A Cinderella-ish Interview & Giveaway

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Today I’m joining in on the blog tour celebrating the release (yesterday!) of the Cinderella novella A Dream Not Imagined — which I reviewed recently. As I may have said before… who doesn’t love a good retelling? 😉

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Be sure to check out the other posts running through the weekend — and remember to enter the giveaway below!!

But first, I’m excited to have the lovely authoress herself over on my blog to answer some mostly Cinderella-themed questions!

Enjoy!

Interview with Shantelle Mary Hannu

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1. What do you like most about the story of Cinderella?

Hmm, the idea of a getting a gorgeous gown and fancy dancing slippers is such fun! 😀 And also, I just really like the thought of this orphan girl—hurt, belittled, and having lost all those she loved—who finds a beautiful love story despite the odds! ❤

2. Do you have a favorite retelling in book form?

Only one?? 😉 I think I’d have to say Entwined by Heather Dixon. It was quite creepy at some points, but I just ADORED all the dancing, the precious little sisters, the totally sweet romance, the magic tea set . . . It’s for sure my favorite retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses!

Others I have to mention: The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson, Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton, Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey, and The Seahorse Legacy by Serena Chase.

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3. How about favorite Cinderella film?

Totally Cinderella [2015]. I LOVED it!! ^__^ Such gorgeousness!! So lovely and sweet! An absolutely beautiful remaking of the original tale!

4. What is your favorite element in the classic Cinderella tale? (The slipper, romance, carriage, rags-to-riches…?)

A rags-to-riches is always an interesting thing to read of . . . But it can bring trouble too; like Miss Prudence. Lol! Wasn’t that her name? The strict lady who drove poor Cinderella crazy! :p

I love the glass slipper part of the story actually. Something about the prince picking up her dainty little shoe. ^_^

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5. Who is your favorite character in the Cinderella story, and who’s your favorite in your version, A Dream Not Imagined?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Anastasia, after watching Cinderella II. So her, Cinderella, or Gus. 😀

In my version . . . I do particularly like Ellie, of course! And my “fairy godmother” also endeared herself to me.

6. You wrote it originally for Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s fairytale contest, but aside from that, what caused you to write a retelling of your own? Where did the idea come from/what was your inspiration?

Fairytales are one of my favorite things to read ever. I’m just captivated by them. Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves . . . *hugs them all* The plots are just so neat that I want to try create my own retellings, I suppose. I would like to write a whole collection of fairy tale retellings! ^__^

Inspiration for A Dream Not Imagined? I’m not really sure. I had some ideas jotted down prior to finding out about Anne Elisabeth’s contest, but I think most of those changed, haha! I just started writing, and it all came! 🙂

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7. Do you have a favorite theme/scene/part in your story A Dream Not Imagined?

The bits about dancing are a favorite. The Epilogue gives me a soft, happy feeling. I quite like my theme sort of about surrendering . . . probably because it’s a lesson I’m learning in my own life. 😀

8. Do you have pictures and/or actors in mind to “play” the parts of the major characters in A Dream Not Imagined?

I do!! ^__^ Visit the first post for this blog tour. Or my Pinterest board for A Dream Not Imagined.

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9. Do you have any tips for writers who would like to try their hand at a fairy tale retelling?

Follow the classic storyline, or make all kinds of exciting changes . . .  either way will be amazing I think! There’s so much potential! Just read or watch the classic story, and then start writing. 😀

10. And (be honest, now — Cinderella-themed questions aside…) what’s your favorite fairytale? 😉

Um . . .  do I have to? ;D I don’t think I can pick a favorite, I just . . . can’t. My top three favorites would probably be The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Little Mermaid, and Rapunzel.

Thanks for joining us, Shantelle! ^_^

About the Book

A Dream Not Imagined CoverA MAID, a PRINCE, and a DUKE. A GARDENER, a STEPMOTHER, and a secret…

Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after. But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream…of the same prince. In the end, are dreams even all they’re made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed?

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella.

Now available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon!

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About the Author

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

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

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

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

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Pinterest

*****Giveaway!*****

Enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win a kindle copy of A Dream Not Imagined and a $5 Amazon giftcard!

One winner will be chosen May 31st, and the kindle book and gift card will be sent to their email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But wait, there’s more!

Because I so enjoyed A Dream Not Imagined, I’m offering a giveaway of my own!

As well as the official rafflecopter giveaway for the blog tour, I am also going to give away a kindle ebook copy of A Dream Not Imagined to one random commenter here on this blog!

So comment away, and a random commenter will be chosen Monday June 1st and I will announce the winner and email them.

So, readers: A question for you! Answer for my personal giveaway:

What’s your favorite Cinderella retelling?

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Summer 2015 Books!

Earlier this year I did a post about the books coming out in the spring that I was excited about… Well, since the books I showcased in that post have all released now (*gasp!*) and summer is in the air, it’s time for another post of upcoming books!

Here are 8 books being published sometime this summer that look interesting to me, in some vague semblance of the order they should release…


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A Dream Not Imagined – Shantelle Mary Hannu

May 28

I reviewed this recently — a fun, sweet retelling of Cinderella. I’ve read it already, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited for it to release! 🙂


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Corroded Thorns – Emma Clifton

June

So perhaps I’m not qualified to look forward to this, yet, as from what I can tell it seems to be a sequel (I think?) to one of the tales in the “Five Glass Slippers” collection, which I haven’t actually read yet… But it sounds awesome anyways, (Beauty and the Beast? Yes please and thank you.) and just look at that cover!


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Half Blood – Jaye L. Knight

July 1

Again, not I’m that qualified, as I need to actually get around to reading Resistance and The King’s Scrolls… But this is a prequel to the Ilyon Chronicles, all about Jace… who, despite my not having read about him yet, I already know from hearing about him that I’ll love him. 😉 And it just sounds super awesome. Plus, prequels are cool!


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Ink and Bone – Rachel Caine

July 7

So I know basically nothing about this and have no idea if it will be good or not, but the blurb sounds interesting, and seriously, alternate history where the library of Alexandria survived? Well if that doesn’t sound intriguing, I don’t know what does… (Plus, pretty cover. Yes, I am that shallow. Shush.)


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Silver in the Blood – Jessica Day George

July 7

I just like Jessica Day George. And it sounds fairly intriguing. So.


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Finding the Magic – Jack Lewis Baillot

July 17

More Beauty-and-the-Beast-ness! (Is it just me, or is there a lot of that going on? Anne Elisabeth Stengl seems to be crafting the flow of fairytales these days. Not that you’ll find me complaining. No, no, not at all. Bring ’em on, I say!) I’m not into WWII era stuff, but I’m going to have to make an exception for this one, which I have heard good things about and generally sounds amazing.


fiveenchantedroses

Five Enchanted Roses – by Kaycee Browning, Savannah Jezowski, Jenelle Schmidt, Dorian Tsukioka, Hayden Wand. Edited by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

summer

Aaaaall the retold Beauty and the Beast stories! Yes. I’m especially looking forward to Jenelle Schmidt’s entry! It just sounds the coolest. Plus, this cover is probably the most positively gorgeous one in the history of EVER. So yeah. There’s that.


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A Wish Made of Glass – Ashlee Willis

summer

The cover was just revealed last week and you probably still remember my excitement from then… BUT I AM SO EXCITED. A Cinderella retelling by an awesome author – yes. please. I can’t wait!


Are you excited about any of these?

Any other books coming out this summer that you’re excited about?

Share in the comments — I’d love to hear about them! 🙂

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest

HuntressOfThornbeckForestThe Huntress of Thornbeck Forest

by Melanie Dickerson

5 stars

Adult / Christian / Romance / Medieval

Retelling of Robin Hood and Swan Lake

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher–thanks, Thomas Nelson!–for reviewing purposes, and wasn’t required to be positive or anything. These are my personal opinions.


THE HUNTRESS OF THORNBECK FOREST is quite an enjoyable read, one I accomplished in most of an afternoon. The writing seems at times almost deceptively simple, but perfect for the book, painting a rich tale of a young woman and a young man as they seek love, purpose, and God’s will amid mysterious plots against the gorgeous backdrop of medieval Germany.

I loved the main characters, Odette and Jorgen, and their well-written struggles. Odette had a little bit of growing on me to do, but I soon found myself quite fond of her. Jorgen was positively fabulous. His strength, humility, kindness, loyalty, all-around awesomeness… Plus he’s something of a writer/poet! That was adorable, despite how little it came into the story. He’s reason enough to read this book. 😉

The story itself was great. How Jorgen and Odette were pitted against each other had me quite worried, I can tell you! It was wonderful to watch their story unfold, and I loved how it switched often back-and-forth between both of their viewpoints. The romance is quite well written, sweet, heartfelt, amusing, and at times adorable. The rest of the plot I found to be quite well twined together, with much more going on than at first meets the eye, and a few surprising plot-twists. I was rather on the edge of my seat about how some of it would turn out!

It was a well-paced, quick read, and I enjoyed almost all of it, but the best parts were probably the dancing scenes–so gorgeous–and the final scene with the margrave near the end, which I positively LOVED! That whole scene completely made the book for me (although it was already awesome) and was just perfect. Allow me to just fangirl here for a moment…!

The setting is a well-drawn medieval one, detailed but entirely natural-feeling. I felt quite immersed! The village, the forest, the castle… all the gorgeous “costumes” if you will… and the many side-characters who added so much depth without getting confusing. I really felt as if I was in the community of the Thornbeck village and had known it always, as the heroine had.

As a double retelling, THE HUNTRESS OF THORNBECK FOREST felt at once delightfully retold, and yet original at the same time. The whole weaved together as a new story twined from parts of old ones reborn. The forest, archery, hunting, and helping the poor gave it a very Robin Hood feel, and there were several great nods to the old versions. I loved that both Odette and Jorgen had fairly Robin-Hood-like roles, which only made it more awesome. (Throughout, much of it put me in mind of BBC’s Robin Hood TV show–the good parts of it!) The Swan Lake areas were mostly in the second half of the book, and while I don’t know that fairytale super well, I think I noticed the key things and found them extremely well done, especially considering the lack of enchantment. The similarities to both old tales were fairly subtle but noticeable. I just loved picking out the retelling aspects and how uniquely they were handled!

Drawbacks? There were hardly any, to be honest. And the ones I found might not apply to most prospective readers… Odette grated on my nerves a few times and occasionally seemed selfish to me, but on the whole I loved her as the heroine. It’s set in medieval times, which as a whole I enjoy, but there is a tendency toward more realistic, gritty details, which I could do without, myself. That may just be me, though! It definitely made it feel more “real”, I suppose, but I prefer more fantasized medieval settings… I normally read YA, but this book is classified as Adult, and there are reasons for that; for one thing, a subplot I could have done without involving a house of prostitution; tastefully written, not much stated, but implied. As a reader of YA, this book is a tiny bit outside my normal reading zone; just thought I would mention that and say I recommend it for older teens/adults.

Overall, though, there’s not much I found to complain about in this book! Aside from my personal preference toward less realistic/gritty, and not reading much adult fiction, this book was otherwise basically flawless in my opinion. So if you don’t mind those, then it should be perfect. 🙂

THE HUNTRESS OF THORNBECK FOREST is a marvelous tale of adventure, mystery, re-tellings, love, and God’s amazing hand in life.

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The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest – by Melanie Dickerson

Back Cover Copy

A beautiful maiden who poaches to feed the poor.

A handsome forester on a mission to catch her.

Danger and love are about to unite in Thornbeck Forest.

The margrave owns the finest hunting grounds for miles around–and Odette Menkels spends her nights poaching his deer to feed the hungry orphans of Thornbeck. By day, Odette is a simple maiden who teaches children to read, but by night this young beauty has become the secret lifeline to the poorest of the poor.

For Jorgen Hartman, the margrave’s forester, tracking down a poacher is a duty he is all too willing to perform. Jorgen inherited his post from the man who raised him . . . a man who was murdered at the hands of a poacher.

When Jorgen and  Odette meet at the Midsummer festival and share a connection during a dance, neither has any idea that they are already adversaries.

The one man she wants is bound by duty to capture her; the one woman he loves is his cunning target . . . What becomes of a forester who protects a notorious poacher? What becomes of a poacher when she is finally discovered?

Published May 12, 2015.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest is the first in a new series of fairy tales for adults by Melanie Dickerson. I can’t wait to see what else is in store! She has also written several delightful books for young adults, also fairy tale retellings–what can I say; she has a talent in that direction–some of which I’ve read and greatly enjoyed! I’ve also reviewed The Princess Spy and The Fairest Beauty.

Find out more about Melanie Dickerson and her books:

Author Website | BlogGoodreads | Facebook | Twitter

A Wish Made of Glass – Cover Reveal!

91uAEpmbMoL._SL1500_Excitement today! I’m thrilled to share in revealing the cover for an upcoming book by Ashlee Willis!

She’s the authoress of The Word Changers. —–>

Which, in case you didn’t know, I absolutely loved and adored to bits (and reviewed). It was one of my top ten favorite reads of 2014. Yeah. This is big stuff, people!

Ever since I finished reading it last year, I have been dying for another book by Ashlee Willis — so I’m so excited about this upcoming release of hers! Which is actually a Cinderella story.

Guys. Do you realize what this means? This means that there will soon be another Ashlee Willis book for us to devour… and not only that, but it will be a fairytale retelling.

Excuse me while I go flail around in unbounded ecstatic joy.

*disappears*

*comes back*

Ahem. Sorry about that. 😉 I’m just soooo excited about this!

Do check out her lovely blog which I greatly enjoy, where she talks about fantasy, faith, fairytales, forests, and other fabulous things! It’s one of my very favoritest blogs ever. 🙂

Ashlee Willis’s blog “Finding the True Fairy Tale”

And now, onward to the revealing of this stunningly gorgeous cover…!

Behold!

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A Wish Made of Glass

Deep in a forest glade, the fey folk dance with Isidore, a young human child. Their kinship is the very fabric of her childhood. When her mother dies and her world darkens with sorrow, Isidore finds her belief in the fey folk wavering.

The love of her new step-sister, Blessing, proves an unexpected gift in her time of need. Yet even as their friendship blooms, Isidore begins to see that Blessing is everything she herself has always wanted to be, but is not. Jealousy grips Isidore as she watches this beautiful new sister steal away all she holds dear.

Driven to desperation, Isidore turns to the fey folk once more. She has only one wish to claim from them, one chance to make things right. But she must tread carefully. For wishes, like hearts, are easily broken. And obtaining the one thing she desires could mean destroying the one thing she truly needs.

Releasing Summer 2015!

About the Author

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

Connect with her online:

Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Amazon | Twitter | Pinterest

Review: A Dream Not Imagined

My internet is back (for now at least; storms, huzzah…) so I can blog again — yay!

Hmm, I haven’t done a review around here in awhile, so let’s get to it! 🙂

A Dream Not Imagined Cover

A Dream Not Imagined

by Shantelle Mary Hannu

A MAID, a PRINCE, and a DUKE. A GARDENER, a STEPMOTHER, and a SECRET…

Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after.

But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream…of the same prince.

In the end, are dreams even all they’re made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed?

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella.

My Review

5 stars!

I absolutely love fairytale retellings, so I jumped on the chance to read this one!

A Dream Not Imagined is a lovely retelling that at first feels very like the classic Cinderella… and yet! Those twists! My goodness, I did not see them coming! At first I was so worried and could not see how it could work out all right. But then it surprised me by turning out better than I could have imagined! I was so impressed that it could turn that around and I ended up extremely happy with it. I just loved this book. 🙂

The whole story has an intriguing mystery lurking around the edges, weaving throughout. It was so fun to try to piece together the hints and clues, and then stunning when all the pieces fell into place and the whole picture was made clear–that conclusion! I’ve always said that fairytales and mysteries are my favorite genres for shorter stories–they just seem to fit–and here this is both!

It’s a novella, so it’s a very quick read, but far from making it feel rushed, it felt like just the right size. It was amazing how full of depth and detail it was for its length. The writing has a sweet fairytale-like quality, while at the same time feeling fresh. Miss Hannu is an author to keep an eye on! It’s beautifully written and I could see everything so vividly–I love the “feel” of the setting.

I loved Ellie–she was quite relateable and all I wanted was for everything to turn out well for her, the poor dear! My heart broke with hers, and sang when hers sang… In fact, all of the characters were portrayed with a startling depth and clarity–I felt like they were all quite real, which again was impressive with the brief length of the book. And there is one young man in particular who captured my heart… 😉 He was awesome.

I loved the beautiful romance, which was my favorite part of the story. There is some heartache, but ultimately it was adorable and sigh-worthy. It was sweet and appropriate, so no fears there, and it wasn’t the whole of the plot either, so even if you’re not the biggest fan of romantic plots, I think you’ll still find the rest of the story worth reading.

It’s a non-magical retelling, but it was cute to see how the roles sometimes played by the Fairy Godmother and/or mice in some versions were carried out in this.

There were also some lovely moments about faith and about God writing our stories that were particularly beautiful.

I loved the dancing, and the final scene before the epilogue was awesome. And now I want to eat some apple-tarts… The whole conclusion and ending was perfection itself. ❤

A Dream Not Imagined is a beautiful story with lovable characters, a thrilling air of mystery, a thread of faith, a sweet romance, and some surprising twists. If you like an enjoyable quick read, or a good retold fairytale (and who doesn’t!), do consider giving this lovely one a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! 🙂

(NOTE: I received a copy of this book from the author in return for my honest review. It was not required to be positive. These opinions are entirely my own.)

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A Dream Not Imagined will be released in June 2015. That’s next month, y’all! Keep an eye out for it! 🙂

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