Within These Lines

Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill

 

About the book:

Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family in 1941 is everything it “should be” until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move to an internment camp.

Degrading treatment make life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world are treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out on behalf of all Japanese Americans, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal at school and at home. Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he will ever leave the camp alive.

With tensions running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold true to their values and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds.

My review:

Five stars.

I’m a fan of WW1 and WW2 literature, so when I got the opportunity to read Stephanie’s newest novel, I jumped for it.

Within These Lines delivered everything it promised, and then some. Tackling a lesser-addressed area of American history and WW2, this book broke my heart. The story is fictional, but no less real.

This timely message should serve as a reminder of what the war cost us as a nation, and as individuals. It’s not so long ago that we can dismiss it.

Never again.

 

Highly recommended for ages 13+

 

-Annie

Atoning for Ashes {book review}

“We were both broken. God knew it takes two broken hearts to make a whole.” 


{about the book} 

Josie Chadwick dreams of marrying for love in Cornwall, England, but with her father’s debt threatening to destroy all she holds dear, her romantic options are dwindling. When her elder sister Delia is disowned, Josie finds herself heiress of Chadwick Park, torn between dreams and duty. After sacrificing her heart to atone for Delia’s sin, Josie clings to the hope she will learn to love a distant husband, whom she fears is incapable of requiting her affection. 
Charles Radcliffe’s heart has been scarred and hardened by rejection. He fears hurting his new bride, but his fears of betrayal and rejection are stronger, making it impossible for him to trust her love―let alone the love of her God. 
As Josie and Charles face their new life together, ominous events warn of dark family secrets that could shatter them both. More than a loveless marriage is at stake if they cannot stand as one. Will they learn to trust God and each other before it’s too late? 



{about the author} 

Kaitlin Covel has a thirst for adventure much like the heroines of her stories. She is an old-fashioned romantic, and if she could time travel to any historical period, it would be the Regency Era. Here in the 21st century, she is a certified Nutritional Therapy Technician, but writing is her passion, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. She has honed her craft since childhood, benefiting from the insights of other writers through professional writing associations such as the Jerry Jenkins Writer’s Guild and Hope*writers. She lives with her family in Maine, where she enjoys teaching the teen Sunday school class at her church. Her favorite things are family, books, history, chocolate, music, the ocean, and strong cups of tea.





{my review}

Georgette Heyer meets Charlotte Bronte meets Madeline Brent, and Jane Austen metaphorically writes the foreword. I spent the second half of the book in tears. 

oh. my. stars. 


Atoning for Ashes was the first novel I’ve read in 36 hours all of last year. (Yes, that includes my own.) 


I couldn’t put it down. The prose was so delicious, like a good thick hot chocolate, with the bite and snap of a gingerbread… Okay, I’ll stop with the food references. I’m making myself hungry. But seriously, this book is on a plane where I feel with my bones and my lungs, not with my emotions. It’s raw, and physical, and very present. 


I see so much of myself in this story. In Josie, in Charles, in the supporting characters. 


The places this novel took me are rich and vivid, elegantly painted, exquisitely detailed. I don’t need to go to Cornwall–I feel as though I’ve been there. 


The struggles of the characters are real and poignant. They’re human, flawed, broken, and yet there is hope–hope for forgiveness. For healing. For love. For redemption. 


The things that break us can also be the things that heal us.

Recommend for 16+ due to tastefully portrayed married life, and thematic elements including violence. 


If you’re interested in reading Atoning for Ashes, you can pick it up here.


Review copyright 2019 by Annie Louise Twitchell. 
Book media and data used by permission.

Retrieve {book review}

Retrieve gets the first spot in my book reviews for 2019! 
{Book Info}

Retrieve (The Stormer’s Trilogy #1)
By Sarah Addison-Fox

What if the job you took to stay alive might be what kills you?

Kade knows what it is to suffer. He knows what it’s like to lose everything and everyone around him.

His job in a Stormer Unit guarantees not just his survival in the decimated country of Azetaria, but his sister Meg’s. Even if it means facing the Numachi warriors baying for his blood, he’ll do what it takes to keep her safe.

Hadley is alone and surviving the only way she knows how. By hiding where predators won’t find her and scavenging enough just to keep her alive.

When desperation drives Hadley to search for her missing brother, she mistakenly accepts the offer of recruitment into the Stormer’s camp, only to be partnered with Kade and sent as a scout into Numachi territory.

The intimidating young Stormer may just know where her brother has gone. But can they stay alive long enough to find him?

