He Who Finds Mercy series

Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Laugh out loud fairytale fantasy!

The Book Dragon has finished The Beast of Talesend (Beaumont and Beasley #1) by Kyle Robert Shultz and gives it five claws!
My 5 star review: "I had no idea what to expect with this book, but the author's compelling voice sucked me into the story from the first page and didn't let go until the end. I admire those who can write humor, and though this story is often dark and deadly, the humor, from tongue-in-cheek to slapstick, takes the reader on a wild and crazy theme park ride! The main characters feel like real people, the cynical storybook/late Victorian setting is fascinating, and the situation unfolds like a complex origami steampunk piece. I was actually sad when I saw I was almost to the end. Though this first book wraps up at a nice stopping place, there is definitely MORE to this story, and I look forward to reading it!"

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Exciting second installment in this gaslamp fantasy!

The Book Dragon devoured H. L. Burke's Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians' Trial and gives it five claws!
My 5 star review: "Having read the first in this series, I had connected with the main characters and wanted to continue their story. This installment is even better than the first one! The characters are more loveable than ever, Jaspyr the mechanical fox has a much bigger role, and there are some great villains that make things nail-bitingly anxious for the good guys. Quirky and fun new characters have been introduced, and the world feels amazingly real! Things are not fully resolved, so there is definitely more coming. I can't wait! This is a must-read series for fantasy and steampunk fans!"

I recommend reading book one first, Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians' Rivalry. AND, book three, Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians' Reckoning is only 99 cents as a preorder!!!!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Blooming where I've been planted

I've survived cancer twice in the last thirteen years, but I think the last year has been even more stressful, soul-rending, and life-changing. It began on September 12, 2016 when my mother unexpectedly died one day before my husband, sister, and I were going to take her back to Hawaii, the place of her happiest memories when my Dad was stationed there in the sixties. From then until January I was immersed in the strange new world of probate law and estate matters as her executor. I had just closed on the family home when my husband unexpectedly lost his job after almost 24 years and we had to get past the shock to find another job.

Finding a job is not the same as it was 24 years ago. His profession did not require a bachelor's degree 35 years ago, and so 99% of online applications wouldn't even glance at his depth of knowledge and experience because he couldn't check that BA box! He was offered a job with the City of Fort Worth, and he accepted even though it would pay half what he was making before. So he moved here while I readied the house to sell, and unexpectedly it sold the FIRST DAY with a bidding war! Now we had to scramble to find a house that his Dad could live in (he'd been with us for almost 3 years and had his own "in-law apartment" attached to the house).

We found what we thought was a suitable house and paid a lot of $$ to make it safe and move-in-able for Dad only to discover the inspector missed the rat-infested attic and other nasty stuff. We also had to find a nearby nursing home for my husband's 95 year old aunt, for whom we have medical power of attorney too. TOO MUCH IN A VERY SHORT TIME!

We managed to get it done, but I was a wreck, physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. The stress of leaving our home and long-time friends in a small town which we dearly loved and in which we had planned to retire, die, and be buried coupled with the stress of moving to a totally unfamiliar place in a large city caused several weird health issues which I am still dealing with.

My precious sisters had a solution, the most touching gift I have ever received. Our yard was a disaster, the result of years of neglect, and I didn't have the energy to even think about a garden in the barren little corner that is my new "back yard" (leaving our beautifully landscaped one in our old town). Look what they did in one day:
 This is the "before" picture, which is actually after they raked up all the small branches and leaves and pulled up a rotted railroad tie.
 My youngest sister dug a trench to make a "dry creek bed" for drainage, since heavy rain causes a lake to form in that corner. They planted easy-to-care-for shrubs and flowering plants, added stepping stones to the gate, and moved our little table and chairs so we could actually use them!
 They took our Mom's little wagon she used for yard work, drilled holes for drainage, and planted a fairy garden in it!
Now Mom's old bird bath is a little planter, too. And there are little treasures to be found in all the corners and crannies, like a fairy door to the tree, fossils, crystals, and other pretty rocks my youngest sister found on her journeys to other states, a gourd bird house my middle sister made, and a planter her husband built.

