Winners!

Hello, my Roadlings!

I’m just here today to let you know that the Silmaril Awards voting has ended and the winners have been chosen — who those winners are remains to be seen and Presentations begin TODAY, running through September 28 — and to announce the winners of my 5-year blogiversary giveaway!

Silmaril Awards 2018 Ceremonies Schedule

Visit all the blogs over the course of the next several days (I’ll try to update the links as they go live, and I’m sure you can check out the official website as well) to find out who the ten winners of the 2018 Silmaril Awards are! EEP! I’m so excited to find out myself. ^_^

And be sure to come back here next Monday (Sept 24) to find out who has been deemed Wisest Counselor! Be sure to show up for the awards ceremony, and don’t be late, because a wizard is never late, and a certain wizard is present this one, so he might not approve of lateness in others! 😉

Also, there are a couple of other cool Tolkien-related parties going on this week online, and Jenelle recapped them in her post, so check those out! 🙂

Giveaway Winners

I’m excited to announce the winners of the epic giveaway I held last week to celebrate my 5 year blogiversary! Thanks for entering, everyone! ❤

The names have been selected by random draw out of my viking helmet (yes, this was a thing)!

The winners of the five books (from me) and the two sets of Electrical Menagerie cards (courtesy of Mollie Reeder) are . . .

*drumroll*

  • The Electrical Menagerie (+ character cards) — Elizabeth Koetsier
  • Magician’s Ward — Arielle
  • Conrad’s Fate — Faith (Florid Sword)
  • The End of the Third Age — Rayleigh Gray
  • If You Want To Write — Donna Darling
  • second set of character cards — Skye Hoffert

Congrats, guys! I just contacted you by email to get your information (so be on the lookout for that, and if you see this and haven’t heard from me, let me know if you didn’t get the email), and I will get your prizes shipped out ASAP! 🙂

Thanks so much to everyone who celebrated my blogiversary with me! You’re all awesome and I wish I could give you ALL something. ❤

But giveaways are super fun, so hopefully I’ll do some more in the future! 😉

Also, don’t forget that The Electrical Menagerie ebook is only 99 cents until next Monday, so if you didn’t win the paperback, you can still pick up your very own copy! (I highly recommend it. ;))


Thanks, everyone! You’re the best! ^_^

Advertisements

The Orphan’s Wish by Melanie Dickerson (Review)

Title: The Orphan’s Wish

Author: Melanie Dickerson

  • Date read: September 15, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Historical Fiction / Retelling / Christian Fiction / Romance
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 329 (hardcover)
  • Series: Hagenheim, #8 (stands alone)
  • Fave character: Aladdin
  • Source: BookLook Bloggers review program (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
  • Notes: Thanks to the publisher for the complimentary copy. These opinions are all mine.

My Review

So far I’ve always enjoyed Melanie Dickerson’s novels—sometimes you just want a fun, light read, you know?—and I loved this one too. 🙂

I liked that The Orphan’s Wish had a somewhat different feel than the other Hagenheim books, though still with ties to them that made it familiar at the same time that it was fresh. I enjoy a good knight-or-duke’s-son-with-the-fair-maiden-in-a-castle-or-the-woods adventure/romance as much as the next person (as most of these have been), but this one (though with elements of that) was a new setup. Aladdin, while having some action, was much more of a hardworking businessman, which was different and fun for a change, and the setting was largely in the city of Luneberg and it was such a colorful, medieval European city, which reminded me a little of reading about Prague. I enjoyed that! And, of course, I enjoyed visiting Hagenheim again as well. 😉

It’s a retelling of Aladdin, but I confess that story’s not terribly fresh in my memory (I may have read the original folktale once or twice, and saw a certain Disney version of it maybe once awhile back), so I don’t feel like I caught many references. Which was fine. I enjoyed it well enough as a story on its own merit! If you’re looking for a super-Aladdin-y retelling you might possibly be disappointed, though.

Aladdin himself was a wonderful character and I felt deeply pulled into his point of view. He’s not your usual main character—he’s brave and courageous and clever, but he also works really hard and is always trying to do the best he can, and be the best he can be. He has a talent for running businesses and he’s kind of out to make his fortune so that he feels that he, a lowly orphan boy, brought from the Holy Land as a child to live at Hagenheim, can hope to be worthy of marrying a duke’s daughter. But he has a lot to learn, too. 😉 I was kind of annoyed at him for not manning up and telling someone something he didn’t want to say (you caused more problems, man!), but I also loved how he tried to do better, and how he would be clever and heroic sometimes, just when you started to think all he usually did was run businesses and be in love. XD Anyway, he was great.

I liked Lady Kirstyn too. I appreciated that she was the quiet kind of heroine—poor thing felt somewhat overlooked in her family, even though they’re wonderful (because we’re talking about Duke Wilhelm’s family of the Hagenheim Castle series. :P). And she goes through a lot too. The mischievous orphan Abu and the kind old merchant Herr Kaufmann are other interesting characters. And a villain or two…

I also loved the cameos of Valten and Wilhelm and some of the others from this series! So awesome. Especially man-of-few-words Valten giving Aladdin relationship advice. XD (This can totally stand alone as its own book, though, and you don’t have to read any of the others in the series to appreciate it. In fact, it’s a fine place to start.)

I suppose it’s a fairly usual Christian romance, but I enjoyed both of those aspects—it was sweet, and there were some nice faith elements/messages. The plot was also interesting, and—like I mentioned—felt kind of new and fresh. There’s some danger and excitement and mystery thrown in, so it’s not just Aladdin and Kirstyn trying to figure out their relationships. XD I liked how we got to see them grow up together, briefly, at the beginning (childhood friends turned lovers, yay!), and how there were also a lot of memories mixed in, because it really felt like they’d known each other forever, and that was neat. Oh, and I also loved the letters and the storks!

Random note about the series: I exaggerate slightly, but I kind of feel bad for Duke Wilhelm always having to run around after his kids when they’re the hero or heroine of the book and are always getting kidnapped, or shot with crossbows, or running around falling in love with the wrong person… Like, seriously, poor Wilhelm and Rose every time their kids get a new book. XD I love it though.

Anyway, this was another fun novel from this prolific author, and I always look forward to more. 🙂

A favorite quote: “I suppose it is difficult to be good at both business and art.”

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

I review for BookLook Bloggers


About The Orphan’s Wish

From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes an inspired retelling of the beloved folk tale Aladdin.

Orphaned and alone, Aladdin travels from the streets of his Arab homeland to a strange, faraway place. Growing up in an orphanage, he meets young Lady Kirstyn, whose father is the powerful Duke of Hagenheim. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion, and their childhood friendship grows into a bond that time and opposition cannot break.

Even as a child, Aladdin works hard, learning all he can from his teachers. Through his integrity, intelligence, and sheer tenacity, he earns a position serving as the duke’s steward. But that isn’t enough to erase the shame of being forced to steal as a small child—or the fact that he’s an orphan with no status. If he ever wants to feel equal to his beautiful and generous friend Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim and seek his fortune.

Yet once Aladdin departs, Lady Kirstyn becomes a pawn in a terrible plot. Now, Aladdin and Kirstyn must rely on their bond to save her from unexpected danger. But will saving Kirstyn cost Aladdin his newfound status and everything he’s worked so hard to obtain?

An enchanting new version of the well-known tale, The Orphan’s Wish tells a story of courage and loyalty, friendship and love, and reminds us what “family” really means.

Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, June 26, 2018


Links

Find the book on: Goodreads • Thomas Nelson • Barnes & Noble • Amazon • Author Website


Thanks for reading! 🙂

5 Year BLOGIVERSARY + Giveaway!

Hi everyone! Guess what’s special about today? 😉 (Okay, okay, the title may have given that away. *cough*)

It’s my 5 Year Blogiversary! 😀

Yes, you heard that correctly.

On this day, half a decade ago, I posted my very first post on this blog!

It’s been a long, exciting journey, and I just started another shiny website too (as well as having a book blog I’ve been enjoying for a few years) — but this is where it all began, and it’s still the heart of my online presence as a writer, and… well… a human. 😉

So I’m celebrating with a giveaway (Hobbit-birthdays and all that sort of thing, so read on for that) and general merriment and partying.

*passes out virtual cupcakes and tosses confetti on everyone*

The Stats

  • 5 years
  • 293 posts (as of this one!)
  • 590 followers (plus social media = 1,091 followers, hence the number on the side. ;))
  • 6,700 comments
  • 16,298 visitors
  • 45,789 views

Top Commenters

Commenters are my favorite — this means you! Also, special shoutout to my top commenters of late. You guys are amazing! THANK YOU! (Everyone, check out their amazing blogs! ^_^)

My top 10 most popular posts this year

Thank You

I just want to say thank you.

Thanks to all my lovely readers, followers, and commenters! You make this blogging thing worthwhile. 🙂 It’s been such a joy taking this road with you all. Thank you for joining me in the journey. ❤

*GROUP HUG*

Blogiversary Giveaway

Okay, here’s the part you’re REALLY here for! 😉

There are 5 (ish) prizes — because 5 years — and they are (surprise, surprise!) books!

I love sharing books with people, and I also frequent library sales and collect beloved books. So I’ve decided to share a few of my favorites with y’all! ^_^

But just a second, because I’m going to tell you all about one of the awesome prizes. 😀

Stellar September

I’m extremely excited to be showcasing The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder today!

I won an ebook ARC copy of this book, and loved it so much that I raved about it in a review, got a paperback copy when I got to meet the author at Realm Makers (!!!), and just ordered a second paperback copy just so I could give it away on my blogiversary post today. 🙂

Mollie was also awesome and donated two sets of gorgeous character cards, of the delightful characters from The Electrical Menagerie, for me to share with y’all! (Visit the artist on Instagram.) One set I’m giving away with the paperback (US), and one set I’m offering as an International prize, because I love you peeps too! ❤

But wait, there’s even more delightful news! 😀

The Electrical Menagerie got a starred review on Publisher’s Weekly yesterday! :O I’m SO excited for Mollie, and so proud of her and this splendiferous book (and its characters. ;))! I just love it so much, and I hope more people will discover it. ^_^

If you’re curious to read it, now is a fantastic time to try it out, because the ebook is only 99 cents on Amazon right now, for a promotion Mollie is calling Stellar September. And is it ever stellar! 😀 So go get yourself a copy! ❤

And, of course, enter to win a paperback copy of this (and other books) below. 😉

You can learn more about The Electrical Menagerie, Mollie, and the characters, and sign up for Mollie’s newsletter for a free novelette about Huxley (it’s hilarious, FYI!), at thecelestialisles.com or writeratops.com!

The Giveaway Prizes

  1. The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder (paperback) — Steampunk (ish). The rest of these books I got at library sales, but this one I ordered. It’s a recent release, which I may have flailed about a lot. 😉 And since I’m writing steampunk right now, and love humor and dynamic characters, it seemed to fit the theme of my giveaway. 🙂 Let me just tell you that if you love The Greatest Showman, or steampunk, or dynamic duo friendships, or humor/snark, or magical worlds (floating islands with sky-trains run by stardust!), you simply have to try this book out! ❤ Included with this book is a set of the 4 lovely character cards!
  2. Magician’s Ward by Patricia C. Wrede (paperback) — Regency Fantasy. You can read my full review here, but this is a fascinating and fun story set in an alternate Regency London, about the fabulous magician (and eligible bachelor) Mairelon the Magician, and his ward, Kit, who is a street-thief-turned-Regency-lady. And yes, this is as fabulous as it sounds. XD It’s technically the second book in a duology, but I read it as a standalone and understood it just fine. (I’ve since read the first book, and enjoyed it, but not as much as I loved this one.) This is an ex-library paperback and is slightly worn — apologies! — but the story inside is lovely. 😉
  3. Conrad’s Fate (Chrestomanci Series) by Diana Wynne Jones (hardcover) — Fantasy. You know this had to be on here, because of COURSE I have to give away a DWJ book. 😉 Even if you haven’t read any of the Chrestomanci books before, you can start with this one (as it’s sort of a prequel). It’s a lot of fun, and features a teenage Chrestomanci/Christopher Chant, which was AWESOME. It’s also a buddy story, from the point of view of the “servants” at an older, fancy, British-like house, with magical shenanigans and humor. I love it. 😀
  4. The End of the Third Age by J.R.R. Tolkien (paperback) — This is the tail-end of a series of books featuring some of Tolkien’s older drafts of The Lord of the Rings (edited by his son Christopher Tolkien). But the reason I’m giving away this one is that it has the UNPUBLISHED epilogue of The Lord of the Rings, which never made it into the final version, but which I strongly believed SHOULD HAVE. It’s about Sam and his kids after the end, and makes the end of LOTR not sad, say I — it ends on a better note. There are two versions of the epilogue, both collected in this volume, and even if you don’t read the rest of the book, you HAVE to read them. And I want to make it possible for some LOTR fan to read it, so I’m giving away a copy. 🙂 (Plus, what with the Silmaril Awards going on right now — don’t forget to vote for your favorite characters this week!! — this feels like an appropriate thing to give away. ;))
  5. If You Want To Write: A Book About Art, Independence, and Spirit by Brenda Ueland (paperback) — Nonfiction. This is one of my favorite books on writing. I wrote a whole post about it once, which you can check out to see if it’s the sort of book you would like. And since this is “The Road of a Writer” and I know many of you are writers, it seemed fitting. 🙂
  6. Another set of Electrical Menagerie character cards (INTERNATIONAL) — Because, as I mentioned, Mollie kindly sent along two sets, and I wanted something for any of my lovely non-American readers who would like to enter a giveaway. (Huxley makes a great bookmark. I’m just sayin’. ;))

Giveaway details

  • You must be subscribed to my newsletter, or if you haven’t, your email address will be added to my newsletter, from which you can unsubscribe any time. (But I like to think that the sort of people who enjoy the sorts of books I’m giving away above, will be the sort to enjoy my newsletter. ;))
  • This giveaway is open from September 11 – 15, 2018
  • The books are US entries only (sorry! Because shipping) but the second set of character cards are just for international entries! 🙂
  • There will be 6 winners
  • Winners will be chosen by random draw. The winners be contacted by email, and posted here on or after September 17

You can subscribe to my newsletter here. 🙂

Enter the giveaway in the form below, or, if it’s not working for you, click here!

Giveaway Form

That’s it!

P.S. If you want to follow me on Instagram, I’m hoping to post a different fun picture there each day this week during the giveaway to showcase each of the books, so… there’s that. 😉

Whew! I think that’s all the fun I have for you guys today. 🙂 (Special thanks to Mollie for providing the character trading cards for the giveaway!)

Do you want to read The Electrical Menagerie? And which of these books would you most love to win? 😀 Thanks for joining me in my blogoversary as I celebrate 5 years of blogging! You’re all awesome! ❤

Silmaril Awards 2018 Wisest Counselor: Voting!

The time has come! *cue Gandalf fireworks*

It’s time to vote on the second round of the Silmaril Awards!

Silmaril Awards: Top 5 Wisest Counselor Nominees

There were so many amazing wise counselor characters from fantasy nominated this year (you can see them all in the comments-section), but in the end, only five could progress to the voting stage.

The top five mentor characters nominated for the Wisest Counselor Silmaril are…

Halt (Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan)

Halt is a Ranger, a master of stealth and secrets, always slipping about almost unseen in his great grey Ranger cloak. Normal people are a little afraid of him, and he seems grim and mysterious at times, but also has a dry sense of humor and an unexpected snarkiness mixed in with his seeming grouchy unapproachableness. He always seems to have some sort of private joke, disguised enough that you sometimes don’t even realize he’s having fun. Despite his powerful presence and quiet strength, he’s unexpectedly short (a slight sore spot, since it means people don’t always believe he’s the famous Ranger Halt). Well respected among the Rangers, he makes the perfect mentor to young Will, and I doubt if there are many readers of this series who wouldn’t want to be Halt’s apprentice. 😉

Rayad (The Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight)

Rayad is an older Arcacian man wanted by the emperor for being a rebel. He is the father figure and mentor to a young ex-gladiator-slave. At this youngster’s darkest moments, Rayad is there to offer advice, hope, and words of comfort and wisdom. He can be a bit gruff at times, but is kind, thoughtful, and knows where the Light comes from. He is also a member of the main council of the Resistance.

Prince Aethalbald (Tales of Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl)

Aethelbald at first glance seems to be an entirely ordinary, uninteresting young man with brown hair and earnest dark eyes. He’s far more than he seems, of course, being in fact the ageless Prince of Farthestshore. There is none kinder or wiser, or more full of quiet, knowing power, in all the lands Near, Far, or the Wood Between. But he can also be simply a good friend with a sense of humor and a simple word you need to hear — or perhaps a Wood Thrush’s song…

Professor Digory Kirke (Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis)

Professor Kirke is a delightful old gentleman with shaggy white hair and a beard, who lives in a very old, strange house in the country — with a certain magical wardrobe. Having experienced going to Narnia in his youth, he’s the perfect wise counselor for the Pevensie children — he understands them and believes their story. He’s very knowledgeable about many things, including other worlds, time, and logic, and always has a wise thing to say, even though he won’t say more than he needs to. He’s someone who you can seek counsel from, confide your secrets and adventures to; he won’t laugh at you, but will give you advice about how to recognize those who have had similar adventures, and deal with those who haven’t. Professor Kirke is the adult who can be trusted because he listens and understands, and is just the right person to tell you what you need to know if you don’t know it yet — because “Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools?”

Puddleglum (The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis)

I shouldn’t wonder if everyone already knows this most famous of Marshwiggles (especially since he won the Silmaril for Strangest Character in 2016) so the bright side of it is, perhaps he needs no introduction. You may find him making eel stew or predicting rain or the worst possible things to happen, but despite his apparent pessimism, he can sometimes be a wise counselor. He’s famous for “making the best of it,” and he’ll often have a wise word when you least expect it. He’s good at sticking to things and reminding you about what’s important.


