Guess How Much God Loves You by Karen Ferguson: Book Review

Guess How Much God Loves You by Karen Ferguson

Happy Saturday, my unicorn readers! March is flying by, and soon it will be April. One thing I love about the month of April is it is the month my great-grandmother was born. A second thing I love about April is that it is Earth Month! Everyone knows that Earth Month is important because our planet is our home, but even more important is knowing the story behind our wonderful home! Earth Month is a great opportunity to discuss big ideas with our children, including the Creation story from the Bible, and I am so excited about today’s book feature. In addition to a book review, I’ll be sharing a kid-friendly craft idea as well as a kid-friendly prayer connected to Earth Month and the creation of our amazing world!

About the Book

Book cover of Guess How Much God Loves You by Karen Ferguson

Today, I have the opportunity to share a wonderful children’s picture book that I sincerely believe should be added to every public, church, and home library: Guess How Much God Loves You by Karen Ferguson. Our world needs books that encourage children to seek answers rooted in Biblical truth, and Karen does a seamless job using inquisitive first-grader Lucy Lu and her Papa Joe, whose love for his grandchild and devout faith remind me so much of my own great-grandma, to show kids it’s okay to ask questions because asking questions is how we start to build our relationship with our Creator. Furthermore, the book teaches young people that they are created in God’s image with purpose and that God’s love is unconditional. 

Book Summary: Guess How Much God Loves You by Karen Ferguson

Though only seven-years-old, Lucy is struggling with bullying which is sadly a big issue in today’s world, even for elementary students. Lucy’s classmates taunt her saying no one likes her, but is that true? Lucy’s Papa Joe likes her and he told Lucy that God loves her, too. And Lucy has some big questions about God like “Does God really love me?”

Following Lucy’s curiosity, Papa Joe shows Lucy his Bible and reads her the story of Creation. Lucy is transported into her grandfather’s reading, and in the end she has even more questions about God!

My Thoughts on Guess How Much God Loves You by Karen Ferguson

This picture book, filled with beautiful illustrations by Kate Kutsenko, will engage young readers with scripture in an easily digestible manner. It teaches children that they are loved and will always be loved by God, and I love that it continues to encourage more questions about God at the end! Our children must be encouraged to seek him out, and Karen has given us a wonderful resource for helping our little ones cling to Scripture in a kid-friendly way.

Children will love hearing this story, looking at the pictures, and asking their own questions about God. And Christian parents, church leaders, and teachers will adore reading with their kids and delving into the Biblical story of Creation and starting a journey to understand God’s never-ending love through the perspective of seven-year old Lucy. This is an easy 5-star read and I am so thankful that it has a home in my personal library – I know when I am blessed to be a mom, I will be reading this one with my own little ones! I cannot wait to see what else Karen creates in what I hope to be a large series of picture books! 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:1-4, NIV

Craft to Pair with Karen’s Book

To further discussion and engagement with your kids and the Creation story during Earth Month, I highly suggest incorporating some at-home crafts in which the whole family can participate after reading Guess How Much God Loves You. Keep reading, for a short lesson and craft focused on do-it-yourself sun-catchers!

Discussion Questions for Guess How Much God Loves You

Karen includes some discussion questions you can ask your young reader at the end of her book, including “How many days did it take God to create the world?” Stemming from this question, you can break it down further and ask “What did God create on the first day?”

Help your little one remember that light was made on the first day! And encourage your child to ask questions and foster understanding that light is good. Light helps things grow, helps us see, and stay safe. It even helps us be happy! 


To further engage with the lesson that God created light on the first day of Creation, you and your family can create sun-catchers!

Supplies needed:

  • Coffee filter, markers (I recommend Crayola washable markers), paper or paper plate to keep markers from bleeding through coffee filter, tape, pipette/dropper (optional)Directions:
  1. Place 1 coffee filter on paper or paper plate (this will prevent marker bleed-through)
  2. Color whatever design you want!
  3. Make sure to encourage your little one to talk and ask questions as they work!
  4. Optional: splash water drops on your design and watch the colors blur together! You can use the pipette/dropper or even your fingertips!
  5. Once your coffee filter dries, hang up on your window with the tape of your choice (masking tape and/or painter’s tape will probably be the easiest to remove later!)

Enjoy your sun-catcher and your reminder that God created light on the first day of Creation! God also created us all and he loves us unconditionally; that means his love is never-ending! You can also wrap up craft time with the prayer below.


Have your child repeat each line after you:

Dear God,

Thank you for creating our world. 

Thank you for creating light on the first day.

Thank you for creating me!

Thank you for your never-ending love.

I know that you will always love me.



Let me know in the comments when you and your children read this amazing book! If you choose to do the craft, tag me on Instagram so I can see your beautiful sun-catcher creations (My handle is theunicornwriter93) 

Remember to follow author Karen Ferguson and purchase your copy of Guess How Much God Loves You from your favorite book retailer today including Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

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Inside Indie Publishing with Twenty Hills

Inside Indie Publishing is a new feature here on The Unicorn Writer’s blog this year. Today, we will learn more about indie publishing with our special guest Anne J. Hill. Anne is an indie author and operator of the small press Twenty Hills Publishing.

Twenty-Hills Publishing was started in 2021. Since its creation, several anthologies have been released with more exciting things in the works. It is a multi-genre publishing house that also offers editorial services. Let’s welcome the leader of Twenty Hills, Anne J. Hill.

Anne J. Hill in front of bookshelf.

Inside Indie Publishing: Background on Twenty Hills

Q) Anne, can you tell us what inspired you to start your own small business as a publisher?

A) I always planned to self publish my own novels and decided to run an anthology to practice the publishing process to see if it was something that I actually wanted to do. It turned out that I loved the process, and through a lot of work, was able to produce a quality book. I’ve always been someone to go the extra mile, so I figured, why not also publish books for other people too? So I officially opened my own small publishing company and our first novels will publish this year. I really wanted to create a space for authors to publish top-quality books while also having more input in their books than most bigger publishers will allow. 

Black and White logo for Twenty Hills.

Q) How would you describe Twenty Hills Publishing’s aesthetic in 5 words or less? 

A) Hope. Spooky. Mixed-genres. Magic. Raw.

Q) Who is someone that inspires you?

A) When it comes to books, Neil Gaiman, Michael J. Sullivan, N.D. Wilson, and Sarah Sutton are four of my favorite authors. The last two especially have been very inspiring and educational for my personal writing and for publishing. 

Twenty Hills Anthologies

Q) Please tell us about all the current anthologies from Twenty Hills.

A) Our biggest anthology collection is the Black and Gold Anthologies. Each of these has a unique theme all the content revolves around, were open for public submissions, and all have black and gold on the covers. The Never Tales is a duology anthology with Peter Pan inspired stories and poems. Book two comes out this summer. We also have Briars & Blood which is a novella and novelette collection of Beauty and the Beast inspired stories. And the Tales of Many are a collection of books with children’s stories.

Q) Do you have a favorite Twenty Hills anthology?

A) This is a tough one! I love all of them so much, but if I had to pick, What Darkness Fears and Fool’s Honor have special places in my heart. Possibly because they were the first two, but they both also have themes that I personally gravitate to as an author.

      Inside Indie Publishing: Working with Twenty Hills

      Q) In what ways can interested authors work with Twenty Hills?

      A) You can submit flash fiction, short stories, and poetry to our Freedom anthology! It is the last of our Black and Gold Anthologies and potentially our last one open to the general public for submission, at least for a long time. You can also keep your eye out for queries opening hopefully in a few months.

      [Visit Twenty Hills Publishing’s website here for more information on submitting.]

        The Growth of Twenty Hills

          Q) Twenty Hills recently expanded their editorial team and brought on interns. Can you tell us more about your growth as a business? 

          A) We haven’t been around for very long but things are already picking up. We have a handful of novels on their way, and also more anthologies. I have been doing the bulk of the work and we’ve grown to outfit a one-woman show. So we’re thrilled to have a handful of solid editors and interns to help share the work and bring you even better quality books. 

            What’s on the Horizon for Twenty Hills

            Q) What are your goals as a publisher within the next 12 months? What are your goals beyond that time frame?

            A) We’d love to open queries by then. We have a handful of anthologies releasing, and our first novels and books by one author releasing this year. We’d love to expand our marketing and learning whatever we can. 

            Inside Indie Publishing: Advice

            Q) What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own business?

            A) Do your homework. But also, don’t be afraid to jump in. You will always make mistakes and wish you’d done something different no matter how much you prep beforehand. Don’t be afraid to ask people with more experience questions. It takes a weird combo of humility and confidence to run your own business. 

              Q) What advice would you give authors who hope to work with a publisher instead of pursuing self-publishing?

              A) Clean up your manuscript as much as you possibly can before querying. Get alpha and beta readers. Hire an editor if you can afford it. Do your homework to make sure the publisher is legit before you send off your whole novel to them. When it comes time to edit, pick your hills to die on. Remember, a good editor is trying to take your manuscript to higher levels. They aren’t stifling you. Sit back, mull over the edits, and then see if you feel differently about them. But also keep in mind: just because an editor pointed it out, doesn’t mean you have to blindly accept it. 


                Q) Thank you, Anne, for being here today and allowing us to see “Inside Indie Publishing” and learn more about Twenty Hills. Is there anything else you would like to add?

                A) For more info, check out our website and follow us on Instagram.

                  Kayla E. Green was recently interviewed by Allie Sarah on behalf of Twenty Hills. Kayla’s reverse poem “The Truth About Love” is featured in the hardback edition of the Twenty Hills Anthology Wither and Bloom. Check out the replay of the live interview here and get your copy of the anthology to read Kayla’s poem and other great poems and stories!

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                  Interview with Author Jennifer Bosma

                  Author Jennifer Bosma, who wrote I Know the Plans, is joining me today for an interview! I absolutely adore her picture book, and I’m excited to learn more about her. In case you missed the spotlight and review of her book last week, you can find it here.

                  Author Jennifer Bosma sits in blue chair outside.

                  Living in Georgia, author Jennifer Bosma worked as a teacher for twenty-three years. Since retirement, she has continued to serve through her work as a children’s author, blogger, and with her involvement in pro-life women’s ministry. When she isn’t working, she loves spending time with her family which includes her two precious granddaughters. She also likes exercising and traveling. Fun fact: Jennifer has walked with lions while traveling in Zimbabwe! She also once applied to be on the television show Survivor.

                  Check out today’s interview with Jennifer below!

                  Q) Welcome Jennifer! To get started, please describe yourself in three words.

                  A) Enthusiastic, Jesus-Loving, and Outgoing.

                  Q) For some background, how long have you been writing?

                  A) Since I was in 4th grade – 46 years.

                  Q) How would you describe your writing style?

                  A) Easy to read, Engaging, and Life Affirming.

                  Q) Tell us, how does your faith intersect with your writing?

                  A) Before blogging, I seek Jesus and ask for his help in all of my blogposts. It is so cool to see Jesus take the direction when I sit down to write the message He wants me to share in my blog. In my children’s books, He gives me vision and then will help me to adapt the text to be engaging to children. It is a blessing to feel His presence as I write.

