Book Review: The Lightning Bride

This week, I’m sharing my book review of D.M. Sonntag’s YA fantasy novel, The Lightning Bride! Read on for my full review and come back here on Thursday for a special interview with the author!

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Have you ever wondered where you belong?

Maydeline Shadow is wondering the same thing and all the more as her family’s life and reputation in the Northern Kingdom begins crumbling.

Reviled for their connection to a world of mermaids and magic, it seems that the Shadow family is relying on Maylie to find a husband who can restore their standing.

But as Maylie searches, she realizes that her family is swept up in a story years in the making, hunted by a crazed mage who is desperate for revenge. And as the days pass, the most urgent question becomes if the Shadow family will survive the danger at all…

The Lightning Bride is an action-packed, YA fantasy novel that blends myth and magic in an exciting and unique way. Whether you’re looking for adventure on the sea or longing to know what dangers might lurk beneath the waves, this story will have something to intrigue and delight YA readers.

The biggest difficulty I had while reading The Lightning Bride was finding Maylie unrelateable at times. I struggled to connect to her character, and it made it difficult to root for her throughout the story.

That being said, there are many strong aspects to this novel. I particularly loved the way that so many different cultures were included and explored.

All in all, D.M. Sonntag has created a unique world, one that readers looking for a fantasy adventure will enjoy!

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The Lightning Bride is available on Amazon! Once you’ve finished the adventure, please leave a review on Goodreads! A simple review is one of the very best ways you can support authors!

You can connect with D.M. Sonntag on her website and Instagram, so you don’t miss out on any writing updates or news about new book releases!

This Thursday, D.M. Sonntag joins us for an author interview!

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What are some of your current reads? I’d love to know who your favorite indie authors are and always welcome ideas for books and authors to feature on my blog!

Alexandria

An Interview With C.D. Hulen

I’m so excited to share my interview with C.D. Hulen as we continue to celebrate the recent release of his sci-fi novel, Abort!

Read on to learn more about the inspiration for Abort, C.D. Hulen’s advice for fellow indie authors, and his thoughts on how to include a powerful, faith-based message in novels!

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I really enjoyed reading your novel! What inspired the story of Abort?

Thanks so much! Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what inspired me, outside of God of course (as all things work according to His will). This particular story concept came to me almost fully formed, which wasn’t super common for me. I thought it would make a good book, so I wrote down the idea and then promptly forgot about it for about 6 months. But obviously, I found it again, and here we are. 

One common pro-life argument that is used to confront abortion is that of comparing unborn children to people in a coma who are going to wake up (both are dependent on others, neither are highly responsive, and both are in their respective states for a limited amount of time, i.e., the person in a coma will wake up and the child will be born). This particular argument was definitely an inspiration. After the initial stages of writing, I drew inspiration from other sources, such as my Christian faith, my Dad’s suggestions, Ray Comfort’s videos on abortion, and Paul Washer’s articulation of the gospel, in order to add more depth to the story.

Throughout the story, Mason wrestles with divided loyalties and the distinction between right and wrong. Was he a difficult character to write? What do you think makes characters like him so compelling?

Definitely one of the most difficult things about writing Mason was keeping the reader from being completely disgusted by him. What he’s trying to do is terrible, and readers generally don’t want to root for that, so it was a struggle to balance the sympathetic aspects of his character without excusing his actions. I think his relatability and understandability help make him compelling. Although the reader hopefully won’t agree with his mission, they can understand why he’s doing it, and can relate to the many trials he faces on the HS10.

Christian sci-fi isn’t a genre that I, personally, hear much about, and it was exciting to read your novel! What about sci-fi do you believe uniquely positions the genre to share a faith-based message?

There’s definitely not much Christian sci-fi in mainstream media—none in film that I’ve seen, and not a ton in literature. But anyway, I think science fiction can be uniquely poised to tackle current issues as well as delve into compelling allegories. The concept of Abort was perfectly setup for a science fiction setting—I didn’t even consider another genre! I also believe that with science fiction you have something that Fantasy can struggle with—a real presentation of the gospel. This can be done in contemporary and historical fiction for sure, but fantasy generally relies heavily on gospel allegories if it wants to approach the Christian theme (Jesus). Science fiction has the privilege of dealing with the real thing.

What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced as a self-published author and what enabled you to overcome them? Do you have any encouragement to offer fellow writers who want  to follow that same route?

