Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Today, we have a special feature in honor of this day: Amber Stoke’s Heart’s Spring short stories combo release. I personally, am thrilled, as the books are lovely reads! After reading these two books, I sat for a bit and thought to myself, “These pieces deserve an endorsement!” And my friends, here is one for this combo release:
“Very mature, and well written–intricately laced with unique metaphors of southern flares! These Heart’s Spring short stories will leave you pondering and satisfied with immense literary appreciation.” ~ Miranda A. Uyeh
Come now with me below, and let me introduce you to these books!
About the Book
“The Heart’s Spring” Short-Story Combo eBook
BELLFLOWER: Short Story Prequel to Forget Me Not
Annabelle knows only one way of life. Jacob knows only one way to feel secure. When their paths cross in a Western mining town, can they find a way for love to bloom? Discover the story behind two hurting hearts in this short but sweet retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
FAIRY SLIPPERS: Bonus Short Story Companion to Bleeding Heart
Margaret is fragile. Zachary is tough. Both are lonely. Will a dance in a redwood lumber town bring them together—or drive them apart forever? Discover the continuing story of the cook from Bleeding Heart in this short but sweet retelling of Cinderella.
My Rating & Review of Bell Flower
5 out of 5 (stars)
This short story is my favorite in the series! I loved the Annabelle’s straight-forwardness from the get-go. Her character had no illusions of life; she knew it wasn’t her fault that she ended up where she did, but she didn’t complain about it either. She was tough and vulnerable at the same time, in a way that seemed very real, like a beautiful flower caught in a storm that somehow didn’t break.
Jacob on the other hand, was very guarded most of the time, at least, that’s what I thought, as it took a while to reveal his true intentions toward Annabelle (even to the reader).
I loved that as they came together, there were no games, no lies, just an honesty that stemmed from mutual understanding. They each knew the other was far from perfect, but were willing to give love a chance. This love, by the way, is the mature kind that loves with eyes wide open to the whole truth.
As much as I loved this story, I would have loved to see the faith element in it, which I didn’t. However, I understand that this book is meant to create a clearer picture for us, the Heart Spring fans. So, it’s fine. 🙂
My Rating & Review of Fairy Slipper
4 out of 5 (stars)
This is a retelling of the Cinderella story, but this is not your typical tale of one. The best thing about this story is that, both of the main characters are considered write-offs by the people around them. But it’s amazing what a flower found in the forest can teach you. Here’s what I learned: as a flower, you may not look as tall and strong as the trees in the forest, but the trees don’t look as pretty as you either. The very difference between you and those trees is what makes you STANDout. Add some faith into that mix, and you could become … well, OUTstanding!
I believe Zachary and Meg are kindred spirits, as they were both able to recognize the significance of the fairy slipper in the forest, a lesson that changed their lives for the better. And in a way, each was a Cinderella who needed rescuing. Thankfully, each was also, a knight in shining armor who came to that rescue! Sweet, right?
Once again, this is a mature love story between two people who have an understanding, or at least a sense/awareness of each other’s difficulties, but chose to love all the same. I find it peculiar that Fairy Slipper is similar to Bell Flower in its core message: stepping up with courage in the face of odds to rescue whom will become your true love, knowing full well that you’d get your hands dirty dusting and cleaning them up. That’s just lovely!
And the faith element? No one is forgotten by God, even if they’re forgotten by people. No one is without hope of loving, or even beyond loving. We just need to look beyond the obvious to see the beauty inside the person standing right in front of us. Let us pray to God, like Brandon Heath (Christian Song Artist), to give us His eyes, even if it’s for one second, so we can see. (I’d like to dedicate Brandon Heath’s “Give Me Your Eyes” to these two lovely stories, as it’s the song that came to mind, and I’m humming right now as I write this. If you’re in the mood, click the link and watch to the video of this wonderful song!)
*Although I offer these reviews to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. My HEARTFELT gratitude to Amber Stokes, the author, for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
You can also find this post on facebook.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Amber has decided to offer her her sophomore book, Forget Me Not, as a freebie on Amazon and Smashwords today! Hurry now, make a stop in any one of them and get your free copy!
In celebration of Fairy Slippers’ first appearance in a published ebook, Amber is giving away a horse & carriage beaded bookmark from Belle on a Budget—so one lucky reader can enjoy a bit of Cinderella charm! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, and you can enter using a Rafflecopter giveaway form. Just follow the link.
About the Author
Amber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word – from blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion for books as a freelance editor/publicist and self-published author.
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