Sunday, September 27, 2015

Book Review: A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes

Purchase HERE

Title: A Time to Speak

Author: Nadine Brandes

Series: Out of Time #2

Genre: Dystopian

Audience: Young Adult (to Adult)

Publisher: Enclave Publishing

Expected Publication: October 16th, 2015

About the Book:

What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow. 

The Council is using Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes. Parvin and Solomon team up to rescue the people. Instead, they find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

**5 stars**

A gripping second book to the OUT OF TIME series by Nadine Brandes! I quite thoroughly enjoyed it … not left bored for a moment!

A Time to Speak starts off soon after where the first book left us hanging. Parvin Blackwater struggles to accept her brother’s death – struggles to accept the reality that the clock she always believed in was wrong. She’s still alive.
     So what will she do with the life she’d thought she didn’t have? Or will the wicked Council decide that for her?

After being left slightly stunned by the end of A Time to Die (Book One), I was really excited to dive into this book and see what would happen with Parvin, Solomon, Willow, Elm, Tawny, and the others. I was not disappointed! (Perhaps a bit shocked again, by the time I got the end, but definitely not disappointed! *grins*)
     With an engaging writing style, staggering, new trials, and our beloved characters, Nadine Brandes continues to unfold this harsh, riveting, heart-breaking, beautiful story. Shalom. My heart is caught up in this tale as I watch eighteen-year-old Parvin strive to bring that back to her people. To know God more. To do what He wants her to do with what life she has left. I watch her trust deepen. Her love deepen. I watch this broken, scared girl become a fearless leader. Leading people to Truth.

I loved this book even more than the first! I still haven’t decided … four point five stars or a solid five? Hmm, I think it deserves five. Never mind the ending. There’s a Book Three to come in 2016! ^__^

I don’t even know quite why I’m enjoying these books so much. Just to warn you, neither A Time to Die or A Time to Speak are light reads! There’s sorrow. Violence. Pain. Threats. Death. Wrong. Evil. But in the midst of all that, light shines bright! Hope pulses! The faith theme of this series is so vibrant and real. I just love it! It’s so meaningful. It challenges me, encourages me, helps me grow. And books that do that are just my favorite! <3 I so love journeying and growing with Parvin. Sometimes, I’m right with her. Sometimes, her faith astounds me. And I’m like: I want that! Go Parvin! Hallelujah, my God is amazing! *smiles* Even through the dark times, this book gives a beautiful message.

Adore seeing Parvin grow closer to a certain young man. So sweet … And I adored his description of love!! <3 <3 Now, that was just perfection! I want to see this relationship progress! Please! I’m still hoping … I’m not sure how foolishly …

Once again, there’s some violence and a bit of gruesomeness. Not too bad. There are some frightening or horrifying situations. Caution to younger readers. I myself felt it was all done in a pretty tasteful way – showing a harsh reality without getting into too much gory detail.

Oh my, did you notice the cover, by the way? Ice and snow? Yeah, well, prepare to freeze. I mean really. Nadine Brandes definitely knows how to make you feel what the characters are feeling! At one point, I felt like my bones were turning to ice. Shivering while I read, my one desire was to bury myself under three blankets and eat a hearty, steaming-hot meal; like, ahh, this is the life! *grins and winks* Seriously though, those were the thoughts going through my head. I could feel that cold. Oh yes, I could feel it. And now you know why this book is so gripping. You’re there. You’re feeling the bone-chilling cold. You’re seeing the ice and snow. Your heart is beating with adrenaline and the need for a plan …

Captivating. The story is coming more together. Mysteries are slowly unraveling. Secrets, unearthed here and there. Hope! It’s shining so brightly! Then it’s the end. I’m calmer than I was with the end of the first book (perhaps because Parvin is calmer); but now my mind is whirling. What if … ? Eek! Book Three, come soon, please!

This is an unforgettable Christian dystopian series … written with rawness and feeling … bringing across a beautiful message of faith in and nearness with God. You don’t want to miss this story! Meet Parvin and go on a life-changing adventure!

I received a copy of A Time to Speak from the author in exchange for my honest review.


Check out the first book of this not-to-be-missed, dystopian series: A Time to Die! Read my review HERE.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Books ... *hugs them all*

There's those moment after you read a utterly beautiful story, that you just love books and want to gather all your favorites up in a big hug! ^_^ Not that that'd be an easy feat. Haha.
     Anyway, I want to share with you some books I'm excitedly hoping to read soon-ish here or can't wait to read in the future! Please comment and let me know if you like these particular books, or are planning to read them too!

Also, I'm sharing some wonderful covers of new releases/coming soons. Enjoy! ^__^


Firstly, I can't wait to read Beyond the Valley of Thorns (THE LAND OF ELYON #2) by Patrick Carman. I just recently read the first book in the series, and it was simply enchanting! Classical fantasy/Christian allegory for a wide variety of audiences. (Read my review for The Dark Hills Divide HERE.)

Book 2 in The Land of Elyon Alexa Daley thought her troubles were over when she defeated the man who had threatened to bring down Bridewell from within. But now that the walls around her land have fallen, a new, unexpected threat has risen from outside. Suddenly, Alexa is involved in a battle much, much larger than her own life . . . a battle in which she is destined to play a key role.


I'm eagerly awaiting Siren's Song (THE STORM SIREN TRILOGY #3) by Mary Weber, to see how this wild tale concludes!! This series is unique fantasy ... definitely not the normal. I wouldn't quite call it overtly Christian-fiction, but it does have some poignant lessons and themes that parallel. (I don't yet have a review up for Siren's Fury, but read my review of Storm Siren HERE).

[No cover yet!]

Nym and Draewulf prepare to face off in a battle destined to destroy more lives than it saves.

With the loss of Tulla still fresh in mind, Rasha’s fate unknown, and Lord Myles taken over by the dark ability, Nym and the few Bron soldiers rush to warn Cashlin’s queen. Only to discover it may already be too late for the monarch and her eerie kingdom. As the Luminescents are sifting through Nym’s past memories and the queen is reading into her future, Nym is given a choice of how to defeat Draewulf, but the cost may be more than she can bear. And even then there are no guarantees.

With that reality burrowing into her bones—along with the guilt of the lives she will sacrifice—Nym returns to her homeland of Faelen to raise an army of peasants through promises of freedom. But when the few friends she has left, along with the world and citizens she loves, are staring down the face of a monster and his undead army, will Nym summon every element her blood is capable of controlling . . . or surrender to a different strength—one of sacrifice?

Because in the end, death may be more merciful for them all.


A Reluctant Assassin (ORDER OF THE MOONSTONE #1) by J.C. Morrows looks to be a Christian dystopian ... which makes me so, so excited! Never read by this author, but looking forward to!

Her mission was simple — get close to the Prince, and kill him. . . 

Kayden entered the palace under a lie, one designed to get her close to the Prince. On the outside, she may look like a princess but beneath the mask, a killer lays in wait — for the perfect moment.

Dvarius was not ready to take the crown, nor was he ready for a wife . . . but due to his father’s unexpected death and an archaic law — he must find a bride before he is allowed to take his rightful place on the throne.

And the one woman he wants — just might be the one who is there to kill him...


I'm looking forward to reading more by Ashlee Willis, namely, her fairytale novella, A Wish Made of Glass. It sounds like a poignant, Cinderella retelling! (Read my review of The Word Changers HERE).

Deep in a forest glade, the fey folk dance with Isidore, a young human child. Their kinship is the very fabric of her childhood. When her mother dies and her world darkens with sorrow, Isidore finds her belief in the fey folk wavering.

The love of her new step-sister, Blessing, proves an unexpected gift in her time of need. Yet even as their friendship blooms, Isidore begins to see that Blessing is everything she herself has always wanted to be, but is not. Jealousy grips Isidore as she watches this beautiful new sister steal away all she holds dear.

Driven to desperation, Isidore turns to the fey folk once more. She has only one wish to claim from them, one chance to make things right. But she must tread carefully. For wishes, like hearts, are easily broken. And obtaining the one thing she desires could mean destroying the one thing she truly needs.


Can hardly wait to read Laura Frantz's newest novel, The Mistress of Tall Acre! Her stories are rich, soulful historicals ... and I so enjoy them! (To see my reviews of some of Laura Frantz's other novels, visit my Goodreads page.)

The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal--readers find it all in the rich pages of this newest historical novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz. Her careful historical details immerse the reader in the story world, and her emotional writing and finely tuned characters never cease to enchant fans both old and new.


I love Melanie Dickerson's Christian, non-magical, fairytale retellings! I've been reading each one, in the order they've been published, and am now awaiting The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (MEDIEVAL FAIRYTALE ROMANCE #1)! (To see my reviews of some of Melanie Dickerson's other novels, visit my Goodreads page).

"Swan Lake" meets Robin Hood when the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant by day becomes the region's most notorious poacher by night, and falls in love with the forester.

Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave's game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave's game.

Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers?

The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring . . . and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher?


To my surprise, I actually enjoyed the first book to Marissa Meyer's sci-fi series. I'm now hoping to read Scarlet (THE LUNAR CHRONICLES #2) soon. I think it's also a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Yay! *smiles* (Read my review of Cinder HERE)

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. 

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.


More Christian dystopian! Season of Glory (THE REMNANTS #3) by Lisa Tawn Bergren. Excited to see how this series ends! (Read my review of Season of Wonder HERE and Season of Fire HERE).

In the third and final volume of the Remnants series—Seasons of Glory—the power of the Remnants and their people are growing, threatening Pacifica’s careful plans for domination. Among the Trading Union, village after village, outpost after outpost, and city after city are drawn to people of the Way, and agree to stand against those who hunt them. But Pacifica intends to ferret out and annihilate the Remnants—as well as everyone who hasn’t sworn allegiance to the empire—setting the stage for an epic showdown that will change the course of a world on the brink … forever.


Love Jan Watson! Her historicals are amazing! Excited to read Buttermilk Sky when I get the chance. Isn't that a gorgeous title? ^_^ (To see my reviews of some of Jan Watson's other novels, visit my Goodreads page).

Weary of the expectations imposed on her by her strict upbringing, eighteen-year-old Mazy Pelfrey prepares to leave her home in the Kentucky mountains for the genteel city of Lexington, where she'll attend secretarial school. She knows her life is about to change--and only for the better. Everything will be blue skies from now on.But business school is harder than she thought it would be and the big city not as friendly, until she meets a charming young man from a wealthy family, Loyal Chambers. When Loyal sets his sights on her, Mazy begins to see that everything she'd ever wished to have is right before her eyes. The only hindrance to her budding romance is a former beau, Chanis Clay, the young sheriff she thought she'd left firmly behind.Danger rumbles like thunder on a high mountain ridge when Mazy's cosseted past collides with her clouded future and forces her to come to terms with what she really wants.


Samara's Peril (ILYON CHRONICLES #3) by Jaye L. Knight

A Flight of Arrows (THE PATH FINDERS #2) by Lori Benton

The Calling (SEER # 2) by Rachelle Dekker

The Magnolia Duchess (GULF COAST CHRONICLES #3) by Beth White

Yorien's Hand (THE MINSTREL'S SONG #3) by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

The Reluctant Duchess (LADIES OF THE MANOR #2) by Roseanna M. White

The Sunken Realm (EYES OF E'VERIA #4) by Serena Chase

The Sound of Silver (STEADFAST LOVE #2) by Rachelle Rea

Burdney (COMPANIONS OF ARCREA #2) by Nicole Sager

Whispers in the Reading Room (A CHICAGO WORLD'S FAIR MYSTERY #3) by Shelley Gray

King's Folly (THE KINSMAN CHRONICLES #1) by Jill Williamson

That's all for now. What think you? ^_^

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Crossways by Morgan Elizabeth Huneke

     I'm part of the cover reveal for Morgan Huneke's The Crossways today! It's a sequel to Creighton Hill, Book One of the TIME CAPTIVES trilogy. (Read my review of Creighton Hill HERE).
     Now, for the reveal! *smiles*

About the Book

“M’lady, it has been fairly well confirmed that the Redona was hidden away by the merfolk at the conclusion of the Great War instead of destroyed as was commanded. My brother has confirmed to me Joseph’s belief that it was concealed at the Crossways.”
Toarna pressed her fingertips together in thought. “It must be recovered and destroyed as was at first intended.”

Emily, Allan, Jill, and Joey have been reunited with their long lost ancestors. But with that reunion comes the true beginning of their quest: free the rightful king of Calhortz so that he may be restored to his throne. The Redona, the only object that can free him from his long imprisonment, is rumored to be concealed in The Crossways, a mountain across the sea which cannot be entered.

A slave since birth, Adriel’s resentment and hatred towards the strytes only grows as his family is continually ripped from him. He longs for the freedom the Time Captives are prophesied to bring, but he doubts their existence, just as he doubts God’s love. Circumstances in Calhortz are so dire. How could they ever improve?

Who can enter The Crossways? Will the king ever be freed? Or will the slaves of Calhortz lose all hope of freedom before it is even offered to them?

The Crossways is the second book of the TIME CAPTIVES trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom.

Release Date:
The Crossways, Time Captives book 2, will be released on October 19th, 2015. Stay tuned on Morgan’s blog and Facebook page for more information and sneak peeks.

Free eBook

Haven’t yet begun your journey with the Time Captives? Book 1, Creighton Hill, is free on Kindle today only! Find it at!

About the Author

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars and The Experiment.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

Other Bloggers Participating in Cover Reveal

Thursday, September 17, 2015

777 Writing Challenge ... of sorts

I was tagged for the 777 Writing Challenge by Tricia Mingerink a long ago ... and now just recently, tagged for something similar by Kenzie Morganthal. So I decided I should get around to doing it! *grins*

Since both tags have a little different instructions, and I just recently started my WIP (work-in-progress), I’m just going to do things my own way and share the first seven or so opening lines.

(Click on the links above if you want to read the original instructions for either challenge).

Now, first, some backstory! A lot of you know that I wrote a fantasy novel called, Silver Rose … and that the sequel, Diamond Dark , wasn’t coming along very well. 30,000+ words in, and I was despising it! Some ideas I liked; but I was mostly feeling as if I were forcing out the words. So, I let it sit for a while. And after much thought, I decided to try something. Rewrite it. Change the main, main character. And even the title.

Behold, the opening lines of Diamond's Quest:

"TODAY I WAS ripped from Mother’s arms by royal guards and forcibly escorted to King Black’s castle. I never once caught a glimpse of the king himself, but rather was shown to a group of silent maids and stayed with them for nearly the rest of the day.
     They bathed me (never minding my wild protest), almost scrubbing the skin off my body—as if they couldn’t stand the sweet smell of the lemon perfume Mother makes. My hair was braided into many small braids and pinned up in a severe manner that I am not used to. They heavily outlined my eyes with black kohl and stained my lips blood red. That, along with the garish pink gown they dressed me in, shocked me when I surveyed myself in the looking-glass. The dark make-up makes me look freakish . . . considering am I fair-skinned with pale blonde hair and light green eyes."

Copyright © by Shantelle Mary Hannu
(Diamond's Quest ~ CALLED TO LIGHT #2)

~ Inspiration for my new main character, Arella ~


So there’s that.

Just to let you all know, I am supremely happy! And so excited about this! ^_^ Truly, not being able to write/hating one’s story is really hard on a writer! When I can’t write, a little part of me just feels really empty.
     Yesterday I attempted to write on my dystopian tale. But I just read what I had so far and left it at that. Later, I was sitting in my room, just hurting. I was crying; and crying out in my heart: “I can’t write, God. I don’t understand. I want to write again.” I felt really terrible.
     Then, an hour or so later, I was suddenly inspired. I’m going to re-write this story. And use a different heroine. And change the title! *grins* I went on a lovely boat ride and wrote down notes like crazy. Got back and wrote 2,000+ words. Just pure JOY flowing through me. I’m writing. And I’m loving it. No forcing words here! ^__^
     Now I have 4,386 words. So ... we’ll see how it goes! Maybe I just needed to focus on less POV characters, and largely on one I understood more. I’m hoping for the best!

I’m thinking of alternatively working on Diamond's Quest and my dystopian story. We’ll see what happens.

…And I can’t really think anymore right now. Haha. But anyone else reading this and wanting to do this, consider yourself tagged! ^_^

(All pictures found on Pinterest)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Questions, Questions ...

     So, this post is largely a shout-out to all my lovely beta readers of Silver Rose. If you've sent me your feedback, (which many of you have), thank you sooo much! I really appreciate you volunteering to take on this project, and taking the time to go through it and edit & critique. Many thanks! ^_^

     To those who haven't gotten back to me yet. The end of this month is the deadline. If you aren't able to make that, just let me know! You can email me at: If beta reading Silver Rose ended up being just too much for your schedule, just tell me, and I'll take you off the list! :) I would just like to know, so that I can began working on Silver Rose again as soon as I've heard back from everyone who's going to give me feedback anytime soon! :D Thanks!!

     Also, author and readers alike, I have a question. So my goal is to make Silver Rose my next published book. And it's supposed to have a sequel (will probably end up being a trilogy); however, I just haven't had any luck after writing the first 40/50 pages of Diamond Dark. No inspiration. No love for this story. 
     Instead, I'm hugely inspired to work on this random dystopian story that I started some time ago. I'm a few chapters in, and have all sorts of ideas.
     Would it be awful to publish a book, then instead of publishing it's sequel next, release a random stand-alone (or worse yet, random first book to a whole new trilogy)?? I'm just trying to think of the future here! :p Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts on that!

     Bookish news here: I'm part of a launch team for Nadine Brandes's coming release, A Time to Speak. (I recently reviewed the first book in the series, A Time to Die, in case you missed that.) So I will be having some posts concerning that in the near future! Book review for A Time to Speak. Talking about why I recommend this dystopian series. Author interview with Nadine Brandes ... Fun stuff like that! So keep on the look-out! :D

    Will also be helping with a cover reveal soon here. And spotlighting another book.

     Writerly Stuff. A Dream Not Imagined now has 25 ratings on Goodreads!! And 15 on Amazon! Wahoo! :D It's doing fairly well, I feel. If you would like to help me vote it up on Goodreads, here's a link to the lists it's featured on so far: 
     And as always, I'm eager for more reviews! :) :)

     What has the month of September looked like for you? What fantastic books have you read? ^_^

Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Review: The Wood's Edge by Lori Benton

Purchase HERE

Title: The Wood's Edge

Author: Lori Benton

Series: The Path Finders #1

Genre: Historical Romance

Audience: Adult

 **5 stars**

I simply love this era, this style of writing, this feel. Lori Benton, I love your books! ^_^ Set in a time of unrest, Native Americans hunting the forests, and the Colonies and England stirring against each other, The Wood's Edge did not fail to catch my interest and capture my heart. (Just like Burning Sky and The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn before it; and also Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz. All set around the same time period). I don't know what exactly it is ... but I am just in love with novels like these. I don't think I will ever get tired of them. Lori Benton (and Laura Frantz), please bring them on! *grins*

The story starts in the midst of a terrifying scene of war. The French and Indian War. Regionald Aubrey is carrying his still newborn son away from his sleeping wife. Grieved. Tortured with the thought of having to tell his weak and troubled wife about the death of their baby. That's when he sees the Indian captive. She's recently given birth to two babies ...
     Years later, his decisions of that day still haunt him. And unknown to him, it also haunts others. A young girl named Lydia. An Indian boy, Two Hawks. A heartbroken mother, Good Voice. His sins will reach far and wide to try and destroy many; even his beloved "daughter", Anna.

Honestly, The Wood's Edge wasn't what I was expecting. I was a bit worried I might not like it. The first main character I met was a young married soldier, Regionald. The next a teenage girl, Lydia. The next a sorrowing mother, Good Voice. And I was like, Hmm, so when am I going to meet the two on the front cover? Well, that came soon enough. It all worked out; giving just enough backstory, poignancy, and depth to make the story even better before we actually meet the main characters who are depicted on the cover. So yes. I quickly fell into this tale. And absolutely adored it.

It's heart-rending, yes. There's rough times. Terrible decisions. Dark secrets. Bitterness and revengeful thoughts. There's tears. There's hate. There is broken families and broken people.
     But then there is beauty. Laughter. Love. Forgiveness cuts through the darkness, illuminating a path to joy and peace. To hope. There are second chances. A masterful story unfolds with grace and depth.

I just loved it. The meeting at the wood's edge. The budding love. The preacher in the Indian's village. ...After the bear attack. The redemption story. Ah! There's so much in here I want to spill out about!! But you'll just have to go read the book for yourself. I don't want to give any spoilers.

Cautions ... There may be some slightly frightening moments. A bit of violence depicted. As for romance, it's definitely for mature audiences. There were a few a-bit-heated scenes. 

But I really liked the realness and deepness of this love story. First love. Secret romance. Young people who don't even quite realize they've fallen in love. Ah yes. And there were some boundaries set and things realized as it progressed that showed maturity and wisdom concerning romance on the characters' parts.

I mentioned a theme of forgiveness ... Yes. Powerful. Incredible. Real. It was just so very soul-touching, this story. I loved the faith theme. I loved watching the Truth of Jesus spread amongst the Native American village; seeing how they responded to it. I loved seeing how Anna's faith and journey to God played out. It was all just so beautiful! Eep! Touched my heart. <3

Anyway. Historical romance at its best. A sweeping drama. Rich. Emotional. Raw. Profound. As I closed The Wood's Edge, I just got this satisfied feeling, mixed with a little bit of awe. Contentment. Like, I just read a very beautiful story. And I can hardly wait to read the next one! A Flight of Arrows, <3