{My Review}

Five stars! 
I was promised Mulan meets Prince of Persia, and that’s what I got. Don’t mistake this for any kind of fan fiction, though. Sarah captured the things I liked in Mulan (not my favorite movie; I like it okay, but it’s not one I’ll watch very often) and wove them together with a smoking hot hero and an adventure story to rival the movies. 
I spent a good deal of time reading this book and squealing quietly to myself because oh. my. stars. 
KADE DAWSON. 
I think I’m in love… 
Okay. I’ll settle down and talk about things in a professional manner. I can do this. 
(I think.) 
I love the way Sarah writes. Her prose has this inherent gracefulness, without being sappy or mushy or anything like that. The way she wields her pen is just delicious. 
As always, she brings real people onto the pages. Hadley… precious little Hadley reminds me of myself a few years. I love her. I want to hold her hand and give her hot cocoa. 
Kade… well. I think I summed up my feelings on him already. He’s 100% man, but he’s respectful and kind, and I want to hug him. Aside from the professional assassin part, my boys can copy him all they want. 
The Numachi are possibly my favorite group of people in the book, which is interesting because they’re introduced as the villains. (Stopping here to avoid spoilers.) I love what I learned about them in Retrieve and I can’t wait to learn more in the next two books. 
The world building is the only thing that I felt somewhat lost in, mostly the weather patterns, but that was a pretty minor thing. We’re in the dead of winter here so I’m aware of the weather, and also read the book too fast because AHHHHHH. 
Five stars, would hand this to a 16+ teen with no hesitation. 


{Author Info}


Twitter: @saddisonfox

Review Copyright 2019 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Iron Core {review and author interview}

Rebekah is a dear friend of mine in South America. We actually met over a year in a teen writer’s group on Facebook, when she asked for someone “who knows stuff about snow” to beta read a project for her. Wellll, if there’s something I know about… it’s snow. And the rest, as they say, is history. 
Her newest story, Iron Core, had me in tears. I’m here to share the misery enchant you with this wonderfully heartbreaking story. I fell in love with Lunetta’s story and I’m dying for more, whenever Miss DeVall decides to stop torturing me and let me have it. (In her defense, I do think she has to finish writing it first.)
See this pretty cover? Hehe

{Iron Core Blurb}
Everything will be okay. 
Deep in Brancaleone, a prison carved from the mountainside, eighteen-year-old Lunetta plans her escape. Raised behind iron bars, all she wants is freedom – and to take her mother with her.


{Author Bio}
Rebekah DeVall prides herself on being the girl who wrote 200,000 words in 21 days. She’s a Christian author with a penchant for killing characters and a love for writing real female protagonists described as “the example of a Christian hero that young readers need to see”.  




{Contact Rebekah}

Blog: http://www.rebekahdevall.wordpress.com

{Author Interview}


You’re a missionary kid, stationed overseas. Did that contribute to the emotions and the overall story of Iron Core?

Yep, I’m a missionary kid, way deep down in South America. While Iron Core wasn’t a “missionary story” per se, some of Lunetta’s emotions and feelings definitely came from my missionary-kid heart.
Lunetta struggles with feelings of loneliness and missing her family. She has to experience the world entirely from scratch, without any previous knowledge. That’s kind of what we missionary kids go through during furloughs (which is coming up close for my family!) I mean, what exactly are dimes and quarters? I’ve been working with South American money for all my life. How am I supposed to dress? I don’t know. I haven’t been in an American church since I was thirteen, and we all know how fashion-savvy thirteen-year-olds are.
So, long story short, there’s a whole lot more of me in Lunetta than I expected when I sat down to write this story.
You write deep, hard stories. Why? (Do you think it’s possible for you to write fluff?)

I write deep, hard stories because we live in a deep, hard world.
To be honest, I’ve never been the kind of girl who was satisfied with sweet romances and children’s fiction. I grew up on War and Peace, Shakespeare, Anne of Green Gables (wow that list looks strange), Little House on the Prairie.
I grew up in a house where one night, the living room would hold my dad and a couple there for marriage counseling. The next day, a young woman pregnant out of wedlock. The next day, we would pack up and travel three or four hours to a church, to meet with people who walked miles and waded through rivers just to hear God’s Word.
There’s so much going on in this world, and I feel like standard Christian fiction brushes no more than the surface.
Is it possible for me to write fluff? I think so. I mean, all things are possible. I’ll let you know the day that happens. 😉
What’s it like, being a writer in a missionary family? What are a couple challenges you face every day?

I don’t think I have many challenges that other writers in big families don’t. There’s always the issue of scheduling – when there’s a weekend trip, two basketball games, piano classes, Bible Institute lessons, English class, six kids in homeschool – there’s always a lot going on.
One of the challenges I’ve faced is the fact that I’m generally an antisocial person. I’m happiest when I’m at my desk with my headphones in, my music playing, and fingers tapping across the keyboard. But as a missionary family, we’re here to serve people. So it’s always a struggle – to write or socialize?
What do you do in addition to writing and making me cry a lot?

Oh, man, you have asked the million dollar question.
I have seven little siblings. Not a day goes by that I don’t:

  • Drive someone somewhere
  • Tie some little person’s shoelaces
  • Fix their hair
  • Break up a squabble
  • An infinity of other things
I’m also a part-time Bible Institute student, which is where I find a lot of inspiration for my stories.
On top of that, I have a part-time job in a cheese factory. Want gruesome details about how Gouda cheese is made? I’m your girl.
Add that to writing (and making poor Annie cry), and I’m busy enough.
How many stories do you have up your sleeves?

Good thing I’m wearing two layers of sleeves!
On the “to-be-published-this-year”, there are at least eight, if I’m not forgetting any.
Now, on my “plot-bunny-will-be-published-someday” list? Thousands.

{My review}


5 stars

She did it again. Rebekah DeVall did it again. Iron Core has more of the gripping emotion I’ve come to love in her writing, wrapped in a fresh story and bright new characters. Iron Core is intense, for all the brevity of the story. She seems to make one sentence do the work of two. Lunetta is a dear who needs to be loved and taken care of, but she doesn’t seem to allow for that. Persa… Carlotta… ZANE, who I definitely don’t have a tiny crush on. I love the characters. They’re tangible and I can feel the threads of their own histories that make them into the individuals they are, even in such a short little book. 

Recommend for teens 14+

Seventh Born {review and giveaway}


 



Having seven sons is a honor above no other. Which is why she is a disappointment. The only girl of seven children, she brought shame to her family. 

I’m here today to squeal loudly about one of the most incredible books I’ve read this year. Read on for more information about the author, the book, and even an excerpt from the book!


{about the book}

In a world where seventh born sons are valued for their strength and power, she is born a daughter.
Zezilia Ilar is the disappointment. Born after six brothers, she was supposed to be the son to restore her family’s prestige. She intends to remedy her shortcomings by being a dutiful daughter, marrying well and producing children, preferably a set of seven sons. But when someone offers her an alternative, she begins to dream of more.
In a society that worships a goddess, he follows the Almighty.
Hadrian Aleron, as a seventh son of a seventh son, stands to take up the second highest position in government, Sept Son. His main qualification for office is his birth. Despite preparing for this role from childhood, he does not desire what is to come. As a follower of the Almighty, he knows he will be the target of many, and his faith might eventually lead to death.


            Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079Z2PPJL
            Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/seventh-born-2
            Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seventh-born-rachel-rossano/1128018000

{about the author} 

Rachel Rossano lives with her husband and three children in the northeastern part of the United States. Homeschooled through high school, she began writing her early teens. She didn’t become serious about pursuing a career as an author until after she had graduated from college and happily married. Then the children came.

Now she spends her days being a wife, mother, teacher, and household manager. Her evenings and free moments are devoted to her other loves, writing and book cover design. Drawing on a lifelong fascination with reading and history, she spends hours creating historical feeling fantasy worlds and populating them with characters who live and breathe on the page.





{follow Rachel}

Newsletter Sign Up – http://eepurl.com/4sbsv

{giveaway}


Rachel is giving away an eBook of her book. You can enter here. Your odds of winning increase with every person you refer so spread the word!




{my review}

Oooooooookay so now for the fun stuff.

This was stunning. BUT I ALMOST THREW MY TABLET WHEN I GOT TO THE END. I NEED THE SEQUEL, PLEASE. The ending was fantastic and I’m somewhat cross because I’m not ready to leave the characters yet and there will be a sequel but that doesn’t help at the moment.

I loved the characters. I knew them from the first few pages. They’re old friends that some part of me seemed to know from a long time ago, though that’s logically impossible. Zezilia and I would be great friends, I think, though I’m terrible at climbing trees. Hadrian… oh, he’s beautiful. And stressed. I think he needs a dog that requires daily walks. That would help him a lot.

As I was reading, I kept wanting to pull one or another of the characters aside and ask them a question. Or point out something. Or just hold their hand. Cuz life’s hard and I get it and so do they.