                  Q) Why is it important for children to have access to age-appropriate, faith-based books?

                  A) The world is quick to make books available that are contrary to the Word of God. We need to spotlight books like I Know the Plans that embed scripture into parents’ and kids’ hearts. Children need many Godly resources to counteract the lies of this world.

                  Q) Tell us about more I Know the Plans which released earlier this month.

                  A) I have 3 grown daughters and when they were small I learned several powerful scriptures that I incorporated in my nightly prayers with them. I spoke these scriptures to them constantly. Fast forward to the birth of my first granddaughter and her first day home. While holding her, I wanted to read to her, her first book ever. I was looking through the book choices and the idea for I Know the Plans was birthed.

                  Cover of the picture book I Know the Plans by author Jennifer Bosma. Complex illustration includes pastel rainbow, clouds, owl, large and small rabbite, and white flowers with yellow centers.

                  I decided I needed to write a book for this exact moment. It is a book filled with God’s plans (in His point of view) for a child and one of my favorite scriptures is on each page that matches the rhyming text. The illustrations are phenomenal with animal family habitat pictures from all of the continents except Antarctica. The animal illustrations will relate to all children across the world.

                  Q) What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

                  A) The scripture promises that are introduced on each page for both parents and children. I want children to understand that God has big plans for their life.

                  Q) Do you have other works available for readers? Any future books

                  A) Yes, my first book The Baby Garden is based on Jeremiah 1:5. It is the perfect book for a big brother or sister explaining where babies come from when their mom is pregnant. [The Baby Garden] is in over 300 pregnancy centers in every state. It shares that God has a plan for all babies. I have two more children’s books in the “wings” and two women’s books in cue.

                  Some of Jennifer Bosma’s Favorites

                  “I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

                  Jeremiah 29:11

                  Q) Who is someone that inspires you?

                  A) Lila Rose with Live Action.

                  Q) It seems we are nearing the end of our time together. To wrap up, what advice would you offer other authors?

                  A) Stick with it, don’t give up if you get rejection. It took me 26 years to get my first book published and when God opens up the timing, it’s perfect. Take the leap of faith when God calls.

                  Connect with author Jennifer Bosma!

                  Readers can learn more about Jennifer by visiting her website. You can also find her on Instagram.

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                  If you aren’t already, remember to click “follow.” Then you will get an email notification when new blog posts are shared! You can also sign up for my monthly author newsletter. You can find personal and writing updates as well as other fun things like book/show/music recommendations, writing advice, Bible verses/devotionals, a look behind the scenes, quizzes, and more in my newsletter! Sign up below to join.

                  I Know The Plans by Jennifer Bosma: Book Review

                  I Know the Plans is a must read. Check out the post below to learn why!

                  Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) “Start children off on the way they should go,
                  and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

                  With the constant state of connection technology brings our children, it is so important to instill in them biblical truth. We must raise our children to cling to God rather than society. In order to provide a good foundation for our little ones, we must introduce God’s word in a child-friendly manner early on so they might understand. One way to aid us in this important endeavor is utilizing children’s books. And one such book we all should add to our home libraries for our kids is I Know the Plans by Jennifer Bosma.

                  Book Overview

                  Book cover of I Know the Plans; complex image with pastel rainbow and clouds in background. Illustrated rabbit and baby rabbit, post with owl on top of it, and white flowers with yellow centers.

                  I Know the Plans uses engaging rhyme paired with verses of Scripture to plant the seeds of God’s love in the hearts of little ones. Jennifer’s words paired with Beth Snider’s beautiful illustrations will engage young readers as they learn that God has a plan for their life.

                  Though targeted for Pre-K and primary students, I believe elementary students will also enjoy the poignant lessons woven in this sweet book. You and your family will want to pull this out again and again for read-alouds, and each time you will be reminded of the importance of listening for God’s guidance all your days.

                  My Review

                  This short, beautiful book is one I recommend for all home libraries. Parents, grandparents, church leaders, and teachers will love having I Know The Plans to share with the children in their lives. An easy 5-star read, I’ve already added it to my own shelves.

                  I Know the Plans released February 6, and is now available for purchase! You can order your own copy here.

                  Suggested Activity Pairing

                  Once reading I Know the Plans with your little one(s), break out paper and crayons! Challenge your child(ren) to draw a picture of their family. While they are drawing, remind them that parents help them always. One of the biggest ways parents help is by teaching about God’s love. Remind them that God loves them and created them for a purpose! With older children, go a step further and ask them what are some of the talents God gave them.

                  Share a photo of your child’s (or children’s) drawing on Instagram. Use the hashtag #Iknowtheplansdrawing23 so Jennifer and I can see them!

                  Preview for Next Week’s Post

                  Next week, I am interviewing Jennifer so we can better get to know the author behind I Know the Plans. Remember to hit the “follow” button for The Unicorn Writer’s blog so you don’t miss it!

                  Want to see past posts? Check out my past blog posts!

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                  The Wayward Playlist

                  The Wayward, author Tabitha Caplinger’s most recent book, is a new adult dystopian novel that I will forever recommend to adult readers! The Wayward releases February 7. If you are looking for a story that will stay with you long after you turn the final page, then you need to get yourself (and a friend) a copy. To celebrate this upcoming books, Tab is sharing The Wayward Playlist with us today!

                  What is The Wayward About?

                  A bird's eye view of the book, The Wayward, on a table with eggs and cupcakes.

                  Wilder James has spent her entire life in Beartooth, secluded from the Necanians and their domed cities where most of humanity resides. Content to keep her distance within the confines of her rustic community, she desires nothing more than to live out her years with her husband, Declan, in their simple mountain home.

