“Past-Present-Future” Giveaway

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Here is the second giveaway to celebrate my 3rd Blogoversary!

Past/Present/Future is the theme, since I’m celebrating the past of my blog (3 years of it), the present of my blog (with giveaways and tags, yay!), and the future of my blog, looking forward, Lord willing, to many more fun times of posting! 🙂

Thanks everyone for coming with me so far. ^_^

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For this giveaway I’ve chosen 3 books: a historical fiction for the past, a contemporary novel for the present, and a dystopian novel for the future. (Hopefully the future will not be like that. AHEM.)

Past

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One winner will receive an ARC paperback copy of The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson (historical fiction/Christian YA romance/fairytale retelling set in Germany in the 1400s). Read my review here.

Present

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A second winner will receive a copy of The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, which is like my favorite contemporary novel ever. ❤ SERIOUSLY, I ADORE IT. ^_^ If you’ve not read this, you are missing out on a perfect slice of summer and fun and family and friendship.

Future

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And a third winner will receive a paperback copy of Captives by Jill Williamson. I am not the hugest fan of dystopian (nothing to do with this book, which is really well-written; it’s just me in particular and this genre do not mix well), but I know many people are, so I thought I’d give a chance to win this one! Please note that I feel like it’s not appropriate for younger readers (I personally would say 18 and up) so keep that in mind if you choose it.

Details

3 winners. Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is open to US residents only. Giveaway will run from today (Fri., Sept. 16) until Thursday, September 29. Winners (3) will be chosen and contacted by email and also announced here on my blog, on September 30, 2016.

EDIT: The winners have been announced! Thanks for participating!

(If the embedded form doesn’t work for you, you can find it here.)

How about you, my roadlings? Do you prefer past, present, or future in your books? Have you read any of these? Want to? Share your thoughts! 🙂

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Looking Forward, Looking Back (2016/2015)

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I love the change of the year and have been doing many of my favorite New Years things like starting new journals. A fresh year is waiting, like a blank page to be written on, and the old year is gone, with all its good times and, yes, failures. It’s time to start fresh.

Danny Gokey says it beautifully in his song Tell Your Heart to Beat Again: “Yesterday’s a closing door — you don’t live there anymore.” Give the song a listen! (I heard it on the radio this week, fell in love, and have listened to it ten billion times since and am listening to it on repeat as I write this post). It’s beautiful and feels just right for the New Year.

Here are some of my excitements for the new year of 2016, as well as a brief look back at my 2015. And — yes! — lists!

2016

My word for 2016

Joy is my word this year. I want to find joy in everything if I can. It’s going to be hard, since I struggle with a tendency to be stressed and down on myself. But I’m tired of feeling crushed beneath expectations, beneath things I feel are obligations which ought to be enjoyable but have become chores. This includes — yes — writing, reading, emailing… even the things that I usually love, sometimes can become a burden because I’m a chronic procrastinator and a perfectionist. I’m hoping to approach everything, the fun and the not, with Joy. To rediscover my Joy in writing and life and find a freedom I’ve been looking for . . . that is my wish for the new year.

JOY! 🙂

I’M EXCITED FOR THIS YEAR:

aspysdevotionThese books coming out:

Yorien’s Hand // The Goblin’s Puzzle // A Spy’s Devotion // Fridays with the Wizards // Rebel of the Sands // Songkeeper // The Story of Kullervo // King’s Folly // The Beautiful Pretender // Five Magic Spindles // Defying Shadows // Stolen Crowns #1 // The Bone Queen // Crooked Kingdom

(I did a post about this if you want pics/links to Goodreads, but I’ve since added Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams — sequel to Orphan’s Song — and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, both of which are sequels that I need this instant. *flail*)

These movies releasing:

  • The Abominable Bride (Sherlock special which I’m hopefully going to see on Wednesday… YAY!)
  • Captain America: The Civil War (YESSSS!! As I may have mentioned, I’m kind of looking forward to this a lot, primarily because BUCKY and HAWKEYE!)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Because Star Wars…)

(Also, perhaps someday I’ll see Kung Fu Panda 3, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Batman Vs. Superman, which are releasing this year, but I’m not in a super hurry as they also sound weird…)

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I’d also like to see:

  • Pan (missed that when it came out last year)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy (somehow still haven’t seen this)
  • Thor 2: The Dark World (which I technically saw once but need to rewatch since I have no memory of it which is slightly terrifying since I think I liked it a lot?!)

My 2015 at a Glance

READING

66 Books

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I read many lovely books, notably many retellings and much Diana Wynne Jones; and discovered steampunk and heist books. (Yay!) And I just posted my top 15 favorites of the year.

Goodreads has a lovely new “Year in Books Feature” which I love! (Mine is here.)

WATCHING

Shows I saw:

  • Leverage (seasons 1-5) — everyone knows how much I love this… *cough*
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (BBC Miniseries) — interesting to see on screen
  • Star Wars: Rebels (Season 1) — I ADORED THIS! Sooo much fun. ❤

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I don’t go to the theater often, but this year I saw:

  • starwars7posterStar Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens — AS;LDKJFLSK FEELS. WHAT. Still haven’t decided what I think of it except that I know I had a blast and then felt extremely sad near the end… I think overall I loved it? But I’m not sure yet! *flail* One thing’s for sure: ALL OF THE FEELS. And I adore the new characters, particularly Poe, and want to see the movie again.
  • Cinderella — Gorgeous.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron — Hawkeye!!
  • Mockingjay Part 2 — Um.
  • Beyond the Mask — EPIC!!! ❤

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BLOGGING

87 Posts

I really discovered my love of blogging this last year, and started my Ishness posts, and just had a fun time.

My top viewed posts were:

ccakeFrom which I discern that people are unprepared for NaNo (always), and love movies (or characters), bookshelves, Christmas, and cupcakes (or possibly denial). Basically you, my blog readers, have your priorities in order. *thumbs up*

WordPress has a handy blog report showcase for the year which is fun. Take a look at my blog stats if you enjoy numbers like I do. XD

It says my top commenters were Sarah, Tracey, Christine, C.B., and Abi — thank you guys! And to every single person who reads this blog and who has commented (even just once) a heartfelt thank you. ❤ You make my day every time. ^_^

WRITING

Over 100,000 Words

DRcoverishR&RI wrote an entire novella and two whole short stories (and a couple fanfictions) — namely:

KW2coverPSilverForestCoverFinalAnd worked on several other books:

  • 2. The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (mostly this one)
  • The Silver Forest (and this one)
  • 0.5. Child of Kedran’s Wood
  • 2.5 Mixup at Kedran’s Wood
  • 3 The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood
  • 4 The Writer of Kedran’s Wood
  • Heartseeker
  • The Other Half of Everything (snippets)

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OHEcoverI was attacked by several new plotbunnies that I adore and can’t wait to write, most notably:

  • The Other Half of Everything
  • The Siren and the Skyship

My Kedran’s Wood series exploded into several different books/novellas/short stories.

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My epic fantasy series the Starrellian Saga is taking shape in a new and exciting way as I reimagine all of the threads into a different sort of book structure.

A few other exciting things:

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***

PonyFrom the start of the year when I was followed by a pony from the post office, through seeing my first stage play, spontaneously going on a few roadtrips, being a NaNo Municipal Liaison for the third time, all the way to spending my last days of the year frantically editing a novella under a deadline for the first time . . . it’s been a very interesting year!

With my new word (Joy) in hand, I look forward to what 2016 holds!

I haven’t made specific writing/reading goals yet. I’m on a semi-hiatus from writing for a bit, so we’ll see what happens after that… I’m currently leaving my options open. 🙂

How was your 2015? I wish you all a truly fantastic 2016!

The Princess Spy

My review of The Princess Spy

by Melanie Dickerson

5 stars – Beautiful!

In THE PRINCESS SPY, Melanie Dickerson delivers another wonderful book–beautiful inside and out! (That cover. Seriously. It’s one of my favorites.) I was a little worried the story inside could not live up to the gorgeous cover, but it did. Oh, did it ever.

One of my favorite things had to be the fact that the hero is from England and speaks no German, but finds himself in Germany where nobody speaks English–except the heroine, who only speaks a little. Everything resulting from that basic premise was alternately fun, hilarious, awesome, and sweet. I must say the author did a fabulous job of presenting the struggles of a foreigner in a land where he doesn’t understand anyone, and vice versa. Colin and Margaretha’s relationship having to do with the language barrier was absolutely adorable. I LOVED that aspect to the story! That alone makes THE PRINCESS SPY a favorite.

As far as Margaretha herself, I enjoyed her as a heroine, which is a compliment to the author, who must be one of the best writers of girl main characters, because I actually like the heroines in all the books I’ve read by her. One of my main problems with reading stories with a romantic tilt to them (or, any book, actually…), is loving the male character but finding the girl annoying, unlikeable, or, in certain cases, hating her. So I’m glad that Margaretha was actually likeable, and fun, and it’s amusing how talkative she is.

And then Colin. Yes, once again there is an awesome hero who we fall in love with a little… or more than a little… I think it took me a bit longer to get a feel for him as a character (instead of instantly knowing his character like with Gabe and Valten) but in another way I loved him from the first I saw him! So… I don’t know. Suffice it to say I loved every minute (page?) with him and wished the story was longer so I could read more about him!

Now, I did feel like the fairytale-retelling aspect of it was not the strongest. In the other two books I’ve read by Melanie Dickerson, one of my favorite things about them was the fairytale part. As a retelling of the Frog Prince, it seemed to be grasping a little, almost as if it was forced into the story for the sake of being called a retelling. Yes, there’s a scene involving something dropped in a well, and the character gets called Frog-boy briefly because of some unfortunate green clothes, but that’s all I noticed (though I might be missing something). Then again, there’s not much to the original Frog Prince story anyway.

The title seemed slightly forced as well. The spying wasn’t too much of a focus except very early on, and Margaretha is technically a duke’s daughter and not a princess… But at the end of the day neither of those nit-picks matters much because, regardless, the story is awesome. Even without a strong fairytale plot, the book was good in itself and I really loved it.

The experience of reading THE PRINCESS SPY will be enriched by reading the other books in the series first–for instance I may have squealed in delight whenever there was a reference to Gabe from THE FAIREST BEAUTY, or whenever Valten (the hero of THE CAPTIVE MAIDEN) came on the scene… And I’ve yet to read THE HEALER’S APPRENTICE or THE MERCHANT’S DAUGHTER, but I can tell that they would add to the story if I had read them already (soon, I hope!). But really, I think THE PRINCESS SPY stands alone fairly well.

Bottom line: With an interesting and exciting story, beautiful writing, and characters we love, THE PRINCESS SPY is thoroughly worth reading (as long as you don’t expect there to be too much of a fairytale retelling or a whole lot of spying). It’s a really good tale for anyone, but especially for older teens and lovers of a good fairytale-esque romance adventure in the forests and castles of medieval Germany. I enjoyed it a ton, and I can’t wait to read more by Melanie Dickerson!

(I would like to thank the author and Zondervan for the copy of this book they sent me in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review; these opinions are my own.)

***

The Princess Spy will be releasing in just a few short weeks on November 4! So mark your calendars, or better yet, pre-order it!

You can find The Princess Spy on:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Goodreads

And you can find the talented author Melanie Dickerson here:

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads