Review and Giveaway The Ice Swam

The Ice Swan

About the Book

Book:  The Ice Swan

Author: J’Nell Ciesielski

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: July 6, 2021

IS cover

Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian court, a Russian princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it.

1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory.

Born the second son of a duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. While treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter and underground Russian clubs where drink, culture, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.

Out of money and options, Svetlana is forced into a marriage of convenience with Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn can’t help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. As the Bolsheviks chase them to different corners of the earth, Wynn and Svetlana begin to see they will never be able to outrun the love they have for one another.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I have always loved Russian history ever since I took a Russian history course in college. I consumed fiction and non-fiction on the subject. The Ice Sway has taken me back to the drama of the 1900s when the nation of darkness and ice imploded. The author’s portrayal of her heroine as a stoic, icy princess captures the country’s hold on the world. Only in the meeting and melding with other fragile lives does the true heart of the Russian commence to use her powers of strength for good.

Trust is an element in a relationship that holds great weight. If treated lightly, harm hangs around every turn. If treated without forgiveness, relationships can be severed. The balance is a must. Add a war, strict boundaries, different languages and cultures, cold climates, volatile times. Trust gets swallowed up as decisions are made. What is truth in the worst circumstances?

About the Author

J'nell Ciesielski official

With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

More from J’nell

When we think of the Great War we often only think about events happening right on the battlefield of France, Belgium, and Germany. It was a time of great upheaval for so many people and countries, none more so than Russia. It was during the Great War that the Bolsheviks rose up against the monarchy, assassinated the tsar and his family, and plunged Russia into civil war. The country was in such chaos that they pulled out of the war to deal with their own revolution. The Russian Revolution was the result of centuries of oppression and imperialism that finally boiled over. As the Bolsheviks seized power, nobles and anyone associated or favorable to the monarchy were stripped of their privileges and homes, many killed, and still thousands of others fled in fear of their lives where they became the great wave of White emigres.

The stories of the ill-fated Anastasia and the evil Rasputin are legendary, but it wasn’t until recently when I watched a Russian miniseries called Road to Calvary that I became fascinated with the nobles and their struggle and from all that an idea sparked that would become my upcoming release, The Ice Swan. It’s about a Russian princess fleeing the Revolution to Paris in 1917 where she meets a handsome surgeon who is breaking new grounds in cardiology. We see the plight of the White emigres who have taken refuge in Paris and founded their own little Russia in the heart of the city, the exhausted City of Light after four years of war, the overflowing hospitals, and highly controversial advancements in surgery. Plus, a romance to prove that true love can overcome any difference and who doesn’t need a little more love these days?

Blog Stops

Betti Mace, July 26

Bliss, Books & Jewels, July 26

Older & Smarter?, July 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 27

Connect in Fiction, July 27

Mary Hake, July 27

Connie’s History Classroom, July 28

Back porch reads, July 28

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 29

Blossoms and Blessings, July 29

Genesis 5020, July 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 30

Splashes of Joy, July 30

Simple Harvest Reads, July 30 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Through the fire blogs, July 31

Just Your Average reviews, July 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 1

Labor Not in Vain, August 1

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10fa9/the-ice-swan-celebration-tour-giveaway

Have you read any historical novels with a Russian heroine?

Review and Giveaway Regaining Mercy

About the Book

Book:  Regaining Mercy

Author: Carolyn Miller

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: June 29, 2021

regaining Mercy

A mom ready to do anything for her son. A man determined to win the woman he loves.

Going on Love at First Glance had seemed like such a good idea. She didn’t care about finding Mr. Right. No, Mindy Murray chose the reality TV show for more mercenary reasons.  A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do when it comes to feeding her son.

When Mindy returns to Elnora, the girl from the “wrong side of the island” just wants a chance to rebuild her reputation. Too bad the folks at church don’t practice what the preacher preaches.

Enter Dermott Reilly. The interim boss at Greener Gardens has always had a soft spot for Mindy and her son, but with his new responsibilities, an important garden competition, and a few other concerns, he finds it difficult to prove himself to her.

A tropical storm and a missing child prove that sometimes grace appears in the most unusual ways.

Regaining Mercy concludes the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series, featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Oh, how far we think we fall. But is it too far for God’s mercy and grace? The journey continues on Elnora Island. In this installment children enter the drama. As in real life, they add a vivacious element to the day’s activities. Adults and their pride sometimes hinder the young lives. Taking a chance and trusting in God’s tender care can lead to a better existence in all areas for all people.

The ego is a strange “being.” It can as equally destroy if too strong on the side of self-promotion as at the other end of defeatism and the lowest of self-esteem. There is a healthy medium that once found is a mechanism of strength, hope, and contentment. Ask God to show the perfect way to that peace.

About the Author

carolyn-miller-HR-4


Carolyn Miller is an Australian author of inspirational romance, particularly that of the Regency era, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds where flawed people can grow in faith, hope and love through stories that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives.