To me, this whimsical, peaceful garden represents the journey this poor old shriveled plant has made, being uprooted after 24 years and transplanted, nearly succumbing to the stress of relocation but instead coming back to life.

Thanks, Christine and Allison! I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Goodreads giveaway of Mercy's Prince

I wish Goodreads would let me give away a set of the entire series, but at least Mercy's Prince can stand alone!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Mercy's Prince by Katy Huth Jones

Mercy's Prince

by Katy Huth Jones

Giveaway ends October 01, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Lovely historical fiction about an Italian family

The Book Dragon has read Rosa, Sola by Carmela A. Martino and gives it five claws!
My 5 star review: "This is a lovely story of a young girl from an Italian immigrant family in the 1960's. I love how Rosa grows during the story, and my heart aches for her and her family. I really liked how the author included so many Italian words to immerse the reader in the culture. The best thing about the story is how true it is to family and how that glue holds everyone together through tragedy. Highly recommended!"
This book is featured at Catholic Teen Books.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A beautiful and powerful Native American fairytale come to life!

The Book Dragon devoured White Wolf and the Ash Princess by Tammy Lash and gives it five claws!
Here's my 5 star review: "Out of the thousands of books I've read in my lifetime, there have been a handful that affected me profoundly and forever changed my heart. This is one of those books. It is not only a beautiful, powerful story, but it spoke to the deepest part of my soul with its gentle wisdom, the wisdom that comes from above, demonstrating God's love and the power of forgiveness in an amazing way. It made me cry, but good tears, cleansing tears. Ms. Lash has created characters who will live in my heart until the end of my days. I highly recommend this book, especially those who are hurting!"

Monday, August 28, 2017

Cover reveal! The end of an epic fantasy series!

This gorgeous cover by Perry Elisabeth represents the culmination of six and a half years, five books, and 650,000 words to tell an epic fantasy story. The journey of this tale is almost as fantastic as the tale itself!

The original version of He Who Finds Mercy was not publishable, as detailed in this article. Being a pack rat, I did keep the manuscript for several years, since there were elements of the story I really liked.

When my father was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2011, I pulled the manuscript out of a drawer, tossed everything but the opening scene, and asked Prince Valerian and Mercy to tell me their story. I only meant it as a writing exercise to distract me in the grief of watching my hero, my larger-than-life father slowly and painfully die over the next eleven months.

Once I reached chapter 80, I realized this was more than one book and might take at least three to tell the whole story!

I honestly wasn't thinking "for publication" but after taking several chapters to my critique group, they encouraged me to query publishers and agents. I was still writing on the story and had the first book, Mercy's Prince edited when my non-Hodgkin's lymphoma suddenly and painfully came back late in May 2015. The pain was so excruciating my husband and I thought the doctor would say it was stage 4 and nothing to be done but pain control, so I found a pre-made cover, asked the designer to tweak it a bit, and self-published Mercy's Prince, dedicated to my father, as a good-bye to family and friends in early July 2015.

Thankfully the cancer was "only" stage 3 and chemo put it back in remission. So book 2 Mercy's Gift was published in September 2015. I dedicated that one to my cancer doctor, since Mercy is a Healer. When I gave her an autographed copy, she got tears in her eyes, saying it was the nicest thing anyone had done for her.

Chemo brain messed with the writing of the third book, Mercy's Battle. I originally planned to call it Mercy's Children, but the antagonist became such a horrible person and the Vandals were so bloodthirsty I didn't think that would reflect what was happening. My editor Alex McGilvery came up with that great title. I know there is some gruesome stuff in that book. I think it was partly the chemo and the pain mixed with research I'd done years ago for a magazine article on Apaches. I have worried ever since that it was too gruesome to bill as a "clean read."

Once Mercy's Battle was published in May 2016, I breathed a sigh of relief. Even though it wasn't the whole story, it was a reasonable stopping place, in case I couldn't finish the story. But God was merciful and I've been able to survive not only the cancer recurrence but two painful, unexpected moves, becoming a caregiver, having to give up several things that I loved, and the sudden, unexpected death of my mother the day before we were taking her to Hawaii. Mom gave me the opportunity to dedicate book 4 Mercy's King to her. I'd worried about that, since it's by far the saddest of all the books. It was VERY difficult to write, and somehow I managed to release it in May 2017 in the middle of packing for this last, most difficult move.

Now Mercy's Joy is about to be released, and I'm feeling sad because I've lived with and suffered with these beloved characters for so long, I'm going to miss them! I have a feeling I'm not finished writing about them, though. I'll just have to see what the future holds. I know no matter what, I am in good hands: God's.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A clever, magical children's story!

The Book Dragon has read Lia London's clever Marked by Magic and gives it 5 claws!
My review: "4.5 stars for a clever, magical story that children ages 6 and up will enjoy. This is the kind of story that will fire a child's imagination, and if an adult is reading it aloud to them, will bring back fond memories of their own imaginings, for 12-year-old Lon and his sister, Livi find a real fairy mushroom ring in their backyard! Who would have thought being shrunk to six inches tall could be so dangerous? Follow Lon and Livi on the quest the fairy king and queen have given them so they can be restored to normal size. My only quibble is that Livi's speech makes her sound much older than seven. Next time I see a white moth, I'm going to check her feet, just in case it's really a fairy...."

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Beautiful Tolkien bio picture book

The Book Dragon has excitedly read John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien written by Caroline McAlister and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler and gives it 5 claws!

My 5 star review: "Beautiful storytelling about one of my favorite authors, and the illustrations are perfect! I recommend this to all Tolkien fans. Don't let the "picture book" format discourage you from missing out on this great book! Great way to share Tolkien's life with younger readers, too."

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Time Travel Historical Fiction

The Book Dragon has read Loretta Livingstone's A Promise to Keep and gives it 5 claws!
My review: "4.5 for this wonderful sequel to Out of Time. Twelfth century England comes alive with vivid details, and Ms. Livingstone's characters are living, breathing people, those in the 12th century as well as those from the 21st century. Abbess Hildegarde is an even greater delight in this story, and the growing love between Sir Giles and Lady Isabella is a sigh-worthy secondary plot. But it's modern Shannon who's the heart of this tale, as she travels to the past to find a distraction from a broken heart and discovers much more, good and bad. I thought the ending dragged on just a bit, but the scenes with Father Dominic are too fun to miss, and then the final scene ties everything together in a brilliant way. Recommended for fans of historical fiction and time travel with more than a splash of romance."

A Promise to Keep is the sequel to Livingstone's excellent Out of Time, which I reviewed before Book Dragon started giving out claws. Here's my review of Out of Time, for I highly recommend you read both of these books:

"4.5 stars for this compelling time-travel story. Marion from 2006 is sent by a magical tree to the year 1191 to save an important historical figure's life. The peril this causes, both to Marion and Sir Giles, makes this book difficult to put down. Both major and minor characters of both times are well-drawn, and the ending is thought-provoking and resonates with this reader's heartstrings. The occasional head-hopping was a bit distracting, but the pace moved steadily, neither too slow nor too fast. Recommended for anyone who is intrigued by time travel and/or 12th century England."

Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Imaginative fantasy that evokes Narnia!

The Book Dragon has reviewed The Tethered World by Heather L. L. FitzGerald and gives it 5 claws!
My review: "4.5 stars for this imaginative, witty adventure reminiscent of Narnia. I love that the story features a homeschooling family (since we were one) with an autistic child who has a special destiny. There are Trolls and Ogres and other scary creatures in this subterranean magical world along with Gnomes, Dwarfs, Elves, Fairies, and Nephilim. It's fun to experience this story through the eyes of the MC, the oldest child in the family though the climactic battle was over too quickly and too easily. Otherwise well-written with a steady, unfolding pace. I'm glad there are more books because this world and the characters can easily support a larger story."

Monday, July 10, 2017

Epic Heroes Giveaway!

Calling all heroes!

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Central to our giveaway is a paperback of HALL OF HEROES, our newest anthology. You don't have to wait to see if you win, though. The ebook is permanently free!

There's also a bonus prize of a custom journal set!

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Fast-paced, gritty historical fiction

The Book Dragon has read Susan Peek's Saint Magnus: The Last Viking and gives it four claws!
Here's my review: "This was an interesting slice of history from the Dark Ages about a saint I had not previously known about. Teen boys will like the fast pace and action. The title character is portrayed sympathetically, and many of the other characters are shown in three dimensions. The frequent use of modern terms and slang, especially in the characters' speech, was a distraction to this otherwise well-written story."

Find more about this author's books at Catholic Teen Books!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A fast-paced magical adventure

In the middle of a stressful move to a big city, the Book Dragon has read H. L. Burke's Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians' Rivalry and gives it 5 claws!
Here's my review: "4.5 stars for a fast-paced, fascinating story of rivalry and loyalty with several interesting plot twists. The main characters are thoughtfully rendered and wonderfully human (or not quite human). I liked the way magic spells were done in this universe as well as the concept of rifts between worlds, and the growth of the main characters is believable and fun to watch. The pivotal scene near the end is brilliant. Recommended for fans of magical fantasy with a dash of romance."

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: YA contemporary novel with a perfect voice!

The Book Dragon has read A Single Bead by Stephanie Engelman and gives it 5 claws!
My 5 star review: "I'm often leery of contemporary YA fiction in present tense with a first person POV. I have been unable to finish several because the MC came off as whiny. But Engelman's voice is perfect for the story, and her 16 year old MC Katelyn is so believable and likeable, I wondered if the author had based her on a real person. Her family's situation is real and heart-breaking, but hope is woven into this story on every page. While dealing honestly with the real problem of depression, A Single Bead is a celebration of family and love and the power of prayer."

A Single Bead is featured on the website Catholic Teen Books. Check out the other reads!  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A beautiful love story

The Book Dragon has read Melanie D. Snitker's Finding Joy (#5 in the Love's Compass series) and gives it 5 claws!
My 5 star review: "What a beautiful story of second chances and finding oneself after life-altering events! I loved the two main characters, and my heart ached for them while each worked through a painful past. I love the depth of Ms. Snitker's characters and how she makes their faith a part of who they are. It was great to spend more time with some of my other favorite characters from the other books in this series. Happy the beagle was a sweet addition, too. I highly recommend this book and this entire series to every fan of sweet Christian romance."

Monday, May 1, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Compelling historical fiction about an unforgettable young king!

The Book Dragon has read Susan Peek's Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades and gives it five claws!
My review: "4.5 stars for a compelling story about an inspiring young king during a turbulent time and place in history. Made king at age 13, surrounded by enemies without as well as within his kingdom, and dealing with the unimaginable effects of leprosy, this young man's steadfast faith in God and his inspirational courage have left an indelible mark on my heart. King Baldwin's best friend, Theodore, and the Templar Sir Geoffrey were also well done, so well done, in fact, that two final scenes brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't unreservedly give this book 5 stars, though, because a few instances of slang and modern words pulled me out of the 12th century with a bit of a jar. Young readers will find this book fascinating, fast-paced, and unforgettable."

Crusader King is featured on the new Catholic Teen Books site.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A Fantasy of Friendship and More!

The Book Dragon has read H. L. Burke's Beggar Magic and gives it 5 claws!
My review: "4.5 stars for an imaginative tale of friendship in an interesting world where people are separated into Highmost and Common, and the mysterious Strains are more than just ethereal background sounds. Common Leilani and Highmost Zebedy form an unusual friendship and find more than either expected when Zebedy receives her assignment to Research Manor and asks Leilani to be her aide, including heart-pounding danger. Recommended!"

Monday, April 10, 2017

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