“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A Brilliant Historical Fantasy Novel!--"Fawkes" by Nadine Brandes--Review


Wow, this book deserves an award!  Nadine Brandes does an amazing job weaving fantasy and history in her new young adult book, Fawkes!  It can be enjoyed by guys, girls, and young adult and adult readers alike.  You need this book now!

Fawkes has so many amazing elements and layers to it!  Ms. Brandes did such an incredible job with this book that I could gush about it forever!  I love the concept of the whole story with the magical elements, the historical setting and the faith allegories.  I think lovers of Harry Potter and Narnia would really enjoy this book, as many parts of Fawkes are reminiscent of these classics.

Ms. Brandes describes 17th century London so well and very realistically.  I loved learning more about the gunpowder plot and the battles that were going on between Catholics and Protestants (also known as Keepers and Igniters in this story).  There are great action sequences that will keep your adrenaline pumping into the wee hours of the morning.

The characters are well developed and are sure to become reader favorites.  Thomas, the main character, finds himself caught up in a plot full of intrigue and mystery.  Thomas is looking for confidence, purpose and identity.  Emma, the other main character, is a great role model.  I love the interactions Thomas and Emma have with the White Light.  Emma and Thomas both learn that the plague or one’s skin color doesn’t define who one is.  The story has so many layers to it—religious dissension and persecution, feuds between Catholics and Protestants, religious freedom, race, and Light versus darkness. 

There are so many great messages in this incredible read!  Fawkes shows how culture affects so much of a person’s life and beliefs.  We need to have discernment, seek the source and come to our own conclusions.  We need to fight for truth and stand firm in our beliefs.  A lot of people do things in the name of God, but He doesn’t ask for murder, etc.   Instead, He asks for us to respond to His voice.  The plague in Fawkes seems to be reminiscent of sin in our lives and how the Bible talks about us having a heart of stone and that only Christ can ultimately heal our sin and hearts.   My husband is already begging to read this book and I want to give it to my nephew as well.  I highly recommend Fawkes!

Content:  I would give this book a PG-13 rating for some of the graphic descriptions and violence. Some examples of the content are: students drink wine; people drinking in an inn; the word “hell” is used; some graphic descriptions of people who were hung on the gallows or executed; a girl threatens to tell her guardian that a man forced himself upon her; talk of castrating a man; mention of cleavage; a man is drunk; a man and woman slap each other; reference to a concubine and whorehouses.

Rating: I give this book 5 stars!

Genre: Christian fiction; Historical; Fantasy; Young Adult

I want to thank Nadine Brandes, NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.


  • I wrote the Out of Time Series. I think it’s kind of cool.
  • I’m an adventurer.
  • I’m a Harry Potter super-nerd who has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family-size) by herself.
  • I watch Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. (Wait…you don’t?)
  • Oh yeah, I’M AN AUTHOR! (Der…) I write about other worlds soaked in imagination.
  • I love the word bumbershoot.
  • I learned to write using a fountain pen. They are the magic behind avoiding hand cramps. For reals.
  • I hate peanut butter, but I like brussel sprouts. (Sorry if you just gasped and gagged at the same time.)
  • I’ve driven a dogsled, eaten a raw potato, walked a tightwire, and waded through a cattail marsh all for the sake of book research.
  • I’ve been journaling since I was 7-years-old.

    To visit the author's website click here
    To purchase the book click here

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    Christian Satire at its Best—"How to Be a Perfect Christian" by The Babylon Bee—Review

    I've been following The Babylon Bee on Facebook for a couple of years and was interested in what their book would be like.  They are a group that puts out satirical articles poking fun at cultural Christianity.  For "How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living," some authors got together, and now they have a whole book that does basically the same thing in a how-to type format.  The whole book is meant to be read as satire.  It pokes fun at all of the ways our culture has made Christianity into a hip, me-centered universe that does and says all the right things to fit in.  Heaven forbid we actually make it all about the Gospel and stop judging someone on what version of the Bible they read.  Which, in the end, is their whole point—that no one can be a perfect Christian and that's why we need Christ. 

    This book was at times super relatable, so much so that it was scary.  I found myself laughing out loud, nodding my head because something was all too true, and cringing.  I think this book is geared towards my generation, as I appreciated the DC Talk, fish bumper sticker references.  I also related a lot because I went to a Bible college with a lot of rules.  Many of the rules we had to follow were in this book, down to what Bible we had to use.  I think those who do not enjoy satire or don't have this kind of sense of humor might get offended.  But it is clear that The Babylon Bee does it all in love and I found it to be a quick, fun read!

     Content: This is a clean read.