                  But when an unexpected tragedy rips apart her dreams, and intruders pull her from the safety of her camp and into a dark reality, she discovers the shocking truth. The Necanians are not bringers of peace. They’re harbingers of death.

                  Now Wilder must decide if she will protect only herself and her people, or risk everything to try to free all of humanity. She is armed with the one thing her people have always had – faith. Will it be enough?

                  Why Do I Recommend The Wayward?

                  This novel does a beautiful job delving into the dichotomies of hope and despair. It illustrates a real-life struggle with having faith when overcome with grief. The Wayward reminds us to trust in God always; even when all we think we see is darkness, the light is still there. To read more of my thoughts and see my full review of The Wayward, please click here.

                  The Wayward Book Playlist

                  Do you love it when you watch a movie and the soundtrack is *chef’s kiss*? I often wish books, too, had a playlist. So, when an author creates a playlist for their novel, I nerd out a bit. Tabitha has a playlist for The Wayward that she is sharing with us today!

                  Whenever I start a new project, one of the first things I do is curate a playlist. Not only does it help set the vibe for a project, it’s something I’ll use while plotting and writing to keep me in the right headspace for a story. The Wayward playlist may be my favorite yet. Its mix of sad, folksy love songs strikes all the right heartstrings for this mountain core dystopian.

                  Tabitha Caplinger

                  The Wayward by Tabitha Caplinger

                  Listen to The Wayward by Tabitha Caplinger on Apple Music. Stream songs including “Honey Leave the Light On”, “Colder Weather” and more.

                  Click on the image above to see the playlist! If you have Apple Music, you will be able to listen. However, if you do not have Apple Music, you will still be able to see the songs and artists on the playlist (and listen to a preview)!

                  Stay Connected with Tabitha Caplinger

                  In case you didn’t know, Tabitha is one of my all-time favorite authors. She has a unique talent for writing stories that speak to your heart, and the love of God shines through the pages of her books. To learn more about her book The Wolf Queen, the first book of Tab’s that I read, check out my blog post featuring it here.

                  Graphic of Tabitha Caplinger, author of The Wayward and creator of The Wayward Playlist, holding stack of books. Text includes a quote and social links.

                  Because release day is February 7, there are only a few days left to get your pre-order of The Wayward in. You can do that with Page 158 Books here!

                  Stay Connected with The Unicorn Writer

                  Remember, if you haven’t already, click “follow” down below in the footer! Following my blog will make sure you never miss a post.

                  In addition, you can also connect with me on Instagram. On this platform, I post throughout the week, mainly sharing about books and offering encouragement. Joining my monthly newsletter is also a great way to stay connected with me and my author adventures.

                  Thank you for being a Book Unicorn and reading today’s post!

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                  Author Interview: Jenny Knipfer

                  Submitted logo from author Jenny Knipfer. Gold circle on green background. White text.

                  It’s time for the first author interview of the year! I am so excited for you all to meet today’s special guest, Jenny Knipfer. Living in Wisconsin, Jenny Knipfer is an author of multiple books, and her stories center around themes of encouragement and inspiration. She is a sweet, supportive, and authentic soul who describes herself as creative, introverted, and encouraging. It is truly a blessing to have her on the blog today!

                  When asked what she likes to do, Jenny stated, “I am a very artistic person and have had many pursuits over the years: gardening, crafting, painting, drawing, sewing, quilting, jewelry making, reading, writing, and more, but I’ve had to give up most of those pursuits because of my MS. I no longer have the strength and dexterity in my hands to do them. I can still do machine sewing with some adaptations, and of course I can still write, but I have had to adapt how I do that as well. I primarily do dictation these days.”

                  Keep reading to learn more about Jenny!

                  Q) How long have you been writing?

                  A) I’ve been writing since middle school, mostly short stories and journaling then. In college I also started to write poetry. In my early thirties, I drafted my first fiction novel but set it aside when life got busy with work and family. Around that time, I started a blog in which I shared poetry that I had written and my random thoughts.
                  When I had to retire from my job as a floral designer in 2018 due to increasing disability from multiple sclerosis, I decided to resurrect the novel I had started years prior from an old computer file, and even with disability in my hands, I completed it. I have since gone on to write 11 more titles.

                  Author Jenny Knipfer smiles while holding one of her books outside.

                  Q) Why do you write?

                  A) For many years, I wrote mostly just to get my thoughts out. It was a release in a form of therapy and also a way in which God spoke to me. I was always brutally honest in my journaling, but by the time I got to the end of myself on paper, God would shine the light in those hurting spots and healing would begin.

                  In more recent years, I have used my writing in similar fashion, but also because it has given me something positive to focus on besides my poor health. There is very little I am able to do these days, and this is one outlet in which I can still be creative.

                  “I cannot write a book without weaving my faith into it. It’s who I am as a writer.”

                  Jenny Knipfer

                  Q) What are three of your favorite books and why?

                  A) Anne of Green Gables is the book that ignited my fire to become a writer. I wanted to be Anne Shirley. The Chronicles of Narnia series fed my imagination and will always remain among my favorite books. Jane Eyre is my all-time favorite book. I think it has a little bit of everything, romance, mystery, intrigue, moral dilemmas, and the kind of detail and character development that I enjoy.

                  Jenny’s Published Books

                  Q) Can you tell readers about what books/stories you have currently available?

                  A) Currently, I have three different historical fiction series available.

                  My By the Light of the Moon series is set around Lake Superior in the late 1890s through the 1920s and deals with various topics: accidental death, living with MS and the division of twin siblings, WWI, and the plight of First Nation Peoples in Quebec.

                  Graphic including a photo of a coastline. A lighthouse and a full moon can be seen. The four books of Jenny Knipfer's By the Light of the Moon and the author's logo are at the front of the graphic.

                  Titles in the series are:

                  • Ruby Moon— A tale of grief, guilt, and redemption, set on the shores of Lake Superior
                  • Blue Moon— A tale of true things, more rare than a blue moon
                  • Silver Moon— A World War I tale of courage and hope in the darkest of times
                  • Harvest Moon— A tale of finding grace and blessing amongst life’s hardships

                  In my Sheltering Trees Series, set in the late 1890s through the 1980s, I write about marital discord, grief, Alzheimer’s, depression, living with scars, second chances, family strife, and forgiveness.

                  Titles in the series are:

                  • In a Grove of Maples— A historical novel of the perils of newlywed life, and all that comes to divide lovers (inspired by my grandparents)
                  • Under the Weeping Willow— A historical novel of a mother and daughter, and the secret shipping their rocky relationship
                  • On Bur Oak Ridge— A historical novel of finding healing and a second chance at love
                  • By Broken Birch Bay— A historical mystery of family, romance, and hidden deception
                  A graphic for the Sheltering Trees Series by Jenny Knipfer. Each of the four covers features a woman in a different outdoor setting.

                  My Botanical Seasons novella series currently has two titles, but I am perhaps planning on two more. Current titles are:

                  • Holly’s Homecoming, set in the late 1890s, is a Christmastime story of restoration with a hint of romance.
                  • Violet’s Vow, set in the same time period, is a springtime story about a secret love and a passionate vow.

                  And of course, in all of my books, there’s a thread of romance, mystery, and faith.

                  Jenny’s Future Projects

                  My future book projects are a Retold Fairy Tale series in the Christian fantasy genre. I will release the first title this spring. I also am spearheading a multi, indie author series, Apron Strings, that our group will publish throughout 2024, one title each month. One cookbook connects all of the books in some way. The individual stories span from the 1920s to the 2020s. This series is women’s fiction. My title is Priscilla and is set in the late 1940s after World War II.

                  Q) You have a new book, The Regal Pink, releasing this year. Can you tell readers about it?

                  A) Yes, as of right now I am striving for a release date of around Mother’s Day of this year, 2023. Although the book has magic and a classic fairytale feel, it is very much a book about a mother seeking her son and identity. There is both romance for the young and the young at heart and clear lines of good and evil.

                  The description: A young man who can grant wishes. A fairy hoping for her wings. A king and queen seeking an heir.

                  Far, far away, in the fairy tale kingdom of Evermoor, young, gifted Daniel dreams of escaping his life in captivity and his dastardly Uncle Aldrich. Diana, a flower fairy charged with guiding Daniel, helps him channel his ability to grant wishes, but his uncle exploits Daniel’s gift, stealing the wishes for himself.

                  Warned not to fall prey to mortal love, Diana keeps a friendly distance from Daniel, but she cannot deny her growing feelings for him. Will she shield her heart or risk losing the chance to ever go back home to the Green Glade and gain her fairy wings?

                  In the same kingdom, childless King Roderick and Queen Rosalind have become divided by a great sorrow. Battling the wounds of the past, the monarchs make a valiant effort to move forward, but can they learn to trust each other again? What future can the kingdom have without an heir?

                  Readers of fantasy, Christian fantasy, clean romance, and YA fantasy will be enraptured with this gripping tale of overcoming the past and embracing hope, layered with romance for both the young and the young at heart.

                  “Knipfer has created a well-constructed story with all the elements of a classic fairy tale: a royal family, a lost prince, magical creatures, and determined villains.”

                  — Readers’ Favorite, five-star review

                  More About Jenny

                  Q) How would you describe your writing style?

                  A) Poetic, atmospheric, faith-based, dramatic, emotional, hopeful

                  Q) What song would be your life’s theme song?

                  A) My favorite hymn is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” I can do nothing without Him, and He has been my friend pretty much as far back as I can remember.

                  Every night I go to sleep, praying and imagining where I am with the Lord at that moment. That image has varied so many times throughout my life, in spiritual valleys, plains, and hilltops.

                  Sometimes He shelters me, sometimes we walk hand-in-hand, sometimes He is before me, or behind me, or even laughing with me. I am thankful that He is my savior, my Lord, and so many, many things to me, but I am so very thankful that He is my friend.

                  Q) Who is someone that inspires you?

                  A) Much of my writing inspiration has come from past authors and poets like LM Montgomery, Madeline L’Engle, CS Lewis, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and my favorite author Charlotte Brontë. Recent inspiration has come from many of my author friends that I have connected with online. They are a constant source of encouragement.

                  Q) Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

                  • Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” I am thankful that God can work good through anything, even the ashes of heartbreak and disease.
                  • Hebrews 11:1, which I have in large vinyl print on my kitchen wall. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This verse is a constant reminder to me that there is more to life than what we can see, and that there is a solidity to hope, which all of us need. But more than that, I see hope as the spark for faith, which fulfills that hope, in the unseen but real spiritual realm.

                  Q) Do you have an interesting fact about yourself you would like to share?

                  A) Music has been a big part of my life since I was a small child. My father was very musical and could play almost any instrument by ear. I both played the piano and sang and often sang in church services, weddings, and funerals.

                  About 13 years ago I recorded a CD of all original songs. I had planned on doing more with my music, but my health declined shortly after that. Fast forward a few years, and I was diagnosed with MS. Around that time, I also had gone through a thyroidectomy to remove a large, lime sized goiter from my thyroid, pressing against my esophagus.

