Release Day Celebration and ARC Review|| The Sound of Diamonds

Hello Readers!

As I told you a while ago, I’m back with a review of such a wonderful book that releases today! YAY! And, because of that, before I start the review I must say this: HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, RACHELLE REA!

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Cake for everyone to enjoy while you read the review!

The Sound of Diamonds 2

 

So, remember a while ago, I mentioned how Heather Manning’s first book got me hooked on historical novels? Well, this book did something even better than get me hooked on a certain genre of books. The Sound of Diamonds fed my newfound addiction and I am very much okay with that!

 

The Sound of Diamonds is an AMAZING book, you guys! Like, you NEED this in your life.I just cannot deal! It’s too amazing!

Fangirling

 

*excuse me while I go cry over the beauty of this book*

The Sound of Diamonds

In Reformation-era England, a converted rogue wants to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk Godfrey knows he has only one chance at redemption.
An independent Catholic maiden seeking refuge in the Low Countries finds herself at the center of the Iconoclastic Fury. Jaded by tragedy, Gwyneth’s only hope of getting home is to trust the man she hates, and she soon discovers her poor vision is not the only thing that has been blinding her.
But the home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, will the saint and the sinner hold to hope…or be overcome?

*takes a deep breath so I can control my fangirling somewhat so this all makes sense*

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Anyways. This book was absolutely amazing. I was instantly hooked and dragged right into the beautiful and amazing story.

What I loved most of all was how well Rachelle wrote Gwyneth’s struggle and the fight that went on in her mind as the journey went on. We were really shown how Gwyneth’s feelings towards the situation she finds herself in and towards other characters in the story and it all came out to be realistic and I really felt Gwyneth’s pain and her struggles. It was perfectly done.

While I’m here kind of tlaking about the characters, I must say that I LOVED them. Each character was unique and important and some were totally worthy of being fangirled over…I’m just sayin. (Oh how I want to give you all exact examples but it would ruin everything.)

As you might have gathered from the description, The Sound of Diamonds is set in the 1500s. At a time where, not only was the Reformation in full swing in Europe, but modern-day Holland was launching the Dutch Revolution because they no longer wanted to be ruled by Spain. The Sound of Diamonds starts right there in the turmoil of religious upheaval and political intrigue. The setting was amazing and I loved how within opening the book I was pulled right into the action of the story without fail. It is very rare I get into a story that quickly. Usually it takes me the first chapter to be completely hooked…but not with The Sound of Diamonds. With this book I was hooked within the first page.

Now, I can’t say I’ve been reading Historical Fiction for long..but I can say The Sound of Diamonds is my favourite Historical novel so far. I can also say that you also need a copy of this book right now.

And obviously, instead of stars, I must rate this book with Diamonds…I mean it’s fitting, is it not?

5 Diamonds

Cover Reveal! ||The Lost Heiress

Hello Readers!

Today I am so excited to participate in Roseanna White’s cover reveal for her new novel. Now, before I reveal the cover and tell you a bit about Roseanna and her novel, I must say that the cover is absolutely stunning! I love it so much and it is such a wonderful and beautiful cover that, honestly, has me excited for this book! Now, without further ado here is the cover and other goodness!

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Info on The Lost Heiress

Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. Though raised in the palace of Monaco, she’s British by birth and was brought to the Grimaldis under suspicious circumstances as a babe. When Brook’s friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family.

The mystery of her mother’s death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook’s life is threatened do they draw close—but their loyalty may come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother.

As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that what began as friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together?

And then, for a second time, the heiress of Whitby Park is stolen away because of the very rare treasure in her possession—and this time only the servants of Whitby can save her.

 

About Roseanna M. White

RoseannaWhite2014Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. The Lost Heiress is Roseanna’s tenth published book. Her novels range from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at http://www.RoseannaMWhite.com

 

LINKS

http://www.RoseannaMWhite.com
http://www.RoseannaMWhite.blogspot.com
Add The Lost Heiress to your shelf on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22383696-the-lost-heiress

Pre-order at ChristianBook.com: http://www.christianbook.com/the-lost-heiress-roseanna-white/9780764213502/pd/642135?event=ESRCN

Sign-up for Roseanna’s newsletter to get updates on availability at other retailers, like Amazon and B&N: http://eepurl.com/hIvJw

It’s Time to Share The Love || Counted Worthy by Leah E. Good

Hello Readers!

Sorry about the lateness of this post! I mean’t to write the review this weekend so I wouldn’t be scrambling to do it now but going to a movie, sherlock marathons, sickness and MORE ARC’s kinda distracted me from what needed to be done! But, no matter. Here is todays book review of ‘Counted Worthy’ by Leah E. Good

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Heather Stone lives in fear of repeating the past, yet she continues doing the one thing that could trigger another disaster. When the police trace an illegal Bible to her house, Heather’s world begins to crumble.

Her father’s life hangs in the balance. No one with the power to help knows or cares. If she tries to save him, she could lead her friends to their deaths. If she does nothing, her father’s fate is certain. Can she evade a hostile police force and win public sympathy before it’s too late?

So, basically:

Belle talking books

 

This book was fantastic! I will admit I was a tiny bit un-sure about this book when I first started it. *ashamed* But that was very quickly turned around when I was dragged into the world of this book and was doomed to not return for hours…..Sorry to all those people I kept abandoning when you texted me…I really truly am sorry, but this book… *flails* (But in the process of ignoring said people while reading has got them interested in the book. You win some, you lose some.)