     Rating: I give this book 4 stars

     Genre: Christian Non-fiction

    I want to thank WaterBrook and Multnomah Launch Team, Multnomah and The Babylon Bee for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.


    To learn more about the book click here
    To purchase the book click here

    Friday, June 15, 2018

    A Must Read for Lovers of Fairy Tale Retellings and Disney!-"The Orphan's Wish" by Melanie Dickerson Review

    O my goodness, I’m so excited about this book! (flails arms in excitement and squeals!)  If you didn’t already know, Melanie Dickerson (also known as the “Queen of fairy tale retellings”) has long been one of my favorite authors.  I always eagerly anticipate her next release.  The book I’m reviewing today is called “The Orphan’s Wish” and is an Aladdin retelling and it’s amazing!  Okay, enough fan-girling.

    “The Orphan’s Wish” is a fantastic Aladdin retelling!  Even though it’s a fairy tale retelling, Ms. Dickerson sets her stories in realistic settings, choosing not to use the fantastical elements some would equate with the words “fairy tales.”  She uses great historical details and I felt like I was transported to medieval Europe and the Holy Land.  While reading, I was in the midst of a bustling German town with ornate doors, I could smell the fresh bread, and see the old churches so vividly.  She uses great descriptions of the culture, clothing, and it’s obvious that she possesses a vast knowledge of the time and place.  I also enjoyed picking up on the nods to the original Aladdin fairy tale and the Disney version.

    I love the main characters in this book, especially their faith and their love story.  I’m a sucker for stories with childhood friendships that later lead to something more, so this one melted my heart from the very beginning.  Our main characters, Kirstyn and Aladdin, start off with a strong friendship at a young age.  It’s so sweet how protective Aladdin is of Kirstyn and how kind Kirstyn is to Aladdin.  They are both great characters who have both dealt with trauma in their past and are forced to grow in their faith separately before they are able to be together.  I love the way God teaches both of them through their trials.  It’s great watching how they grow stronger through those trials instead of becoming bitter.  They pray a lot and God is such a huge part of their lives.  The Gospel message is also clearly conveyed, which I love!

    This is such a great book for all ages!  Parent and child alike will relish this retelling with strong faith aspects and lessons such as depending on God, knowing His peace, and trusting Him through trials.  I highly recommend this book!

    Content: This is a clean read, with a PG to PG-13 rating for some content.  Some examples of the content are: a man threatens to beat a boy if he doesn’t do what the man says; a man is abusive towards a child; someone mentions an illness could be caused by a demon; Aladdin is met with prejudice and racism because he’s Palestinian; men are described as drunkards; some violence; an evil man beats and handles women roughly; mention that a boy has tried to molest a girl in the past; a woman is in an abusive relationship; a girl is abducted and held prisoner.

    Rating: I give this book 5 stars!

    Genre: Christian fiction; Historical; Fairy tale retelling; Romance

    I want to thank Melanie Dickerson, Thomas Nelson, Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction and NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.


    Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama.

    She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. 

    A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

    To visit the author's website click here
    To purchase the book click here

    Thursday, June 14, 2018

    Forsaking All Other by Catherine Meyrick Blog Tour and GIVEAWAY!





    Publication Date: April 1, 2018
    Courante Publishing
    eBook & Print; 291 Pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction
    Love is no game for women; the price is far too high.
    England 1585.
    Bess Stoughton, waiting woman to the well-connected Lady Allingbourne, has discovered that her father is arranging for her to marry an elderly neighbour. Normally obedient Bess rebels and wrests from her father a year’s grace to find a husband more to her liking.
    Edmund Wyard, a taciturn and scarred veteran of England’s campaign in Ireland, is attempting to ignore the pressure from his family to find a suitable wife as he prepares to join the Earl of Leicester’s army in the Netherlands.
    Although Bess and Edmund are drawn to each other, they are aware that they can have nothing more than friendship. Bess knows that Edmund’s wealth and family connections place him beyond her reach. And Edmund, with his well-honed sense of duty, has never considered that he could follow his own wishes. Until now.
    With England on the brink of war and fear of Catholic plots extending even into Lady Allingbourne’s household, time is running out for both of them.
    You can read the first chapter here.
    The beautiful cover for the novel was designed by Jennifer Quinlan of Historical Fiction Book Covers.


    About the Author

    Catherine Meyrick is a writer of historical fiction with a particular love of Elizabethan England. Her stories weave fictional characters into the gaps within the historical record – tales of ordinary people who are very much men and women of their time, yet in so many ways not unlike ourselves.
    Although she grew up in regional Victoria, Australia, she has lived all her adult life in Melbourne. She has worked as a nurse, a tax assessor and finally a librarian. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also a family history obsessive.
    For more information, please visit Catherine Meyrick’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

    Blog Tour Schedule

    Monday, June 4
    Review at Broken Teepee
    Excerpt at Teaser Addicts Book Blog
    Tuesday, June 5
    Review at Impressions In Ink
    Review at Books and Glamour
    Wednesday, June 6
    Review & Excerpt at Laura’s Interests
    Thursday, June 7
    Review at Donna’s Book Blog
    Interview at Let Them Read Books
    Friday, June 8
    Review at Pursuing Stacie
    Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
    Saturday, June 9
    Review at Cup of Sensibility
    Sunday, June 10
    Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All
    Monday, June 11
    Review at What Cathy Read Next
    Tuesday, June 12Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit
    Wednesday, June 13Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
    Thursday, June 14Interview at Books and Glamour
    Feature at Faery Tales Are Real
    Friday, June 15Review at WS Momma Readers Nook
    Saturday, June 16Feature at Passages to the Past
    Monday, June 18Review at The Caffeinated Bibliophile


    During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 2 paperback copies of Forsaking All Other! To enter, please enter via the direct link below.
    Giveaway Rules
    – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
    – Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
    – Only one entry per household.
    – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
    – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
    Enter the giveaway here:

    Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    Fashion, History and Women's Rights-"The Fashion Designer" by Nancy Moser Review


    "The Fashion Designer" by Nancy Moser is a book filled with fashion, history and women's rights!  It is also packed with faith content!  It's the second book in "The Pattern Artist" series and can be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the books in sequence to get the most enjoyment from the series as there are references to past events, and characters from the first book make cameo appearances.  Ms. Moser does refresh the reader later on in the story regarding characters and events from the previous book, but it would have been nice to have a little refresher or character list earlier on.

    Ms. Moser excels in the historical details.  She wows the reader with her descriptions of the time period, down to every minute detail.  I felt like I was transported back into New York City in the early 1900s, when women were still fighting for their rights and maternity clothes weren't yet in fashion.  Our main character, Annie, wants to design affordable, functional clothes for the everyday woman.  She even wants to try her hand in maternity wear (gasp!).  I learned so much history while following Annie's journey. 

    "The Fashion Designer" has characters that really live out the Christian walk and incorporate their faith into everything they do.  The main characters are always talking about their faith, praying, discussing God's timing and trying to trust God.  There is a sweet bit where Annie's husband leaves her a Scripture verse when she is struggling with doubt. 

    There are some more mature themes in this book, such as domestic abuse and rape.  They are both talked about, not in a lot of detail, but enough that I was feeling uncomfortable.  It was very hard to read about the way a husband is treating his wife at one point.  I know that these are important and realistic themes to address, but they may be hard for some to read about.

    "The Fashion Designer" incorporates a lot of great history and faith content!  I really enjoyed those aspects, but I would caution younger and/or sensitive readers due to the more mature themes in the book.  Overall, I really enjoyed it!

    Content: I would rate this book PG-13 due to some of the mature themes that are addressed.  Some examples of the content are: a joke about a woman’s bosom; a man smokes a cigar; people drink champagne and other alcoholic beverages; a man is emotionally and a little physically abusive towards his wife and he oppresses her; there is a conversation about a woman giving birth, but it’s not graphic; a woman has been raped in the past and talks about that and losing her virginity; there is talk of a man being a drunkard.

    Rating: I give this book 3 stars.

    Genre: Historical fiction; Christian fiction

    I want to thank NetGalley, Nancy Moser, Shiloh Run Press and Barbour Publishing for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.


    I've been married to my wonderful husband for 42 years. We have three grown children with three great spouses, and seven grandchildren--and we're waiting for more! We both earned a degree in architecture, have traveled extensively in Europe, and I've performed in various theaters and choirs. I love to knit, kill all my houseplants, and can wire an electrical fixture without getting shocked. I am a big fan of anything antique—humans included. Professionally, I am the author of twenty-nine novels that share a common message: we each have a unique purpose—the trick is to find out what it is. My genres include contemporary and historical novels including "The Pattern Artist, "Love of the Summerfields", "An Unlikely Suitor", "Mozart's Sister". Some of my contemporary novels are the Christy Award-winning "Time Lottery", "The Invitation", "The Seat Beside Me", "The Sister Circle", and "The Good Nearby."

    To visit the author's website click here
    To purchase the book click here

    Friday, June 8, 2018

    A Humorous, More Realistic Cinderella Retelling-"The Step-Spinsters" Review


    “Do not judge till you have heard both sides of the story: the stepsisters’ words.”

    Title: The Step-Spinsters

    Series: Unspun Fairytales
    Release Date: August 15, 2017
    Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fairytale

    Awards: Winner of Amazon’s Kindle Scout Contest


    Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…

    ...(actually, in Medieval France, to be exact) there lived Cinderella's stepsisters, Fredegonde the tall and Javotte the small. They wake up the morning after the legendary ball to learn that they each still have a chance to be the bride—all they have to do is make their feet fit into that tricky slipper. Alas, these two damsels under stress never quite seem to fit in anywhere. But that doesn’t stop them from wishing and hoping as they set upon a quest for grooms and grandeur of their own.

    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35695209-the-step-spinsters?ac=1&from_search=true

    My Review

    Have I mentioned before that I love fairy tale retellings?  I really, really do, especially when they are done well!  “The Step-Spinsters” by Madina Papadopoulos is a fairy tale retelling of Cinderella that is done very well!

    One of the reasons “The Step-Spinsters” stands out is its humor.  Ms. Papadopoulos has a lot of wit and a great sense of humor that she weaves throughout her story.  Sometimes the story almost feels like satire, subtly poking fun at common fairy tale tropes.  This is mainly a Cinderella retelling, but there are also nods to other fairy tales like Bluebeard.  I really enjoyed finding these “Easter eggs” throughout the story.  It is also set in medieval France and includes a lot of realistic historical details, which I appreciated. 

    I love the characters in this story.  The story is told from many different points of view (for example, one chapter you’ll hear from one of the step-sisters, another Cinderella, etc.).  I like reading from all of the separate points of view.  Each character is well written and has a story of his or her own.  Are the step-sisters really evil?  Did Cinderella get her happily ever after?  You will have to be the judge of that yourself.  But make sure you take the time to listen to every side of the story, for there is always another side…

    Well done Ms. Papadopoulos!  “The Step-Spinsters” is a witty fairy tale retelling that I would recommend to anyone who loves fairy tales, Cinderella, or a good laugh (or all three together)!

    Content:  This is a clean read with some minor content.  Some examples of the content are: a reference to the wedding night; mention of people drinking ale; a man notices a woman’s bosom.
    Rating: I give this book 4.5 stars!
    Genre: Fairy tale retelling; Fantasy; Young Adult; Romance
    I want to thank Madina Papadopoulos for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
    Madina Papadopoulos is a New Orleans–born, New York–based freelance writer and author. She studied French and Italian at Tulane University and went on to pursue her MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA. After graduating, she taught French and Italian to children in early childhood and elementary school programs. Her nonfiction freelance writing focuses on food, drink, and entertainment. Her portfolio includes lifestyle articles in Delta Sky Mag, The Village Voice, Paste Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and Eater, among others.
    Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

    Tuesday, June 5, 2018

    Paperless Post: Helping People Connect in Real Life—Review

    Paperless Post is an online messaging service that “helps connect people in real life.”  They claim to “reimagine invitations.”  I was excited to try out this service as I love sending people cards, whether they be in real life or, as in this case, through the Internet.  I tend to prefer snail mail, but Paperless Post is probably one of the best online “paperless” services I’ve used; I like it just as much as snail mail!  Paperless Post is a free service, with upgrade options at a small additional cost (see more on that below).
    Paperless Post offers all different types of cards that you can send.  I love how unique and varied their designs are.  They are also customizable.  The designs and prints are gorgeous.  You can also create events, send invitations and make flyers.  I created a “just because” card to send to my mom and I really enjoyed customizing the card to suit her tastes.  I had the option to choose everything from the picture, the colors, the font, the envelope and to even put a cute little stamp that said “mother” on it.  So, it felt like I was still taking the time to create something special for her instead of just shooting off a generic e-card.  I also created an invitation for my upcoming Father’s Day get-together with my dad.  I sent it only to him, but you can send invitations to as many people as you’d like and I love how you can have people RSVP.  I was able to fully customize the invite to a baseball theme and I even put a picture of my dad on it.  I did have to use more “coins” (which cost money) for each upgrade.  Some of the cards themselves are free, but to upgrade and customize, it may cost a small amount.
    I really enjoyed using this service and will definitely be going back for my paperless needs!  I love the options they have as far as their variety of designs and customization!  I would highly recommend this website and service!
    To visit Paperless Post’s website and to start sending your own creations in no time at all, click here:
    Disclosure:  This review has been provided at the request of Paperless Post. Coins were provided to me so that I could access all of the available features on their website. A positive review was in no way required as part of this partnership. The views expressed here are my own.