Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Blog Tour: Spotlight: Unraveling by Sara Ella


My friends, I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Unraveling by Sara Ella! This gorgeous novel is book two in a fairy tale/fantasy/realm-travel series called UNBLEMISHED. Having read, and adored, the first book, I'm quite excited to be spotlighting Unraveling and absolutely cannot wait to read it!

Scroll down for more of this loveliness called Unraveling, an excerpt, and a giveaway!


Pre-Order HERE

Title: Unraveling

Author: Sara Ella

Series: Unblemished #2

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/Fairy Tale

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins

Release Date: July 11th, 2017

ABOUT THE BOOK

One kiss changed her future. Can another alter her past?

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After all she’s been through between capturing the Void and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about—like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

But why does she feel like something—or someone—Is missing?

When the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, become threatened, Eliyana discovers her connection with Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. El needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can she find a way to sever her tie with Ky without killing him, and keep herself from truly falling for him in the process?



About the Author

Once upon a time, SARA ELLA dreamed she would marry a prince (just call her Mrs. Charming) and live in a castle (aka The Plaza Hotel). Though her fairy tale didn’t quite turn out as planned, she did work for Disney—that was an enchanted moment of its own. Now she spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses and conquering realms of her own imaginings. She believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away” for those who put their faith in the King of kings.


Book Excerpt:

PRELUDE

   I’m not ready for this.
   My shoulder is going to rip from its socket. My bicep is a torch, igniting my forearm. His fingers are sliding from mine, and I can’t hold on any longer. All I see is the gorge below, the beads of sweat dewing his temples.
   He shouts, “Hold on!”
   But the cliff crumbles with each passing blink. If we remain this way, we’ll both be swallowed by the chasm below.
   I loosen my grip, my clammy palm slipping.
   His eyes plead. Beg. Implore. “Don’t!” His cry echoes.
   The river crashes and curls. Waiting to swallow. Devour. Obliterate anything entering its territory. But it isn’t the river I’m afraid of. It’s the black hole beyond it. The beginning of the end.
   I know if we disconnect he might be lost forever. “I love you” is what I want to say. Instead I ask him, “Find me?”
   His expression corkscrews, a mask of raw emotion. “Always.” His voice is weak, his energy drained. He’s not strong enough. Because of me.
   So my fingers splay.
   I let go.

Required text: Taken from “Unraveling” by Sara Ella Copyright © 2017 by Sara E. Larson. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.


Giveaway:

(3) Winners will each win a final hard copy of the book. US/Canada addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule:

5/22 - Melony Teague (Author Interview)

5/23 - 
Thorn & Vine (review) & Between the Pages of This Bookish Life (Spotlight)

5/24 - 
A Baker's Perspective (review), Singing Librarian Books (Spotlight) & YA Book Divas (Spotlight & Excerpt)

5/25 - 
My So Called Chaos (review) & Thinking Thoughts (Spotlight)

5/26 - 
Reading is My SuperPower (review)

5/27 - 
The Green Mockingbird (review)

5/28 - 
Bookworm Mama (Spotlight)

5/29 - 
Just Commonly (review)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Review: Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar


Purchase HERE

Title: Bread of Angels

Author: Tessa Afshar

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult

ABOUT THE BOOK

Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant's daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father's secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances--along with her father's precious dye--help her become one of the city's preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can't outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.

~ MY REVIEW ~
**5 stars**

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar surprised me. It took my breath away. Made me weep. Made me laugh. Yes, I stayed up until the wee hours of morning to finish this; it was that good! I've enjoyed this author's previous books, but was not prepared to absolutely adore this one!

It's set in the New Testament time, following the life of a woman, named Lydia, who sells purple cloth. (She's mentioned in Acts 16.) The story spans many years flawlessly, unfolding Lydia's life tale with beauty, betrayal, grief, miracles, and grace. I was enraptured.

First off, the writing quality was spectacular! It was so easy to read each chapter, and start another! They style keeps you interested and ready to read more. I finished most of this not-so-small book in one night.
Secondly, Lydia. She was a wonderful character, whom I quite liked! I related to her struggles. Hoped for her happiness. Loved her friends. Rejoiced in her discovery of true life. Even though Lydia is in her 40s (perhaps?) for a good part of the book and there's not a steady theme of romance, I just related to and loved this story so much. There were so many interesting secondary characters too! And a villain. And some nefarious going-ons. Lydia was a creative and busy woman - and nurtured lots of people. It put hope in my heart. ^_^
Meeting Paul, Silas, Timothy, Luke, and Marcus was truly one of the highlights of the book. Perhaps my very favorite part. I loved it, my friends. *hugs them all* It felt so much like the family of God, and I could imagine myself there amongst them, accepted and cherished. There was so much faith, joy, laughter, and love! Miracles abounded. Trust was discussed and put into practice. They leaned on each other as they sought to follow God with all their hearts. (Spoiler) Because of those, I cried. And cried. And was filled with such warmth, like a bubble of peace and joy surrounded me. Perhaps I glimpsed the family of God - the bliss of heaven. It was stunningly beautiful.

Filled with intrigue. And interesting facts about the dyeing process. Action. Betrayal. Wonderful and spirited people. The good news of Jesus Christ.

I sorrowed with Lydia. I rejoiced with her. I healed with her. And at the end of Bread of Angels, I was filled with hope. Tessa Afshar has written a phenomenal novel, and it is definitely not to be missed!

I received a copy of Bread of Angels from Tyndale House Publishers through the Tyndale Blog Network.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Blog Tour: Spotlight: The Evaporation of Sofia Snow by Mary Weber


I'm happy to be participating in the blog tour of The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber! I haven't read this book, but it sounds like a unique and intriguing tale!

So without further ado, here's a spotlight of the book, excerpt, and giveaway! ^_^


Purchase HERE

Title: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow

Author: Mary Weber

Series: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1

Genre: Science Fiction

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: June 6th, 2017

ABOUT THE BOOK

Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel, Earth's charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.



About the Author:

Mary Weber is the multiple-award-winning author of the bestselling young adult Storm Siren Trilogy, and The Evaporation of Sofi Snow series (all by HarperCollins). An avid high school, middle school, and conference speaker, Mary’s passion is helping others find their voice amid a world that often feels too loud. When she’s not plotting adventures involving tough girls who frequently take over the world, Mary sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean.

Mary’s debut, Storm Siren, was featured in the Scholastic Book Fair, and her novels have been endorsed by New York Times bestselling authors Marissa Meyer, Jay Asher, Wendy Higgins, CJ Redwine, Shannon Messenger, and Jonathan Maberry.

You can also find Mary’s fun interviews in the paperback of Marissa Meyer’s NYT bestselling, CRESS, and in Jay Asher’s 13 REASONS WHY movie tie-in edition. Most recently, you can see her and her family as extras in the NETFLIX Original Series, 13 REASONS WHY.

{Facebook: marychristineweber, Twitter @mchristineweber, Blog: maryweber.com, Instagram: MaryWeberAuthor}

Book Excerpt:

THE PLANET

   The ice-planet arrived in the dusky heat of summer twilight during Earth’s Fourth World War. Just when the moon’s jeweled fingers were slipping through that one broken slat in the barn roof that Papa always said he’d fix but never did. The same slat through which he’d pointed out Ella’s favorite star to Sofi and her brother, Shilo.
   As if everything within Papa’s wrecked heart was trying to keep their focus off Earth’s brutality by reminding them of their half sister’s spot in the heavenly skies. As if their forsaken little hearts needed any reminding of where her spot—or their mother’s—should be.
   “Shh.” Papa put a finger to his lips and beckoned Sofi over to watch the planet settle in place. “I won’t let anyone harm you. See how it’s moving across the moon?”
   Six-year-old Sofi mimicked him to her brother, putting her own finger to her lips. “Shh. They’re coming, Shi, but we won’t let them harm you.” To which baby Shilo spit and giggled before swatting at a firefly.
   Sofi pulled his tiny hand into hers as the sinister globe stopped a good distance beyond the moon—and
uncomfortably too close to Earth. To them. To their little broken-slatted barn that sat planted like a patch of sumac right on the decimated border of Old North Carolina and the rest of the starving, war-ravaged world.
   “Planet Delon” the broadcasters had called it.
   “The Delonese Death” was what her expatriate neighbor, Mr. Watte, was calling it.
   “The blasted planet from the pit of you know where” was what Sofi had decided to call it . . .
   That had been years ago.
   Eleven to be exact.
   But now here she was . . .
   Standing in the same place, same barn—just missing a few walls—with Shilo.
   Still calling it that.
   A sudden rustling emerged from the overgrown bushes, causing Sofi to glance around.
   “You think it’s the tech buyer?” Shilo’s twelve-year-old voice cracked mid whisper.
   She peered into the dark. “I don’t know, but if I tell you to run for the hover, you run.”
   He looked insulted. “And ditch? More like I’ll kick whoever’s sorry bu—”
   A boy emerged. Two boys in fact, each barely older than she was. Clearly drugged up. Skin and bones. Like many in the populations being “overseen” by the United World Corporations. The bigger kid held out a broken-tipped knife and Shilo slid in front of Sofi—never mind she was half-a-head taller than her brother.
   Sofi scowled. She shouldn’t have let him coerce her into bringing him. Especially for the thrill of earning a few extra bucks off her old tech devices.

Taken from “The Evaporation of Sofi Snow” by Mary Wever Copyright © 2017 by Mary Christine Weber. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.

Giveaway:

(3) Winners will each win a final hard copy of the book. US/Canada addresses only. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule:

5/15 - Reading is My SuperPower (review)

5/16 - Thorn & Vine (review) & A Baker's Perspective (review)


5/18 - Bibliophile Reviews (Review),  Singing Librarian Books (Spotlight) & Thinking Thoughts (Spotlight)

5/19 - Bookworm Mama (review) & YA Book Divas (Spotlight & Excerpt)

5/20 - Just Commonly (review)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Book Review: Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette


Purchase HERE

Title: Wings of the Wind

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Series: Out From Egypt #3

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult

ABOUT THE BOOK

Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can’t ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.

Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage—for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape. But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she’s found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core. Can Alanah’s fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she’s come to love?

~ MY REVIEW ~
**5 stars**

Another beautiful novel - well done, Connilyn Cossette! Wings of the Wind is the third and final book in the OUT FROM EGYPT series, and besides delighting my eyes with its gorgeous cover, it took me on a stunning and exciting journey! Connilyn Cossette writes her tales set during the Bible days with such passion, detail, and grace. Before I know it, I’m swept away, intrigued by the ancient world, the fantastic characters, and the story of God. I've never read Biblical retellings that I've loved so much!

Wings of the Wind takes place about forty years after Counted With the Stars (book one), and Shadow of the Storm (book two). Though we see a bit of the characters from those books, our main character is a Canaanite woman, destitute and bent on revenge. Alanah has had everything taken from her, and she's determined that the Hebrews should pay. But on the battlefield where she's certain she'll breathe her last, unexpected grace awaits.
And Tobiah is hardly prepared for the surprise and challenge that awaits him on and after the battle.
Joshua is now one of the leaders of the Israelites, though Moses is still in charge. The Israelites are taking over the land, with the Lord as their guide. But discontentment simmers. Enemies lurk. And the corrupted city of Jericho looms.

What a tale of redemption. I love how the author brings to life these Old Testament stories, though some of them are hard! She unashamedly shows God's holiness and authority, and yet grace fills these pages. Throughout the book, I felt awe for God; the fear of the Lord. And still, His love. His care for His people. The way He set rules and laws to protect them and keep them, even making a law so that the enemy - the Canaanite woman - would be protected from abuse, violence, or even death.
We saw some of Moses and Joshua in Wings of the Wind. And also, Rahab. I love hearing Rahab's story, and remembering that she was in the lineage of Christ!
Ah, it was wonderful. God's power and goodness is shown in these books. For that, and her seemingly meticulous research on these stories and time in history, I very much admire Connilyn Cossette.

I adored the characters. Alanah was a fun change, spirited and spunky as she was. I love how clear her personality was. And just her story! Her journey of faith. It was heart-rending and fascinating. I quite liked Tobiah as well. His sister, on the other hand ... well, that took some time! Loved seeing Shira and Kiya, of course! ^_^ And Moriyah! Oh, how I love that girl! She's spirited too! And strong, sweet, and innocent. Whoa. What a journey! I so wish we could get a book for Moriyah!
So basically, all the characters were well-developed, intriguing, and played their parts in this story. Some upset me, some infuriated me! Others tugged at my heart and had me rooting for them to accept redemption and live the life God intended for them!

The OUT FROM EGYPT series has been serious, but sweet. Heavy, but exciting. Difficult times and a wayward people are shown, but hope always breaks through. Wings of the Wind was a tender tale that kept me turning pages late into the night. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend to adults who like Christian historical fiction/romance. This series is a gem!

I received a copy of Wings of the Wind from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Summer Reading List + Doings

Hi all! I'm sorry my posting schedule has been rather sporadic ... I don't even really have an excuse for it. Just, life is full of commotion and busyness and plans and ... and ... I find myself kind of distracted from blogging, both physically and emotionally.

Anyway, I decided today I could sit down and write before doing a History lesson with my younger siblings, checking the laundry, continuing on with Silver Rose's read-through/editing, and maybe getting in a chapter or two of my Bethany House review book, Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette.
(isn't this cover gorgeous??)

  • READING


So, without further ado, my summer reading list!

Summer Reading List 2017



So there it is! This is just a tentative list, and I have no idea if I'll get to them all this summer, but I definitely will get to some.

* Wings of the Wind *, as I mentioned above, is a review book I signed up for through Bethany House Blogger Review Program. Need to get that read and reviewed this month.

* First Date * is a used book I found for $0.81 on Amazon and bought with an Amazon gift card I won! I should be receiving it in the mail today and might start it, because it sounds like an easy, entertaining read.

* Girl Defined * will be a re-read this summer. It's a Christian Living, with questions to go along with each chapter, so I'm planning to do it as a Bible study with two of my younger sisters. Yay for studies about Biblical womanhood! We might start today.

* Edenbrooke * will also be a re-read for me. I read this humorous, sweet, Regency romance in 2013 and have been wanting to read it again! So when my sister, friend, and I decided to start a Summer Book Club, I eagerly recommended this book. I think it will be perfect and can't wait to start reading!

* Life After: Huntress * is a book I won in a giveaway, along with a $10 Amazon gift card and $5 Starbucks gift card! Yay! I don't know much about this book, but it sounds like some sort of fantasy, and I've been itching to pick it up!

* Illusionary * is another giveaway win! It's fantasy/realm-travel, and rather a short-ish book. So I'm hoping I can get to it some fair summer day. ^_^

* Bread of Angels * is a review book I signed up for with Tyndale Blog Network. So excited to get it in the mail and review it (for the month of June, I believe?)

* Grounded Hearts * is a review book from Litfuse Publicity. I'm to review this one on my blog in July. I believe it's a debut novel, and set during the WWII era. I'm really excited to give it a try!

* The Captive Heart * I found for really cheap on Amazon ($3.42) and used my gift card. I love the Revolutionary War era, so couldn't pass this one up. I'm so excited about it, and think I will find time for it this summer!

* Close to You * I also found on Amazon for cheap ($4.58)! I've been wanting to read by Kara Isaac, because her books sound so fun, unique, and perhaps even relatable! Contemporary YA romance with main characters who love "The Hobbit" and "The Chronicles of Narnia". YES. ^_^ 

* Waking Rose * I found for $1.84 on Amazon. (Go, Amazon!) In case I run out of books to read this summer, or just need something familiar and suspenseful and fairy tale and absolutely delightful, I have this beauty on hand to re-read!

***

Have you read any of the books on my summer reading list? If so, tell me what you thought of them!

  • WRITING/EDITING


Well, I've started my first read-through of my fantasy novel, Silver Rose. Keeping track of my progress on Goodreads. I've heard back from four of my second round of beta readers, went through their edits and suggestions, and then uploaded the shiny new version of Silver Rose to my Kindle Fire.

So now I'm reading it and editing as I go. It's pretty exciting! And I must say, I'm even enjoying the story! ^_^ Reading your story on a Kindle instead of a Microsoft Word page on your laptop makes all the difference!

I can't say when publication will be, but hopefully soon! I'm still waiting to hear back from three beta readers and I'm very interested to hear what their opinion of the story is.

  • BOOKTUBE


I just uploaded a new video! My April Wrap Up and April/beginning of May BOOK HAUL! *all the heart eyes*

I won't be doing new videos regularly, because it's too hard to find quiet time to film every week. But I still hope to do wrap ups, book hauls, and occasional book tags and fun stuff.


  • WATCHING


I've been watching some episodes of Leverage here and there. They are quite humorous. The characters are like, perfection. They make me laugh a lot, which is good. ^_^ (Note: There is some language and questionable comments now and then.)

Also, hoping to start the TV series, Anne with an E, soon! It comes on Netflix tomorrow, the 12th! (I have a month of Netflix). I loved the old Anne of Green Gables movies, so looking forward to a fresh take! <3

And, my mom and younger siblings have been watching episodes of one of Pastor Matt Chandler's series, called "To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain". It's about pursuing God with passion. Knowing Him. Loving Him. Realizing He is everything. I've watched/listened to some of them, and they are so good. I highly recommend! Matt Chandler is an awesome speaker, a relatable guy, humorous, and just has zeal for the Lord and His truth! I love it! <3

(This is the promo for the series. I recommend looking up the episodes! I think there are twelve.)


  • OTHER LIFE


Um, I'm excited for summer! A busy time is coming up for my family ... we're going to be moving into a new house! But first we have to do some renovating, so lots of work ahead! Hopefully then I'll be able to get a bookshelf and have all my books shipped here! ^_^ But it's okay. I'm learning to live without all my books. They aren't, by any means(!), the important things in my life - though they are special to me. *smiles*

Ready to live one day at a time, relying on God's strength and truth and love. <3 He is faithful.

How are you, my friend?