchristensen.net.

Any final thoughts?
May Jesus Christ be glorified.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Ryana Miller on Land of Cotton


Ryana, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself. 
Thank you for having me! Well, I am a twenty-something-year-old author who lives in the great state of North Carolina. I'm the 3rd oldest out of seven children and one of six girls in that bunch :) I love to write (Haha) and read historical fiction and biographies and while I don't watch TV, I do enjoy watching documentaries and historical films on my laptop every now and then. I also enjoy crocheting, though I'm not that great at it, card making, beginner graphic design and spending time outdoors. I love America, so if it's Red, White and Blue, count me in :) Fun fact, my birthday is almost always on Memorial Day or Memorial Day weekend!  I used to live near a military base and support our troops proudly :) My dad is a preacher and family represents the Fundamental Broadcasting Network, traveling full time telling about our Network of 40+ stations. We have free apps for apple and android devices and have been heard in 224 countries and territories! God is so good!

Everyone’s homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique? 
I think what made my homeschool experience unique in part is that we moved four times during my schooling. It can be challenging, even for Homeschoolers to adjust to starting school in a new location! My mom always allowed us to learn at our own pace and in our own way (Auditory, visual, hands-on, etc.). And my parents always encouraged my love of history from a young age, keeping me in plenty of books to read after school and during the summer. I also got to graduate a year ahead of most kids my age, which was kinda fun :)

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write? 
Wow...let me see if I can narrow this down :) I've never been much into spelling or English...in fact, they were two of my harder subjects. But in 3rd grade, I read a history course about famous Americans and I was hooked! The next year, it was about the presidents. Hooked even stronger. I started asking questions and diving deep into our nation’s past history and politics (kinda funny, I probably know more about 1800s politics that 2000s!). When I did start writing for real, my mom made one of my books into my English course, so I had to keep a list of the words I misspelled (thank God for Spell-check!) and common grammar mistakes I made. I would then have to practice them along with my school.

What caused you to start writing? 
My sister is actually the one who got me to start writing. As I said, I love American History, so I tend to be one of those readers every historical fiction writer hates...the one who points out every historical inaccuracy they can find :( I mean, I can ignore a wrong era phrase or a too early invention. I'm mostly referring to just out-and-out wrong historical information. For example, saying that weren't Christians, or giving incorrect reasons for a war beginning or having a staunch feminist in the Plymouth colony :) I was reading a particularly irksome book on the Civil War that was driving me crazy :) I complained to my older sister, Gera, that I wished there were just good, clean, Christian and accurate Civil War books out there. Her reply? "Write your own."

I was stunned. I'd never really thought about that before. I mean, the idea had kinda gone in and out of my head, but I had never seriously considered it. But I took her seriously and in 2010, I started my first story ever. No plot, no plan, just an idea and a dream of what my story would look like...but no plans to publish. I was writing for me.

That changed in 2011 when my mom overheard me read my fourth attempt at writing (The first three were total flops, so I started over) to my younger sister, Faith, who was sick. My mom called to me from the kitchen and asked what book I was reading. I was scared to death because we are pretty strict readers and I was afraid maybe I had writing something wrong. I told her "It's my book." She said she knew it belonged to me, but she wanted to know the title and author. I said, "No, Mom, it's my book, the one I'm writing, The Land of Cotton." She came around the corner to look at me and said, "Really? That's good!" Words cannot express my relief and pleasure at her statement! That day, mom talked to me about giving my writing to God and pursuing publication. It would be five years before that book was published, but it did happen!