                  The surgery damaged my vocal cords, and after, I had to go to speech therapy to be able to even talk normally again without feeling like I was being choked to death. My singing voice was pretty much destroyed after that. And then by that time my fingers were starting to be affected by MS, with pain and lack of dexterity, so playing the piano gradually faded out of my life as well.

                  But that old saying is true; when God closes a window, he opens a door.

                  Jenny’s Advice to Authors

                  Q) What advice would you offer aspiring authors?

                  A) I started out not knowing enough about the business of being an author. Learn everything you can about writing fiction. It is one thing to write a book, but it is altogether another to market, publish, and get it out into the world.

                  Another huge piece, I believe, is networking. Find your readers, connect with other like-minded authors and those in your same genres. The philosophy of “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” goes an incredibly long way. Think of being an author not as being in competition with other authors but as traveling the same road together.

                  Q) What else would you like to share with readers today?

                  A) I would also like readers to know that a lot of my stories have been fueled by personal experience. The books that have been the most real to me as I’ve written them have been the ones that I have put the most of myself in. I never set forth to write just a well-written story but one with substance and one that will instill hope into readers, and might help them along their particular path. My tagline—writing to inspire, encourage, and enjoy.

                  Connect with Jenny Knipfer!

                  Learn more about Jenny Knipfer through her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She also has a Facebook group, and a newsletter.

                  Which one of Jenny’s books are you most excited to read? I will be sharing my review of The Regal Pink closer to its release date this year. I also cannot wait to dive into her other works starting with The Sheltering Trees series!

                  More from The Unicorn Writer

                  Remember to follow for more content from The Unicorn Writer! You can browse the post archive to learn more. Click here to access a previous blog post. I’m also trying to do more with my author newsletter. If you are interested in periodic emailed updates from The Unicorn Writer, Kayla E. Green, you can subscribe below.

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                  Book Review: The Wayward by Tabitha Caplinger

                  Last November, I shared a book spotlight for an upcoming release entitled The Wayward by one of my all-time favorite authors, Tabitha Caplinger. In 2021, I read Tab’s The Wolf Queen, a Young Adult Nordic fantasy laced with the foundational truth that light always prevails over darkness (read my full review of The Wolf Queen here). Though The Wayward is a New Adult dystopian, a different genre than The Wolf Queen, I jumped at the chance to read an advanced copy, and I have finally turned the last page.

                  The verdict, ladies and gentlemen? Tab has done it again. She’s scribed a narrative rooted in truth, centered around raw, real, and relatable characters, that makes the reader feel.

                  The Wayward shifts from various characters, but Wilder James is the primary protagonist. She lives a simple, secluded life in her mountain home and that’s all she wants. However, a tragic event flips her world upside down and Wilder is faced with a choice. Will she protect only herself and her people? Or will she work to free all of humanity from the Necanians who are heralded as “Bringers of Peace”?

                  Yes, The Wayward is a dystopian tale set in a world where an alien race comes to earth, promising freedom and peace to the desperate human race. But it’s so much more. I would argue that, above all, it’s really a love story. Not a dozen roses, plush teddy bears, and cheesy movie-esque love story, but an intricate tale of real, unconditional, redeemable, exposed love.

                  “I would argue that, above all, it’s really a love story. Not a ot a dozen roses, plush teddy bears, and cheesy movie-esque love story, but an intricate tale of real, unconditional, redeemable, exposed love.”

                  The love between Wilder and Declan is tangible, and the love between the people of the Beartooth community is honorable. But the most powerful love depicted? That’s the love that fosters faith and a drive to find Goodness even in the midst of grief and pain, the love that ensures redemption and offers a soulful, true life of living — the love that can only come from God — is elegantly woven in this beautiful prose which is sure to move any heart.

                  Who Would Like This Book?

                  I do agree with the New Adult target audience for The Wayward. In addition to the age of the main characters, the story does contain some violence. The truth about the Necanians and their plans is jarring. Also, infertility plays a role in the novel. I believe this topic will be more appreciated by a New Adult/Adult reader. Note that the plot is more character-driven instead of action-oriented. I think this important to mention because some readers have a plot-type preference.

                  Final Thoughts

                  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND The Wayward for New Adult/Adult readers, and I confidently give it 5-stars! Not only is this a story about love and faith, the character-focused plot will help readers heal in ways they didn’t know a work of fiction could facilitate. Fall into the world of The Wayward and between the dichotomy of pain and healing, hope and despair, & light and dark, and find assurance that you are stronger than you know. Our hearts and souls are resilient, and through stubborn faith and perseverance, love will conquer.

                  Pre-Order Your Copy Before Release Day!

                  The Wayward releases into the wild on February 7, 2023! Pre-orders are still open. Everyone who preorders through Page 158 books will receive an email with digital goodies. PLUS the first 100 who preorder through Page 158 will also receive some extras! Pictured to the left: a bookmark, recipe card, character art, and a signed bookplate.

                  Some of my Favorite Quotes from The Wayward

                  • “The problem is people die, love doesn’t.”
                  • “Fear was the enemy, and they would not kneel to it.”
                  • “This wasn’t about being unbroken… [Redacted] would never be the same, but there could be beauty in her healed brokenness.”
                  • “’I didn’t…I don’t have the power…’ ‘You had the power to try.'”
                  • “He inhaled her lilac scent and exhaled hope.”
                  • “Do you trust Him because things feel good or because He is good, even when you don’t feel it?”
                  • “You may feel fractured right now; I get that and it’s okay to feel it, but you aren’t finished yet. Far from it.”
                  • “‘They took my soul…’ ‘Then you can have part of mine.'”
                  • “Hopefully the snow continued to fall until it blanketed the whole of her world and covered her soul, just as serene and fresh as the winter tide.”
                  • “Humanity was being given a choice at real freedom—soul-deep freedom—the kind that wasn’t about getting what you wanted, but of serving others.”

