Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Sunflower Blogger Award

     I was nominated by Jaye for the Sunflower Blogger Award. So now I get to say 11 facts about myself and answer 11 questions from Jaye! Then I'm supposed to tag 11 other bloggers and ask them some questions! I don't have many blogger friends... but I found a few!
So, here's 11 facts about me:
1 I'm the oldest girl in a family of nine (soon to be ten!)
2 I think it would be delightful to travel to Europe for a fun, tour visit
3 I've been writing stories since about eight-years-old
4 I really enjoy watching BBC dramas (when they're clean!!)
5  I love chocolate! :)
6 I have an intolerance to wheat, peanuts, and flax
7 I've never been a sports person; but discovered I really like Ultimate Frisbee a few years ago
8 I graduated from high school this month!
9 I love meeting favorite authors, independantly-published authors, avid readers, and so on...
10 I don't really like winter at all... but just love being able to run outside without a second thought (no jacket, no shoes...)
11 I like pretty dresses. Medieval, Regency, colonial, 1800s ballgowns... yeah, I'd pretty much like to try them all out!! :)
In Answer to the 11 questions:
1 What is your favorite kind of tree? Hmm... I guess I like willows. Or a nice, sturdy climbing tree! :)
2 Do you prefer tea or coffee or neither? I enjoy tea... fruit or mint
3 What is your favorite social media site? Um... I really like Pinterest and finding pictures that bring my stories to life, :) Facebook is also nice.
4 What is the last sentence you wrote in a story? Karalee raised her eyebrows, "We're only going into war today... why wouldn't I be alright?" (From Silver Rose)
5 Who is your favorite historical figure and why? I like George Washington. He seemed like an honest, courageous, and truly patriotic man, with a steady faith in God.
6 What is your biggest pet peeve? I would agree with Jaye. It can be frustrating when people give you the "oh really" look when you talk about publishing your stories and that being your career in the future.
7 What's your favorite dessert? I'd have to say cheescake, :) , just as long as I make a wheat-free crust!
8 If you could live in any time period (past, present, or future), what would you choose? Maybe the colonial days (mid 1700s or so)... minus the corsets! That era has always intriuged me.
9 What is your favorite book to re-read (besides the Bible)? Probably Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz. (But I also want to re-read Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Tales of Goldstone Wood, Molly Evangeline's Makalien series, Jaye L. Knight's Resistance, Heather Dixon's Entwined... and so on...)
10 What genre do you read most? Christian historical-fiction I think. But fantasy and historical-fiction are close together as for favorites!
11 What is the best movie you have ever watched? Hmmm... probably Pendragon: Sword of His Father. (The Chronicles of Narnia comes in a a close second. I also enjoy the two hobbit movies, and How to Train Your Dragon is fun! :) )
     Alright... now to tag some bloggers. As I said, I don't really know many, but here's a few. (Hopefully they haven't been nominated yet!):
And here's my questions (I took a few of Jaye's when I couldn't think of anymore!):
1 What is your favorite book (or one of them)?
2 What is your favorite book genre?
3 Do you prefer winter or summer?
4 Who is your favorite historical figure and why?
5 A few movies you enjoy...?
6 Do you like cake or pie better?
7 How would you rather read, on kindle or with paperback?
8 Who are two of your favorite authors?
9 If you could live in any time period (past, present, or future) what would you choose?
10 Which do you like best, bright colors or pastels?
11 Are you more of a casual type, or do you like to dress up?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cover Love!! (Historical)

New release, historical fiction that I'm excited to read... and love the covers!! :)

Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson
~Ah! So beautiful! I love Jan's books! I think this is part of her Copper Brown series~

Until That Distant Day by Jill Stengl
~Just gorgeous. This book sounds absolutely fascinating!!~

Morning Glory by Amber Stokes
~Book 3 of The Heart's Spring series. Can't wait to read this!!~

Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz
~Love the colors! Book 3 in The Ballantyne Legacy series. Laura is an amazing author!~

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
~Regency! I love Julie's books, they're enthralling!~

So there's a few of the historical-fiction new releases that I'm excited to read! :) 

Book Review: The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman

Purchase HERE

Title: The Shadow of the Bear

Author: Regina Doman

Series: A Fairy Tale Retold #1

Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling/Contemporary

Audience: Young Adult


Once upon a time... In New York City, a young, secretive street tough who calls himself, Bear, lands on the doorstep of two teenaged sisters. On the one hand Rose is delighted with his surprising knowledge of literature, poetry, and music; on the other hand Blanche is afraid of his apparent connections to drugs, murder, and a hidden treasure. Even as Blanche learns to trust him, her fears that Bear's friendship threatens their family prove terrifyingly true.

