Steampunk + Roses + Beauty & the Beast (The Rose and the Balloon Review)

Cover5_storyThe Rose and the Balloon

A Beauty and the Beast Story

(Once Upon a Twist Tales, #1)

by Kirsten Fichter

YA / Fairy Tale Retelling / Steampunk / Novella / Beauty and the Beast

I received a free e-copy of this book from the author — many thanks! — in return for my honest review, and these opinions are entirely my own.

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The instant I saw that this novella was coming out, I knew I had to read it. Fairytale retellings are my favorite, and Beauty and the Beast… with hot air balloons? Now this I had to try!

I was delighted to have the chance to read it for review, and I’m glad to report: I. LOVED. IT. I can’t think of a single thing I disliked about it! This novella was a simply marvelous quick read which I so enjoyed. ❤

The story and writing were charmingly witty, crisp and fast-paced, yet flowing with an easy, natural feeling, so that it did not seem too quick at all. It was adventurous, amusing, and alternated between fun and an elegant sort of fairytale feel, all mixed in with the delightful chaos of characters with minds of their own who take the story and sweep the reader along on a wonderfully fun ride.

There was a strong theme of love and of family, which I absolutely ADORED. There don’t seem to be many books with a focus on family, so this one was so nice to read. 🙂 Yes, they’re slightly disjointed families and have a lot to overcome, but you can tell they love each other all the same. ^_^ Janelle and her father, and Dmitri and his mother and twin siblings. Just… really well-written relationships, even in the short amount of pages. The bit of romance in there was so enjoyable too — I always love me a good Beauty and the Beast tale. 😉

The setting and “feel” of the story were great. There’s a light dusting of steampunk (mostly hot air balloons — yay!), and it seemed like a pseudo-historical setting (no magic), which was so well-drawn I felt it must be real; and yet still held the classic sort of fairytale feel I love. (Can I just go live in the castle, specifically the library, please??)

The characters were marvelous! Prince Dmitri was the absolute BEST! I loved him. A great hero, who I was rooting for the whole time, and loved reading about. ❤ Janelle and Dmitri are both fiery whirlwinds, and when they collide — boy, is it a storm to remember! Several storms, throughout… XD I just LOVED their bickering and conversations — it was all gold and really made the book spark. I JUST LOVED THEM TOGETHER SO MUCH. ^_^ And then the twins! They were fantastic! 😀 Princess Nicoline and Prince Nicolas were SO much fun to read about! Their antics were a blast and I loved their prank wars. XD Even “Crazy Maeva” (a.k.a. the queen) and Lord Roux (Janelle’s father, who was an excellently written character, I felt) and the other side characters, were all well painted and so vivid. Overall a great cast, and one I would love to read more about! (I also loved their names. :D)

There were nods to the Disney film version of Beauty and the Beast, and the retelling itself was fun in this little book — fairly subtle but still there, despite the lack of fantasy elements. It’s new and yet still recognizably Beauty and the Beast in some way, and I loved it. ^_^ Also, the role of all the roses in the story was fabulous! ALL THE ROSES. I loved that. 😀

I might have wished it was longer, simply because I didn’t want to leave these characters! I could have spent ages with them. ❤ But really it’s the perfect bite-sized enjoyable length to devour in a sitting or two, so I can’t really complain about that either. 🙂 No complaints! It was just perfect. ^_^ *hugs book*

All in all, it was a delightful little bite-sized retelling, suitable for all ages, with memorable characters and an airballoon full of fun. I highly recommend it and can’t wait to read more from this talented new author!

About the Book

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In a kingdom where fauna and flora are held in higher esteem than breakfast, Dmitri is a prince who yearns for change and plans it in a single daring act that will alter his life forever. However, when his demented mother accidentally causes the destruction of a prized garden of roses, Dmitri is horrified when she proposes his hand in marriage to make up for it. Not only will a wife hamper his glorious plans, he doesn’t even want one.

Janelle has spent her whole life on her father’s rose farm, tending the roses and staying simple. But she really yearns for something greater than the flower beds. But now there’s a wrench thrown in the works – the crazy Queen Maeva wants her to marry the prince, and all for ruining her father’s beloved roses.

This is Beauty and the Beast with a twist like you’ve never seen it before.

The Rose and the Balloon released August, 2016.

Find it online:

Amazon | Createspace | Goodreads


About Kirsten Fichter

AuthorPic1Kirsten Fichter is a twenty-something Christian writer who is trying to find the balance between being one of six kids, a church pianist, a college student, a movie buff, a disaster in the kitchen, and a writing INFP. If you know what the secret is to balancing all of that, she’d be grateful to hear from you. Otherwise, don’t contact her unless you want to send her homemade gingerbread. Or a new piano book. Or an autographed Charles Dickens novel. In the meantime, she’ll be somewhere under a maple tree – trying very hard to finish the seventeen and half other stories she unwisely started all at once.

You can find her online at her blog (Lianne Taimenlore), Twitter: @KiriLiz, and on Goodreads.

Don’t you think Beauty and the Beast and Steampunk is an excellent combination? Are you curious about it? *wriggles eyebrows* Maybe you’d like to give this novella a try! (What am I saying; of course you do, because it’s AWESOME and we all need more awesome in our lives. *nods sagely*)

Also! Do you have a favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling?? TELL, TELL! 😀

Timey-wimey, Robin Hood, & All the Feels (Defying Shadows Review)

My review is below, but first I just wanted to mention something!

Defying Shadows HAS BEEN NOMINATED for the August edition of a thing called Clash of the Titles, which YOU can help with by popping over HERE to vote (through August 31) on one of four featured books — which one sounds most interesting to you.

So shoo! Go vote!! 😀 Hurry! Time’s a-wasting!

(Get it…? Time…? Ahem.)

Then come back here and read this review because you don’t want to miss out on hearing all about a timey-wimey Robin Hood-ish adventure, right? 😉

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My Review

defyingshadowsDefying Shadows

(book #3 in the Rising Shadows Trilogy)

by Ashley Townsend

Age range: YA

Genre: Christian / Romance / Time Travel / Historical Fiction / Contemporary

Bonus: Retelling / Robin Hood

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“I laughed, I cried . . . it moved me, Bob.”*

*(Sorry to go all VeggieTales on you but the quote seemed appropriate. Ahem.)

THIS BOOK, PEOPLE. This review is going to be one of the hardest ones I’ve ever written, because almost all of my favorite things about it are in major spoiler territory… But part of the fun is going on this plot-twisty journey of discovery yourself when you read the book, so I’ll try to keep my review spoiler-free! 🙂

The third book in the Rising Shadows trilogy by Ashley Townsend, Defying Shadows, finally wraps up the adventures of Sarah and her friends in Serimone—and what a wrap-up! *flailing*

This book had EVERYTHING. List, because lists are grand:

  • time travel and everything timey-wimey involved with that
  • historical fiction of a medieval variety
  • contemporary parts
  • sweet adorable romance
  • threads of Christian faith
  • a retelling-of-sorts involving Robin Hood (!!!)
  • mystery and intrigue
  • all sorts of different character arcs
  • PLOT TWISTS AND REVEALS GALORE
  • swashbuckling action
  • heartfelt parts
  • humor/banter/character relationships that are so fun to read
  • even a dash of nautical adventure!

It just has EVERYTHING, I tell you.

(I also feel like this series would make a stunningly gorgeous awesome movie or TV show. XD Somebody get on that.)

I loved the time-travel stuff—it was BRILLIANT and made me happy. 🙂 Just… everything time related was so cool. In the first two, it’s basically a “portal” method to get Sarah into Serimone, and doesn’t do much beyond that, which was fine. BUT IN THIS ONE IT WAS SO INVOLVED. So much timey-wimey going on. And I loved that. 😀

There were so many revelations and plot twists, which I so enjoyed! I guessed a few of them, but if anything that made me love it even MORE, simply because I was so excited to see them unfold the way I wanted them to. 😀 It blew my mind SO. MANY. TIMES. and made me so excited and I just loooooved that.

The romance element was so sweet. Really enjoyed it! It wasn’t the main focus of the plot, so there was a lot of other stuff going on, but it weaved in really well. Will and Sarah are ADORBZ and PERFECT together and I don’t know if I ever shipped anyone so hard. XD …Okay, I was really shipping a certain other spoilery side-couple there too. 😉 SO MUCH SPOILERS BUT SO WONDERFUL. ❤

And the retelling/Robin Hood stuff!!! It made me so happy and it was so unique and awesome, loose but still noticeable, and I just… ksldkjfalsdkjf I CANNOT BE COHERENT UPON THIS SUBJECT. I will try though. 😉 Okay, so I ADORED how the retelling stuff came out in this book. Between that and the characters and the time stuff, those three totally made Defying Shadows AMAZING for me!!! ❤ *hugs book* It was completely brilliant how the Robin Hood things were slipped in, kind of subtly sometimes, recognizable in their way and yet with such NEW twists. AWK IT WAS AMAZING. *flailing around* It’s killing me not to expound upon the subject because I loved SO many particular aspects of it, but I don’t want to give anything away. Needless to say, it’s AWESOME and everyone must read it just for the Robin Hood ish elements. Because Robin Hood things are awesome and that is all that needs to be said upon the subject. *nods* (BUT TWISTS THOUGH.)

Defying Shadows was definitely a feelsy book—the emotions run deep, y’all! It made me laugh and smile and get excited and get angry (in a good way) and feel torn and left me teary-eyed a couple times, which isn’t all that common for this here reader… It made my feels a bit of a mess (who am I kidding—a LARGE MESS AWK) and I normally get annoyed at books for doing that but this one was just right and I didn’t actually mind. ^_^ (For those who don’t know me: this is a MAJOR deal. Props to the author for pulling it off.)

I enjoyed the first two books (Rising Shadows and Chasing Shadows), but this one I really LOVED. I was daunted by its size, but while I was reading it, it didn’t seem long at all—it was just the right size and needed that length because of ALL the things that happen. I would also say the writing is AMAZING in this book. It’s improved a lot since the first two. (They were by no means bad! But with this one, the writing has grown by leaps and bounds!) It’s exciting to watch an author grow from book to book, and I’d say Ashley Townsend has definitely come into her own. This book was so well written. Huge thumbs-up on all of that!

Do I have any complaints? Honestly, hardly any. I had a couple minor nitpicks along the way about characters doing things where I was like “WHYYYY, GUYS??” or coming to odd-seeming conclusions, but otherwise the book held together and was amazing on the whole. 🙂 I am very much on the fence with mixed feelings over the epilogue, though… There’s a part of me that likes it because it was a brilliant epilogue, but there’s another part which would have rather had it end on the simply INCREDIBLE high note of the actual ending of the final chapter! ❤ The epilogue was bittersweet (to me at least) which is not my sort of cup of tea? But I’m probably weird and most people will probably love it, so. 😛

Okay, character time. 😉 I loved being back with these characters in Serimone—it was like coming home. ❤

  • Will is of course AWESOME and my favoritest of all. <333 His story-arc was the best. I so enjoyed reading about him in this book! I think he came really far and he’s just… I HAVEN’T WORDS. He’s just such a great guy, heroic and a little dark/sad sometimes, but still learning things, and he’ll do anything for those he loves, and just… WILL. Will Will Will. That is all. ❤
  • Sarah really grew on me in this one! She actually kind of annoyed me at times in the first two? But this time I liked her! I actually felt a lot of the things she was feeling, which is different for me. XD She’s a good heroine. *thumbs up*
  • Damien is… ACK MY FEELS FOR DAMIEN. In Chasing Shadows, he was funny and charming and all, but I spent so much time while I was reading that one, worrying that Sarah would fall for him instead of Will, so that Damien was very much the unwanted-corner-of-the-love-triangle/villain, for me. I didn’t totally dislike him, because his charm DID get to me and sometimes I felt bad for him, but I didn’t see what Sarah saw in him, because Will was so much more awesome. 😉 But in Defying Shadows, Damien had a lot of focus and character stuff involved, AND THE AUTHOR MADE ME LOVE HIM TOO. I’m super impressed. I went from hating this guy to feeling bad for him to really liking him, and his whole plot in this story just… salskdjldkj. I have many feelings that I can’t sort out. I will say nothing more because oh-so-many-spoilers, but wow. (And the yew tree! UGH MY FEELS. D:) But his story-arc was really well done and I liked how it fit in with the rest of the story, and I’m okay. Really. (FEELS THOUGH.)
  • And then there’s a character whose very NAME is a spoiler, so she shall remain nameless, but her story-arc was AMAZING and I loved it to pieces, which really surprised me. O_O This coming from a character I loathed for awhile but came to really like and just… I’m speechless. The talent from this author just blows me away. Not to mention how many times my mind was blown about revelations concerning this character. Speaking of mind-blowing…
  • Robert and Richard were both awesome, and my favorites. (I keep saying that, I know. WELL THEY’RE ALL MY FAVORITES.) I absolutely LOVED their roles in the story!! *bouncing up and down* You will have to read it, but suffice it to say they are awesome and the best and that is all. 😀
  • And Karen! She’s great. And I LOVED her friendship with Sarah, not to mention Karen and Seth together—just so much yes. Also Will’s friendship with Seth and Robert and Richard—I loved seeing those relationships! So much awesome bonding in this book. ^_^
  • We got new characters too, like Merek, who was cool. He’s one of those instantly  likeable characters, and all wise and everything too. He wasn’t in it for very long but I really liked him. He made me think of a Friar Tuck type character. 😀
  • Obviously I abhor the villains who shall also remain nameless and are all horrible which means they’re doing their job. XD They were just UGH. Really nefarious and well-written.

And just… SO MUCH STUFF GOING ON. I’m so amazed at how many character plot threads managed to fit in this story! So many characters had so much going on and it managed to weave together and just wow. Call me impressed.