                  Follow Author Tabitha Caplinger!

                  Happy New Year Book Unicorns!

                  Happy New Year book unicorns!

                  I hope your January is off to a blessed start so far, and your goal list is filled with great books to read! If you aren’t sure what to read next, and you enjoy young adult fantasy, then take the online quiz below to help find your next favorite book!

                  If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read Aivan: The One Truth, a YA fantasy novella with stories rooted in the Old Testament.

                  My last 2021 post was a reflection, and my first post of 2022 was an outline of goals and what I hoped to achieve in the coming year. Due to life circumstances, including unforeseen health complications, I was not able to maintain my planned blog post in 2022 which means I did not share my year’s reflection in December; however, everything has taught me the importance and power of grace. I am starting 2023 with a clear intention to offer myself grace in all my endeavors. I hope you, too, holdfast to grace in the new year.

                  Reflection of 2022 Goals and Author Journey

                  The year 2022 was an exciting year for me in a lot of ways! I didn’t hit my Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal, but I did read 10 amazing books. I didn’t hit all of my writing goals, but I can see real growth in my narrative skills. I am not where I thought I would be in terms of health, but times of darkness has allowed me to seek out the light.

                  Below I have created a list of key highlights that I want to remember moving forward. Remember, these are simply highlights and they do not show the struggles of imposter syndrome, countless rejections, mental health and physical health battles, and other challenges that are inevitable in life. But in sharing some of my year’s highlights, I hope to encourage you to reflect on positive moments and relish in gratitude.

                  In 2022…

                  • I joined the wonderful community of Havok Publishing with my flash fiction pieces “The Once-Stars” and “The Great Blue-Bellied Jelly.” The former was even narrated on the Havok podcast by the talented Magnus Carlssen and anyone can listen to it here!
                  • I started a new job as a school librarian. Fostering a passion for reading in young children is a dream come true!
                  • My debut Young Adult Christian fantasy novella, Aivan: The One Truth, was published through Ambassador International in July. It is now available through your favorite book retailers!
                  • I was semi-finalist in the James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition.
                  • I had poems and short stories appear in 5 different anthologies and I had two articles published through Calla Press online.
                  • Aivan: The One Truth received a Reader’s Favorite 5-Star Review!
                  • My story “Beautiful Wasteland” won the Science Fiction category in Clean Fiction Magazine’s Windows Into the Multiverse Writing Contest Winter 2022.
                  • I signed TWO new book contracts for upcoming projects. More information to be shared soon!

                  Like I said, this is merely a highlight reel. I’m choosing to focus on the light and positive and fill my soul with gratitude for all the opportunities God has provided! I am not minimizing or pretending the pain, loss, and hurt 2022 dealt is nonexistent; rather, I’m simply choosing to sit with that darkness at another time.

                  Purple text shares the Bible verse Psalm 147:3-4, NIV version. The background is a pinkish purple gradient and there are 6 purple hearts surrounding the text.

                  A large part of 2022 was spent feeling regret and lost, but events unfolded to show me that God does heal the brokenhearted. God has granted me specific gifts in which I can use to serve others. The past year really showed my heart what matters most. And what is that? Check out my article delving deeper into the topic here on Calla Press.

                  What’s Next?

                  As I said, I am focusing on grace this year. But that does not mean I don’t have goals that I’ll be working toward! I will still be reading books when I can, and sharing reviews here on the blog. This year, I plan to read whatever my heart calls to which will probably be mostly middle grade and young adult clean fantasy and science fiction with some children’s books as well (I’ll be reading for and with my kiddos at school)! I also hope to share things I’m working on and learning, and I’m considering doing a bi-monthly writing advice post. Is there a specific topic you would like me to address? Feel free to drop a comment below (Please note your comment may take a bit to post as I have to approve it to verify it isn’t spam)!

                  Wrapped in the warm safety of grace, this year I am aiming to…

                  • Complete manuscript for Book Contract Number 1 (by mid-February) and submit to publisher.
                  • Complete manuscript for Book Contract Number 2 (by mid-April) and submit to publisher.
                  • Complete current Writing in Progress (a medieval young adult fantasy) and send to my editor (preferably before summer’s end) and then work on querying.
                  • Continue to write flash fiction and submit to Havok Publishing.
                    • In fact, my first two Havok stories of 2023 have already appeared! On January 3, my sci-fi piece “Firefight in Cuzco” was published, and on January 11, my comedy piece “The End of the World?” was published! “The End of the World?” is especially dear to my heart as the protagonist Huey and his best friend Tema have a lot more adventures, and great banter and puns, to share with readers this year. I highly recommend joining Havok as a reader to access these and the other fantastic stories in the archive.
                  • Continue seeking out publishing opportunities and contests for my stories and poetry.
                  • Cherish every moment, make countless memories with family and friends, and live in the “now.”
                  • Continue to foster my relationship with God and write the stories he places on my heart.
                  The Bible verse Isaiah 41:10, NIV version appears in the center of white rectangle in dark green lettering. To the left and right of text are dark green leaves.

                  Thank You

                  Thank you for reading! And again, Happy New Year book unicorns! I pray that the days ahead provide healing, peace, fulfillment for you and yours, and, of course, grace.