Anyways. The plot for this novel was really great and well written. I felt like the story itself could have been a bit longer but it was still a good enough length and told the story. (But I just would have liked a little more backstory for a certain event and such)

I loved the characters very very much! And there might have been a ship where a ship could potentially exist… (but didn’t happen in the novel. *sad face* ) Just saying!

Heather was such a great character who has suffered a lot and is putting her life at risk every day because she is a Christian. On top of that, Heather has suffered a lot of pain and you just can’t help but feel sorry for the poor girl *gives the character a hug* She was a great character, I just wish that the pain and sorrow that haunted her from previous events was better explained and I just felt her pain a little more. (But I still felt it…trust me, the FEELS)

I really liked Bryce’s character. He was really smart and a fast thinker but he, like Heather, had his moments where he was extremely stubborn and really only liked his own way/idea of how to do something. I really liked the friendship between both Heather and Bryce too. Really great. (and maybe nearing the end of the novel I was shipping them together, okay?)

Okay, Miss Lucy was a great character. If you have read this book, raise your hand if you want a short story or something about her!…If you haven’t raise your hand anyways cause you will want it!

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Anyways, I loved Miss Lucy. She was such a great character and extremely clever and yeah…just amazing.

 

I am hoping that there is a sequel for this novel because the ending (Cliffhangers, GAH!) hinted at there being a possible sequel? I’m just sitting here hoping that there is another one and it will come very soon.

My rating for the novel is…… *drumroll*

4.5 Stars!!!

4.5 Stars!!!

 

Why 4.5? I say 4.5 because I would have liked a little more backstory and more view into what happened to Heather and a deeper look into the pain she was feeling (and a couple more things along that line) but other than that it is an absolutely wonderful read and I highly suggest you read it as soon as you can 🙂

Have you read this book? Wanted to read it? Or is this the first you’ve heard of it? What are your thoughts on it?

So, Until Next Time!

Adriana Gabrielle!

Book Review || The Follower

Hello Readers!

Adriana here with a Share The Love post for you lovely people 🙂 but first, I want to apologize for neglecting my blogging duties this Friday! This week has not gone as well as I had hoped and things went downhill…and to be honest, I forgot a post. But here I am again, hoping you will all forgive me and ready to redeem myself with today’s post!

Sharethelove

So, remember how I discussed why I loved the book called ‘The Follower’ by C.F Barrows a couple weeks ago? Well today I’m gonna expand on that!

Today, I am going to be reviewing one of my 100% absolutely all time favorite book! (you guys…I’ve read this book 5 times…in just over a year.) This book is published by a good friend, and this book is called The Follower (by C.F Barrows)

I am so excited to share it with you so I will get right into it 🙂

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Three hundred years ago, the Rhenor nation split into two, the Reshan and the Khanor. One dwells in the Outerlands, the other in the mountains – and although the nations have made peace, their people have not. One fateful day, two small patrols meet in an outer cave in Khanor territory. The youths, spurred by mutual distrust, brawl, and the ensuing cave-in cuts off their main routes back to both the Reshan and the Khanor civilizations. Their only choice is to join forces and follow the one remaining tunnel – one that runs through an area known simply as the Forbidden Regions – to find their way back to their homes. Along the way, the beliefs of every traveler are put to the test, and the secrets of a few may threaten the safety of all. For as they go, Lusefar, lord of the Saethen, sends his agents against them, licking his lips as a ravenous dragon.

Plot: The plot of this novel was A-Freaking-Mazing! Loved it so so much! *fangirl squeal* (Yeah I’m already squealing…and I haven’t even gotten to the characters yet 😉 ) It was so unique and engaging and filled with plot twists! (You guys know how much I love those!)

Genre: Fantasy!! :3 Oh gosh…I love fantasy. (though y’all know that by now I am sure)

Characters: Yes! The BEST.PART.EVER! *rubs hands together* Okay! Lets do this thing! Or in other words…Let the Fangirling commence! 😀

Sohrem: Love Sohrem. I don’t know what it is exactly that makes me like him so much. ( Quite a lot of reasons…) His attitude and personality was so great. And, I will admit sometimes the things he said or did made me laugh…Sohrem is such a great character overall and his story is so interesting. (Won’t say much cause I want you all to read it and discover for yourselves.)

Sheth: Is is appropriate to just put heart emoji’s or no?…

…I’m gonna go with maybe not but I will put this to good use….

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….okay and maybe ONE heart emoji. (Don’t judge me!) Okay, but seriously I mean it! *WARNING:FICTIONAL CRUSH ALERT*

Okay. So, Fictional Crush aside… <3…Sheth is a great character. I just-I-Ugh. Yeah….He’s awesome *Adriana has lost all ability to function properly and know how to continue with this review* 😛 I love his personality and character and- yeah…he’s just my favourite.

Okay… I really haven’t said why I like him so much, so I shall say why now. (Fangirling aside…for now) So! Sheth, I really liked his character. I especially liked how strong his faith was throughout the novel and I also liked how he kept a level head even when it came to patience when tension was rising between himself and the other characters. I loved his character on a hole but just his strength and such through tension and just…yeah. So great…okay, I’m done now.

Kyra: Three words to describe her:

1. Grumpy (kinda)

2. Sassy

3. …..Awesome!

I loved Kyra! She was such a great character with a very interesting (yet sad) story. She has her grumpy/sassy/snippy/angry moments but I also found her to be totally awesome and not to mention smart. (Not that the other characters weren’t but..you get my point) I really really really enjoyed Kyra’s character.

Ender: *cue dramatic music* Well…First of all, Ender is also kinda grumpy at points and always seems to pick fights with his sister, Kyra…True sibling rivalry at it’s finest!…that and Kyra isn’t completely innocent with the whole picking fights thing either) There are quite a lot of ways he and Kyra are alike though….and I think thats why they both butt heads so much.

Lehn: Lehn is such a great character. He’s smart, has almost no cooking skill according to his sister and is really caring and protective of his sister Shaetha. (We will talk about her in a minute) Lehn is rather quiet but really kind. I LOVE (like big fat puffy heart love) how he cares so much for his sister and watches over her. It’s just…Gosh its great.

Shaetha: I love Shaetha. She so sweet and so gentle. Throughout most of the story she was kind of the odd one out and definitely a bit of a misfit of the group (consisting of Sheth, Sohrem, Lehn, Yannah, Kyra, Ender and Jorthen), but she was also a great addition to this very interesting group. I really loved her character. SHe was just so sweet…Is it bad that I picture her to be like a sweet, innocent baby deer? (I don’t mean that in a bad way at all but it’s just kind of how I see it.)

Yannah: Yannah! I love Yannah! Shes amazing and just plain old awesome. She’s tough yet still quite girly which I liked 🙂 I also loved her slight sassy-ness she had going on sometimes. She is also really friendly and kind. Though she did have her moments where certain people would really annoy her. (but isn’t everyone annoyed by someone at one point?) Yeah…just…Yeah no words except that I really loved her 🙂

Okay! Last but not least, we have Jorthen: Overall, he’s just really cool and uhh…I’m running out of words….just so many AMAZING characters! Anyways, Jorthen is cool. He’s got a level head on his shoulders (and sometimes acts like hes some sort of political leader 😛 Not that that’s a bad thing…I’m just saying!) but yeah, I can definitely see why he is one of higher authority when it comes to the entire group.

So, as you can see, lots of characteers and lots of love to go around. The characters are absolutely lovely and totally awesome! I love them all so much! 😀 😀

Setting: The novel takes place in the fantasy world known as Sehret. While reading this book, I really found the setting to be quite believable and the setting just felt so real to me! Like I was right there in the world with the characters. Absolutely loved it and such well done work setting wise 🙂

Overall Thoughts: Ummm…You guys, I’ve read this book 5 times in just over a year…I think that expresses my overall thoughts on the book quite well, don’tcha think? But, either way, Overall I absolutely LOVED this book to itty bitty little pieces. (Okay I don’t necessarily know what that means but it sounds cool and you get my point) It was really good with a fantastic plot/storyline. It was beautiful 😀

Rating: My rating for this book is 5 stars! 5 REALLY BIG,BRIGHT AND SHINY STARS!!

So, now that I’ve reviewed this book and told you about all it’s amazingness, it’s time you go buy it (and maybe even the second book) and read it!….Like right now…..Why are you still here? Click the link below and go buy this amazingly beautiful book 😀

http://www.amazon.com/Follower-Sehret-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00AHJTAI2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414025161&sr=8-1&keywords=follower+cf+barrows

So, Until Next Time!

Adriana Gabrielle

Interview- Laura Anderson Kurk

Hello Readers! I am still here, I promise. I apologize for not doing any writing posts as of late but I have been a crazy busy person and especially now with my cousins visiting and thanksgiving this coming weekend!  (I’m in Canada Y’all 😉 ) I am also gonna see if my cousin want’s to do some sort of discussion/review of a movie or book while he is here…cause I think he would be all for it. Anyways, This is me trying to apologize for my absence and mention that I will, in fact, start posting very very soon but until then, here is another interview from author, Laura Anderson Kurk 🙂

LAURA ANDERSON KURK, author of Contemporary YA laura1Laura Anderson Kurk is one of those lucky souls who gets to live in a college town. In fact, it’s her college town—College Station, Texas, where she drove in under cover of darkness when she was way too young and proceeded to set the place on fire. (Actually, she stayed in the library stacks for the majority of her tenure as a student at Texas A&M University, but in her imagination, she was stirring things up.) She majored in English for the love of stories, and due to a massive crush on F. Scott Fitzgerald. She continued on to receive an advanced degree in literature. She writes contemporary books for young adults, a genre that gives her the freedom to be honest. Her debut novel Glass Girl is an unconventional and bittersweet love story, and its sequel Perfect Glass makes long-distance love look possible. She’s crazy about her husband and her two ginger-headed kids. Laura blogs at Writing for Young Adults (laurakurk.com). On twitter, she’s @laurakurk.

                 1.Could you tell us a bit about your novels?

Glass Girl

new2 Glass GirlGlass Girl is a story about all the ways grief changes us. When Meg Kavanagh finds herself in the unthinkable role of grieving sister, she discovers some harsh truths—parents aren’t perfect, life’s not always sweet, and the dead don’t write back. Her famous artist mom grieves by slowly disappearing, and her dad copes by moving them to a small town in Wyoming.   What she finds in Wyoming blindsides her.   His name is Henry, and he’s a rancher’s son who pulls Meg into his larger-than-life world and shows her that being sensitive is not an excuse to sit this one out. Meg learns that the best things in life—like falling in love and finding mercy—require uncommon courage. And with the help of a strange set of friends, a locker room disaster, and a trip she’ll never forget, she finds that the things she thought would break her—school violence, loneliness, and separation—can be overcome.

Perfect Glass

new Perfect GlassThe sequel, Perfect Glass, follows Meg and Henry through the next stage of life as they learn what they’re made of. Things get messy when Meg gets involved—first with Jo Russell, the eccentric old artist, and then with Quinn O’Neill, the intriguing loner who can’t hide how he feels about Meg. Her senior year doesn’t turn out like she planned it, but sometimes the best parts of life happen in the in-between moments. Henry has committed to one year in an orphanage that needs him more than he ever dreamed. Thousands of miles from Meg and the new punk who has fallen for her, and absent from the ranch that’s in his blood, Henry finds out what it means to trust. When you’re so far from home, it’s terrifying to realize you’re not who you thought. But the perfect glass of calamity makes the best mirror.   An identity crisis, long distance love, new temptation, and growing pains teach Henry and Meg how to hang onto each other and to what really matters.

  1. I loved both novels, so I now have to ask, what inspired you to write Glass Girl and Perfect Glass

I was curious about survivor grief, especially sibling survivor grief, in a culture of school violence that seemed to be occurring more and more frequently in the U.S. I had watched the siblings of some of the Columbine victims as they moved numbly from interview to interview and it made me wonder about their emotional landscape and the kind of grief that had to be peculiar to these kids. When I released Glass Girl, I never really thought I’d write a sequel, but I knew that there was a story behind Henry’s perfection in the first book. We had so far only seen him through Meg’s weary eyes and he stepped in as the hero in so many ways. The second book gets real and shows what happens when the All-American boy is stripped of all his crutches and must rely on himself in a foreign land. And I wanted Meg to grow and mature and share her deep-water compassion with someone who truly needed it.

  1. Did you write an outline before writing the novel?

I don’t typically outline novel-length works. I often wish I did. I kind of start with a beginning, middle, and end in mind and then attempt to write in a linear way. Although my chaotic brain ends up skipping around a lot more than it should. An outline would help. But I feel like a book that begins with a skeleton framework but builds in lots of room for surprises and organic realism is the only kind of book I can write. An outline might force me to ignore interesting tangents that make all the difference in the end.

  1. What was the hardest part of writing both Glass Girl and Perfect Glass? 

Writing is the easy part for me. It’s all the nonsense that happens after writing that is difficult. If I had to pick one thing that’s hard during the creative process, it would be finding enough consecutive hours in a day to get into a true state of flow.

  1. What is one way you relate to your main character(s)?

I relate to Meg’s over-sensitive nature and her inability to turn off her empathetic radar even when she needed to for her own survival.

  1. Thats how I related to her as well! I am very much like that. So, Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That help is all around. That we all struggle at different moments in our life with things like anxiety and depression and grief, but that help comes from all kinds of places if we’re willing to accept it. That it’s okay to throw your whole heart into loving others.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing Glass Girl and Perfect Glass and what was it? 

I learned a great deal in the process of writing both books. I learned about storytelling and craft. I learned that there’s no need to fear honesty in writing. That I’m not alone. That some stories will gnaw at your soul until you tell them. That young adult readers are some of the most open-hearted, soulful people in the world.

  1. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Laura L. Smith is definitely one of my writing mentors because we are able to share so much of this journey with one another and we keep it real and relevant. She’s a true gift to my writer’s soul.   I also consider certain writers to be mentors even though I’ve never met them. Sara Zarr, Deb Caletti, Jandy Nelson, and others whose work I adore and who are open enough of their own process that I feel like I can sit at their feet and learn a lot.

  1. Yay! So I’m not the only one who would choose Laura L. Smith 🙂 What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

I’m deeply connected to Jesus and I feel like my work has a role to play in a larger scheme. I’m not sure how that all comes together or what exactly is happening behind the scenes, but I trust that He is using me for a purpose and that he’s given me words and love for story for a reason even if it’s just to touch one life in a meaningful way.

10. Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general?

  Read constantly. Read great literature. Read short stories and poetry. Read about craft. Follow writers on social media who love words and meaning. Follow Anne Lamott. Read Toni Morrison. Find stories that stir something in your soul and figure out what it is that makes that so special. Then practice. No one is born a writing prodigy. It’s a skill that is earned through hard work and patience and keeping your eyes open for meaning. You’ll find the story you were meant to tell.

11. Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodread, FB, Blog etc etc.)

  website/blog: laurakurk.com.   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Anderson-Kurk-Writer/215071391875250   Twitter: @LauraKurk   Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authorlaurakurk/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4092458.Laura_Anderson_Kurk   Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Anderson-Kurk/e/B003FGA86W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1412087043&sr=8-1

Interview- C.F. Barrows

Hello once again readers!

Today I have another interview for you all and I am so excited! Today I am interviewing my really good friend, Carissa. (Or better known in the publishing world as C.F Barrows. 😉 ) So let’s jump right into this because I am excited!

 

 

CarissaProfilPic
C. F. Barrows writes not only to entertain, but to share with her generation the good news of Jesus Christ. She is a homeschool graduate, and lives in Northern Indiana with her family, a hyperactive dog, and hundreds of fictional characters birthed by her own over-active imagination.

 

Hello, and Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about your books? 

Well, I guess technically, I have two novels. There are many more lurking inside my brain, waiting to be written into existence, but as it is, I guess there are only two which I can currently discuss. 

‘The Sehret Chronicles’ is a Christian Fantasy series geared mostly towards teen and young adults. It takes place in a world called (as one might guess) Sehret, and centers on some of the people who live in it. ‘The Follower’ (the first book) is the story of two scouting patrols who are trapped in a cave-in together and, with their main routes back home blocked, have to band together to escape. It was my first novel, and my perfectionist self wants to rewrite it, but I’ve been told it’s a strong allegory of faith and the battle between good and evil. Here’s the full blurb: 

“Three hundred years ago, the Rhenor nation split into two, the Reshan and the Khanor. One dwells in the Outerlands, the other in the mountains – and although the nations have made peace, their people have not. One fateful day, two small patrols meet in an outer cave in Khanor territory. The youths, spurred by mutual distrust, brawl, and the ensuing cave-in cuts off their main routes back to both the Reshan and the Khanor civilizations. Their only choice is to join forces and follow the one remaining tunnel – one that runs through an area known simply as the Forbidden Regions – to find their way back to their homes. Along the way, the beliefs of every traveler are put to the test, and the secrets of a few may threaten the safety of all. For as they go, Lusefar, lord of the Saethen, sends his agents against them, licking his lips as a ravenous dragon.” 

The prequel, ‘The Merchant’s Son’, follows three of the main characters approximately seven years before the events of ‘The Follower’. It’s my favorite of the two, probably because it’s newer and there were fewer characters to wrangle, therefore enabling me to develop the ones I had more fully. I guess it’s also an allegory, both of the battle between good and evil, of the slippery slope of temptation, faith, and self-sacrificing love. Here’s the blurb for that (because I’m lazy and it’s easier to copy and paste than figure out how to better explain myself): 

“Sheth Terrem is the son of traveling merchants, making one last stop in the bordertown of Lans before they return home with their newly-acquired merchandise. But then tragedy strikes, and a simple promise sends Sheth to live with a man he’s barely met, who seems as though the last thing he wants is an orphaned teenager to look after.
Sern Jesyn expected to look after the boy for a day, perhaps a week or two at the most. With unrest in the streets and among those who walk them, living alone is trial enough. Now that their time together has been termed indefinite, and long-suppressed memories come back to haunt him, he is uneasy at the thought of following through on his word.
But what neither of them knows is that their trouble did not end with the riot. Rather, it lives on in the surviving rioters, and in a boy called Siran, who has begun to find keeping his nose out of his older brother’s business both difficult and increasingly dangerous.” 

What inspired you to write ‘The Sehret Chronicles’? 

In high school, I contracted something called Lyme Disease. It’s a degenerative auto-immune disease which is difficult to diagnose, so I had it for a year and a half before we got a diagnosis and started treatment. During that time before my diagnosis, my mind and body were crumbling, and my faith began to erode with them as depression and confusion engulfed me. It effectively put my faith through the fire, and forced me to question just how strongly I believed, and how much I was willing to trust God. God brought me out of that valley, but through it, ‘The Follower’ was born. I channeled a lot of my own inner struggles and beliefs into it, so a lot of the struggles of the characters were my own struggles repackaged, and the revelations to which they came were those which God taught me through that struggle of an unknown illness. ‘The Follower’ was meant to be a stand-alone, but I fell in love with the characters and realized there were many stories left to be told with them, so it became a series. Funny, considering that the original story concept was just a random scene that I jotted down in my notebook and added to for fun whenever I got bored. 

 

That is probably the coolest thing I’ve heard on how a story was created. (Not cool that you have lyme disease but as to how it came about) So, since I’m a plotter I have to ask, did you write an outline before writing the novel? 

Ha. Funny story there. Yes, I did write outlines, both for ‘The Follower’ and for ‘The Merchant’s Son’. I also plotted out the series as a whole. But through the actual writing process, I have discovered this: I cannot follow a set plotline to save my life. Usually, what happens is that I start writing the novel, get a couple of chapters in, and realize that I have no idea what I’m doing. So I sit down and write an outline (as detailed as possible based on what I’ve already figured out), and I follow it faithfully for, oh, say five chapters. Then a major plot twist smacks me in the face, and in my excitement (or possibly just in reaction to having been smacked in the face), I toss the outline out the window. Okay, not literally. But I might as well. I become a pantster at least by the halfway point, and usually have to regroup and recruit friends to help me brainstorm a solution for the mess I’ve made for myself. 

 

That’s me with outlines too. I outline then a plot twist surprises me then I just go from there. Now, tell me what was the hardest part of writing your novel? 

I guess it would depend on which novel you mean. With both of them, and with other projects, my biggest problem is sticking with the story once I’ve hit that “I have no idea what I’m doing” stage. With ‘The Follower’, I followed my outline very rigidly for the first several chapters, and I feel like it restricted me to some extent, which was stressful, so I had trouble sticking with it for a while. ‘The Merchant’s Son’ started out being a more mundane story in which Sheth is orphaned, goes to live with Sern, and somehow befriends Siran while he’s living in Lans. At least, those were the bare-bones of what I had to work with, and it sounded terribly boring to me. It took a couple of major plot changes and twists smacking me in the face to convince me that it was worth finishing, but ultimately, it is my favorite of the two. 

 

I’m trying to hard not to fangirl over all the character here. (Conceal it, don’t feel it.) Okay, so since I read the books I’ve been dying to know, what is one way you relate to your main character(s)? 

Oh, boy. Only one way, huh? I’m not sure I can do that. I guess for ‘The Follower’, I relate to Sheth’s struggle in maintaining his faith in the face of trials, Jorthen’s desire for perfection, and Kyra’s desperation to appear strong when she’s falling apart inside. In ‘The Merchant’s Son’, I can relate to Sheth’s bookishness and Sern’s battle between his own nature and what Yahveh wants him to do. In both books, there is an overarching theme of trusting God even when you don’t know what He’s doing, and I guess when I wrote that, I was really teaching myself more than the characters, so I can relate to their struggles in that area. 

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

…Oops. Did I answer this one too soon? Oh, well. I guess the general message of the series that I want readers to grasp is that God is there, and that He has a plan, even when things get hard, even when we don’t understand what He’s doing. He’s so much bigger than anything we can comprehend, and He never leaves. He’s worth trusting. 

 

That is great! A message I think everyone needs to hear! Did you learn anything from writing ‘The Sehret Chronicles’ and what was it? 

I guess for one thing, I learned that if God is in something, it will succeed despite my doubts and weaknesses. ‘The Follower’ is not a perfectly written book. I’ve gotten numerous reports of confusion from early on in the book, largely due to the number of characters. I am a perfectionist, so even letting anyone read my most painstakingly edited work takes a great act of courage. But even with the book’s flaws, I’ve heard so many more people say how much the book has blessed them and helped them grow in their faith. As much as I would love for everyone to be dazzled with my writing, it is more important to me that the message gets across without sounding preachy, and that it really does something to help people. And by God’s grace, that’s apparently what has happened. 

 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 

…I have to choose? *hides* Okay, um… Not that I’d imitate all his content (especially in his recent years), but I guess Ted Dekker was a significant influence on my writing. From him I got my love of allegory, and of illustrating the contrast between good and evil, and I think I take after him somewhat in my style (though obviously, he’s much more amazing). However, I have also been told that C. S. Lewis is a strong influence, and I intentionally patterned a couple of the villains after Screwtape and Wormwood from ‘The Screwtape Letters’. And then there’s Tolkien, of course… Sorry, I can’t pick one. I just can’t. 

 

No pressure. I don’t think I could just pick one either. (Great choices by the way) What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members? 

In 2010, I joined ChristianWriters.com, a community of Christian writers looking to share in fellowship and encourage one another in their writing/publishing journeys. I haven’t been that active recently, but I got a lot of useful feedback and encouragement in the most formative years of my fledgling writing career. The members there even prayed for me when I said that I was struggling with writing ‘The Follower’ within my given deadline. It was awesome. I felt accepted, despite my lack of age and experience, and it was just so helpful for me. 

 

Okay, so not gonna lie. I totally checked out that site and signed up before posting this…just saying 🙂 So, last but not least, do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general? 

Don’t give up. I know that the path ahead looks daunting at times (if not most of the time). I know the terror of sharing your writing with others who might not appreciate it in the way I hope they will. I know the lure of plot bunnies that try to pull you away from your main project with their promises of a more interesting story. But if you stick with your project and give it over to God, I promise it will be worth it, whether you end up publishing it or not. Nothing is written in vain. You either accomplish what you set out to do, or you learn from the experience. Getting anywhere in the writing world requires developing a thick skin, so to speak, and learning to realize that if people don’t love your work, it is not a reflection on you personally. You can always work harder and make your writing better. Negative feedback is not the end of the world, and failure in the short term might set you up for greater success in the long run. 

 

Oh yeah! Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodread, FB, Blog etc etc.)

Well, let me just write up my list here… 

Pinterest (Has storyboards and character profiles, writing prompts, humor boards, as well as a myriad of other random things): http://www.pinterest.com/CrazyWriter94/ 

Goodreads (I’m not very active here, but you can follow me anyways): https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5587583-carissa 

Facebook (For news and updates on books, sales, giveaways, etc.): https://www.facebook.com/pages/C-F-Barrows/356238444468516

Blogger (For randomness pertaining to books, writing, faith, and whatever pops into my head on a given day): http://www.digressionsofadementedscribe.blogspot.com 

Interview- Laura L. Smith

Hello Readers!

Today I am interviewing yet another author and I am pleased to get this opportunity to talk to Laura L. Smith, Author of novels ‘Hot’,’Skinny’, ‘Angry’ and the ‘Status Update Series’

IMG_1920Hi Laura, So great to have you here! Could you tell us a bit about your novel?
It’s Addicting is the third book in the Status Updates series. It revolves around four college roommates and the struggles and triumphs they encounter as they navigate the demands and freedoms of college life.
What inspired you to write ‘insert title’?

I live in a college town and am surrounded by vibrant college women. They are so full of potential, energy and life, yet plagued with so many pressures to perform, to fit in, to juggle school, social and family life. These women inspired me to write this series tackling some of the things they have to deal with like relationships and homesickness, grades and finances, sharing a small living space with new friends and knowing how far is too far. Specifically, It’s Addicting deals with the little things in life we enjoy or use to comfort us or build ourselves up. What happens when those small pleasures become vices? When we rely to heavily on a habit or a relationship or a mindset? When do they cross the line to become addictions that dominate our decision making? And how do we deal with that? It’s Addicting follows Claire, Hannah, Palmer and Kat in their sophomore year of college. It explores the various coping mechanisms and pleasures they seek ranging from exercise to boys and how that changes them. It is a faith-based novel, so it really explores how worldly things can come in conflict with our faith and how challenging it can be to balance living in this world, but not being of this world.

Did you write an outline before writing the novel?
No. I’m not an outline kind of girl. But I always have an idea, a sketch of what the book is going to be about. It’s Addicting had characters, and each of them had a specific “addiction” she was going to deal with long before I started writing it. Since it was the third book in the Status Updates series, several of the ideas evolved as I wrote the first two books, thoughts like, “at some point Claire is going to have to face this,” or “Kat’s going to have to watch how hard she trains. It’s awesome, but it seems to control her sometimes.” I took those ideas and nuances of the characters and started brewing their sophomore year. I had some ideas for a spring break trip, because it’s an integral part of college, and an international travel program to Germany, because all of these books have an international element, but the details come as part of the writing process.

What was the hardest part of writing It’s Addicting? 
I always find the editing process to be the hardest part. It’s difficult to cut scenes or dialogue that I worked so hard to craft. It’s also challenging to add to scenes that I’d hoped were completed. But editing is also so rewarding! It’s like taking a rough, rocky gem from a stream and polishing it until it’s smooth and glossy. Editing truly improves writing. In fact, it is an integral part of the writing process.
Editing is definitely a struggle for me but once I do it it feels great to have finished 🙂 So,I absolutely love the characters in this series meaning I have to ask, what is one way you relate to your main character(s)?
Wow! There are a million ways I relate to all of my characters, and yet, they are also so different than me. There are slices and shreds of me in all of them. I was a ballerina, like Claire. I am a writer, like Palmer. I have a close relationship with my older brother, who is my only sibling, like Kat. Hannah is kind of the “mom” of their group, getting people tea, writing notes on their white board. I actually am a mom, so I do those kinds of things for my family all of the time. I love to travel, and all of the places the characters have ventured are places I’ve visited; Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, the beach. I love chocolate and coffee houses and going for runs and music, and the girls all find themselves doing these things, because these are experiences I want them to have.

That is great! I love how as the writer you are also a little bit of all your characters. 🙂 So,  is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My hope with this novel, with all of my books really, is to remind readers that they are beautiful creations in Christ, that their identity doesn’t have to be wrapped in the world’s expectations, but can be wrapped in Christ, that they are wonderfully and fearfully made by their Creator, and that we need to keep our eyes fixed on that, because when we do, all of our struggles are easier, there is more peace and strength and joy in our lives.
What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?
God. He is the author of the universe. All of my ideas come from Him. Literally. I’ll be sitting and writing and entire scenes and characters spring forth where there was nothing. He gives me divine inspiration. I write for Him.

Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general?
Write. Write. Write. And then write some more. The more you write, the better you get. The more you comment on blogs, write your own blogs, write letters, enter short story contests, write poetry, etc., the more you’ll exercise your writing muscles.

Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodreads, FB, Blog etc etc.)
Just about every where 🙂
My website and blog are http://www.laurasmithauthor.com
FB https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-L-Smith/41514076249
Twitter @LauraLynnSmith
Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/laurasmithbooks/
Instagram http://instagram.com/laurasmithauthor
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5577597.Laura_L_Smith

 

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LAURA L. SMITH, author of New Adult/Young Adult Fiction

Laura L. Smith loves God, her husband, her four children, writing and speaking. She writes real stories for real girls. Her previous books include Skinny, Hot, and Angry. She is a featured columnist at Choose Now Ministries and speaks at schools, churches and campuses around the country. Smith lives in the college town of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

It’s Addicting Book Review

Hello Readers!

I am finally back! I am so sorry for neglecting my blogging duties but school only seems to be taking up more and more of my time (joys of growing up, right?)

Anyways. I could go on and on coming up with all sorts of excuses, but I won’t so it’s time for a book review.

Today I am going to be reviewing Laura Smith’s ‘It’s Addicting’, the third book in the “Status Update Series’

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Obsessing over status, grades, exercise or a boyfriend could never become an addiction…could it?

This third installment of the Status Updates series finds four college sophomore roommates finally getting comfy with the routines of dorm life. But Kat, Claire, Palmer, and Hannah soon begin to feel the nagging ache of innocent little addictions pulling them away from their true selves. Hang out with these four roomies to see if they can—or even want to—ditch these sneaky little hang-ups before they take over their lives.

It’s Addicting. Such a great book, along with the series… I guess we could say it’s… Addicting? (See what I did there? 😉 )

I am absolutely in LOVE with with this series and I am dying of impatience for the next book. (Which also marks the end of the series so I guess I can wait a little longer.)

Once again, I loved the characters. I loved the individuality of the girls but yet how even though they are all so different they are such great friends and how Christ really brings these friends together. (I think my last review was me basically discussing how much I love how their friendship was so realistic and what not.)

I love how Christ is written in every page in this novel. In this story the characters struggle with different kinds of addictions.

I also love how the book shows that what we might not think to be addictions can easily become that if we aren’t careful. It kinda gets you thinking.

Are there any addictions that’s are holding you down or maybe even pulling you away from God?

So today’s review is kinda short. But yet it’s sweet.

Short but sweet 🙂

Overall I give this book a 5 out of 5 star rating. I absolutely loved it and I am so excited for the next book! (Well kinda… I don’t want this series to end!!)

Until Next Time,

Adriana Gabrielle

Book Review- Sixteen by Emily Rachelle

Hello Fellow Readers!

So, I recently bought a bunch of books for my Kindle (thank you Amazon Gift Cards) which means a LOT of upcoming book reviews….Though I might be holding some of them hostage for a while until I find the perfect time to post the reviews instead of just posting them all willy-nilly (I bought 10 books meaning 10 new reviews! YAY!)

 

Today, I am reviewing a novella published by my friend Emily Rachelle called ‘Sixteen’.

Now let’s get this thing started! 🙂

 

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Nicole “Nikki” Johnson has never gotten along with her mother, so when she meets a great new guy, it’s no surprise that Matt’s age is all her mom sees. Just because he’s twenty-four and she’s sixteen doesn’t mean he’s a creeper! Thankfully, Nikki’s dad allows Nikki and Matt to be together and see how things work out. Their relationship is fantastic and Nikki is on cloud nine…

Until the Fourth of July picnic, when things go too far. Now a very changed Nikki has to make choices that will affect her every relationship – with Matt, her parents, her best friend, and most importantly, God.

Cover: Both the Paperback cover (I do not own the paperback copy) and the Ebook copy are ABSOLUTELY STUNNING.

Ebook cover: The Ebook cover is beautiful yet very simple. Love it!

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Paperback cover: This one is beautiful as well. I have no words other than that its ‘Beautiful’

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Plot: I will admit, it was not entirely what I had expected. At first I found it really rushed but then found out that it was a short story. After I found that out I didn’t find it rushed at all.

Shows how much I pay attention 😛

Anyways. My ignorance of it being a short story put aside… I LOVED the plot. It was really well written and I really enjoyed it.

 

Genre: Christian Contemporary novels are one of my favourite Genres. I quite enjoyed this one because of the way things pointed to God and I liked how God was mentioned but things weren’t changed or sugarcoated or whatever (like in some Christian Contemporary novels and it infuriates me)

 

Characters: Although I recognize this is a novella, I would have liked to get to know the characters a little more but from what I learned of them I loved them.

The one thing I would have liked to see a bit more of though was Nikki’s rebuilding of her relationship with her mother. It was mentioned in the novella and her relationship with her mother was a big deal throughout the story but at the end it was kinda just brushed off to the side as not majorly important.

 

Setting: The setting didn’t take place in a variety of places just a couple main places but when they were described I felt myself there. I could see the apple orchard, Nikki’s home etc etc.

Very well done!

 

Overall: Overall I give this novella a 4.5 out of 5. The reason is that I feel there could have been a little more detail plot wise and still not have it drag on but other than that, I LOVED the book. I highly suggest you get this novella 🙂

Book Review- Swept to Sea by Heather Manning

Hello everyone,

So today, I am going to do a book review on Heather Manning’s debut novel called ‘Swept to Sea’ (Heather is a totally awesome person just so you all know)

Now, on to the review.

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Lady Eden Trenton never wanted to leave her privileged existence in London—until her father invites a dangerous suitor into her life. Left with few options, Eden devises the best reprieve she can: escape. Chasing freedom, she stows away aboard a pirate ship, praying she will gain her independence in the colonies before she is discovered by the nefarious crew.
Captain Caspian Archer has spent the last five years hardening his heart and searching to exact revenge for the event that tore his life to shreds. When he catches word that his enemy is residing in Jamaica, Caspian steers his ship toward the colonies in all haste. His plans soon change, however, when he discovers the young beauty hiding in his ship’s hold.
Cut from the only lives they have known, Caspian and Eden are pulled together as each pursues a fresh hope upon the sea.

Okay, one thing before I start on the review. (Though this kinda counts) Isn’t the cover simply stunning? I love it 🙂

Plot:

Love love LOVED the plot of this book. It was just so unique and really well done. Also there were a few pretty surprising plot twists. 🙂

The plot also just helped drag me into this story. (People. I read this book in the span of 3-4 hours.)

I know this isn’t much on the plot but I seriously loved this book and everything about the plot that I cannot form the words to explain it. Just trust me. It’s amazing.

Genre:

The genre of ‘Swept to Sea’ is a Christian Historical Romance

Romance:

I will just say right now. That I have never read a romance novel in my entire life. More due to the fact, in my opinion, that all the romance novels published these days are just horrid. (Just a personal opinion). I have read books with romance as a subplot but not an actual romance novel. (Heck, all my stories I write have a bit of romance as the subplot but this is not about me or my books so, moving on…) I LOVED ‘Swept to Sea’ and I do love romance (yes, I’m one of those girls who giggles like a total goof ball at a kiss scene in some movies.) I really do and I loved how all the romance in this book was clean.

Christian:

This part of the genre also had to do with the cleanliness when it came to the romance but I loved the whole christian aspect to the story. Good Christian fiction is also a hard thing to find these days and this was really good.

Historical:

The Historical aspect to the story was their. The character speech patterns, the time and place, the setting. Everything just screamed Historical.

Characters:

Oh my…where to begin?

I loved the characters. The characters felt real to me. Their personailties, their backstories everything about them felt real as if they were real people. The character development of the characters was outstanding and absolutely fantastic. I fell in love with the main characters and despised other characters (who should be despised…) I will not mention anything about the said despised character or I fear I will spoil something (and we don’t want that.)

Anyways, my final though on the characters is: They were outstanding!

Setting:

The setting of the story was on a pirate ship sailing from London to Port Royal in the Carribean. The setting was so real to me. Everything was described so well that I felt like I was on the said pirate ship, sailing the sea. The setting was absolutely fantastic and described/written so well.

Overall:

I am sure you are all aware at this point that I absolutely, without a doubt LOVED this book.

Overall I have only one more thing to say: 5 star rating from me. If you haven’t read this book…Read it now. You will not regret it. It is amazing!

What I didn’t like:

I’ll be brief with this. There wasn’t one thing I disliked about this book. Not one.

So, that is my review for ‘Swept to Sea’

‘Swept to Sea’ is now available for:

-Nook on the Barnes and Noble website
– Kindle and the Paperback Edition on Amazon

And for IBooks on ITunes.

I highly suggest purchasing this book. You will not regret it.

Until next time bloggers!

Adriana Gabrielle