Originally published in hardcover in 1997 as Snow White and Rose Red: A Modern Fairy Tale, Bethlehem Books released The Shadow of the Bear: Snow White and Rose Red Retold in paperback in 2002.

**5 stars**

The Shadow of the Bear caught me in from the very first page, and held me captivated through practically the whole book. The style of writing that Regina Doman uses has a whimsical touch ... I was delighted again and again by the enchanting way she wove this story together.

I had never really heard the fairy tale of Snow White and Rose Red before, but basically The Shadow of the Bear tells a present-day retelling of it. Blanche and her younger sister Rose live with their widowed mother in an apartment of New York. Their mother works long hours at the hospital. Blanche is cautious and quiet and prone to panic attacks/fainting spells. Rose is vivacious and outgoing, always ready to try something wild. (Both girls were endearing, and I quickly grew to love them!). Then they meet Bear, the big guy with dreadlocks ... mysterious, unknown, and kind.

There were twists and turns, sweet surprises and terrible revelations. The romance wasn't blatant, but you could see it coming at some point, and it was just adorable. New characters popped up unexpectedly, and turned out to be more entwined into the story than you thought. It was just ... enchanting.

Well, except that it had a pretty dark theme. I would caution younger kids (even 12-15), because there's some yucky dreams, nasty characters, sinister plots, evil deeds, and a near-murder. I think Regina Doman did a pretty good job of NOT making it into a horror story, despite the heavy darkness twining through the book. Just a caution to younger and more sensitive people; because some scenes even I caught my breath with a "that's terrible!" thought. Of course, if you've read my reviews, you'll know I'm not a fan of gory violence and gross/sick scenes. But like I said, it didn't feel like a horror movie or anything.

Oh, and I think I remember there being a little bit of swearing. Not sure …

The Shadow of the Bear seems to have somewhat of an allegory/"moral of the story" or something present. The girls are Catholic, and they have steady morals and a simple faith. There were a few 'Hail Mary's and mentions of praying to the saints and angels, but other than that, it was like any other Christian book.

I just have to say... I'm really wanting to read more of Blanche, Rose, Bear, and Fish. I'm so intrigued. And I just LOVE how Rose likes to ditch reality and live the fairytale in life! It's just priceless. ^_^

There's still some things I'm not sure of. But if Black as Night continues like The Shadow of the Bear, and continues the Christian theme in a good way, I think this will quickly become a favorite series!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cover Love! (Fantasy)

Here's some new releases of the fantasy genre that I'm so excited to read!! I believe most of them are the Christian-allegory type of fantasy.

Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
~Continuing the epic series of Tales of Goldstone Wood!~

Hebbros by Nicole Sager
~A non-magic fantasy that sounds amazing!~

The Seahorse Legacy by Serena Chase
~Pirates and fairytale retellings... the third book of the Eyes of E'veria series~

                                   The Storm Siren by Mary Weber
               ~Not sure if this is Christian, but it sounds quite interesting~

Prince of Malorn by Annie Douglass Lima
~Looks fascinating for sure... book 3 of the Annals of Alasia series~

There's just a few of the lovely fantasy covers I discover. On another post I will have a few delightful historical covers. :) 

Book Review: All My Holy Mountain by L.B. Graham

Purchase HERE

Title: All My Holy Mountain

Author: L. B. Graham

Series: Binding of the Blade

Genre: Fantasy

Audience: Young Adult

**2.5 stars**

All My Holy Mountain, the conclusion to the Binding of the Blade series. (By the way, I can't say I'm a fan of the cover. I'd prefer the man to be dressed more properly!) This book continues the final war. But things are moving quickly. Many surprising, exciting, and mind-boggling things happened in this book. There were so many moments when I was sitting there stunned, "That's who he really was ... ?" "They really did that ... ?!" The first half or so of All My Holy Mountain was fresh and exciting. It did slow down a little after that.

There was a lot of violence. Too much for my taste. I just don't like the graphic killing, and almost a carelessness about the preciousness of life. Maybe this wasn't the author's intention ... but I just don't like that much gruesome and goriness!

***SPOILER ALERT*** I would of given All My Holy Mountain a higher rating, but really, the conclusion just didn't satisfy me. As a Christian-allegory/fantasy book, I felt All My Holy Mountain was a little vague and a bit weird. Valzaan is really a Titan, and he is the one who ends up killing Malek. Doesn't Malek stand for Satan? Why then is the prophet the one who kills him?? I would think that's Allfather's place. Also, I was kind of confused when everyone started coming back to life ... yet they weren't in "heaven". It seemed that earth was just made perfect and at peace, and everyone would continue to live as they had, with Allfather (God) still invisible and up in heaven. It just had me confused and unsatisfied ... Although it was absolutely lovely to see all the fallen heroes coming back, alive and hearty!! Joraiem!!!! I would have liked more of a scene with him too. Most importantly, I wonder how Jesus fits into all this? We have Allfather who must represent God, and Malek, who seems to represents Satan, but no Savior. Benjiah lays down the blade and gets killed by Malek, and Valzaan casts Malek off the mountain. Why does it seem like mere mortals are doing all the work in this story? Obviously, these characters had a faith in Allfather, and that is what ultimately saved them. But I just wish it could have expounded more on God's all-important sacrifice through which all people may be saved! ***SPOILER ALERT ENDS***

It was a good series. Interesting, unique, and sometimes sweet. A bit too violent for my taste though. And I would have liked a stronger Christian-allegory, since its of that genre. A little more in line with Biblical things I guess. I don't really know what else to say. I was disappointed. Intriguing, well-written series, but just didn't satisfy for me in the end, as a Christian allegory.

                                              BOOK 1



                                                BOOK 4

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: Annabeth's War by Jessica Greyson

Purchase HERE

Title: Annabeth's War

Author: Jessica Greyson

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy

Audience: Young Adult

**5 stars**    

Amazing. I bought this book on Amazon as a Kindle for $.99. I don't know how all these fabulous authors go by virtually unnoticed! If not for a specific notice by some other indie author, I wouldn't have found this exciting book by Jessica Greyson.

With intrigue, suspense, romance, and battles, Annabeth's War caught me up from practically the very first page and took me on a great journey with Annabeth and Ransom. Beautiful, bittersweet, and easy to get into, this story stirred my love for reading. *smiles*

It was a story not quite like any other I've read. Skilled swordsmen and women, a mysterious "stalker" who may just turn out to be someone you thought he wasn't, an intriguing twisty-turn plot, a daring rescue. I believe it was set in the medieval times ... just a simple, fresh historical tale. But not simple. *grins* It was just remarkable.

So read Annabeth's War by Jessica Greyson ... this is a jewel not to be missed!

Find out more about Annabeth's War HERE.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

259 Pages!!

     So I’m one of those millions of aspiring authors out there… writing the book of my heart and scrambling to think of how I can get it published.

     My tale is a fantasy/Christian allegory, which happens to be one of my favorite genres. (By the way, synonyms for allegory are symbol, parable, fable, metaphor, etc... so you get a gist of what I’m actually writing!) My tentative title is Silver Rose, and I’ve been working off and on on this particular story since I was 14/15. The inspiration for it came mainly from The Chronicle of Narnia movies and the River of Time book series. From there, it has developed into something even I couldn’t have imagined!

     So, back to the title of my entry… I've reached 259 pages on Silver Rose! Truly, this is a whole lot more spectacular than it sounds. 259 Microsoft Word pages, Times New Roman, font size 10. I’m told, that might actually equal about 500 pages in a normal-size book, J. So yes, it's pretty exciting. I thank God for bringing me this far!! An end for Silver Rose is coming... I'm thinking I just have 4 or 5 more chapters to write.

     Then I edit. And hopefully find some good editors to help me! :) I plan to look into publishing through after that.

     Anyway, since pictures always make things a little more exciting, I'll share some photos from pinterest that are how I imagine my characters from Silver Rose looking.

     Without further ado, I introduce my lovely main character, Karalee Rose:
       Karalee Rose- a young woman living in Zelvin of the Kingdom of Darkness

                                   Anastasia- a serving maid in Arronada

                  Ascilia- maid in the castle of Karalee's betrothed, Lord Dunetter

                      Nenette Shonnon- young wife of Alexander Shonnon II

So there's a sneak peak at some of my characters. Well, what I imagine them to look something like, :) I found all these images on pinterest, and they are on my pinterest board: Storyboard- SILVER ROSE.

                  Story theme.... (also found on pinterest!)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review: Resistance by Jaye L. Knight

I think I'll start this blog with a post about one of my favorite books. *smiles* Resistance actually just released a few days ago, but the author, Jaye L. Knight, gave me the privilege of reading and reviewing Resistance before it came out; (I even got to write a mini review for the inside)!

Anyway, here is the cover and description of the story inside:

Purchase HERE

“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

(Christian Fantasy/Clean New Adult/No Magic)

Title: Resistance

Author: Jaye L. Knight

Series: The Ilyon Chronicles #1

Genre: Fantasy

Audience: New Adult

**5 stars**

Oh my ... where to even start? It brought me to tears, made my skin tingle in delight, had my mind racing, and made my heart sigh.

Resistance tells the stories of a fascinating array of characters; the most prominent being Kyrin Altair and Jace. Kyrin, along with her twin brother Kaden, train in Tarvin Hall to serve the emperor. Jace is of a feared race, an outcast to society. Both of them have this in common: they serve King Elom; which is a dangerous thing to do in the darkening days of Ilyon. Believers of Elom labor to keep their faith a secret ... but evil is at work. In the end, who will bow, and who will resist?

The setting of Resistance is an unusual, captivating mix of Ancient Rome-like times, fantasy concepts, and a futuristic touch —with the Christian allegory ever present. The collection of different “fantasy” races was intriguing. From the ruthless, supposedly soulless ryriks, to the regal, peace-loving talcrins, I was delighted by this creativity! Can’t wait to meet more of the races, such as the cretes and the giants (dorlanders)!

This story was deep. Deep, emotionally-stirring, thought-provoking, and hitting very close to home. I often found myself thinking, "What would I do in that situation?" Because I have much in common with Kyrin and Jace. A faith that has faced persecution around the world and across the centuries, for one. And it’s a faith worth fighting for! Resistance displayed that ... with scenes that pierced my heart. No, I will not bow down to your gods; I serve King Elom, and Him alone! Yes, it was deep. It felt real.

The love story, well ... it’s not exactly a love story ... but, I believe it will be, later on! *smiles* Anyway, the relationship was so sweet. It came about with real compassion, selflessness, and care. –Truly beautiful to watch unfold.

Oh, and did I mention that I love Kaden? Really, he’s the epitome of “big brotherly-ness”. He definitely ranks as a favorite character, along with Kyrin and Jace. But I liked all the characters —the good ones, I mean. Rayad, Trev, Endathlorsam, Liam, William, Trask, Anne ... Ah, I just want to read more of them!

Resistance was surprising, with breathtaking twists and turns. It was bittersweet and love-filled, with scenes that made me want to cry and smile all at once. It was interesting, with its amazing settings and happenings. It was heart-rending. It was beautiful. It was worth it. Definitely not your fluffy romance story —but I loved it. I absolutely can’t wait to read the next book to the Ilyon Chronicles!! And the next, and the next. I hear there is six books to the series, yay! *smiles*

There was some violence, in order to enhance the story. I would caution younger children (12 and under). But otherwise, it's definitely not all gruesome and gore, just a bit of violence to make the situation more real.

All in all, a stunning story. Even after the last page, the impact remains.

I received a copy of Resistance from the author in exchange for my honest review.