ANYWAY. This review has gone on quite long enough (though I didn’t even flail and squeal over all the spoilery parts I loved! AWK! <3) so I shall wrap up now. In my defense, the book is long, so there’s a lot to talk about. 😉

Overall, Defying Shadows is an extremely enjoyable time-travel Christian YA romance with a dash of Robin Hood retelling, marvelous writing, lovable characters with deep story-arcs, many feels, and… overall just a lot of fun. It did a splendid job of tying up the threads of the whole series and just… it made me really happy. ^_^

I highly recommend trying Defying Shadows out! (Though you might want to read the first two books, Rising Shadows and Chasing Shadows, first so that you understand things… But hold out till the end, because Defying Shadows is the absolute BEST! ❤ )

Disclaimer and thanks: I was a beta-reader for this book before its publication, so I received a free copy of it for that, and the opinions in this review are entirely my own. Many thanks to the author, the lovely Ashley Townsend, for the chance to go on this journey through Serimone with Will and Sarah and the gang! I had a blast and I think a part of my heart will remain with them. ^_^

About the Book

defyingshadows

One choice can define your future.

At first, Sarah’s return to twelfth century Serimone is as wonderful as she could have hoped—reconnecting with Will and celebrating the union of her two friends—but things quickly fall to pieces when she uncovers something that could unsettle the new regime. Before she can share this information, Sarah is forcibly whisked away by the one man she thought she’d never see again: Damien Lisandro, the friend who betrayed her and the traitor who was supposed to spend his life behind bars. Even more unsettling is the revelation that the mystery they had solved is far from over as a dead man comes back to life with the intent of corrupting the future.

In Will’s desperate attempts to find Sarah, he uncovers the mystery that she left behind, putting into question the kingdom’s past and the motives of its current king. But the madman whose mission it is to change history will stop at nothing until he succeeds, and a team of ragtag time travelers are the only ones left who can stop him.

As this exciting chapter of her life nears its end, Sarah must finally choose between Serimone and her world–between the easy choice and the right one.

Defying Shadows released July, 2016.

Find it online:

Amazon | Goodreads


Check out the first two books in the series & my reviews for them:

Rising Shadows (#1)

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My Review | Goodreads | Amazon

Chasing Shadows (#2)

chasingshadows

My Review | Goodreads | Amazon

About Ashley Townsend

ashleytownsendAshley is a young twenty-something who has been spinning tales since she discovered that her wild imagination and love of storytelling could make a career. Reading and writing are her way of experiencing grand adventures from home, and she hopes that others will join in her fantastical escapades! She is a native to bookstores, coffee shops, the beach, and San Diego, CA. She hopes that God will use her wild imagination and love of storytelling to further entertain and encourage readers in their walk with God.  She currently lives in Southern California with her parents and three sisters.

Follow her quirkiness at Ashley-Townsend.com.

So, what think ye, readers? Robin Hood + Time Travel = pretty awesome, huh? 😀 Do you enjoy retellings, and what’s the best time travel book you’ve read?

Tare + Teague Beautiful People: Appearances {Aug 2016}

bpaug2016

*creeps out of hiatus briefly*

*whispers:* Sooo… I kinda-sorta-almost-maybe-perhaps-possibly might have accidentally seen that Beautiful People was up for this month and that it was on Appearances and been unable to resist doing it.

I also kinda-sorta-almost-maybe-perhaps-possibly might have been unable to decide whether to do Tare from my Kedran’s Wood series or Teague from The Other Half of Everything for it.

So I’m doing both of them.

Behold, Beautiful People!

*tosses thing at you and creeps away again*

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Monthly character questions for writers, hosted by Sky @ Further Up & Further In and Cait @ Paper Fury — join the linkup!

1. Give a brief overview of their looks. (Include a photo if you want!)

Tare: Nineteen years old, tall, black hair pushed back, dark blue eyes, chiseled face, black leather jacket, black shirt, black pants, black lace-up boots. (Okay, yes, you get the picture: face and hands pale, eyes dark blue; otherwise, lots and lots of black.)

tarecollage

Tare-ish things

Teague: Twenty-five years old, tall, sandy hair tousled and falling down over his forehead, uncertainly-colored sea-like eyes, vague face, grey jeans, casual t-shirt/buttoned long-sleeved shirt in muted colors of light grey, pale brown, or white.

teaguecollage

Teague-ish things

2. Share a snippet that involves description of their appearance.

Danger zone. Don’t invite me to share snippets of when we first meet two of my favorite characters– Whoops, too late. You were warned. I’ve been unleashed… Here we go.

Snippet of the first time Meridian sees Teague:

OHEcoverA faint padding sound came, then finally the door opened. I braced myself for a crazy old man with a white beard. I did not brace myself for a twenty-something-year-old young man with sandy hair, which was unfortunate, since that meant I was unprepared for this.

He couldn’t have seen my extreme surprise, though, since he wasn’t looking at me at all, but at a book he held open in one hand. He was also rather more good-looking (in a vague sort of way) than he had any right to be, considering I had expected an 80-year-old guy. He wore faded grey jeans which might once have been black, and a tan-ish vest over a button-down white shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbow and a slightly crooked collar. The white socks on his shoeless feet provided the reason for the padding sound in place of ordinary footsteps.

Aaaand a snippet of the first time Teague sees Meridian, since he didn’t look up at the time. XD

A pair of uncertainly-colored eyes—blue? Grey? Green? Brown? Dust? Ice?—glanced briefly up at me from under sandy-colored hair-tips spilling down to his eyebrows. His focus returned to the book briefly and then flickered back up to me again and stayed there this time, sudden mild surprise in his face.

Snippet of Tare from The Owl of Kedran’s Wood (the first in the series), the first time we get a good look at him:

KWcoverHe was young, maybe nineteen—Lavender wasn’t sure, not being real good with ages—tall, and still clad entirely in black. He had a hard, chiseled face, without expression, somewhat pale in contrast with his black hair slicked back. His eyes were a very dark blue that Lavender had never seen the like of before, and they looked steadily back at her for about three seconds—not so long that it became awkward, but long enough to show that he knew she knew he was watching, and that he didn’t care. Then he moved away from the window and walked on down the street at an easy stride, his hands thrust into the pockets of his long black leather jacket.

Snippet of Tare from The Owl of Kedran’s Wood when he really shows up for real:

Presently the metal door of the warehouse creaked and the sound of metal grating together filled the air. The Wildlings rose and stood, watching the door, which swung open.

A figure stood in the doorway for a long moment before stepping forward into the pale florescent light. It was the young man who Lavender had seen now on two occasions. The light glinted dully off his long black leather jacket and dark hair, highlighting his expressionless face. His black boots were planted firmly apart on the concrete as he stood his ground opposite the half-dozen creatures.

It seemed he was not who they had expected.

“Who are you?” one of them asked.

His voice was quiet and low, half careless yet with a slight edge to it. “No one you want to mess with.” His eyes turned toward the caged Chess Club, taking in their situation in a glance. “So . . .” He looked back at the monsters, linking his fingers and flexing them outward, like one readying for a fight. “How do you want to do this?”

They stared at him in silence for several moments. Then one turned away, jerking his head toward the intruder in a sign to his companions, saying only, “Kill him.”

3. What is the first thing people might notice about them?

For Tare… his formidable-ness. Overall shadowy-ness and commanding presence, combined with his leather jacket.

I imagine most people wouldn’t have a “first thing” they would notice about Teague because he’s so vague and unassuming on first acquaintance they might not even notice him at all. XD

4. What are their unique features? (Ex: freckles, big ears, birthmark, scars, etc.)

Tare’s unnaturally dark blue eyes and his expressive dark eyebrows. He does also have scars, but they’re not normally visible.

Teague has grey-green-blue-something, uncertainly-colored eyes, and also a vague, rather dreamy and absent expression as if he’s not really paying attention to anything in this world.

5. How tall are they? What is their build (Ex: stocky, slender, petite, etc.)

Tare’s around 6’1″ I think; tall, lean, thin but not skinny.

Teague is 6′, rather thin, but a bit more muscular than you would think at first.

6. What is their posture like? How do they usually carry themselves?

In a nutshell: Tare is like a large tense black panther who’s permanently slightly peeved with the world; cool and removed in a catlike way, but clearly dangerous. Teague is like a lanky, lazy ginger cat who couldn’t care less about the world, not because he’s coldhearted, but because he never remembers the world exists. …Our world, anyway.

Tare has an upright posture and decisive manner of carrying himself — confident but slightly wary and calculated, with very precise movements and an acute awareness of his surroundings. He’s constantly paying attention to what’s going on around him. His movements have three speeds: casual, stealthy, or quick, depending on his mood/circumstances. Be nervous around all three.

Teague slouches a little, normally with his head bent to look at a book or notepad while he walks, and tends to move slowly and a little dreamily, as if he’s not fully awake or moving through molasses. There are times, however, like when he’s worried or angry, when he can liven up more than you would think. And we won’t get into what he’s like in… erm… other places, since that’s another story entirely.

7. Your character has been seen on a “lazy day” (free from usual routine/expectations): what are they wearing and how do they look?

Tare’s wearing black jeans, black socks, and a black button-up shirt. His hair might be more mussed than usual, instead of sleeked-back. In this scenario, he’s hanging out in his very neat “lair” (a.k.a. his small, dark, paneled apartment in the long string of abandoned buildings), probably reading a book, or carving some wood with one of his knives, or cleaning his weapons, as close to relaxing as he gets, which isn’t usually very close…

Teague is wearing his usual casual jeans, probably grey, and either a t-shirt or a button-up shirt and white socks, or else is barefoot. In fact… he looks as he always does because all his days are lazy days. 😉 He’s lounging around in his rather messy rooms at the top of the old house, either reading or scribbling away, and likely absentmindedly burning his dinner unless Meridian’s there (if he even remembered anything about dinner anyway).

8. Do they wear glasses, accessories, or jewelry on a regular basis? Do they have any article of clothing or accessory that could be considered their trademark?

Tare DEFINITELY has a trademark, namely his black leather jacket. It’s notorious. XD As for accessories, do a lot of guns, knives, and other weapons count? He also has dark sunglasses he wears occasionally.

Teague doesn’t seem to have a trademark, unless you count that he wears vests sometimes. Oh! He does have a dark blue wool coat, kind of like the style Sherlock wears. *nods* He also wears a certain key on a chain around his neck.

9. Have they ever been bullied or shamed because of their looks? Explain!

Um… no? There mayyy or may not (*cough*spoilers*cough*) have been an occasion when Tare’s leather jacket and “scary” attitude got him some mockery when he was younger, but it would have been from a slightly nervous distance, and regardless, he never paid any heed or cared at all. Also when his change of eye color was noticed by someone, it kind of bothered him a little.

Teague never paid attention if anyone said anything so he doesn’t know. XD

10. Are they happy with how they look? If they could change anything about their appearance, what would it be?

Neither of them is the sort to think much about their looks at all. So methinks they’re content. They are both rather laid-back in that regard and don’t care about their appearance, so whatever they are is their casual, natural look.

So there you have it. What think ye? Also, remember that old saying, “Appearances can be deceiving”? Well… although some things about their appearances do reveal their character, the saying does apply to Teague and Tare. 😉 Just sayin’.

Kate’s Innocence by Sarah Holman – Audiobook Review

katesinnocenceaudioKate’s Innocence

(Kate’s Case Files, #1)

by Sarah Holman

Christian Fiction /  Contemporary / Mystery / Suspense / FBI

Audiobook version from Audible.com, narrated by Sheri Sheridan.

5 stars — Awesome!

My Review

I had been meaning to read this book for awhile, and was planning on getting to it soon… when the author asked if I’d like to be a reviewer for the audiobook version from Audible.com. I had never reviewed an audiobook before, or used Audible, but it sounded like fun, so I thought why not jump on this? I’m very glad I did!

The Story

I don’t read a lot of contemporary, mystery sort of stories, and agent-y stories even less, but I found this one intriguing for the most part.

The book as a whole kept my attention the whole time and was rather gripping — I was on the edge of my seat more than once, and let me tell you, I was pretty worried about some of the characters there for awhile! The mystery was interesting and kept me reading. I will say I made one early guess as to whodunnit which was incorrect but quickly moved on to the one which turned out right, so I’m pleased on that account. 😉

It had some action and tension tossed together with some fun (always a plus!) and varied characters. Occasional things bothered me but overall it seemed very well researched, and it’s quite clean. Also different since the heroine is at college and I don’t feel like I read a lot of that…

I think it took me a little while to fully connect with the characters and get to know them at a deeper level, but by the end they kind of wormed their way into my heart and I was sort of inwardly squealing over the final scene. Cuties. ^_^ They’re fun together. I always liked Patrick; Kate was all right and at least I was rooting for her; Kim wasn’t there much but was nice, and the same with Brian; Logan was interesting (I love her gun and skirt). Thomas was a little annoying at times but that may have been the narration turning him into a bit more of an antagonist? But I really liked him by the end. Like I said, it took awhile, but by now I’m looking forward to more adventures with this team. 🙂

The Christian messages were well done. I liked how Patrick used Bible verses to comfort Kate — great scene — and I really liked the themes of trusting God instead of doing it on your own, and how He is still there for us even when we feel we’ve abandoned Him and can’t imagine He would still want us — well, He does. Those were both good reminders. (It is the most Christian FBI team I’ve ever heard of; but there you go. ;)) Anyhow, I liked the message.

As far as downsides, a few things bugged me, including some things I can’t quite put my finger on. Why didn’t they think of security cameras way earlier on? Why was the murder hardly mentioned, as if a death was less serious than blown up buildings where no one was killed? Why were they so biased against Kate and then didn’t bat an eye at the suspiciousness of someone obviously suspicious to me? (Okay, that may have been for the plot, but still. ;)) Kate didn’t seem to always act like someone who had been in the military and a few of the attitudes of the characters felt narrow-minded or judgmental toward others.

Those are a few examples off the top of my head. But overall they were little things that didn’t detract too much from the story — I just absorbed and enjoyed it. 🙂

The Audio

The audiobook is narrated by Sheri Sheridan, and I really enjoyed getting to listen to it. She was a pleasant narrator and did some great voices and got some of the emotion and action down really well. Hearing it in audio form like this was almost like watching a movie or TV show! I was very immersed in the story and it was very fun. 🙂

My only problem with the audio version was that the “extras” (dedication, author’s notes, acknowledgements, etc.) at the beginning and end seemed like they repeated? Which was kind of annoying. Unless it was my own total lack of knowledge regarding Audible audiobooks (which I’d never used before), which is entirely possible. *shrug*

I do wonder what I would have thought of some of it if I had read instead of heard it… I speculate that I may have liked Kate less and Thomas more if I didn’t listen to the audio version. But that’s just speculation, so I’m not sure.

Anyways, I definitely recommend picking up an audio copy if you want to give this adventure a try! I’m sure the book is enjoyable to read as well, but there’s something special about absorbing it this way, and it was a nice way to pass the time while I was exercising or folding laundry. 🙂

Conclusion

Overall, it was an enjoyable read and I loved going along for the adventure with this cast. If you like mysteries, agents, FBI, contemporary, Christian stories, with possibly a dash of hints at a maybe-someday-romance (Maybe? 😀 *wriggles eyebrows*), then be sure to give a go at reading Kate’s Innocence! Or if you’d rather feel like you’re watching a TV show, let Sheri Sheridan read it to you. 😉 Either way, you’re in for an enjoyable ride. 🙂

(I received a free audiobook edition of this book from Audible.com from the author in exchange for my honest review.)

About the Book

katesinnocence

What would you do if you were accused of a crime you didn’t commit?

Kate watched as her campus was torn apart by bombs and now is being accused of perpetrating the crime. As the evidence quickly stacks up against her, she begins to lose hope that the truth will come to light. Even though the handsome FBI Agent, Patrick, has taken up her cause, will they be able to prove her innocence? Will God, who she neglected for so long, listen to her prayers for help?

Patrick is an agent with a very special team of agents. He wants to help Kate prove she is innocent, but as each new piece of evidence is revealed, that goal seems harder. He wonders why he feels so compelled to help her and so sure she is innocent despite the evidence. Will he be willing to put his job on the line to help her? Can he trust in God to make sure the truth will come out in the end?

Find it online:

Audible (Audiobook) | Amazon (book) | Goodreads (book) | Goodreads (Audiobook)

Giveaways! (Giveaway Ended)

Want to win a copy of the audiobook? Sarah Holman is holding a giveaway for it! Go check out this post where we’re introduced to Sheri Sheridan, who did the narration for Kate’s Innocence, and if you scroll down to the bottom there’s a giveaway for the Kate’s Innocence audiobook, running till the end of August, I believe. Anyways, check it out if you’re interested! (And if you read this review, I’m assuming you are. ;))

That’s just one of several giveaways that Sarah is holding on her blog during the month of August, so if you’ve been meaning to try some of Sarah’s stories, now’s your chance! So go on with you, check out her blog and enter the giveaways! ^_^

(Giveaways in August 2016 at www.thedestinyofone.com)

About Sarah Holman (Author)

sarahholmanauthorphotoSarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of many published books and short stories. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.

You can find her online at her author blog, www.TheDestinyOfOne.com. She is also the administrator at www.HomeschooledAuthors.com.

About Sheri Sheridan (narrator)

Audiobook narrator of Kate’s Innocence and other books. Check out Sheri Sheridan’s website, Facebook, and the very fun interview/intro with her that was posted on Sarah Holman’s blog! 🙂

What do you think? Do you ever listen to audiobooks and do you like them? Why or why not? How about FBI-type mystery books? Tell all in the comments!

Ishness/Hiatus

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July 2016

Hiiii everyone! *collapses and waves slightly* Today’s the first time in like a week that I feel like I can breathe. Oof. So busy. BUT! It’s time for another Ishness post! Because, somehow, it’s… August. What even. I’m very confused…? ANYHOW. July happened, so that’s a thing.

Life-ing

I feel like July was a roller-coaster of insanity at the beginning and end, with a lull in the middle. Independence Day was fun and busy, and the last week or so I feel like I’ve been gone a lot… Also in there we had the Silmarillion Awards and other fun things, so it’s been a good month overall.

I took a quiz which confirmed my suspicion… (I always knew I was like Tolkien. ;))

you are JRR Tolkien

While I’m posting fun random things, I’m just going to leave this here because it’s my favorite thing about the book Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, ever:

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I even remembered to tweet occasional things on my twitter.

My life in a nutshell this month in three tweets:

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(Okay, I was being melodramatic on this one — it wasn’t THAT bad.)

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Writing

The above tweet sums up my writing pretty well for July. So many plot bunnies eating me. My fairy godmother muse is apparently distraught at the fact that I’m not writing much, so she’s “helping” by giving me all sorts of story ideas…

IMcover3However I did manage to write some of The Invisible Mask, hitting 20k and finally finishing the part I’d been stuck on for like a year, so YAY!

And also a bit of an old short story I started AGES ago which I may have mentioned, Hairdo Havoc.

It probably says something about the state of my chronic writer’s block that I wrote about 3600 words this month and that that’s the most I’ve done in a month this year so far… Ahem.

I’m making progress on plotting various story ideas too.

Also, this happened:

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I’m beginning to wonder how similar Tare and I am… >.>

silmaril-strangest-award-mediumAnd I’m totally counting my Silmarillion Award Presentation post as “writing” since it was basically a Tolkien/Narnia fanfiction crossover written in verse, and was one of the most difficult and rewarding things I’ve ever written. I did lots of research too (although in the end I ended up writing most of it in a burst of inspiration at 2 a.m. one morning. This likes to happen to me… #nightowl).

Accurate representation of my research… (Don’t ask what I was doing with so many pens; I’ve no idea.)

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I did not do Camp NaNo, but I know that many of you did, and I’ve been watching a few stats graphs over there (in a totally non-creepy way) and cheering you on! Shoutout to SarahTPS, Savannah, Emily Drown, E. Kaiser, Kayla, and Abi for being AMAZING and winning Camp! Shoutout to Mary Horton and Jenelle, for being AWESOME and writing so many words — y’all are amazing! Writing at all during the month means you win too! ^_^

Everyone who did Camp or any writing at all this last month… I applaud you. You inspire me with your awesomeness. *salutes*

Reading

july2016

I… have been reading very odd things lately. O_O Contemporaries, historical fiction, steampunk… it’s been quite interesting! 😀

So that I don’t ramble about books this ENTIRE post, you can see my mini-thoughts on these books in my July Reading Roundup + Announcements post on my book blog, and also pop over there to read about a fun blog event my friend Shantelle @ A Writer’s Heart is having! 🙂

1 Hidden Gems 2

Oh, and The Rose and the Balloon releases today!!! *cue excitement* IT’S SO PRECIOUS AND AWESOME. ❤ You need it in your life. *shoos you in that direction* GO GO!! I’ll be reviewing it soonish. ^_^

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Blogging

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So much blogging fun this month! Silmarillion Awards, plus Tare got interviewed (!!) and I even did a writer tag and some reviews in there.

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On my book blog in July:

Watching

zootopia

I finally saw Zootopia! It was adorable and cute and fun and amusing and I kinda loved it a lot. ^_^ It’s… like… a HEIST movie! Ish. I mean, there’s a con-manfox which is cool and he was so neat and they are all such CUUUUTE animals. ‘Twas fun. ❤

I’ve also been rewatching Sherlock. Because Sherlock. Also, they were so YOUNG in the first season. O_O Lookit young John + Sherlock + Mycroft, all being young adorable childs… BEFORE THEY AGED FROM ALL THE STRESS AND HORRIBLE THINGS HAPPENING TO THEM. *sobs from depths of shock blanket* (And, y’know, the fact that it’s taking them centuries to film between seasons. That could be a thing too. *shrug*) I’m currently in the middle of the second season AND AWK JOHN AND SHERLOCK ARE SO ADORBZ AND FUN AND LESTRADE AND MYCROFT AND I JUST LOVE THEM AAAALL.

Also also, I saw the first trailer for Sherlock Season 4 and it’s terrifying. They’re all so doomed and it’s going to be scary but I’ll still watch it because Sherlock but I will probably never be the same again.

HALP. …Or rather . . . JOHN!

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(Has anybody noticed that Sherlock always says “John” instead of “help”? IT’S TRUE.) (source)

August Plans: Taking a Break

I’ll likely disappear for much of August, since I’m planning on taking a bit of a break from internet.

Never fear! I’ll be back! And I’ll still be checking email from time to time, methinks, so I can still be gotten hold of if you need to talk to me, but I’m going to probably be avoiding other parts of the interwebs for the most part, so if you don’t see me commenting or lurking on Goodreads etc., it’s not because I was devoured by a dragon or anything. 😉 Nothing so exciting. Just taking a break.

No reason other than I’ve been too distracted by fun internet things, and I think I just need a break and want to focus on other things in life for a bit, especially before SeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember (yes, it’s one month… shhh) comes along and kidnaps the rest of my year in the blink of an eye as it always does… Ahem.

I do have a couple of reviews actually coming soon on the blog (hopefully; eek), but otherwise, The Road of a Writer is on hiatus till September, when I’ll return with lots of exciting blog things that I’ve got planned! Seriously, it’s going to be awesome. *rubs hands gleefully together*

Meanwhile, have an awesome August/rest of summer! ❤ I love you guys and shall return! ^_^

byeguysstarwarsrebelsezra

(Ezra from “Star Wars: Rebels”)