More from Carolyn

Have you ever wondered what might happen if a failed TV reality star was to return home to her narrow minded community? What if she’s been tarred and feathered with disgrace?

In our world of insta-fame, selfies and fakebook, I find it fascinating that so many people are entranced by so-called reality TV, with its editing and narratives and shiny-eyed hopefuls chasing money, love and dreams. But what if it doesn’t work out? What happens next? How do you resume ‘normal life’ when you’ve been living in a very artificial world?

I enjoy writing fiction that is grounded in reality, with realistic, flawed characters who are on a God journey to find faith and freedom. My contemporary and historical novels often see characters struggle with the choices they’ve made (don’t we all?), which is exactly what single mom Mindy is dealing with.

Combine Mindy’s challenges with those faced by gardening expert, Dermott, a man whose stone wall building skills are better than his way with women, or his inability to hide his attraction to his former co-worker’s younger sister.

Regaining Mercy encourages us to see ourselves as God does, to not let the labels of the past to shape our future. Along the way, readers will enjoy the honest portrayals of family, friendship and faith.

I’m so glad people are really enjoying my new contemporary books, where I can bring my love of gardens (& my horticulturalist hubby’s expertise!) to a new audience. Want to see what’s growing in my garden? Check out my website www.carolynmillerauthor.com – and you might even see some of my husband’s famous stone walls!

If you enjoy stories of hope, heart and humor, then you’ll be sure to enjoy this novel about a prodigal and the patient gardener who helps her find God’s mercy – and renewed hope for her heart.

Happy reading!

Carolyn

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 21

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 22

Labor Not in Vain, July 22

lakesidelivingsite, July 22

She Lives To Read, July 23

deb’s Book Review, July 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 24

CarpeDiem, July 24

Texas Book-aholic, July 25

Splashes of Joy, July 25

Connect in Fiction, July 25

Inklings and notions, July 26

Blogging With Carol, July 26

For Him and My Family, July 27

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 27

Aryn The Libraryan 📚 , July 28

Older & Smarter?, July 28

Lots of Helpers, July 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 29

Simple Harvest Reads, July 29 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, July 30

Lis Loves Reading, July 30

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 31

Kayem Reads, July 31

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 1

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 1

Cultivating Us, August 1

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 2 (Author Interview)

Daysong Reflections, August 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 3

Blossoms and Blessings, August 3

Joanne Markey, August 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carolyn is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1102c/regaining-mercy-celebration-tour-giveaway

Giveaway July 20-26

It’s that time again–time for my monthly giveaway. Please comment on my blog for your chance to win one fo the two books this month.

I’m reading Kara Swanson’s second book in the series, Shadow, and decided I had to read the first one, Dust, so I bought two copies. Amazon has this posted about Dust:

The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale…

Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London…and a boy who shouldn’t exist.

Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.

The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.

Draw Me to Your Side, Book Four in my Revolutionary Faith Series is historical fiction:

Warships in the harbor explode with battle cries for freedom in the hearts of Charles Town’s patriots.

Charles Town, South Carolina, 1775—With the British warships threatening his family and livelihood, Louis Lestarjette commits to aid the fiery Patriots like Francis Marion, Christopher Gadsden, and Silas Deane with secret correspondences in code and in French. With an expanding family, Louis values their lives and safety over his. Not convinced that the colonies can succeed in separation from Britain, he abides by his word—available with funds, his life, and his possible absence from Elizabeth, an unpleasant sacrifice.

As Elizabeth faces the birth of her second child, she wonders at the wisdom of bringing new life into this war zone. While cannons are aimed at the city and she’s confined to her home, she watches other women continue in their secret mission. Knowing her activity can eventually begin again, she considers where and how her little family can survive in the turbulence of pending independence. Louis’ impending volatile role leave her questioning the possibility of being in a war alone. To survive she must draw to God’s side as all else is changing.

Comment for your chance to win: What is the last fairy tale retold or historical fiction that you read?

Work. Water. Words.

I have a new motto: WORK. WATER. WORDS. That about describes my goals for each day. The order is not to my first choice but it is my life at the moment and it makes sense.

Since I have a full-time paid job teaching French and Spanish online, WORK must take priority. I love my job from my home. As the picture shows, I work with the Tour de France on TV and my dog keeps me company. I love it!

As I work and play and write, I drink WATER which is part of my daily routine. The motto reminds me to do that as I stop often to get some steps in to reach another goal. I love summer and the outdoors where I walk my dog and work too.

Then, WORDS! This one I would love to put first, but for now my writing is my afternoon project. I’ve been successful trying to write every day. This month I’m participating in the NaNoWriMo. It’s like a camp for writers. My goal is 30,000 new words. As of today, I’m at 16,700 words—I’ve completed a short story and started a new novel.

If you have a motto for the summer or of life, please share.  

Multi-author Christmas in July Giveaway

Hello Readers!

It’s Christmas in July! What is more fun than to celebrate with a HUGE giveaway! 

I have partnered up with Celebrate Lit Publicity to do an amazing giveaway where you can win a spectacular prize of over 50 books or a $500 Amazon gift card to buy books you love to hold you over until Christmas!

Be sure to enter Celebrate Lit’s 3rd Annual Christmas in July Multi-Author Giveaway going on now through July 17.

 Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/10d3b/3rd-annual-christmas-in-july

My Book in the Giveaway is Wait for Me!

Goodreads Giveaway–Wait for Me–July 11!

There is still time to enter my goodreads Giveaway at this link:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/326338-wait-for-me/

I’m giving away 10 copies of Wait for Me. I’m a huge fan of Goodreads. If you follow me there you will see all the books that I read and review.

Good luck!

You can also purchase Wait for Me using this link: https://www.amazon.com/Wait-Me-Marguerite-Martin-Gray/dp/195183917X/ref

Freedom Post #5

It’s 1777 and there are battles everywhere. Men from Charles Town are deployed to different parts of the colonies—some join the Swamp Fox, others go north to help General Washington, and some stay close to home guarding the town and their loved ones. Wait for Me centers on the years 1777-1782. It is a very difficult thing to be in a battle facing weapons and uncertain survival.

Yet, when the British choose your town to siege and occupy, survival hits home when fear wraps around scarcity of food, disease, wounded soldiers, dwindling provisions, fire, and the British at every turn voicing insults and accusations.

With the British in charge, the rebel citizens are citizens on parole. “Prisoners able to roam the city, even go to work, but not allowed to meet together to promote their beliefs. Their property should be left unharmed. They could not travel from the city. And Louis knew they would be watched as enemies with the overlord waiting to pounce at any semblance of disloyalty to the terms of surrender.”

How would you have managed as a citizen on parole? Perhaps found a way to meet anyway? Help the wounded anyway? Plan anyway? And pray always.

Freedom Post #4

How appropriate that Freedom Post #4 on July 4 corresponds to Book four, Draw Me to Your Side, 1776! The citizens are in the throws of war as their daily lives are disrupted with a real fear and sense of uncertain outcome. Within the chaos exists the organized congress and military both facing success and setbacks as the battles rage. The northern colonies seem so distant from the southern colonies. Charles Town does its best to hold on as a Patriot city with active military all around it.

The powers that be meet in Philadelphia to determine the colonies fate. Then on that world changing day in July, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence! Life as an independent nation begins not with fireworks but with fighting, starvation, riots, and death. It would be a long road to complete separation from Britain.

On August 5, 1776 the citizens of Charles Town gathered around the Liberty Tree for the reading of the Declaration:

“Welcome to this glorious day. A day none of us will forget. For today we realize what we have sacrificed for has now come true. Independence from Britain has been accomplished.”

“Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!” the crowd’s approval, with the waving of flags, handkerchiefs, and hats, emphasized the importance of this momentous occasion.

The reading of the Declaration followed.

How long has it been since you’ve read the Declaration of Independence?

Freedom Post #3

The lines are solid now in 1775. Citizens are either Loyalists or Patriots. Perhaps not happily but they are seen as sympathizers to one or the other. Bring Me Near brings battles to the forefront as the colonies are in active military pursuit of freedom.    

Meetings of the most political and learned men take place in Boston and Philadelphia. The characters in my book join the debates in Philadelphia still hoping for a compromise. Louis writes Elizabeth a letter from what he has seen at the gatherings: Meeting after meeting pulls us closer to declaring independence. King George has officially rejected the Olive Branch Petition. Therefore, Britain won’t give any concessions or thoughts to granting our petitions. There’s only one way out of this. And Congress is getting ready

What are the citizens thinking? How do they do about their daily lives with embargos and boycotts? It amazes me that people still plan weddings and have babies. What would I have done? What about you? Would you have held out hope in 1775 for a compromise?

Freedom Post #2

Exchange Building in Charles Town

A year has passed since the characters in Hold Me Close start sharing their beliefs and concerns. In Surround Me it’s 1773 and life is changing. Family members choose sides. Families begin to think about leaving the colonies and returning to England.

Lestarjette home

Would I have wanted to leave my homeland to go to a country I’d never seen? Afterall, most of the citizens had been born in the colonies.

Louis has major decisions to make about his business and his personal role in the disturbances in Charles Town. His thoughts are never far from his dilemma. “After meeting the suppliers, Louis realized his purpose and his role in the future. He was willing to coordinate shipments of arms and ammunition if the need arose. The word ‘smuggling’ never surfaced, but in a way, he was lending his aid to the Partisans to defeat the Loyalists with the help of the French. His small role would be just one more step to the larger goal.”

The question that confronted every adult citizen in the colonies no matter what side was “Are you willing to give your life for this cause?”

Louis’ brother put it this way: “You are willing to give your life and your wealth on foreign soil for this cause?”

As we look toward our Independence Day, we can ask the same questions. Am I willing to give my life for the cause of freedom?