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

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! ❤

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

Kickstarter: Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves

What helps you persevere in a hard situation?

I know of a certain grand, old owl named Nesbit who has a pretty clear idea of how to help our adventurous young rabbit 😉

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

The Kickstarter is 13% funded! 🥳 Will you help me get to 20% by Monday so Chip can hear the call to persevere?!

After all, Nesbit loves to share his opinion, and we wouldn’t want to rob him of the opportunity 😅

And for a little teaser…

If you’d like to see the first illustration sneak peek, head to the Kickstarter for Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves!

Thank you to everyone who has backed the Kickstarter and helped spread the word on social media! I’m so grateful 😊

Alexandria

Giveaway: Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves

🌹GIVEAWAY!!🌹

Lots of exciting things are coming to 21:25 Books this week! A new story, a Kickstarter, & lots of bookish gifts!

To celebrate, I’m giving away a hand-painted, watercolor bookmark for my second book, Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves!

Head to Instagram (@2125Books) to enter!

The Kickstarter launches this Thursday, and I can promise that there are some wonderful adventures ahead 😉

The Details:

Giveaway ends Wednesday at midnight.
U.S. only. Void where prohibited. This giveaway is not affiliated with WordPress.

Winner will be announced via Instagram on Thursday!

Wishing you many bookish adventures,

Alexandria

Book Review: Child of the Dragon Prophecy

I’m delighted to be sharing the cover reveal and my book review of Child of the Dragon Prophecy, a debut novel by Effie Joe Stock! Read on to learn more about the story, its release date, and where you can get a copy for yourself (and a friend!).

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What if, all your life, the people you loved and the memories you cherished had been taken from you?

Stephania can’t even remember what she’s lost, but she knows this: there are blank spaces where memories should live, confusion where purpose should light the way, and stinging rejection where love should abide.

You must be wondering if Stephanie will ever uncover the mystery of who she is. But the real question is this: when the Child of the Dragon Prophecy learns the truth, will she wish she never had?

Child of the Dragon Prophecy introduces readers to Rasa, a land full of centaurs and magic, prophecies and loss. In this debut novel, the world-building is exceptional, and readers are sure to feel that they’re traveling right alongside Stephania, breathing in the same scents and taking in the same sights. While some of the characters’ development and the pacing felt off at times, Child of the Dragon Prophecy is a debut rich with conflicted and real characters who must, like us, learn to fight fear with an uncommon faith and let go of hatred in favor of wholehearted forgiveness and love.

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Child of the Dragon Prophecy will be available on Amazon, Bookshop (by BookBaby), Effie Joe Stock’s website, and other retailers. It releases on June 8th!

Follow Effie on Instagram for exciting updates, including preorder availability, special editions, and preorder merch, and don’t forget to add Child of the Dragon Prophecy to your Goodreads list!

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Thank you, Effie, for the opportunity to read an ARC of your novel! 🙂

Hoping your weekend is full of lots of books,

Alexandria

Author Interview With Marysol Ramos

Today, I get to introduce you to Marysol Ramos Moreira, the author of The Open Letter! Read on to learn more about her writing journey, upcoming projects, and what inspired her to write such a unique story.

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Every writer’s story is different. Tell us a little bit about your writing journey and how you got started!

When I was around 13 years old, I had a desire to write this story. I grew up with a weak mentality and pushed the dream away as I believed I was not smart or creative enough to write a book. When I was 27 years old, I began a journey to start believing in myself and revisited my dream of becoming an Author for this specific fiction story. As a single mother, I worked full time during the day and stayed up till past midnight working on the story at least 3 nights out of the week. 4 years later and here I am enjoying this interview for The Open Letter.


What inspired the really unique premise of The Open Letter?

Ever since I was in my early teens, I observed people and question why they were the way they were. I noticed that each of us live in our own little worlds based off different parenting styles, siblings, cultures, heritage, and so forth; yet we judge each other based off the same standards as our owns. Such as, “we both” had the opportunity to go to high school, but only one of us got to go home to loving parents who were not verbally abusive. Yet teachers expected the same energy, mindset, and effort from both students. (This just being an example.) Explaining this to others was usually like talking to a wall. So, this fiction story, The Open Letter, was actually written in hopes of people reading it and receiving a clear definition as to why we should simply love others without giving ourselves reason as to why they don’t deserve our love and kindness.

I love the way you included the characters’ prayers into the story. Why do you think it was so important to share those moments between them and God?

Beautiful question! I think it was especially important to share the prayers and what I strongly believe would have been God’s response because it shows how much in-common we all actually have. Many people have responded saying they relate to a prayer or 2 out of the story though the circumstances turned out to be different. It’s also difficult to hear God responding back in the mist of darkness and therefore I tried to highlight the importance and difference of taking the time to breathe and hear God in return.

What are some of the stories (or authors) that have inspired you?

I have one specific book by William P. Young titled The Shack – that inspired me from my teens till this very day. It’s a beautiful story clearly written to help others understand forgiveness and God’s love. I highly suggest reading the book and then watching the movie. It’s actually a book and a movie that compliment each other.

What are you currently working on? Can readers expect a sequel to The Open Letter?

As of right now, I am not working on a sequel. I am still a full-time working single mother and have jumped from project to project. I am working on children’s books (as I work as a therapist for kids with autism) to help understand anxiety and other mental disabilities. I do have hopes of working on other fiction stories for adults that relate to The Open Letter. All in due time. I’m definitely looking forward to continuing my life as a writer.

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Thank you so much, Marysol, for joining me on the blog this week! It was a joy to learn more about your writing journey and your heart for seeing others through God’s eyes.

You can connect with Marysol on Instagram and buy The Open Letter on Amazon! Be sure to share your review once you’ve read it! It’s the best way to support indie authors 🙂

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Tomorrow, it’s time for the cover reveal of Effie Joe Stock’s debut novel, Child of the Dragon Prophecy, and I’ll be sharing my review of the novel!

What have you been reading lately? I’d love to know your recommendations!

Alexandria