What inspired The Land of Cotton?
Well, like I said earlier, I have a hard time finding good books about the Civil War. They either focus on slavery, romance or only the Union. I am the descendant of *tries to count but fails because she can't keep up with everyone* several Confederate soldiers and I knew there had to be more to what they fought for than slavery. I remember telling my mom, "Somethings wrong here. I mean, would you encourage Dad to go fight and die just so you could force someone to work for you?" She said, "No, that would be ridiculous." So we started digging for answers. Before I say more, let me state that I believe slavery was wrong and I am glad we are a united country :)

I found that there was far more to the war than met the eye. And as the old adage goes, "The Winner writes the history." So, I began to write The Land of Cotton to explain the real reasons that the South fought in the Civil War. My desire is to lovingly explain the differences between the North and the South and why we all fought. I have good and bad on both sides of the conflict. But most importantly, I want to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the readers. If they don't agree with me on the War Between the States, that is totally fine! We can agree to disagree. But if they throw out our Lord and Savior...that's another story.

The neat thing is that my books had a very good sales base in the Northern states, so thank the Lord, I have been able to present my story without offending anyone. It's not my goal to offend anyone or attempt to divide our nation again. I just want the truth to be known.

Would you give us a synopsis?
Sure! The Land of Cotton is the first book in The Battle for Heritage Series. It takes place in 1861 in a little town called Four Tree Springs, in Davidson County, N.C. Silas Mason, the father in my story, was born and raised there. His wife, Ellen, whom he met while working for the Underground Railroad, was born and raised in Philadelphia, Penn. As the clouds of war come closer, their two oldest sons, Richard and Seth, are 18 and 16, old enough to fight if they choose. They must decide which side they will take and how to keep peace with the family members who oppose them. The Land of Cotton covers 1861 from January to December and chronicles the Mason family's struggles during that time. Growing up is hard enough without a war on, but can they handle the strain? Will Richard go with Sheriff Gallimore to South Carolina to take back Ft. Sumter? Will Seth ever get to fulfill his dream of being a doctor? Will Dixianna (15), their younger sister, figure out what she can do to help in the war effort that is befitting to a lady? Will Michael conquer growing feelings of resentment and hatred for the other side? We can only begin to answer these questions in The Land of Cotton!

Who will enjoy The Land of Cotton?
The Land of Cotton is written on a 10-14 level (is that even a thing?), but I've had people as young as 4 and as mature as 85 enjoy the book. It was my goal to write it in a way that the whole family could enjoy it. I have women who love it and men who come back ready for the next book. I have homefront "Girl scenes" the young ladies like and enough battlefield and camp life action for the boys to enjoy. (Please note, this isn't an adventure book per say. It is war, so there will be action, but war is not an adventure. It's a serious matter.) I have northern and southerners alike who love. And I have readers who come from many backgrounds (German, Japanese, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Mexico to name a few.) So I guess the bottom line is, if you enjoy or are interested in History and family-friendly reading material, you'll like my book :)

Where can people buy your book? 
At this time, they can only be purchased from me through my website or direct contact. I'll list that info below :)

Do you plan to write more books?
Oh, yes! The Battle for Heritage Series is going to be a five book series, one book for each year the war took place. The second book, Our Heritage to Save, was published in November of 2016 and the third book, The Rivers of Sorrow, was just released! I also have a Novella called Coffee Shop Christmas that was published last November. It's a modern-day story set in 2016 and is a tribute to our Police Force :)

After I complete my current series, I plan to write Novellas honoring our Firefighters, EMTs, and Dispatchers. Then, who knows? I have so many ideas! I'm leaning toward a World War Two idea that I've been jotting notes on, so we'll see!

Where can people connect with you online?
 My website is www.lifeofheritage.com and I do have a blog. I usually post once a week (normally on Friday) but since we travel a lot, it can be a bit sporadic. I post on history, writing, and devotions mostly. Also, my email is lifeofheritage@gmail.com. If you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to try and answer them!

Do you have any final thoughts?
I think that just about does it! Oh, fun fact, my favorite verse (that I sign everything with!) is Jude 22 "And of some have compassion, making a difference:" (KJV) This is my writing missions statement if you will. I want to make a difference for the cause of Christ, with compassion! Thank you so much for interviewing me, Sarah! I've enjoyed this so much! God Bless!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Emily Mundell on The Sorceress and the Squid

Emily, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi there! As stated, my name is Emily Mundell. I'm 20 years old and a homeschool graduate. I've always loved reading and telling/absorbing stories. I wrote my very first "book" at age 8 and haven't stopped writing since. I love fantasy fiction, particularly the classics of Tolkien, CS Lewis, and George MacDonald, who are my writing idols. In addition to writing, I love art and photography, horsebackriding, hiking and adventuring, singing, sprinting, and just being out in beautiful places with beautiful people. 

Everyone’s homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
I think there are a couple things that made my experience unique. For one, I grew up on a farm and spent as much time working and making money for myself as I did studying and learning. For another, I did spend a few years of elementary school at a public school and have had the chance to compare the two. I infinitely prefer homeschooling and am so glad of the path my parents chose to put me on.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
I always loved reading and writing, ever since I had just begun schooling. It was only natural to fit that love into my curriculum. Aside from taking an English 30-1 diploma course in grade 12 and a Lord of the Rings inspired curriculum in grade 10, I went through high school with no official LA/English curriculum to speak of - it was just reading and writing books. Because of that, I had so much extra time and opportunity to work on and perfect my craft. I think that was ultimately very beneficial and helped me refine my writing skills at a younger age.

What caused you to start writing?
I can't be sure because it was so long ago! As mentioned, I've always loved stories, and I think that when I read them as a child I was consumed with the idea of creating a world of my own. Although I was initially more of a copycat, I eventually became more and more original as time went on in my creations and I'm quite proud of my creative abilities now.

What inspired The Sorceress and the Squid?
A late-night Facebook conversation between myself and my then-boyfriend-now-husband, Jonathan, was what inspired this book. We were hypothetically discussing his secret "ninja squid" alter ego and later came up with a sorceress character to embody me. Eventually we decided I was the sorceress who had turned him into a squid. Being the writer I am, I took this plot bunny and ran with it, even farther than I initially anticipated! In the beginning it was meant to be a silly thing for the two of us, but as I wrote and the story grew, I fell more and more in love with the world and the characters I had created, and so I pursued publishing.

Would you give us a synopsis?
In the magical land of Perth, divisions between the Old Kingdom and the New have waged for centuries. The humans have long harbored a mistrust of the spell-casting Fae and vice versa. In the midst of this conflict, Estrella the Sorceress lays waste to the Training Academy for Human Warriors, making an enemy in the soldier, Jalen. During their standoff, Jalen is turned into a squid and Estrella, unable to restore him to his original form, takes sympathy on him and travels west across the Sea to bring him to the Wizard in hope he can be saved. But is there more to the unrest in Perth than meets the eye?

Who will enjoy The Sorceress and the Squid?
I think all ages can enjoy this book, depending on whether they enjoy light-hearted fantasy or not. I would recommend a mature ten year old or higher reader, due to some heavier subject matter and some more intense personal themes, but it is not dark or any sort of moral quagmire.

Where can people buy your book? 
Here is a link to the Amazon sales page where you can purchase Kindle and paperback copies! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072MGPNSN

Do you plan to write more books?
Absolutely! The Sorceress and the Squid is my second completed story, and I'm currently working on my fourth. I plan to write for a career and will keep telling stories probably until I am too old to type!

Where can people connect with you online?
My blog/website is writeremilymundell.blogspot.ca. I also can be found on Facebook @emundell97, Twitter @e_mundell, and Instagram @emundell97.

Do you have any final thoughts?
If you're a homeschooler who loves to write, take advantage of the extra time and opportunities you are given by being away from the public school system! Take your free time to write and better your craft while you're young and have the chance! I cannot stress that enough - it's so much harder to get into this lifestyle when you're older as opposed to continuing a habit started in youth. Persevere and push ahead in your work, the world needs to hear your stories. :)