Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: Adventures and Adversities by Sarah Holman

Purchase HERE

Title: Adventure and Adversities

Author: Sarah Holman

Series: Tales of Taelis #1

Genre: Fantasy

Audience: Teen

**3 stars**

Adventures and Adversities by Sarah Holman was a sweet story with really an amazing message!

Peasants, troubling times, devious plots, and unexpected changes... A sweet story of love. And an awesome spiritual theme. I enjoyed reading of Alditha, the main character, amidst the medieval-like, fantasy world she lives in. I love the medieval era, and that was the feel that Sarah Holman gave this book!

I liked William and his little sister Eleanor. I was expecting a different relationship for Alditha, but hers with William felt real and just was so cute. *smiles* Marian was really sweet. And the glimpses of Alditha's family we got were interesting.

The spiritual theme; awesome, as I mentioned above. It sort of dealt with praising and trusting God even amidst sorrow or hard times. And also that its alright to feel sad and cry. God cries with us. But life is a gift. And bitterness is not the choice to make. So yes! It was convicting and encouraging! I love to struggle and grow with characters ... to admire and learn something from their faith. So neat! *smiles*

William's journey with the sailors was interesting for sure! I like how the noble daughter ties in with that part, haha!

Yes ... so, neat story. I look forward the reading book two in the series, Brothers and BetrayalOr colonial historical novel, A Different Kind of Courage. Both by Sarah Holman, and they both sound great! *grins*

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cover Reveal: A Dream Not Imagined

     And...another cover reveal. For my very own novella!! :D :D I am so excited to share with you today the beautiful cover of A Dream Not Imagined!

     AHH!! Isn't it gorgeous?? ;D I'm blown away by the work of my talented artist sister and an author friend...they've made my story a cover that I just adore! :)

Story Description:

A MAID, a PRINCE, and a DUKE. A GARDENER, a STEPMOTHER, and a secret...

     Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after.

     But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream...of the same prince.

     In the end, are dreams even all they're made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed?

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella.

Tentative Release Date: June 2015

About the Author:

     Well, that would be me, =) The very excited, about-to-be-published writer! I would love to connect with you here on my blog, or through other social media places:

Twitter: @shantellemary

Google+: Shantelle H.

Pinterest: Shantelle H.

About the Illustrator:

     Natasha H. is an aspiring photographer and also loves drawing and painting. A Dream Not Imagined is the first book she has drawn the cover picture for.
     Learn more about her work at her blog: Through My Lens.

Pinterest Pics for A Dream Not Imagined:

     Here's some fun pictures from my pinterest storyboard for this novella. Give you a taste of what's in this tale... :)

~ Ellie Abbington, our sunny-blonde haired, blue eyed "Cinderella" ~

~ Fine carriage. Wouldn't it be fun to ride in one? :D ~

~ A glass slipper! :0 :D ~

~ Royal ball ~

~ And, of course, a sweet scene... ;) ~

Bloggers Participating in the Cover Reveal:

Hayden Wand at The Story Girl

Skye Hoffert at Ink Castles (+ review)

Amber Stokes at Seasons of Humility

Ghost Ryter at Anything, Everything

Deborah O’Carroll at The Road of a Writer

Serena at Poetree (+ review)

Jaye L. Knight at Jaye L. Knight’s Blog

Alyssa-Faith at The American Anglophile

Natasha H. at Through My Lens (+ review)

Hannah Williams at The Writer’s Window

Laura Pol at Crafty Booksheeps

Jesseca Dawn at Whimsical Writings

E. Kaiser Writes at …The Adventure Begins

Allison Ruvidich at The Art of Storytelling

Shannon McDermott at Shannon McDermott’s Blog

Tricia Mingerink at The Pen of a Ready Writer

Friday, April 24, 2015

Faithful Fridays: Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 33:27

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and 

courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be 

discouraged, for the LORD your God will be 

with you wherever you go."

Joshua 1:9

"The eternal God is your refuge, and 

underneath are the everlasting arms. He will 

drive out your enemy before you, saying, 

'Destroy him!'"

Deuteronomy 33:27

     First thing to look at... No terror. No discouragement. Your Father is the great God of all--King of Kings--you should not fear. Should not be depressed.

     Not to say that we as believers don't fear and become depressed at times. It does happen. I've struggled majorly with fear, and a bit with depression as well. But the point's not like this natural thing that we just have to deal with. God doesn't want us to be terrified or discouraged. He knows how it harms us. So He's saying, "I'm here, child. Run to Me and find peace and comfort in My arms. I will fight for you." 

     I think depression and irrational anxiety are two of Satan's tactics to bring believers down...especially, perhaps, when they're doing great things for the Lord! Satan hates us, because we are on God's side! 

     Sometimes I feel like..."God, I'm finally growing closer to You, and becoming a better prayer warrior, and my fantasy story is coming together--I think it will bring glory to You... And now is when I'm all suddenly dealing with this crazy fear and just listless hopelessness? Why?"

     Then it dawns on me. Of course! Of course Satan doesn't want me to grow closer to God. He doesn't want me to bring glory to God. Or pray for others. So the Enemy strikes me where I'm weakest. And somehow I believe his dark lies time and again. If you read Silver Rose, maybe you'll understand why Karalee (main character) is the way she is...because her author happened to have those same, very real struggles! :p

     Anyway. We are in a battle. Don't forget that. Or you may succumb to that fear and depression, because you don't realize you're supposed to be fighting. Don't realize that there's hope. Don't realize that God wants to help you.

     Next time you hear those dark whispers, RUN to God!! Run to His everlasting arms! Definitely don't isolate yourself. Read the Bible even when you don't feel it's speaking to you. Pray, even when your soul feels dry and faithless. Talk about your struggles to fellow believers who will encourage you and just hold you up.
~Cling to Him~

     I once heard this profound thing that just stuck with me: "Even when your heart can't feel it, even when your mind can't believe it; move forward in obedience anyway." Keep moving in faith. Even when you can't feel it.

     And remember, God is here. And the victory is ours through Him.

(All pictures found on Pinterest)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book Review: Homecoming by Kate Hasbrouck

Purchase HERE

Title: Homecoming

Author: Kate Hasbrouck

Series: Homecoming Trilogy #1

Genre: Fantasy/Angel Fiction

Audience: Young Adult

**4 stars**

Homecoming by Kate Hasbrouck is a unique fantasy/Christian allegory sort of novel. It almost reminded me of the few YA angel fiction stories I’ve read. Yet it was different.

Kerana is an Eldurian, sent to earth to protect and help the humans. Eli is a broken young man, just trying to get through day-to-day college life. Theirs is an unlikely story. Incredible things are bound to happen as the worlds of Earth and Eden collide.

I enjoyed the beginning and middle parts of this story well enough. The story concept was intriguing and I liked Kerana. Eli was a little bit harder to like, but as his story progressed, he grew dear as well. The end-ish of Homecoming was especially interesting and made me come to really like the story. I’m quite excited for the sequel now!! *smiles*

The allegory/spiritual parts of this novel were incredible. Though I’m not sure how I felt about every little detail; overall, it was amazing. Meeting Adonai. Glimpsing His home. Feeling His love for Kerana and Eli. Seeing their child to Father relationships with Him. Some of it was simply mind-blowing. For the most part, I loved this allegory of God and His boundless love, and my soul has been truly touched.

Also, the theme of surrendering one’s destiny, relinquishing control of one’s life to your Creator … Simply powerful. I love a novel that teaches something, stirs your soul, reminds you, helps you in your walk with God. And Homecoming did that.

Oh ... Kate Hasbrouck has a lovely imagination! *smiles* I really enjoyed some of the parts and things of Eden. Would love to elaborate, but I suppose you should read them for yourself!

I’m not a huge fan of this type of fantasy. Supernatural beings (that aren’t actually angels in this case), perfect non-fallen sort of humans … that kind of thing. I still don’t know my exact opinion of Kerana and her people. And hmm … they weren’t so perfect in the end. But in any case, it’s a thought-provoking concept. And I felt that God was glorified through all; so that’s great!

I would say give this poignant tale a try and see what you think! It’s a fascinating idea. It brought across a beautiful message. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Faithful Fridays: Psalm 139:13-14

     Yes, it's actually Saturday, but I missed this post yesterday and decided I may as well do it today! :-)

"For You created my inmost being; You knit 

me together in my mother's womb.

I praise You because I am fearfully and 

wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, 

know that full well."

Psalm 139: 13-14

     Powerful. We as humans (and especially as women perhaps) go around comparing ourselves to others and letting the media tell us what we should look like and how we should act.

     Too fat. Too skinny. Too tall. Too short. You need longer legs. A smaller waist. Bigger eyes. And where is the "thigh gap"??

     So modest. Pitifully shy. Not enough sass...too quiet and demure. Be more aggressive! Be more sensual, bold, and desensitized to things like innocence and purity.

     We can't measure up. And some of us ruin our lives trying to. Or you're like me... striving to stay faithful to what you believe about a woman's appearance and actions--and yet often ending up feeling ugly, stupid, unwanted, not good enough in many situations.

     You know what? It's time to open our eyes to the truth. YOU are LOVED by the KING OF KINGS. He loves and cares so much for you!! He lovingly crafted you in your mother's womb. He has a plan for your life!

     Pfft, forget what the world thinks. What do they know? You are fearfully and wonderfully made!

     You are not ugly. You are not unwanted. Not unloved. Not a weird person. Not a "dumb blonde". Not boring and useless. Not stupid.

     God looks down and sees His child, whom He loves. HE LOVES YOU. God loves us!

     Why all this fear and shame over what people say and think? And this talk of self-confidence... What we really need, is God-confidence. We need to look up and see that our Creator, Redeemer, Father, and Friend treasures us. He never says, "That stupid person".

     So yeah. That's what makes me confident. The assurance that I'm God's princess. His daughter. Yes, I'm still quiet, insecure, and "socially awkward" a lot... But my King is showing me more and more that I am so powerfully and abundantly LOVED. And mere, unhappy people's opinions don't matter at all when the God of the Universe created, and loves, and is there for me.

     Blessings, dear readers. You. Are. Beautiful.

(All images found on Pinterest)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cinderella, Cinderella (Cover Reveal Sign-Up)

     Lots of beautiful and fantastic Cinderella retellings out there! I made a list of the ones I know of below... and will hopefully be adding my very own Cinderella retelling to that list very soon! :-D

     On that note, would you like to be part of the cover reveal for my fairytale novella, A Dream Not Imagined? The reveal is scheduled for April 25th. If you would like to, please comment below or email me at 
with your name and blog (name and url) by April 22nd.

     Thank you!! If you don't have the time or desire to be part of the reveal, I hope you will still visit my blog on the 25th to see the cover of my soon-to-be first published book (novella)!!! :-) :-) I'm so super excited for this!

     Oh, I recently made an author page on facebook, which I'm thrilled about as well, :-D Visit it at: and like it up if you so desire! ;-D

Cinderella, Cinderella...
The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

Dash and Cinder by Bridget Ladd

Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Fairy Slippers by Amber Stokes

Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey

Alyce by Sarah Scheele

Cinderella by Jenni James

Corral Nocturne by Elisabeth Grace Foley

Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton

Cinderella's Shoes by Shonna Slayton

Cursed Beauty by Dorian Tsukioka

Five Glass Slippers by Elisabeth Brown, Emma Clifton, Rachel Heffington, Stephanie Ricker, and Clara Diane Thompson  

Late for the Ball? by Heather Gray

What is Hidden by Lauren Skidmore

Cinder Eddy by Kendra E. Ardnek

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Waltz into the Waves by Sarah Holman

     Have you read any of these retellings? What is your favorite Cinderella tale? :-)

Blog Tour: Homecoming by Kate Hasbrouck

      Another blog tour, wahoo! This time I'll be spotlighting Kate Hasbrouck's debut novel, Homecoming, interviewing Kate, and sharing a giveaway! Join the fun! :-)

About the Book
     Kerana is being sent to Earth to begin her duty as an Eldurian. Hers are a perfect people, without flaw and without sin, never experiencing the fall of man. Created by God to shepherd His people on Earth, they remain in the shadows, unnoticed. Kerana looks human, speaks like them, and has been taught to act like them. Above all her mission is to serve the humans.
     Arriving on Earth, Kerana meets Eli at school. He is an ordinary human, with a father suffering from alcoholism, and a past that threatens to ruin his life. A star scholarship lacrosse player, Eli has to forget his true passion and live in a shell that doesn’t let anyone in. Until he meets Kerana. They find themselves intertwined in a connection that neither can quite explain. When this connection puts the two of them in danger, they find comfort and protection from each other. When Eli discovers that there is more to Kerana than just her stunning looks and grace, the Eldurians and their home planet of Eden may not remain a secret for very long.
Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
About the Author
Kate Hasbrouck has been writing and creating stories for as long as she can remember. She had written several stories by the time she was a teen, but Homecoming was the first full manuscript she had ever written with the intention of sharing it with other people. She attended Houghton College, where she received her Bachelor’s degree with a dual-major in Writing and Psychology where she honed her skills. She lives in Florida with her husband, a youth pastor at a local church, where she spends time writing, ministering to teens, and enjoying the life God has given her. Homecoming is the first book in a trilogy.
Social Corner:

Facebook Author Page:


Goodreads Author Page:


Amazon Author Page:

Interview with Kate Hasbrouck:
Me: Hi Kate! Excited to have you on my blog in honor of your upcoming release, Homecoming! My first question would be… what inspired you to write Homecoming?
Kate: I have a whole notebook just full of ideas for books that I hope I can one day get to, but Homecoming was an idea that just struck me one afternoon. My sister read the Twilight series, and she really fell in love with the characters. Because of her love for the story, it got me thinking about it. What if the female character was the strong one, the one with the super speed and super hearing. And so I started to write, and the Eldurian race was created.
Me: Is there a character that you personally relate to in your book?
Kate: It is very hard to relate to a race of perfect beings, but Kerana is very relatable I think. She experienced a lot of things that we have to experience too, like rejection, trying to feel accepted, and fear. But it's not just negative things that we can relate to; she also experiences the growth of friendship, being the object of someone's affection, and the comfort and love from her family. And since Kerana hasn't lived the life of a human, that's where Eli is relatable. There are a lot of people who have come from broken families or feel like that they have to hide who they really are. Eli represents the quiet sufferer, just living life day by day. But I love how both characters have become so much more than just characteristics and experiences.
Me: What genre do you read the most?
Kate: I really love Young Adult and Fantasy. I love the dragons and sword fights and wizards. But I also love supernatural stories (hence why I wrote Homecoming!) where the characters have special abilities. And I even still love stories set way in the future where the technology is super advanced and humanity is struggling to survive. Really, I think my list of genres I don't like is shorter than the list of those I do!!
Me: Ooh, fantasy is a love of mine too!  I also enjoy a variety of different genres. :-) A favorite movie?
Kate: Favorite about I keep it simple with my top 3! I love all of the classic Disney princess movies, Inception (because I think dreams are just super interesting), and one to join the list recently was actually the Lego movie.
Me: What do you hope readers come away with after reading your books?
Kate: I love to write, and I really do hope that people enjoy my stories, but what I want them to see when they read my books is hope and encouragement. My books all have a Christian undertone, but I write them in a way that can be read and enjoyed by non-believers too. I don't want to write to an exclusive audience, and really I have heart for people to know the Truth and to know Love in the same way that Jesus taught them; through stories.
Me: That’s wonderful, :-) The Lord of the Rings or Narnia? Or neither?
Kate: How about both! :) I have read the Narnia series at least three times, and the way Lewis tells his stories is how I love to tell stories, so he is a big inspiration to me! And, secret time, I haven't read the entire Lord of the Rings series, but the first time I attempted I was twelve! I've started it again more recently and I absolutely love the detail in it! Older English literature is some of my favorite!
Me: Well good for you! I myself haven’t read any of the Lord of the Rings series because I’m scared to try and read an Old English book! I generally have a hard time with those! :-p Since Homecoming seems to be young-adult, what’s a favorite YA novel that you’ve read?
Kate: A favorite YA book of mine is the City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I really enjoy the first three books in that series, but in my opinion, the last three are just unnecessary and too dirty. The thing about her books that I liked in the first ones disappeared in the last three. Rant aside, these series have a lot of the elements that I really love in a series. Action, some romance, the fantasy and supernatural aspect.
Me: Is there any actor/actress who inspires you?
Kate: This is a tough question. I have a hard time really knowing who an actor or actress really is, but I really admire those who don't follow the status norm. Money and attention can really ruin a person, but those who still choose to live their lives in the spotlight and stand up for what is right is good. There are too many people who don't stand up for injustice, and those who have the ear of most of the media who choose to use it for good are ones that I really admire.
Me: Great thoughts, I would agree! Can we know anything about Homecoming’s sequel? :-)
Kate: Yes!! The tentative title is Becoming, and the story brings to light Eli's purpose. The reader is introduced to the Eldurian army; if there is good in the world, there must be an evil to be fought against. Enter a new race of beings who are called Endaegons. Where the Eldurians are all pure and without sin, these creatures are the epitome of darkness and destruction. The story is about how Eli and Kerana face a new evil together, and how it threatens to tear them apart.
Me: Sounds intriguing!! What’s one thing that keeps you writing?
Kate: Really my love of writing is what keeps bringing me back to it! It is an awesome relief for stress for me, and it is a way that I can give back to God the gifts that He gave me by using them for Him! And it is a sort of insatiable itch that I have that can only be fixed when I write! Bizarre, I know, but I always feel weird when I go a period of time without writing or doing something that relates to writing!
Me: You sound like a true writer at heart, Kate! :-) Blessings!! Thank you for being here and answering my questions!
Kate: And thank you so much for having me!!
Want to enter the world of Eden? Kate is giving away a SIGNED copy of Homecoming (US only) and an ebook (INT) as a thank you to all who have been with her through her writing journey. Click the link below to enter the rafflecopter giveaway:

Book Tour Schedule
Monday, April 6th

Tuesday, April 7th

Review at Lyric & Longhand
Wednesday, April 8th

Review and Guest Post at Zerina Blossom’s Books
Thursday, April 9th

Review at JoJo’s Corner
Friday, April 10th

Tuesday, April 14th

Interview at A Writer’s Heart
Wednesday, April 15th

Saturday, April 18th

Review at Fictionally
Sunday, April 19th

Book Tour Wrap Up at Crafty Booksheeps