                  Book Spotlight: The Wayward by Tabitha Caplinger

                  Last December, I was fortunate enough to discover and read the book The Wolf Queen by Tabitha Caplinger. *warning: I am about to fan-girl a little*

                  The Wolf Queen was one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, and it steadfastly holds a spot in my top ten all time favorite books. The characters and the messages stayed with me long after I turned the final page and, as an author myself, it gave me inspiration tenfold. I hope to beautifully weave poignant messages in a captivating story with relatable characters in a manner that brings readers closer to God in my writings like Tabitha does; she uses her gift to share God’s light through her writing. She is talented, kind, and I admire her so much. *end fan-girling…kind of*

                  Now, Tabitha has a NEW BOOK releasing February 7, 2023 with Blue Ink Press: The Wayward! *jumping up and down with excitement*

                  The Wayward is not a YA fantasy like The Wolf Queen. It is classified as a YA/NA clean dystopian; however, I have no doubt that Tabitha has created another beautiful book. I cannot wait to read it!

                  What is The Wayward About?

                  Wilder James has spent her entire life in Beartooth, secluded from the Necanians and their domed cities where most of humanity resides. Content to keep her distance within the confines of her rustic community, she desires nothing more than to live out her years with her husband, Declan, in their simple mountain home.

                  But when an unexpected tragedy rips apart her dreams, and intruders pull her from the safety of her camp and into a dark reality, she discovers the shocking truth. The Necanians are not bringers of peace. They’re harbingers of death.

                  Now Wilder must decide if she will protect only herself and her people, or risk everything to try to free all of humanity. She is armed with the one thing her people have always had – faith. Will it be enough?

                  Faith and The Wayward

                  “Faith is a funny thing because it requires trusting in something bigger when you can’t see the light. It means believing in Goodness even when you don’t feel it. It is remaining steadfast even when you don’t understand why or how. Faith often isn’t just something we have or choose but something we wrestle with. In The Wayward we find characters wrestling with faith because they are trying to reconcile their grief and suffering with Goodness and having to trust when they have no clue of the outcome.”

                  Title Track

                  Who Will Love This Book?

                  I asked Tabitha who would enjoy this book. She said, “On the surface, it’s a clean dystopian so I think if you like that you will find a story to enjoy. But I think readers who love a story with flawed and vulnerable characters that contrasts light and dark, hope and despair, grief and joy will connect to The Wayward. Also, there are aliens.”

                  What Others Are Saying About The Wayward

                  “Caplinger creates a gripping and intense story in her upcoming novel, The Wayward. As we follow Wilder through her loss and grief, beautiful depictions of perseverance, faith and true love are portrayed through elegant prose. It is through this riveting story we learn how valuable the strength of one’s heart and soul can truly be.”

                  – V. Romas Burton, Author of the award-winning Heartmender Series

                  Meet the Author

                  How To Pre-Order

                  The Wayward will be available for preorder soon! If you would like early access and first chance to claim the limited preorder goodies, please fill out this form and you will be the first to know when preorders are open!

                  I am lucky enough to be an ARC reader, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on The Wayward with you in an upcoming blog post!

                  Bookish Shop Feature: Book Nook Sleeves

                  Chances are if you follow my blog, you are an avid reader. If you’re like me, then you typically don’t go anywhere without a book. How do you keep your physical books safe and secure while out and about?

                  Y’all, when I first discovered book sleeves and Book Nook Sleeves (BNS), it was a game changer! Heather, owner of BNS, has a multitude of book sleeve options perfect for different sized books (and the sleeves can be used for other things, too – I use a mini sleeve for my glasses at night). AND book sleeves aren’t all BNS offers! To learn more about this awesome small business that both book-lovers and writers will love, check out my interview with Heather below!

                  Q) What inspired you to start Book Nook Sleeves?

                  A) I’ve always loved creating things and when I discovered book sleeves, I thought I’d make a few for myself to use. I enjoyed making them so much that I decided to start creating them for others and it took off from there.

                  Q) Can you tell readers about your current products available?

                  A) We currently offer several different products, but our most popular are: book sleeves, mug rugs, corner bookmarks, and pin hoops.

                  Q) If a reader would like to place a custom order, how can they do that?

                  A) We love custom orders! To discus custom options, please message us on Etsy.

                  Q) If you could speak to your younger self what advice would you give her?

                  A) Never give up! There are things to learn about both good and bad experiences.

                  Q) What is your most recent 5 star read and why did you give it 5 stars?

                  A) My last 5 star read was Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover. It really tugged on my heart strings!

                  Q) Tell us about your star employee, Lucy.

                  A) Lucy is our doxie that we adopted about four years ago. We don’t have kids, so she is VERY spoiled! She is never far from me while I’m sewing, prepping materials, and packing orders… although you can usually find her sleeping. She snores SO loud! lol

                  Q) What do you like to do in your spare time?

                  A) Besides reading, I enjoy traveling with my husband, Dan, spending time with friends and family, baking tasty treats, and snuggling on the couch with Lucy.

                  Q) Who is someone, real or fictional, that inspires you and why?

                  A) My mom inspires me. She is always there when I need someone to talk to and has taught me so much over the years.

                  Q) Can you give us some hints or sneak peeks for any new themes or products BNS will have in the new year?

                  A) I have several exciting things planned in 2023 for BNS. I had originally planned them for this year, but postponed them when we decided to switch all of our book sleeves over to our new foam style. There will be new items for pin collectors, readers who love big books, and some book sleeves that will be unique to our shop!

                  Q) Is there anything else you would like to add? 

                  A) Keep an eye on our social media pages!  We are working with several authors to create exclusive items for special edition boxes that we can’t wait to share with all of you.

                  Follow BNS on social media! And, when you place an order, remember to use code UNICORN10 for a discount! 🙂

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