I think the battle against anonymity has been the hardest. I can learn how to write good prose, design a book cover, and develop compelling characters, but as an author who started with zero platform, it’s been challenging. I think what’s to be learned is that it’s all up to God. If He wants the book to go far, it will. If not, it won’t. I have to hold my dreams loosely, trust His plan, and be faithful. If the marketing of this book has taught me anything it’s that God is in control.

A note of practical advice for writers: keep writing, keep getting feedback, and write again. It’s a long slog sometimes, but the more you do it, the better you get. And if you’re a Christian who is writing fiction, don’t tack your faith onto it. What I mean is that the gospel isn’t an afterthought, so if you’re a Christian and writing a story, don’t force the gospel into it, allow it to permeate the entire thing. Don’t sprinkle the gospel onto your story, soak your story in the gospel. All or nothing. Don’t be afraid to be preachy but tell a good story, make it real, and give it over to God.

Can you share any details with readers about your current or upcoming projects?

Well, I don’t want to share too much, but I’ve always got story ideas in my head. People who’ve followed me for a while know that I’ve wanted to write a musical, as well as refurbish and finish my historical fantasy trilogy. I also have some more Christian sci-fi stories brewing which address the current issues of the woke church and Christless conservatism. All that to say, I’m not sure what I’ll do yet, but whatever it is, I want God to be glorified.

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Thank you so much to C.D. Hulen for joining me for this interview!

You can connect with him on his website, Instagram, and Goodreads to stay up-to-date on his writing journey!

Abort is available on Amazon.

Alexandria

Book Review: Abort

Happy Release Day to C.D. Hulen and his brand-new novel, Abort!

This is a science-fiction adventure unlike any other, and I’m thrilled to share my review below (and an interview with the author later this week)!

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When Commander Mason Wyatt wakes up on a starship, he has more questions than answers.

Discovering his mission should have been a comfort, but the clock is ticking to complete it, and Mason finds himself stuck with a partner who is asking difficult questions, questions that unsettle his understanding of right and wrong and that put his precarious reputation at further risk.

When he first awoke on the starship, Mason thought the most important thing was to complete the mission, but as time runs short, he must decide if he even has the right to do what the mission demands…

C.D. Hulen has created a masterful, stand-alone sci-fi novel that is both a thrilling adventure through space an intriguing exploration into a character’s struggle with right and wrong.

With a faith-based perspective that effortlessly permeates the entire story, Abort is a novel that will both entertain and challenge readers, and it’s certainly an adventure that they’ll never forget.

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Abort is available on Amazon!

Be sure to add Abort on Goodreads and leave a review once you’ve finished reading! It’s one of the best ways to support authors!

This Thursday, I’ll be sharing an interview with C.D. Hulen.

Reading a few more good books until then,

Alexandria

Blog Tour: Anelthalien by H.A. Pruitt

Have you ever read a book that left you with the feeling that you’ve never encountered anything like it before?

For me, that book is Anelthalien by fellow author, H.A. Pruitt.

This story is something special, friends.

It follows four young, reluctant heroes – Kindle, Tad, Ella, and Andrew – all of whom are looking for something different, longing for an escape. As they travel through an unfamiliar land – encountering friends, questions, and mysteries – each of them must decide if they will accept their role as heroes or turn their backs on Anelthalien and its people altogether. It’s a thrilling and powerful adventure!

But, perhaps, even more remarkable than the journey the characters go on is the wonder this story works on every single one of its readers.

While journeying through Anelthalien alongside the four heroes, I witnessed true courage.

I was reminded of what patience (even with the most seemingly unloveable) looks like.

I encountered the Savior and learned what being a hero truly requires.

And I emerged better for it.

All because of a courageous woman who was simply willing to pen the words of Anelthalien exactly as God gave them to her.

What a remarkable gift that I can never properly thank her or God for.

Pick up this book, fellow readers, because Anelthalien isn’t only something different; it’s something altogether rare.

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What an honor and joy to be part of this blog tour that celebrates one of my very favorite books and authors!

Grab a copy of Anelthalien for yourself and a friend, and get ready for the next installment of the journey, Earth Quaking, releasing June 30th! I can’t wait!

Connect with H.A. Pruitt on Instagram and her website to follow her writing (and guinea pig) adventures! I’ve been so blessed to get to know her, and you will be, too! 🙂

Tomorrow, Erica Richardson is continuing the celebration of Anelthalien!

Wishing you happy reading,

Alexandria

Giveaway: Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves

🌹 GIVEAWAY! 🌹

I’m so excited to announce the second giveaway for my new book, Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves!

One person will receive an art print of this exclusive illustration that will not be found anywhere else!

This is from one of my favorite scenes in the story, and I hope it comes to mean as much to you as it does to me ❤

How To Enter:

🌹 Pledge to the Kickstarter!

That’s all there is to it! Everyone who has already pledged is entered and good to go!

The Details:

This giveaway is not affiliated with WordPress or Kickstarter. Void where prohibited. U.S. only

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me so far! I’m so grateful, and I’m expectant for all that’s to come for Chip’s story and those who go on the journey with him!

Alexandria

What Makes It Hard To Believe?

What makes it hard for you to believe that God hears and cares about your prayers?

For me, it’s the waiting. It’s so hard, isn’t it?

Like the impatient anticipation of waiting for a flower to bloom, waiting for a prayer to be answered or a longing to be satisfied is so difficult.

It can feel long and painful and desperate.

Hopeless.

As if God is silent or indifferent to our prayers.

But I don’t believe He is.

Still, we wrestle and we wonder.

Much like a young rabbit named Chip, who’s desperate to know if his cries are heard.

Who isn’t satisfied to sit still and just wonder.

Who’s willing to brave the most dangerous and thrilling of adventures to find out what he’s most desperate to know:

Does God hear our prayers? Do they even really matter to Him at all?

Wouldn’t you like to know the answer, too?

Follow the link in my bio to join Chip on a marvelous adventure through the land of Almea and find the answer for yourself…

The Kickstarter project for Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves is 47% funded!! Hurray! 

There are just 14 days left to reach my goal, and I would so appreciate your support!

If 25 people gave $50, we could reach the goal and bring Chip’s adventure to readers together!

Will you help me?

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported and encouraged me! I’m thankful for each one of you!

Waiting for the adventure to begin,

Alexandria

A Colorist’s Delight!

Calling Colorists of All Ages!

Did you know that Chip’s adventure isn’t really complete until you bring it to life with colors?

I’ve drawn the illustrations, but now it’s your turn, friends!

Whether you’re coloring crazy or picking up a glitter gel pen for the very first time, an adventure is beginning, and it all starts with you!

Head to the Kickstarter to join Chip as he travels through the land of Almea, searching for a great treasure and the answer to his prayers!

And an enormous thank you to my sweet mom, Penelope Grace, fellow author Erica Richardson and her sweet kiddos, and fellow author Niki Florica for bringing my illustrations into such brilliant color!

I’m so thankful for all of you! ❤

A Special Sneak Peek: Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves

Have you ever wondered what mysteries and adventures might wait just beyond the tree line?

Let me introduce you to Everleaf Forest and a special sneak peek at my illustrated children’s book, Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves

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Not so very long ago, on a spring day much like this one, a young rabbit named Chip was waiting for something.

I’d tell you what it was now, but I wouldn’t want to spoil things.

The forest of Everleaf was Chip’s home, and oh, was it the grandest of forests, full of old, strong oaks covered in rich green moss. Rutted paths, nearly overgrown now, carved their way through the land, though it seemed only the animals travelled them.

Everleaf was one of those forests that set the imagination ablaze; the longer you spend walking beneath its boughs, the less surprised you would be to find a fairy flying for cover behind feathery ferns or a group of elves disappearing from view just around the next bend.

And yet, surrounded as he was by the wondrous, Chip was still waiting for just one thing, and it seemed it would never come.

He waited and waited until the sun sank below the treetops and the animals returned to their burrows and nests. The great owl, Nesbit, emerged from the grandest oak in the clearing, and even still, Chip was there.

Blinking his wide, amber eyes several times, Nesbit looked down at the young rabbit. “Still waiting, are we?” he asked with a rustle of his feathers as he settled on his nighttime perch.

“Yes,” Chip replied, not a little disappointed that all his diligence had gotten him precisely nowhere.

“Hmm. Perseverance is what’s needed here, young Chip. Perseverance!” Nesbit proclaimed, startling several disgruntled birds from their dreams.

“Yes, Nesbit. Thank you,” Chip replied, trying very hard to sound grateful. He and Nesbit had the same conversation every night, and the owl’s commanding declaration of “Perseverance!” had yet to make him feel better.

Thankfully, his mother’s clear voice rang out from the entrance of their home at just that moment. After offering Nesbit a quick, “Good night,” Chip bounded away to their cozy burrow, eager for supper after yet another long day spent waiting.

He had only just entered and laid eyes on the feast Mama had prepared when a voice loudly intoned, “Perseverance, my lad! Perseverance!” and Chip nearly jumped out of his skin.

His father appeared, waving a stick in the air with great authority, almost dropping it as he shook with amusement at his own joke.

“Not you, too!” Chip reprimanded, though his laughter soon echoed his father’s.

“Another inspiring speech tonight, I take it?” Joshua teased.

“He means well,” Chip’s mother chided.

“I know, Bess,” Joshua replied with a grin, “but it was worth it for the way this one’s fur bristled in fright when he heard the dreaded cry of, “Perseverance!”

He waved the stick in the air once more, chasing a laughing Chip around the small log table, nearly crashing into it as his son dashed out of reach.

“Now, see here, Joshua Raddish!” Bess cried, though Chip knew she wasn’t really angry. “We spent all day gathering this supper, and I’ll not have you send it flying with your shenanigans!”

A practiced expression immediately transformed Joshua’s face as he and Chip obediently froze. “Of course, Bess, dear. Absolutely no shenanigans here,” he said, carefully setting the stick down on the floor, a look of mischief barely concealed by his mock seriousness.

Bess fixed him with a look that made it clear she was not at all fooled, then turned to their son. “I hope you didn’t fill up on that sweet meadow grass today. Your papa and I have a special treat for your birthday.”

She gestured to the center of the low table, and Chip’s eyes grew wide. Nestled amidst the usual grass and leafy greens was the largest clump of clover he had ever seen and several choice flowers, enough for them to each enjoy two.

“Where did you go to find these?” Chip breathed in awe.

“A fair distance,” his father replied vaguely.

They sat down, all of them eager to enjoy this special meal. Chip rubbed his paw against his left ear as he always did when he was excited or nervous.

Unusual though it may seem, it was Chip’s left ear that had given him his name. On the night he’d been born, Mama always said, he was instantly revealed to be perfect in all ways to them, and that included the chip missing from his left ear.

No one could say why he had been born with it, but it made the young rabbit uniquely Chip, and his parents had immediately known what his name ought to be.

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If you’re longing to discover more about Chip and join him on his adventures, please consider supporting my Kickstarter so that Chip’s story can be told to young (and young at heart!) readers!

You’ll receive a hand-bound, manuscript edition of Chip’s story with illustrations to color and many more fun surprises! I can’t wait to share it all with you!

Waiting for you in Everleaf Forest,

Alexandria (and Chip)

What Do You Treasure?

What do you treasure?

This old perfume bottle that belonged to my grandma, Mary, is something that my family carefully protects.

Not because the bottle is expensive, but because the woman who wore the perfume and the memories we have of her will always be dear to us.

We treasure it because we love her.

Have you ever wondered what God treasures?

Have you ever dared to believe that, perhaps, He treasures each of our tears like priceless perfume?

That He carefully preserves each one of our prayers, lovingly keeping track of every single one?

I know a young rabbit, daring and adventurous enough to wonder and to follow an unfamiliar path to find the answer.

Will you follow him?

The Kickstarter for my illustrated children’s book (with pictures to color!), Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves, has just 24 days left.

I’m longing to share this story with you.

I’m longing for your confidence in God’s heart for your prayers to be restored.

And if you’ve ever felt that longing, or known someone who has, will you join me on this new adventure? I would so appreciate your help.

Alexandria

Synopsis: Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves

Are you ready for an adventure? 😉

In a quiet meadow tucked away in Everleaf Forest, a young rabbit is waiting.

Chip whispered a prayer weeks ago, a question that he is longing to know the answer to. But as more time passes and still, no answer comes, Chip begins to wonder something quite different:

Do his prayers really matter to God at all?

Instead of being met with silence, though, strange tales of a treasure and a Guardian named Abaline reach Chip’s curious ears.

The stories promise that anyone who discovers this treasure will find the answers they long for, and Chip is determined to do just that.

But an unexpected adventure awaits, full of fire and drakes, racing rivers, and untold wonders.

It promises to be thrilling, but not safe.

The only question that remains is this:

Are you courageous enough to join Chip on his adventure and uncover the answers with him?

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The Kickstarter has 25 days left! Will you help me raise the money needed to share Chip’s adventure?

We’ve raised $315 so far, and I’m so grateful and wildly expectant for God to move!

I would so appreciate your help as I pursue my calling for filling the world with books about God and the good things He does!

Please find me on social media (@2125Books) and share my posts with #bookofroseleaves to help me spread the word!

Thank you so much!

Alexandria