This is fantasy, my dears. This is perfection. And just LOOK at the cover. And the blurb. And the premise. And everything. 

I promise I don’t just love it because I’m the only girl in five boys. 

Characters: they’re incredible. I love them to pieces and it was love at first paragraph. They’re unapologetically people.

Setting: Ms. Rossano knows words. She knows how to make them do the thing where they line up and make pretty pictures. It’s like Dominoes but with less things falling over in the process. I felt as if I lived there. I belonged to the place, because the place was alive and living things belong to living places. 

Pacing: Um. I read it. I just sat and read and read and read and read and read. And I may have cried when I had to stop reading and go make supper. The pacing was engaging and active but not so fast you got lost. 

Theme: Again, Ms. Rossano knows words. She knows what she’s doing and what she wants to say, and she says it, and it’s as simple and as complicated as that. 

5/5, highly recommend for 14+.

Will be anxiously waiting for the sequel. Will probably have to get a paperback because it’s so absolutely delicious and amazing. 




{tour schedule}


April 9
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory post
Just A Glimpse – Guest Post

April 10
Rachel John Writes– Book Review
Annie Louise Twitchell – Book Review
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima – Character Spotlight       

April 11
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae – Character Spotlight     

April 12
Rebekah Lyn Books – Book Spotlight
Frances Hoelsema – Book Spotlight
Hunting for Truth – Book Review and Guest Post

April 13
Reading On The Edge – Book Spotlight          
Ember’s Reviews – Book Review
With a Joyful Noise – Character Spotlight

April 14
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway winner



{excerpt} 

A humid haze filled the air, smothering my ability to breathe. Stale air filled my senses as I focused on the temperature outside the windows. Sunlight, bright and hot, flooded the world, painting the grass brown and wilting the plants. Only the trees, tall and strong, seemed unaffected by its blistering gaze.
A tentative trace of plum, cool and sweet, touched my tongue. It beckoned me to linger on the taste, much pleasanter than the oven beyond the windows.  I pushed the thought away and continued to admire the trees as they stood motionless in the nonexistent wind.
“Well done,” Errol commented from his place behind his desk. Considering the topic of study, he had allowed a temporary lifting of the no talking ban. “You can release the image now.” He closed the book as I slowly withdrew my focus from the heat. “You have now mastered the ability to block Thought-leading with Image-fixation. Well done.” He scribbled something in his notebook before setting it aside.
“Now let us try shutting out completely. This will be your first line of defense. Image-fixation, Mental-blocks, and Safety-zones are all tools for when they have gotten through your defenses, which are Walling, Sealing, and Shuttering.”
“And these are all defensive forms against interrogation?” I asked to make sure I was clear of what to use when.
“Correct.” Errol readjusted himself in his seat. “Walling is a defensive measure that Talents in precarious positions use at all times. Within their thoughts, they build a wall around certain topics. For example, a Talent who is undercover among other Talents must wall off all topics, facts, and ideas that are not in keeping with his persona. By doing so, he protects them from detection by a mind brush, random thought exchange, or sending.”
“So the Sept Son must use this.”
“Constantly,” Errol agreed. “Now choose a thought that you do not want me to access.”
Choosing the image of Selwyn watching Candra hammer a nail, I carefully built a mental stone wall around it.
“Ready?” Errol asked.
I nodded. Instantly, plum filled my taste buds. I watched with interest as he skimmed my thoughts, nudging gently at some, while completely avoiding others. Then suddenly he was at the wall.





I highly recommend getting your hands on this book, my dears. Thanks so much for hanging out! 
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White Wolf and the Ash Princess {review}


{synopsis}

Eighteen year old Izzy’s limited world begins to feel cramped after she completes her self-appointed book dare. After reading two-hundred and fifty books, a thought that had been once tucked away as tightly as the books on her library shelves becomes too irresistible to ignore…Who am I? Memory loss prohibits Izzy from remembering her life before age seven when she was suffered a terrible trauma that left her with intense physical scars. Jonathan Gudwyne and his head housekeeper rescued Izzy and took her in as their own, but who did she belong to before they took her in? Crippling panic keeps Izzy from wandering beyond the stables but Tubs, the Gudwyne’s young stable boy, encourages Izzy to go beyond the property’s rock wall into a world that promises possible answers but also great danger. A scorched castle in the woods and its mysterious cellar filled with secrets sets Izzy on a path to the New World, where she will not only have to face her own terror but face the people responsible for her scars. It is here, in the untamed wilds of the seventeenth century that she finds love and a home in the most of unexpected of places.

{review}

It took me a couple weeks to read White Wolf. Partly because of the POV it was told in – I’m used to first person, but first person present tense was a new storytelling experience for me and I had a hard time getting my brain to reorient and read it that way.

Mostly it took a while because it hurt.

I could relate to Izzy in the first half of the book. Some people have commented that it seemed slow in the first half. I didn’t find that to be a problem, and thus didn’t observe it until I saw it pointed out in some other reviews, because for me, that’s what I lived with years. Time doesn’t work the way it typically does when you’re so scared you can’t leave your room. So yes, it was a little slow, but it wasn’t out of place for the reader I am. It helped me relate to Izzy more because I could just feel the Something looming in a few more pages and that’s one of the things that frightened Izzy, that captiol ‘S’ Something. That was one of the things that frightened me.

White Wolf hurt because I hadn’t seen that side of myself lately. It’s been a while since the fear has that bad, but it was that bad for years, and seeing it again showed me how far I’ve come from where I was. I’m immensely grateful for that perspective. It gives me hope to keep going.

I laughed. I cried. I played Duplos with one hand so I could keep reading with the other (the kid I was babysitting liked the wolf on the cover). I took it up a mountain with me. I threw the book on the couch at one point and went off in tears to wail at Tammy Lash about “how could you possibly do that?” (She sympathized.)

White Wolf is a romance, an adventure, and a journey of healing and self. It’s a story of forgiveness even when it feels impossible. The greatest strength in this book isn’t the characters (who I loved) or the setting (which I adored). It’s in the raw emotion that drips from the pages so strongly you can taste it. I almost wish I could have read it when I was sixteen, but I’m afraid it would have been too much for me at that point. I’m incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to read it now.

5/5 stars

Recommend for 15+

{expand your library}

Tammy’s website

Amazon Link

~Annie

P.S. – I hear rumors there’s a sequel. Follow Tammy on Facebook to keep up on that project.

hey love! 
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I hope you have a blessed day!

So Sang The Dawn {review}

2/7/2018
um, no review right now, too busy crying, good cry, don’t worry, LOVED the book, it’s beautiful.





2/10/2018
OKAY. deep breath. 

So I’m procrastinating on an article by writing this, but at least I’m writing, right? Yeah, anyway. 

I don’t know that I’ve read a book like this in a while. This one really needs like seven out of five stars. The last time I remember reading a book in such pell-mell haste and reaching the end and just—hanging—was when I read Moonraker’s Bride for the first time. Before that, Jane Eyre. In fact, I think I could list to you all the books I’ve read that yanked me in and ate me up in the process of reading, and when I came out… I’m going to sound like Gandalf when I say “You may never return… and if you do, you will not be the same.” So Sang The Dawn is one of those books for me.

The prose is vivid, engaging, and nearly flawless in terms of pacing, plotlines, and flow. The story is sharp, harsh in places, and it hurts in all the right places. This brought me to tears so many times – actual curled-up-on-the-bed SOBBING. I read it in a week which is the fastest I’ve ever read something of this size. I stayed up late nights reading, which is also unusual for me. 

Aurora was entirely too relatable and I slid into her shoes so easily that it scared me. Raine reminds me of my own best friends and made me miss them dearly. I haven’t slid so completely into a story in a while and it took me a good two hours after I finished before I could even quite remember me. 

Okay. Let’s see if we can make some order out of my feelings on this book:

IT’S HUGE. I could win awards for the book yoga I pulled off to be able to read this comfortably. Eh, nah, I couldn’t. But anyway. Ever since AnnMarie published, I’ve been debating whether it would be as big as my cat. The answer (as evidenced on her Instagram @elli_and_indie) is that yes, it is pretty much just as big as my cat. TOTALLY WORTH IT TO HAVE THE PAPERBACK. In a lot of ways it needs to be that big. The story is so big that it needs every single one of its 723 pages. 

I loved it. I just totally and absolutely loved it. If I was beta reading, I would point out the three typos I found (and for the record 3 typos over 723 pages is totally insanely good.) That’s it. I can’t find anything that I feel needs to be changed except that I need the sequel RIGHT NOW PLEASE AND THANK YOU. 

The characters, the setting – I won’t give you spoilers, but THE WHOLE FREAKING SETTING IS AMAZING. Reading it in February, in the mountains of Western Maine, I knew exactly what she was talking about and I adored it. 

The story-telling has a beautiful blend of detail and action that is both poetic and made my heart race. 

This is a high fantasy story like few I’ve read and it has the added delight of a contemporary world and a high fantasy world blending flawlessly. 

It’s taken me three days to be able to think enough to be able to write a review and knowing me, it will be like three weeks before I can verbally talk about it. 

I apparently made a record by sending the author her first ever review in GIFs only. 

There is semi-graphic violence and heavy themes, but it’s all handled so well, so I recommend for 14+.






I highly recommend getting your copy from AnnMarie’s website – you can get it signed, and she does the most amazing wrapping and packaging job. Seriously, that got all the heart eyes from me. 




AnnMarie’s Website



Amazon Link




-Annie

Hey, on the side menu, there’s a newsletter sign-up option. If you want to hear from me about once a month with some special updates, go ahead and sign up! I look forward to talking more. Drop me a comment, or find my social medias and say hey!

Copyright 2018 by Annie Louise Twitchell. 

Aveza of the Ercanhelm {Review}

{Author Bio}

Rebekah DeVall is the author of “When Your Melody Fades” and many more upcoming Christian fantasy books. Find her on Facebook or her blog.



{Book Blurb}

Aveza Kenlin is no classic princess. A harsh childhood leads her to join the Ercanhelm, the underground religious organization dedicated to removing her stepfather, Hagan, from the throne. Though she hides her identity from the Ercanhelm for ten years, her missions take her closer to the palace. Rumors of her true identity spread. If the Ercanhelm discover the truth, they will kill her. If Hagan discovers her, living within his city, allied with the Ercanhelm, he will kill them all. Both paths lead to death, yet Aveza cannot speak the truth, plead shelter from one or the other. How much is she willing to give for the cause? Can the truth set her free?




{Review}

I’ve known Rebekah’s work tends towards heart-wrenching, throw-the-book-at-the-wall-and-curl-up-in-a-corner-and-cry, so I was prepared for Aveza of the Ercanhelm.

Or so I thought.

I wasn’t prepared for the ending, let’s put it that way. No spoilers.

I haven’t found many Christian-fantasy books that deal with what-happens-after. So many of them deal with the redemption arc, and with salvation and grace. Aveza of the Ercanhelm is a what-happens-after book. Because yes, a perfect grace saved us. But we are still humans and sh*t still happens. Aveza of the Ercanhelm presented a view on it that I haven’t met very many places, where sometimes the happily ever after isn’t what we wanted, where sometimes you do the hard thing because it is the only thing. Where sometimes an all loving God loves you enough to ask you to give it up for him.

Aveza of the Ercanhelm was vivid, strong, and painfully real.

(Aveza of the Ercanhelm contains threads of abuse, that while not detailed, are definitely suggested. Recommended for 16+.)

Where Dandelions Grow {review}

{New Release}
September 26th, 2017


Cousins are forever, or at least they’re supposed to be. 

What happens when your world falls apart and your dreams are mocked by those closest to you? 

Destiny’s idyllic childhood full of laughter and cousins abruptly ended when her mom uprooted the family to move them across the country with strict instructions to never talk about Swallow Ridge again. Eleven years later Destiny moves back to her hometown, determined to find her cousins… and answers. 

Plagued by generations of bitterness and manipulation, Destiny hides her life-long goal – unwilling to let anyone else trample her fragile dreams. But life in the cozy town full of dandelions teaches Destiny there’s more to life than what she’s been taught. 

Is it possible Swallow Ridge not only holds the answers Destiny so intensely searches for, but also the hope?



Amazon: Where Dandelions Grow

{About the Author}
Lydia Howe (aka Aidyl Ewoh) is a twenty-something adventurous author who is partial to hiking in the mountains of Asia and South America, building life-size models of dinosaurs, taking road trips across Europe, visiting friends in Africa, growing up in a barn and everything in-between. She was trained as a John Maxwell coach and her passions include self-development and Christian apologetics. One of her life-long dreams was realized when her first book, “Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl”, was published by Answers in Genesis in 2013. Find her online at her BlogFacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Google+



{4.5 stars.}

Where Dandelions Grow was a sweet, easy read. This is romantic in the sense that coffee shops and pastries and books are romantic. Family, love, and faith blend together nicely in a pint-sized package that would go well with a cup of tea and one of Mrs. Reed’s pastries. 

There wasn’t much suspense or action, other than the reunions between the cousins, but after all the action and fantasy books I’ve been reading, I didn’t mind a quieter one. I feel like quiet is the best word for this story, but don’t worry – it didn’t put me to sleep. The thread of dandelions throughout was nice, especially since dandelions are some of my favorite flowers. And that cover… swoons

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I was not required in any way to give a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

{Giveaway and Quotes}

{Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway}

The Girl Who Could See Blog Tour PLUS!

The Girl Who Could See rocketed to the top of my favorite reads in 2017, by the time I was starting the second chapter. Kara Swanson is a master of words. This novella had me glued to my tablet with an intensity I don’t often have, and my eyes didn’t even mind the extended screen time because it was so worthwhile. I don’t think I ate lunch the day I was reading this, because who needs food when there’s a book as good as this to be read, devoured, inhaled? 






A Novella:

All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see? 

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.

Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.



This week, I have a very special guest I’m interviewing: I’m interviewing Tristan! I’m so happy to have this opportunity to bring a glimpse to you – and if this is intriguing you at all, right here is a book that I highly recommend picking up. Here is some information on my lovely friend Kara, and where to get the book!




As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre. At seventeen, she released a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine, and she received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writeraward in 2015.






BUY LINK:







KARA’S SOCIAL MEDIA:
Find Kara online at karaswanson.com
Twitter: @kara_author
Instagram: @karaswanson_author


Here’s the interview!

Tristan is the main character in Kara Swanson’s novella, The Girl Who Could See. He is a snarky, witty young man trapped in a parallel world where a monster has destroyed his planet and taken all of his family from him. He’s learned to use makeshift weapons to protect himself, and lives every moment wary of the next attack. The only thing that has kept him sane through years on this lonely planet is the appearance of a young woman named Fern, from a parallel world—earth—who can see and talk to him. The only person Tristan has come in contact with in years. But the problem is, Fern is determined that Tristan is not real, and fights to ignore him, despite his best attempts to hold her attention. He covers up the deep pain and loneliness under a shield of nonchalance and wise-cracking, but events with the beast terrorizing his world are escalading—and soon Fern’s world will be in trouble too. If he cannot find a way for her to believe him, Tristan will have to watch another world’s destruction….

ALT: What is your full name?
T: We don’t use surnames where I come from, but if I lived on Earth, I think I’d go by Tristan James Hunter.
ALT: If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?
T: Hmmm, let’s see. A portal out of this place, a safe-house with reinforced steal and a slew of weapons, and…a hotdog. Yeah. A really big, sloppy one, with all the toppings overflowing. Yum.
ALT: What three things would you take to a desert island?
T: An airplane, a pilot, and a passport J
ALT: How do you decide if you can trust someone? Experience with others? With this person?
T: To be honest, I don’t have a lot of experience with people. Most of them died screaming when I was a teen. Fern is the only one I have to talk to. But…I usually try to see if what their mouth says matches their actions. How they act in a crisis. But, yes, experience with that person. People can be fickle though. One minute she’s your best friend…then she’s telling you that you’re a hallucination and she can’t keep embracing her insanity. That she’s going to ignore you. And you’ll be alone—again.
ALT: First impressions? Intuition? Do you test the person somehow? Or are you just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?
T: When you’ve lived around a dark, evil creature that gets its kicks from suffocating and demolishing an entire planet—you begin to form a pretty good impression of someone’s intentions. So I generally go with my intuition, though trust is not something I’m necessarily huge on. Kind of out of practice.
ALT: What’s your strongest sense? Sight, hearing, smelling, etc?
T: Hearing, definitely. The Rhoon—the creature that destroyed my planet—can change form, and it’s nearly impossible to know where it is all the time. So, I’ve learned to sense the slightest whisper of sound. That tiniest grinding as sand particles are disrupted by its moving. That split second could mean life or death.
ALT: What really moves you, touches you to the soul?
T: When someone goes out of their way to know you. To really know you. The dark, the hidden, the broken, the bright. All of it. And they don’t run away, instead they offer to give of themselves to help you stand a little taller. To have someone see you. It’s been so long since someone cared enough to truly see me. But, even though Fern may refuse to believe my existence—I see her. I see the heart of a lion that she’s too afraid to admit she has. I see what she could be. I just…I want someone to see me like that?
ALT: What’s the one thing you have always wanted to do but didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t?
T: Other than hotdogs? JAnd getting off this blasted planet…riding a roller coaster. I think I’d like to ride a roller coaster.
Strapping yourself into a tiny car so that you can lose your breath, get really dizzy, be hung upside down and then puke your guts out when you get off? SIGN ME UP.
ALT: What is one physical attribute you’re proud of?
T: My hair. Seriously, though—have you seen this golden beauty? I don’t have any idea how I can keep it from getting tangled when slaying monsters, but somehow my hair always looks like I belong on Vogue. It’s true. Try not to be too jealous.
Fern walks in: Tristan! Your hair is always a mess. What are you—
Tristan hushes her: Yes, but they don’t know that. Just let me have my pride, please? If I’m stuck in a parallel universe where no one else can see me, I might as well use it to my advantage 😉 Now, let me tell you more about my hair. And I say all of this humbly, of course….
ALT: What is one physical attribute you would change?
T: Scars. I have a lot of them, mostly on my back and side. But there’s a few thin ones on my face…I’d like to have them fade away. To no longer have the reminder of death etched in my skin. (Wow, that got depressing really fast, didn’t it?)
ALT: What do you consider to be your special talent?
T: Other than my charm? I have a habit of driving Fern crazy till she recognizes my presence. I also can wield the flails that I built pretty well. They’re weapons, made with a handle, some chain attached to the end of the handle, and then a big round, spiked ball at the open end of the chain. I have two of them, and they can actually make a dent in the Rhoon.
Whirls flails around his head in quick, arcing circles.
ALT: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? Why?
T: There was a time when I was first stranded, with the death of my family and friends fresh in my mind, that I was really desperate. Figuring out how to evade the Rhoon—that was a rough learning curve. And I was determined to not be alone any longer. Fern wasn’t listening to me, and at that point she was just a kid (time moves differently between our worlds). So, I decided to bring someone else from Earth into my world. He was Fern’s biology teacher. Smart guy. I thought maybe he could help me get out too. I tried to grab him and drag him through….
But it didn’t work. I ended up only hurting him. Broke a few bones when he couldn’t pass through. Bruises. And then he was screaming. I can still hear it wringing in my ears. When I let go of him, he dropped to the floor of his office like a rock. It was a coma, the medics that found him said. He is…he’s still in that coma. Somehow, trying to bring a normal person into my world…it does things to them.
That was—low. I know. And I would never do anything like that again. But I was so desperate, and finding out I could see others, but never let them through, it changed things. Forced me to find a way to survive on my own, without depending on others.
ALT: What are you most afraid of?
T: Being forgotten. Dying and never having anyone even know I was gone. Letting the Rhoon win, and taking the memory of my people with me. To fight to survive only to realize…nobody cares. That I am nothing.
ALT: What’s the most important thing in your life? What do you value most?
T: Fern. She’s the only bright spot. The only person I can talk to, and who sometimes talks back. Her stories, and watching her live her life, chases back the shadows a bit. She gives me the courage to keep living, and hope that someday we can change this around. Because, unlike the biology teacher, Fern can see and touch me. She can pass into my world. I can’t explain it, she just can. After all, she is the girl who can see—see the impossible, the supernatural. Maybe she can save me, too? Save everyone?
ALT: How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
T: Starting to feel a bit repetitive here, but getting off of this dustball and away from a man-killing monster would be great! Imagine that. 😉
ALT: What type of clothing are you most comfortable with?
T: Armor. I wear an armor I made myself. Pieces of leather and metal woven into a starch material that deflects the Rhoon better than just wearing jeans would.
ALT: Do you see yourself as intelligent? Uneducated? Brilliant?
T: Brilliant, obviously. J
I graduated my preliminary classes, and was actually working in engineering when the Rhoon first appeared on our planet. Seeping a disease that was killing thousands. A disease I was immune to. When our government realized I was immune, they decide to run tests to try and create an antidote. They didn’t have enough time to, though. But spending that much time in a lab you picked up a lot.
ALT: What’s your sense of humor?
T: Ha. Snarky, and a little melancholy. I guess you either have to laugh at your dismal circumstances or go insane. So cracking jokes about the Rhoon it is.
ALT: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
T: A little house nestled in the country, with sprawling green fields. A white picket fence. A wide open sky where you could see stars at night. And a family—a wife, and a few kids. Just…living. Not surviving. Just enjoying being alive.


AND ONE MORE THING!

There’s a blog tour scavenger hunt, so follow the list below and assemble the clues! I think there’s some cool prizes at the end. Here’s the Clue from my post! 








JUNE 1ST:
(Release Day/Blog Tour Kick Off Post)
Kara Swason @ readwritesoar.com
JUNE 2ND:
Emily Bergstrom @ emilybergstrom.com
Emily Mundell @ writeremilymundell.blogspot.ca
JUNE 3RD:
JUNE 4TH:
JUNE 6TH:
JUNE 7TH:
JUNE 8TH:
JUNE 9TH: