Author Interview with Angie Thompson

 About Angie: An avid reader and incurable story-spinner, Angie Thompson also enjoys volunteering in her church’s children’s program and starting (but not always finishing) various kinds of craft projects. She currently lives in central Virginia near most of her incredible family, including two parents, six brothers, one sister, and four sisters-in-law—plus two nieces, five nephews, and several assorted pets!

When did you decide to write Bridgers, and why?

I was inspired to write Bridgers in August 2017, not long after listening to an audio drama adaptation of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. I really wanted to explore what this story and these characters might look like in a modern day setting, especially because I think we’ve gotten away from just how uncomfortable the parable would have made Jesus’ original audience. To us, “good Samaritan” has come to mean a helpful stranger, and we tend to forget how much hatred, fear, and distrust was attached to that name in the Jewish culture. Obviously my modern parallels can’t be exact, but I found myself convicted while writing this about how often I tend to judge people by what they look like and where they come from, rather than taking a step farther to learn what’s in their hearts.

 What does your writing process look like?
In the early stages–a lot of imagining. A lot of running through different scenes and conversations in my head and trying to gauge whether there’s enough for a full-fledged story. In the later stages, a lot of forcing myself to stop talking in my head and get words down on paper! (Okay, on screen, since I do most of my writing on my computer, but that just sounds odd.) I don’t usually work with an outline, but I’m learning that I have to write the story in order, at least for the first draft. If I let myself write the parts I’m most excited about first, it becomes exponentially harder to go back and write the rest, so I’ve learned to use those favorite scenes as a sort of carrot. As in, “You want to write that scene? Get moving and write the things that lead up to it, then!”

What was the hardest part of writing Bridgers?

Finding and keeping the right balance with DaVonte’s character was probably my biggest challenge for this book. I wanted to make him a believable part of his environment without getting too deep into too many uncomfortable issues, which meant walking a fine line between what was going on around him and what he was actually involved in. Also, I had to be careful to keep his perspective on God within reasonable bounds for the little knowledge he had and not to make him act and think like someone who had been raised in a Christian home their whole life (aka, me).

Which of your characters is most like you? Do you write yourself into a book?

Of the characters in Bridgers, definitely Levi! I’m not *quite* that shy or fearful, but I definitely relate to him on a lot of levels. I also gravitate toward trying to work out my salvation in my own strength (or weakness), and Pastor Allison’s advice on that subject came directly from lessons God has been and is continuing to teach me.

As a rule, yes, I definitely write myself into books! Usually it’s not through a character who’s exactly like me (in age, family, status, etc.), but a lot of my thoughts, attitudes, and struggles end up playing into my characters’ lives. That said, I also love to write characters that are people I’m not but want to be or people I’d like to be friends with in real life.

 Favorite book? Has reading influenced your writing?

Ah, the favorite book question–the bane of a reader’s existence… 😉 I have so many favorites it’s ridiculously hard to pick! Growing up, I adored Louisa May Alcott and Five Little Peppers (still do), so I probably have to go with one of them.

And yes, I would say that my reading has definitely influenced my writing. I was a very advanced reader from an early age (I first read Little Women at age five), but my mom and I had a hard time finding newer books that were both interesting and appropriate for an advanced young reader. A big part of my goal as an author is to write the stories I wanted to read growing up–not necessarily geared toward children but free of the kind of inappropriate content that’s so rampant in modern fiction.

What advice would you give other writers considering indie publishing?

Well, I’m only a little more than a year in, so I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but here’s my advice.

1) Do your research. There’s a gold mine of information out there, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of it. Research saved me a lot of mistakes upfront that I would otherwise have made!

2) Be patient. The publishing process (even indie publishing) takes longer than you think, but it’s worth it to take your time and get things right.

3) Go for it! Take your time and do your research, but don’t let yourself get bogged down with everyone’s opinions and advice. Get enough information that you feel comfortable with the direction you’re heading, then go do it!

Thanks so much, Angie, for your time! It’s exciting to feature you here!

Let’s Chat!

Were you an early reader? Do you like to write?


ARC Review: Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill

Within These Lines

Title: Within These Lines
Author: Stephanie Morrill
Publisher: Blink
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

About The Author

Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. To learn more, see my interview with her.


Evalina Cassano lives happily with her family in San Francisco until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Taichi and his family are forced to move to the Manzanar internment camp.

Evalina feels she must help Taichi and speaks out more and more against the racism and Japanese internment at home and school.  When Japanese-Americans begin taking sides within the Manzanar camp, Taichi is caught in between and begins to doubt he and his family will stay safe and leave the camp alive. Evalina and Taichi must find a way to stand strong and make it back to each other.


Evalina is an articulate, tenacious girl, much like Piper from the author’s last book. She is angry and confused at the injustice done to her friends and neighbors. She sees the people behind the politics, and is brave enough to speak about what she believes.

Taichi didn’t captivate me at first. For the first third or half of the book, he felt like a sort of bland character. However, later in the book, he really began to develop as a character. He cared about his family and about Evalina, and having his perspective made the book much more real and poignant.

I particularly appreciated the family relationships that were highlighted in this book. Taichi obviously cares very much about his family, and reading about his interactions with his sister was quite enjoyable. Evalina had a little bit more tension in her family relationships. She wasn’t sure if her Italian-American parents would approve of her relationship with Taichi, and tried to keep it a secret.

Stephanie Morrill did a wonderful job writing the point of view switches between Evalina and Taichi. Both had a unique voice and perspective, and tied together very well. I love reading books where the characters have different voices and unique backgrounds, but the overall tone and voice of the book is still regular.

The time period this book was set in, World War II, was a very turbulent and tense time. Within These Lines addresses difficult issues of injustice, racism, and internment camps in a sensitive yet honest way. 

Overall, this book had beautiful writing, well-developed characters, a wonderful ending, and deftly handles some difficult topics. I’m not going to give away spoilers, but I will say that towards the finish both Evalina and Taichi had a lot at stake, and the ending was satisfying but a little bit surprising. Within These Lines is written for young adult readers, but I think this book will also appeal to adult readers that enjoy historical fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of Within These Lines for review from Blink through Netgalley. This did not impact my review in any way and all opinions expressed are my own.

If You Like

I would recommend this book to fans of Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith, and Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read The Lost Girl of Astor Street? Are you planning on reading Within These Lines? What are your thoughts on WWII fiction?

Author Interview with Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie Morrill Low Res

Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. Since 2010, Stephanie has been encouraging the next generation of writers at her website, She lives in the Kansas City area, where she loves plotting big and small adventures to enjoy with her husband and three children. You can connect with Stephanie and learn more about her books at StephanieMorrill.comInstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

 I’ve enjoyed Stephanie Morrill’s books since I discovered them a few years ago. She is one of the contributors to the Go Teen Writers site, which is devoted to helping young writers improve and meet their goals, and has helped me greatly in my own writing.

Her newest book, Within These Lines, is releasing in March. I received an ARC of it several weeks ago and will be posting a review on Monday.

I was delighted when she agreed to answer a few questions for a writing/reading/fun stuff interview. It’s great to have her here. Enjoy!

What inspired Within These Lines? How does the idea for a story come to you? 

I’m obsessed with podcasts, especially Stuff You Missed in History Class. They did a two-part episode on Executive Order 9066, which is the order Franklin D. Roosevelt signed that gave the US government permission to evacuate Japanese Americans and put them in concentration camps.
I found these episodes fascinating, and because I’ve always written for teenagers the idea popped into my head, “What would’ve happened if there was a Caucasian teenage girl who was in love with a Japanese American teenage boy, and his family was taken away?” As I researched a little bit, I realized the story could be even more interesting if my Caucasian teenage girl was actually an Italian American teenage girl, since Italy was aligned with Germany and Japan, yet Japanese Americans were the only people group targeted as a whole with the incarceration.

What does your writing process look like? What’s the hardest part of writing a book for you? 

I’ve been writing stories all my life, but writing historical fiction is relatively new to me. Trying to find that balance of historical detail without crossing over into tedious is difficult, especially with a topic like the incarceration of the Japanese Americans where the history is so complex. I love the challenge, though!

How do you balance writing with blogging, family, and other life stuff?

I’ve learned a lot about setting boundaries and establishing priorities! My oldest is 11 now, but I received my first book contract when she was 6 months old, so my kids are used to thinking of me as a working mom. And while I wrote full time before I had kids, I wasn’t published until after so this is a balancing act I’ve been working on the whole time. I say no to a lot–play dates, lunch with friends, binge watching TV, volunteering at school–so that I can yes to what really matters to me: quality family time, writing fiction, and mentoring young writers on 

One of your favorite books? Has reading influenced your writing?

Reading totally influences my writing! Stephen King says “If you don’t have time for reading, you don’t have time for writing,” and I 100% agree. A book I just read that earned its place as one of my all-time faves is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It’s such a charming novel, and its like a love letter to books and the reading life in general. Fantastic!

Which of all your characters is most like you? Do you write yourself into stories?   

I try very hard to not write myself into my stories as a character, though there are pieces of me in all of them. Or sometimes there are pieces of what I hope I could be like, as in Evalina’s passion in Within These Lines. Probably the character who is most like me is Ellie Sweet from my contemporary YA novels. She’s an aspiring teen writer, just like I was, so a ton of my insecurities got dumped into that poor girl!

I hope you enjoyed learning more about Stephanie Morrill! Add Within These Lines to your TBR and watch for my review.

Review: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Title: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Author: Andrew Peterson


Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby have the secret of the lost legend and jewels of King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera. The wicked Fangs of Dang have crossed the Dark Sea of Darkness and taken over Anniera, and the children, along with their dog Nugget, must escape their pursuit and brave horned hounds, the Black Carriage, Glipwood Forest, Peet the Sock Man, and the terrible toothy cows.


On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness tells a well-paced story full of character and courage. It has enough character uniqueness and development to satisfy those who love character-driven stories, and an intriguing and fast-paced plot to satisfy those who read a book for the plot.

This story is filled with outlandish names, an unusual world, and funny footnotes that serve to both entertain and explain Anniera and its customs.  We are thrown right into the world of Anniera, which can be disorienting, but the quirky writing style and well-used description make the world feel real and important.

I appreciated that despite the light tone and fast-paced plot, the characters’ struggles feel important and real. Janner, Tink, and Leeli all have unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Their grandfather is a wise and quirky ex-pirate. Their mother is a loving, strong, and hard-working woman.

I also particularly liked the rich and authentic family relationships in this book. Often in teen and middle grade fiction, families are dysfunctional, not present, or treated as trivial and annoying. In On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, we see how even through their struggles and perils, the Igibys love each other and lean on each other.

This story has many layers. The fear and suffering of the people in Anniera. The struggle of good versus evil. The realization that you can’t judge a person by how they look.  The struggle to fight for what is right when most prefer to turn a blind eye on the injustice.

If You Like

If you liked the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini, the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis, the Hobbit series by J. R. R. Tolkien, or the Green Ember series by S. D. Smith, you will probably enjoy this book.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness? What did you think? Have you noticed that lack of healthy family relationships in teen and middle grade fiction?

Top Ten Book Covers of All Time: Collab with Lilian from Green Tea with Books

I’m so excited to post this collab with Lilian from Green Tea with Books. We each found our ten favorite book covers, which was really fun, and we’re sharing them on each other’s sites. Lilian is a wonderful blogger, and I’m so happy to have her here today.

Once you finish admiring her Top 10 Favorite Covers of All Time (and they are beautiful), be sure to hop on over to her site to see my top ten favorite covers.

Hi, I’m Lilian! I’m a teenager who can be found immersed in a book. I write reviews of clean, Christian books and other book-related posts frequently on my main blog as well as design-related posts on my design blog. I also started a website with my friend Maddy to support indie authors, if you want to check that out. I really don’t do anything else besides that.
Okay, no, I’m just kidding. What do I do besides book-related things? I love gymnastics, snowboarding, skiing, unicycling, Ultimate Frisbee, painting, designing websites and blogs, and playing instruments, to give you a roundup of my favorite hobbies. I would definitely encourage you to come over to my blog, check out some posts, and chat with me! Hope to see you there. 

Eagle Eyes: Descendants of White Wolf

Eagle Eyes by Tammy Lash
I had the honor of reading this book for review a couple of weeks ago. It’s such a beautiful heart-wrenching story of a boy who is going blind, and I loved it so much. ❤ AND. THE COVER. heart eyes I have my fair share of favorite covers, but this one (especially the back cover) beats all others. This book is a must-have, even if you’re buying it just for the cover.

London In The Dark (Light of London #1)

London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn
I’m not sure what London in the Dark is about since I haven’t read the blurb yet, but I do have a physical copy of it and it’s so pretty! Julia Erickson, the cover designer, did such a fantastic job. I’ve heard so much about the book itself from my reading circles, and I can’t wait to read it!

A Time to Die (Out of Time, #1)

The Out of Time trilogy by Nadine Brandes
All of these books have stunning covers (I mean, they are designed by Kirk DouPonce himself). They fit the feel of the book so. well. and I highly recommend you read them- they taught me so much about faith when I was reading them.

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
I can hear y’all groaning now, right? I mean, I never fail to mention The Mysterious Benedict Society in my cover-related posts. ;D For those who have been around my blog for awhile, you’ll know the obsession I have with these books. They have so much humor integrated into them, and it’s always fun seeing how the children in the books solve puzzles. Stewart’s a genius and will always be on my auto-buy list.

Live Without You

Live Without You by Sarah Grace Gryzbowski
This extraordinary cover is designed by Miss Sarah Grace herself. She’s sister to author Victoria Lynn (mentioned above). I had the privilege of beta-reading Live Without You a couple of weeks ago, and it. was. A M A Z I N G. It comes out in a few days (January 22nd, 2019), and I absolutely can’t wait to grab a copy when it does!

At Her Fingertips (The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, #3)

At Her Fingertips by Kellyn Roth
I absolutely adore this cover! I love how well it fits the theme of the book, which, might I mention, I LOVED SO MUCH. Kellyn’s also now on my list of auto-buy authors, and her covers (designed by Willowy Whisper) are to die for.

Flight of the Raven (Ravenwood Sage, #2)

Flight of the Raven (Ravenwood Saga #2) by Morgan L. Busse
I love the look of this cover so much! It really fits my personal color scheme and it was also designed by Kirk DouPonce, so, um, of course I love it. I read Mark of the Raven (Ravenwood Saga #1) and really enjoyed it, so I can’t wait to read this new release (April 30th, 2019)!

Dead Drop

Dead Drop by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick
okay I don’t know why this cover honestly creeps me out a bit (I think it’s a children’s book so I honestly have no idea why it’d creep me out) bUT IT’S SO PRETTYYYYYY. I don’t own this book myself, but I’ve heard amazing things about it!

Reintegration (Reintegration #1)

Reintegration by Ashley Bogner
*flails**FLAILS* I CAN’T. This cover is seriously one of the prettiest I’ve seen. ever. You see that water droplet? It looks so interesting and it makes me want to read the book immediately. Which I haven’t gotten the chance to do yet, but each time I look at the cover I want to so badly.

Martin Hospitality (Martin Generations, #1)

Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire
I have a huge penchant for watercolor (my friends will all tell you I’m kinda obsessed with it), and guess what? This cover was painted in watercolor. And it’s so amazing. I love the different shades of blue in the sky and the calm + peaceful wheat field- I love that it embodies the story itself so well.

Bitter Winter (Ilyon Chronicles, #5)

Honorable Mention. Bitter Winter + all the rest of the Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight
Okay, I don’t know who designed Miss Knight’s covers, but they’re incredibly staggering. When I first came across these books on Goodreads, I stared at the covers for solid minutes on end. I’ve heard the best things about this series and I’m so excited to start reading the first one (Resistance).

I haven’t read many of these books, so now I have a few to add to my TBR. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed this post, and don’t forget to visit Lilian and say hi!

Let’s Chat!

Aren’t all those covers gorgeous? What are your favorite book covers?

ARC Review: Papergirl by Melinda McCracken

Title: Papergirl

Author: Melinda McCracken

Publisher: Fernwood Publishing

Release date: April 1, 2019

Rating: 3.5/5 stars


Cassie lives with her family in war- and- Influenza ravaged Winnipeg. The city’s workers are angry with the rising prices and low wages. When they being a general strike, Cassie decides she wants to help. She begins volunteering as a papergirl selling the strike bulletin, and as she sells papers every day and struggles with bullies, hunger, and the violence that the strike entails.


Papergirl will interest readers who enjoy character-driven books that address issues and historical settings. It would be a wonderful classroom read, as it incorporates history into the story and tactfully yet honestly addresses the issues that lead to the strike and the impacts of the strike.

Cassie reminded me of Nisha from The Night Diary. She is a young girl without much firsthand knowledge of how harsh the world can be, with a sense of justice. As she watches the strike go on, she learns more about the world, the people in it, and how to fight injustice.

This book has an old-fashioned tone that is sometimes dry and is less engaging and conversational than many YA books are.  It has descriptions of the food, the setting, and the characters, that while it does enrich the book, may not suit those searching for a fast-paced adventure. It is character-driven and spends a lot of time exploring the characters, how they react to hardship, how they interact with their world, and how they are changed by the events of the book.

Papergirl is being marketed as young adult fiction. However, I think this book would appeal much more to a middle grade audience. Cassie, the main character, is ten years old, and does sound and think like a young person.  The violence is minimal and shown through Cassie’s sense of right and justice, and the book is written in a fairly simple way.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Fernwood Publishing through Netgalley. This did not impact my review in any way, and all opinions expressed are my own.

If You Like

If you liked Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani, Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton, you might enjoy Papergirl, which releases April 1, 2019.

Let’s Chat!

Do you like historical fiction? Are you going to read Papergirl? Have you ever read a book that was sold as young adult but really should have been middle grade?

ARC Review: Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
Publisher: North Star Editions
Rating: 4/5 stars
Release date: February 12, 2019


In Cogheart, Lily is pulled out of school when her father goes missing, and the clockwork fox Malkin brings the news that her father was working on a priceless invention that could change the world. With the help of Robert, a clockmaker’s son, she embarks on an adventure to discover her father’s secrets. Full of robotic servants, dirigibles, plenty of clicks and clacks, and villainous mirror-eyed men that seem to be following Lily, this book is a delightful adventure for children.


The first third of this book starts out fairly slowly. It introduces the Victorian steampunk world and sets up the story, but for young readers, it might take a little bit of encouragement to push through the first few chapters until they reach the action. After those first few chapters, this is a fast paced and action-filled story that will certainly appeal to young readers.

It’s so much fun to read about Lily and Robert working together. They go through a lot throughout the story, yet stay loyal to each other and come out the better for it.

However, while the world is new and exciting, the characters and their relationships are, while fun for a light read, nothing new. A girl is in a boarding school, her dad goes missing, and she and her sidekicks have to fight off bad guys and solve a mystery. It works well for a middle grade adventure story, but there isn’t much depth to the characters or their relationships, and it’s been done before.

And then there is Malkin. Malkin was my very favorite part of this book. I want a cute and courageous clockwork fox now. He’s crucial to the plot, and adds a touch of charm to the story.

Other than Malkin, the steampunk world is what makes this adventure story something particularly worthwhile worthwhile and different. Cogheart is set in a Victorian England where everything that moves is clockwork and steam. There are mechanical servants, air-balloons, and mechanimals. Like Malkin.

I received a complimentary copy of Cogheart for review from North Star Editions through Netgalley. This did not impact my review in any way and all opinions expressed are my own.

If You Like

Overall, Cogheart was a fun children’s adventure story that picks up to a fast pace and includes unusual villains, a spunky heroine, and a magnificent mechanical fox.  It will appeal to fans of Escape from Mr. Lenoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, and Fablehaven by Brandon Mull.

Let’s Chat!

Are you going to read Cogheart? Do you like steampunk stories?

The Twenty Questions Book Tag

I have a lot of opinions about books. I like writing my opinions about books. Therefore, I was delighted to be tagged by Beth at Reading Every Night to do the Twenty Questions Book Tag. Here are twenty of my opinions on everything from love triangles to cover type.

How many books are too many books in a book series?

Photo by Pixabay on

Some stories have expansive worlds, a gigantic, multi-faceted storyline, and many characters. Fantasies such as The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien and Eragon by Christopher Paolini seem like they are made to be a series.

And then there are authors who just need to learn that sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.

In general, I think two to four books is a good amount for a series, with just a few exceptions.

How do you feel about cliffhangers?

It’s sort of a love-hate relationship. I like it when I can go read the next book in the series right away. I love it in serial stories. I really don’t like it in a series when the next book isn’t going to be published for a long time. I abhor it in a standalone. Why would anyone put a cliffhanger in a standalone?  

Hardback or paperback?

Hardbacks are usually beautiful and durable, but paperbacks are easier to read, and not as expensive. I always buy paperbacks if it’s a book I haven’t read before, and I’ll sometimes get hardcovers of old favorites or books I want to keep for a long time or intend to lend to other people.

Favourite book?

Image result for you bring the distant near

Short answer: You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins.

Long Anser: One? Did you mean to ask what my favorite books are? Here’s my top 27: here and here’s my top 5: here.  

Least favourite book?

I don’t really have a least favorite book. I would have to vehemently disagree with something the book praises and really dislike the writing to call a book my “least favorite.” As for now, we’ll just say I don’t have one.

Love triangles, yes or no?

My thoughts on love triangles, in a triangle for maximum effect: 




I don’t like love triangles. Unless they are necessary element in the character arc, they seem to detract from overall character development and provide unnecessary complication and drama to a book that otherwise might have potential. 

The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

I don’t remember. I’m a pretty fast reader, so even if I’m not completely immersed in the story, it isn’t too much of an investment to finish it. If I think I don’t like it, I just skim ahead.

A book you’re currently reading?

Ooh. This book is fascinating. It’s called The End of Epidemics and it’s about how epidemics start, spread explosively, and what we can do to stop them. It’s not so scientific as to bog a reader down, and it’s actually quite interesting.

Last book you recommended to someone?

Romanov by Nadine Brandes. This book was amazing, and I think it will appeal to a lot of different readers because of the historical elements and the fantasy elements.

Oldest book you’ve read?

The oldest fiction I’ve read was maybe the Odyssey by Homer? People don’t agree on exactly when it was written. Some say it was passed down for a long time as a spoken story as it was written. The general consensus seems to be that it was probably written somewhere between the 8th and 10th century BC.

Newest book you’ve read?

Romanov by Nadine Brandes is coming out on May 7, 2019. I’m so excited to see what people think of it! I liked it even better than Fawkes, and the Russian revolution is a fascinating time period, to start with.

Favourite author?

Hmm… I’ll refer you to my list under ‘favorite books’ again and then just say Mitali Perkins, author of You Bring the Distant Near, and Andrew Peterson, author of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.

Buying books or borrowing books?

I get most of my books from the library. You can actually get a new book from the library quite quickly if you get on the hold list fast enough, in my experience. If I’ve read a book and really like it, I’ll buy it to have and reread. Or if there is a really good sale on books, sometimes I’ll buy one.

A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?

Image result for the selection

I didn’t like The Selection by Kiera Cass. I know that’s an unpopular opinion (that’s why it’s in this section), but I felt like the story was too predictable and cheesy, and I didn’t really like Kiera Cass’s writing style. It just felt cliché and overly dramatic. Also, there was a love triangle, and you probably remember my feelings on love triangles.

Bookmarks or dog-ears?

Bookmarks, all the way.  I get most of my books from the library, as I said before, and I don’t want to ruin my own books.

A book you can always re-read?

Image result for on the edge of the dark sea of darkness

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a great book to reread, as is You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins and On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson, as well as Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.

Can you read while hearing music?

I can. It’s easier if it’s music I’ve heard before, but even if it’s new, I can usually do both.

I’ve actually listened to an audiobook while reading before on several occasions. I don’t know how, but I remember most of both stories.

One POV or multiple POVs?

It really depends on the book. Some authors need the whole book to develop their story and their character, and one point of view works well for that. Some authors do a really good job at making their characters feel real even when they have a lot of characters.

I like multiple POVs when the author can distinguish and develop all her characters and especially when they all have unique voices. It’s also interesting to realize that every character can have their own unique story, whether or not it’s the one being told.

I like single POVs when the book already has a lot of details or characters to keep straight (no multiple POV fantasies for me, thank you very much) or when one character should really be the main focus.

Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

It depends on the length. Most books I read in one sitting. I remember the book better that way, and the events make more sense and feel more timely. If it’s a long, detailed, or weighty book, or a book in verse, I’ll often read that over multiple sittings.

So, that was fun. Thanks, Beth, for tagging me!

I tag:

Also, I tag anyone who wants to do it! Just link back to whoever tagged you, answer the questions, and tag a few more bloggers.

ARC Review: The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

The Warrior Maiden (Hagenheim, #9)

Title: The Warrior Maiden
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Rating: 4/5 star

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson is a retelling of the story of Mulan, a girl who disguised herself as a man to fight in the place of her father.


Mulan is an Asian girl who grew up in a Lithuanian town. When her father dies, she decides to take his place as a soldier so that the army does not confiscate her mother’s house. She changes her name to Mikolai, and joins in the fight against the Teutonic Knights.

Wolfgang is the son of the Duke of Hagenheim, and greatly desires to be a knight, but knows he will never reach that goal in Hagenheim. He joins the fight against the Teutonic Knights, expecting his brother Steffan will fight alongside him, but then learns his brother has joined the Teutonics and will be fighting against him.

My Review

This is an action-packed story with a traveling war setting. I thought it was an interesting shift from the rest of the Hagenheim series, which was mostly set in castles and towns. This series has tended to follow fairly similar storylines, but The Warrior Maiden had an interesting and fast-paced plot with some more unusual elements and a good sense of time and place.

Mulan was a very interesting character. Some YA books make it seem like a girl can’t be strong and feminine, but Melanie Dickerson does a very good job showing that Mulan is strong, and she is a woman. When I saw the cover, I thought this book might be set in Asia, but other than the main character’s race, the Asian influences in this book are minimal.  Mulan is of Mongolian descent and was adopted by Lithuanian characters, and the story is set in Europe.

Wolfgang, on the other hand, wasn’t much different from the male leads in the rest of the series. He realized Mulan wasn’t who he thought she was, came to terms with it, saved her life, and fell in love with her. He could have been with any of the other male characters from the Hagenheim series and I don’t think the book would have been much different. Other than some struggles with his brother that started to develop him uniquely as a character, I didn’t feel like there was much to Wolfgang.

Overall, this was an enjoyable fairy tale retelling, with Mulan as a wonderful and interesting main character and a fast-paced plot. The dialogue was somewhat stilted at times, and once or twice I was confused as to who said what, and Wolfgang was a rather bland character. However, getting to know Mulan as a character and enjoying the unique setting more than make up for those negatives. The Warrior Maiden is now my favorite book in the Hagenheim series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

If You Like

If you like any of Melanie Dickerson’s other books, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, or the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce, you will enjoy The Warrior Maiden, which releases February 5, 2019.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read any of Melanie Dickerson’s books? Are you going to read this book? What do you think about retellings?

Most Anticipated Releases of 2019

Happy belated new year! I hope you’re all having a wonderful 2019 so far. This year some very promising books are being released. I’m more excited for some of these than I have been about a new release in a long time! These are six books releasing in 2019 that I can’t wait to read.

Forward Me Back to You by Mitali Perkins releases April 2, 2019
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Mitali Perkins wrote one of my very favorite books, You Bring the Distant Near.  For that reason alone I would be excited for this book, but the premise is very interesting. Katina King, a teen jujitsu champion, and Robin Thornton, born in India, meet on a summer service trip to Kolkata and discover how to find justice, healing, and hope.

No Place Like Here by Christina June releases May 21, 2019
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Christina June is the author of It Started With Goodbye and Everywhere You Want to Be. Her covers are gorgeous, and her stories are wonderful. This book is going to be about Ashlyn Zanotti’s journey to find courage and hope when her life is turned upside-down.

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie releases January 15, 2019
The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

Poe Blythe is the captain of Outpost’s last mining ship and has vowed to annihilate the river raiders who ruined her life. The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe is the story of how she learns to move past her anger and fear. I skipped the Matched series by the same author because I was wary of it for its popularity and I thought the covers were creepy. However, this book sounds really good, and quite honestly, the name of the protagonist intrigues me.

Romanov by Nadine Brandes releases May 7, 2019

Nadine Brandes, the author of Fawkes, has written a magical retelling of the life and plight of Anastasia Romanov.  I’m hoping this book is just as good, if not better, than Fawkes. Historical fantasy is an unusal and interesting genre, and Nadine Brandes seems to write it well.

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin releases January 22, 2019

I haven’t read anything by this author before, but this book sounds very promising. Lillia and her sister flee to Shanghai, a place that accepts Jews without visas, and she and her family fight to survive the war. I’m really excited to read this book, because I have never seen or read a book set during WWII anyplace other than the US, Europe, or Russia

Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill releases March 15, 2019
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Stephanie Morrill contributes to the blog Go Teen Writers, which has helped me greatly in my writing journey and is a lot of fun to read. I really liked her previous book, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and this one sounds even better. Within These Lines is the story of how Evalina Cassano falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki during World War II, and how she fights against the concentration camps for Japanese Americans and tries to find a way to help Taichi.

Let’s Chat!

Have you heard about these books? What books are you looking forward to this year? Do you usually read books right away when they release or do you wait a while?