To read all about the top five characters in the other categories, you can visit the rest of the host blogs:


Silmaril Awards Voting Form (voting is open Sept. 10 – 14)

Go forth and vote on your favorite mentor (which you’ll find at the end of the ballot) and your favorite character from each of the other 9 categories!

*********CLICK HERE to vote!**********

We’ll be posting the winners later on our various blogs, from September 17 to 28.

You can also visit the Silmaril Awards website at www.silmarilawards.com.

And may the best characters win!


Giveaway

ALSO! Check back here tomorrow (Tuesday), because (spoiler alert) it’s going to be my 5-year blogiversary and I’m going to have a giveaway of bookses (Preciousss…) aaand, speaking of Silmarils, one of the items will be a Tolkien-related book, so you don’t want to miss this. 😉


Which of these mentors are you most excited about? Is it going to be so hard to pick? (AAHH!) Are you excited to find out who wins? 😀 Drop all your Silmaril Awards thoughts below!

And thanks so much, everyone, for all your great nominations and seconds! We couldn’t do this without you. ❤

Silmaril Awards 2018: Nominations! (Wisest Counselor)

It’s that time again! Welcome to the third annual Silmaril Awards! They have returned, and this week is the time to get in your nominations!

This year, I’m hosting the Wisest Counselor award, for our favorite mentors and wise characters from works of fantasy fiction! I’m excited. 😀 (I mean, I do seem to have been talking about mentors a lot this year… like hereand here…)

Not sure what these awards are? They’re a just-for-fun fan-voted award for the best characters from fantasy books! Sort of an Oscars-type event for fantasy characters.

Since characters from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings are the gold-standard, they will be the ones “presenting” the awards (called “Silmarils” in honor of the jewels from Tolkien’s The Silmarillion) to the winners, who YOU get to nominate and vote for!

You can find out more about the awards and visit the hall of fame to see previous winners at www.silmarilawards.com, with links to the awards ceremonies, details about the hosts, etc. 🙂

How it Works

Round 1: Nominations (Sept 3 – 7)

You nominate a character by going to the category’s blog post (there are ten of us hosting these) and leaving a comment there. (Nominees for Wisest Counselor are to be left in a comment on this post; other character categories can be found in a list below.)

You can also SECOND (or third/fourth/etc.) someone else’s nomination by replying to the comment and saying that you second that nomination.

You may nominate as many characters as you like, and you may second as many characters as you like.

Round 2: Voting (Sept 10 – 14)

For the voting round, the top FIVE characters in each category (the ones with the most seconds) will be moved to the second round and you may vote for one favorite character in each category on a voting form which we will link to.

Round 3: Awards Presentations

The final part of the awards runs from September 17 – 28, and will be the announcements of the winner of each category, on each of the 10 Silmaril Awards host blogs. There will be one post per day, with award presentation ceremonies, featuring Lord of the Rings characters presenting the awards to the winners, chosen by your votes in the second round.

A few rules

  1. Authors may not nominate their own characters (but, of course, are more than welcome to tell their fans about the awards).
  2. You may also second as many characters nominated by others as you choose. The more “seconds” a character receives, the more likely that character will move on to the VOTING round, which will be the top five most nominated characters from any given category.
  3. Nominations are allowed for FANTASY BOOK characters only! (Movie characters are not allowed, unless the BOOK came FIRST). If you aren’t sure if a book qualifies as “fantasy” you can leave a comment and ask, and we’ll get back to you on that.
  4. Characters who have already won a Silmaril in previous years are part of the “lifetime” Hall of Fame for that award and may not be nominated for an award they have already won (though they may win other awards).
  5. Tolkien’s characters may also not be nominated, since, as mentioned, they are already the standard for fantasy characters, and we want to give other character a chance to earn their due. 🙂

So what are you waiting for? Nominate away!

Awards list and participating blogs (visit each of them to nominate more characters!)

You can also visit this page on the official site.

Nominate your favorite Wisest Counselor characters by leaving a comment below!

(Not eligible for this award: Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis [2016 winner], Professor Charles Hamilton from the Dragons in Our Midst series by Bryan Davis [2017 winner], and Gandalf, etc. from The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien’s works.)

Also, feel free to spread the word about these awards with any of these graphics, the official www.silmarilawards.com link, and/or #SilmAwards2018 on social media!

Who is your favorite mentor-type character or “Wisest Counselor” from fantasy fiction? Share in the comments!

EDIT: Nominations are now closed. Voting on the next level will open on September 10!