Fun Fiction Friday – Waking Beauty

Today’s book Waking Beauty is one that I was excited to read from the moment I saw it in Enclave’s release line up. I was even more excited after I attended the Facebook release party that Sarah Morin and Morgan Busse co-hosted to celebrate their releases Waking Beauty and Heir of Hope.

About the Book

What would happen if the Sleeping Beauty refused to wake up?

This rescue isn’t going at all how he planned. Secondhand hero Prince Arpien intends to gain a throne and the Sleeping Beauty’s heart with a single kiss when he wakes her from the evil fairy’s curse. But kissing the princess is only the beginning of a series of unforeseen obstacles: man-eating bugs, deadly spindles, talking lapdogs, and fiery pickles. The Sleeping Beauty is the biggest complication of all.

Princess Brierly is Beautiful and fairy-Gifted, but also . . . daft. After one hundred years of sleep imprisonment, Brierly refuses to believe this rescue is anything more than a tantalizing but doomed dream.

Arpien is drawn to the vibrancy beneath Brierly’s indifferent exterior. Can they reclaim her kingdom? Do they dare trust in the Prince of the old tales to help them battle the evil fairy who cursed Brierly? What is the price of waking beauty?

This is not the story of an innocent damsel-in-distress or her cardboard rescuer. It is a full coming-of-age struggle in a world where truth shifts as often as dreams.

About the Author

SarahMorin0025

Sarah E. Morin has three great passions in life: God, books, and working with young people. She has written articles and poetry for local publications and international periodicals in the museum field. Her dramatic works range from a musical about Susan B. Anthony to fairy tale poetry. She enjoys performing her work, especially pieces that allow her to dress up in her queen costume.

Sarah E. serves as Youth Experience Manager (kid wrangler) at an interactive history park. Her 100 youth volunteers are her best consultants in the fields of humor, teenage angst, and spinning wheels (which, they assure her, are not hazardous to anyone but Sleeping Beauty).

My Recommendation

This book was not what I expected. At all. When it arrived, I opened the box to find a tome rather than a slim novel as I’d been expecting (if I’d checked the page count before hand, I would’ve realized it is 480 pages long).

This is an epic, not a quick, easy-read fairy tale.

The beginning was a little slow for me. The writing style reminded me a lot of Lewis Carroll (think Alice in Wonderland or the poem The Jabberwocky). There are a lot of made-up words and things that the reader has to figure out as they go along as well as a number of long strings of titles such as Peerless Prince, etc. It’s a style that evokes an older, whimsical style of writing. It is fun writing, but a little difficult to get into until you get used to it.

Besides the writing, the story also unfolded slowly. Each piece of the puzzle was revealed after the characters do a lot of character-stuff and character reflection. Overall, I’d rate this as a very, very character-driven novel rather than plot-driven. As a plot-driven reader, I felt like it could’ve been trimmed a little bit, especially in the beginning when (to me) it felt like the characters weren’t accomplishing anything for several chapters.

But once I reached the end? It was worth it. Totally. Once the action started happening, it drew all the pieces together. The three different POV characters all had their own role to play in the ending, and it had a few twists that I wasn’t expected (and a few I was).

While I liked all three characters, Nessa was my favorite. Probably because she is the most straightforward of the three POV characters. While the POV switched between Arpien, Brierly, and Nessa, I was never confused by whose head I was in. They all have very distinct voices.

My favorite part of the book was the theme of dreams vs. reality. While Brierly is the one that refuses to believe she is actually awake and not still stuck in dreams, she isn’t the only one who is stuck in delusions. In a way, all the characters have their own delusions, their own Dreams, that they need to wake from in order to find Reality. It made me think about what I might be deceiving myself with and what thorns I might be clinging to because I believe I’m strong enough to handle them on my own.

Have you read Waking Beauty yet? Or is it on your TBR list?

Cover Reveal – As Wish Made of Glass

Today I’m taking a break from Dare‘s release to participate in the cover reveal for A Wish Made of Glass by Ashlee Willis.

Isn’t this cover stunning?

AWishMadeofGlassFinalAbout the Book

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.

the Author

AshleeWillisAuthorPic

Ashlee Willis is the author of fantasy for young adults. She lives in the heart of Missouri with her husband and young son. While most of her days are balanced between writing, reading and being a stay-at-home mom, she also finds time to enjoy forest rambles, photography, and playing the piano.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Blog:  http://ashleewillisauthor.wordpress.com

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7849640.Ashlee_Willis

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AshleeWillisAuthor

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ashlee-Willis/e/B00KC96M6K/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BookishAshlee

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/BookishAshlee/

This sounds like one book I’m adding to my TBR list!

Cover Reveal – A Dream Not Imagined

Today I’m taking a break from my own book launch to host a cover reveal for fellow indie writer Shantelle Mary Hannu. Her debut novella releases in June.

A Dream Not Imagined CoverAbout the Book

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.

About the Author

KODAK Digital Still CameraShantelle Mary Hannu was born in the mountainous west, spending her golden childhood years there. Since then, she has relocated time and again with her parents and seven siblings, making cherished memories in both the South and Central United States.

A Christian homeschool graduate, Shantelle has a passion for writing and all things books. From a young age she’s been penning tales with a hope of sharing with the world adventurous and soul-stirring stories that bring glory to God.

A Dream Not Imagined, a fairytale novella, will be her first published book. She’s currently preparing a full-length fantasy novel for publication as well, and working on its sequel.

Shantelle blogs at A Writer’s Heart: http://shantellemaryh.blogspot.com/ about her stories, favorite books and movies (with reviews), healthy wheat-free recipes, and hosts fellow authors, among other things. One of her joys is connecting with fellow writers and readers! You can also find her on:

Facebook: Shantelle Mary Hannu, Author (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shantelle-Mary-Hannu/1622068488014168?ref=aymt_homepage_panel),

Twitter: @shantellemary (https://twitter.com/shantellemary),

Goodreads: Shantelle Mary Hannu (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13804303.Shantelle_Mary_Hannu),

Google+: Shantelle H. (https://plus.google.com/101772131563789927466/posts), and

Pinterest: Shantelle H. (https://www.pinterest.com/h0160/).

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: http://tashahphotography.blogspot.com/

Bloggers Participating in the Cover Reveal

 Hayden Wand at The Story Girl

http://everystory-storygirl.blogspot.com/

Claire Banschbach at Claire M. Banschbach – Thoughts and Rants

https://clairembanschbach.wordpress.com/

Amber Stokes at Seasons of Humility

http://seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com/

Ghost Ryter at Anything, Everything

http://ghostryter.blogspot.com/

Deborah O’Carroll at The Road of a Writer

https://deborahocarroll.wordpress.com/

Kaiser Writes at …The Adventure Begins

http://ekaiserwritesablog.blogspot.com/

Alyssa-Faith at The American Anglophile

http://www.theeamericananglophile.blogspot.com/

Hannah Williams at The Writer’s Window

http://williamshsj.blogspot.com/

Laura Pol at Crafty Booksheeps

http://craftybooksheeps.blogspot.com/

Natasha H. at Through My Lens (+ review)

http://tashahphotography.blogspot.com/

Skye Hoffert at Ink Castles

http://skyehoffert.blogspot.ca/

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

http://jayelknight.blogspot.com/

Serena at Poetree

http://poetreeandbooks.blogspot.com/

Brittney at Brittney’s Book Nook

http://brittneysbooknook.com/

Jesseca Dawn at Whimsical Writings

http://jessaswhimsicalwritings.blogspot.com/

Lena K. at Read, Write, Laugh, DANCE

https://readwritelaughdance.wordpress.com/

Allison Ruvidich at The Art of Storytelling

http://www.allisontheartofstorytelling.blogspot.com/

Shannon McDermott at Shannon McDermott’s Blog

http://www.shannonmcdermott.com/?page_id=189

An Uncertain Choice – Book Review

An Uncertain Choicea medieval YA novel by Jody Hedlund, releases today! Head over to her blog where she is hosting a giveaway for this book. I was so excited when I learned that Jody Hedlund, one of my favorite authors, was writing a YA book. I was even more excited when I had the opportunity to be on her influencer team. I feel sorry for all of you who had to wait until today to buy and read the book, because it is as awesome as I thought it would be!

My Recommendation An Uncertain Choice is a delightful romance, but with enough action and mystery to keep it from being sappy or boring. Rosemarie is a wonderful heroine. She is weak and vulnerable, but she has a strong core that keeps her from being helpless. While she needs to be rescued, she also rescues herself at times. Her strength comes from her faith in God, and she has a compassionate heart. A good example of how a young Christian lady should be. The three knights are also well-rounded characters. The book could easily have turned awkward, but it is handled well. The other knights beside the one meant for Rosemarie could have turned into flat characters, but I liked each of them. While I had a favorite for Rosemarie, I loved all three of them and can’t wait to read about their happy endings in the rest of the series. Once again, a great book by Jody Hedlund and one I’ll be sure to read over and over again!

About the Book Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, shortly before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice—if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the knights’ arrival results in a series of attacks within her land, she begins to wonder if the convent is the best place after all. If only one of the knights—the one who appears the most guilty—had not already captured her heart.

This book also also has a prequel novella, The Vow. The Vow contains the backstory for An Uncertain Choice, and I recommend reading The Vow first. It makes her decision in the beginning of An Uncertain Choice more poignant. About the Book In this historical romance novella by Jody Hedlund, young Rosemarie finds herself drawn to Thomas, the son of the nearby baron. But just as her feelings begin to grow, a man carrying the Plague interrupts their hunting party. While in forced isolation, Rosemarie begins to contemplate her future—could it include Thomas? Could he be the perfect man to one day rule beside her and oversee her parents’ lands? Then Rosemarie is summoned back to her castle in haste. The disease has spread, and her family is threatened. And the secret she discovers when she returns could change her future forever. Q&A with the Author! After writing for the adult market, why did you decide to transition to young adult books? I have five children and three of them are now teens. That means that over the past few years I’ve ended up reading a lot of books in the Young Adult genre not only to stay abreast of what my kids are reading, but also to have discussions about the topics and world views within the books. All that to say, I’ve fallen in love with reading YA books! Naturally, as I’ve fallen in love with reading them, I had to consider the possibility of writing them. And while I have a lot of other things going on my publishing career, I decided I wanted to make this move into YA now while I still had teens at home to read my books (and give me feedback!). How is your approach to writing Young Adult novels different than your Historical Romance novels? My approach is different in a couple of ways. First, my adult historical romances are mostly set in the 1800’s in America (due in part to that setting being considered the “sweet spot” for adult historical fiction). But my YA is medieval times which is allowing me to jump into a time period that I’m crazy about! I’ve had lots of fun writing about knights, castles, and daring damsels! A second difference in my YA and adult fiction is in how I’m approaching the heroine and the romance. Obviously the heroine is a young adult (under 18 or on the cusp of turning 18), and so this is more of a coming of age story where the heroine must grapple with some “growing up” issues. She’s also just beginning to explore relationship issues and must wrestle through timeless questions about how to know who’s the right one, what qualities to look for in a relationship, and how to know when you’re really in love. What’s the story about and who are the main characters?   The heroine is a beautiful and wealthy young woman named Lady Rosemarie. She’s on the cusp of her eighteenth birthday and knows her destiny is to fulfill a vow made by her parents. In light of their infertility, her parents had promised to give their firstborn back to God for a life of service and celibacy when she turned eighteen. Now with only one month before her birthday, Lady Rosemarie receives the news that there is an exception to the Ancient Vow–if she finds true love and is married by her birthday, then she’s exempt from having to become a nun. Faced with a growing loneliness and the possibility of losing control over the people she rules with compassion, Lady Rosemarie questions whether life in a cloister is really the best choice for her life. She agrees to allow the three handsomest and noblest knights in the land the chance to win her heart in one month. Enter on stage, the three heart throbs! Sir Collin, Sir Bennet, and Sir Derrick. Each one is completely honorable and noble in his own way. Lady Rosemarie will have a tough choice ahead of her. Now you’ll have to read the book to find out who she chooses and why! Are you working on the next book in the series?  Yes! I’m excited about the second book in the series. It’s already written and I’m in the process of getting ready to turn it in to my editor in order to get her expertise feedback. As I mentioned it will involve another one of the three knights. But of course, I won’t give away which of the knights until closer to the release of the book! (How’s that for a tease!) In An Uncertain Choice, Rosemarie has to choose between three knights: 10957722_10204630598062228_6238788260820733248_o Sir Bennet – Charming and Handsome Sir Collin – Funny and Sincere Sir Derrick – Brooding and Compassionate If you were Rosemarie, which knight would you choose?

Exciting New Page – Fiction Finder

BOK Trilogy

Hello, Readers!

If you’re like me, you are always searching for new books to read. When I was a teen, I couldn’t find much for Christian YA fiction. Now that I’ve been trolling blogs and following threads online, I’ve found a number of authors and books that I wish I’d known about years ago.

To help all of you along, I’ve added a YA Fiction Finder set of pages. All the books on these pages are ones that I’ve personally read since I don’t want to recommend a book to all my readers that I haven’t read myself. I’ve also added a few links to a few other places to find more Christian YA books. I’ve organized my pages by both genre and author so that you can look it up either way.

I plan to add to these pages as I discover and read more books so check back frequently!

So without more introduction, my YA Christian Fiction Finder!

Any books that you’d recommend that you don’t see on my pages?

Christmas Book Giveaway – The Princess Spy

Congrats to DeVorah, winner of last week’s giveaway!

Now on to this week’s giveaway!

This week I’m giving away a copy of The Princess Spy, the newest release by Melanie Dickerson. My sister-in-law recommended her books to me, and I loved them. They are fairy tale remakes set in a historical, medieval setting. While they stick to the plot line of the fairy tales for the most part, they are not constricted by them like some remakes are. Her latest release, The Princess Spy, is based on the frog prince fairy tale. I won’t give away how she manages to pull that one off!

Back Cover (from Amazon):

Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story.

Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin’s message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.

 My Recommendation:
 As with all her books, Dickerson weaves a deft tale combining the fairy tale and her historical setting. The Christian themes in the book are given a light touch, but they are still present throughout the book. My favorite part about this book is the character of Margaretha. Unlike some of the female main characters in Dickerson’s other books, Margaretha is not a lady to wait around for someone to rescue her. She is strong without being too bold. Her character has a good balance that shows it is possible to be a strong woman while still relying on others for help.
If you’d like to win a copy of The Princess Spy, please follow the Rafflecopter link below: