Posted on Leave a comment

Book Review: Letters from the Dragon’s Son

Jonathan Gudwyne is in trouble.

But he shouldn’t be. It doesn’t make sense. Much of what he’s longed for has been fulfilled in these last months.

He is reunited with Izzy, they’ve settled into their homestead, and they’re building the life and family they’ve dreamed of.

And yet, something is not quite right. Something feels stagnant and off-kilter, and it is not long before Jonathan realizes that the rot can be found in his own heart. And when an unexpected and shattering loss occurs, Jonathan finds himself pushed to the breaking point, altogether unsure that he’ll survive what’s consuming him from the inside.

Avery is a man longing for reconciliation and certain he doesn’t deserve it. In fact, if you were to ask him, he’d tell you that what he most deserves is as much pain as can be inflicted for all the suffering he’s caused others.

Still, he hopes. Hopes for forgiveness. Hopes for his boy to see him for the man he’s become rather than the one he’s been.

The possibility seems far-fetched. Still, there’s always a chance for his hopes to be fulfilled. Always a chance for the dragons of our pasts to be, at last and finally, laid to rest.

Letters from the Dragon’s Son is one of my favorite books of all time. For the way it raised my hopes, for the way it lifted my eyes to see my own past through the only proper lens: grace.

We all have parts of our pasts that we are ashamed of, and, like Avery, we all tend to shy away from the grace, mercy, and forgiveness that Jesus freely extends. We know we’re not worthy, so, why bother, right?

But Tammy Lash has woven an intricate story that lovingly, but firmly, refuses to leave its readers in that rut of guilt and shame.

This is a story that lifts you out of the ashes.

This is a story that helps you see yourself and others clearly, perhaps, for the first time.

This is a story full of characters that reflect our own struggles and victories, in all their imperfect glory.

If you’re longing for hope, forgiveness (or the ability to forgive), and a new beginning, this is the story I’ll suggest over and over and over again.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

*

You can find a copy of Letters rom the Dragon’s Son here.

And be sure to read book one, White Wolf and the Ash Princess.

You can connect with Tammy Lash on Instagram and Goodreads.

Happy reading!

Alexandria

Posted on Leave a comment

No Rain, No Flowers

Can I be honest?

Sometimes, it’s hard to know how to begin posts like this. Posts written in the hopes of encouraging someone who reads it. Of offering a little light in the midst of lousy circumstances.

It’s hard because I’m still learning how to navigate discouragement and grief myself, and I don’t want to come across as having it all figured out.

Spoiler: I don’t.

Still, God’s been teaching me so much recently, and it feels wrong to keep it to myself. So, here goes.

The last several weeks have been, in a word, awful. Don’t get me wrong. Good things have still been happening in the midst of it all, but, for the most part, it’s seemed like everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. Know the feeling?

A friend recently asked me how they could be praying for me and my family. My first thought was that if she had two hours to listen, I might be able to scratch the surface. I told her that, lately, I felt like it was just one thing after another, and I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water.

I still feel like that some days.

And then two things happened, both small, but unexpectedly powerful.

I found myself sitting in Psalm 34, clinging to verse 18, in particular.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

This verse is so familiar. I’ve read it a million times. But this time, it hit different. All of a sudden, this was a promise I could feel the weight and shape of, and it became my life preserver out at sea.

Then, on a day when I was feeling particularly exhausted, my dad bought my mom flowers, and she kindly surprised me with a few flowers from her bouquet.

I set the flowers on my windowsill, and immediately heard God whisper, “No rain, no flowers.”

Sometimes, when I hear God, I don’t immediately understand what He’s getting at, but this time, I did.

That flood of lousy circumstances? They provided fertile ground for God to show off His faithfulness. They created the opportunity for my reliance on God to grow. If anything has been apparent the last month, it’s that I’m not in control.

But every day of these recent weeks has been an invitation to rest in the One who is.

I don’t mean that this is an easy fix or that it erases the pain of heartbreaking circumstances.

It doesn’t.

I still feel the pain and exhaustion, but at the same time, I’m now confident of this:

God has been with me and my family all the while.

He never lost track of us, and He’s never going to.

God has been with me and my family all the while. He never lost track of us, and He’s never going to.

21:25 Books

Whether we’re in the midst of wonderful or awful circumstances, He’s right here with us in the middle of it, and He’s using these hard things to create something beautiful, to increase our faith, and remind us that when we can’t see a resolution or a way forward, He’s faithful to lead us and work everything out for good.

In the last month, I’ve found that nothing is steady but God.

And that when the floods threaten to engulf me and the ones I love, He’s faithful to use that driving rain to grow the most stunning flowers we’ll ever see.

*

What has God been teaching you lately? I’d love for us to share and encourage each other in the comments!

A small peek at what I’ve been…

Listening To:

Flourish, Mike Donehey’s new album.

This is a new favorite of mine, especially Standing At the Edge of My World, Glory I Couldn’t See, Flourish, and Breathe In, Breathe Out (OK, I love them all. Go give it a listen!)

Reading:

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, by Maryrose Wood.

This series is whimsical and full of wit and mystery. I absolutely love and highly recommend it!

The History of the Hobbit by John D. Rateliff.

As the grad school saga continues, I am making my way through this Tome (yes, it is worthy of that title!), but I am finally over halfway through it, and I don’t think there will be another book that makes me feel so accomplished after reading it!

What have you been reading or listening to?

*

Next week, a fun giveaway begins and my review for Tammy Lash’s Letters from the Dragon’s Son publishes! I can’t wait to share it!

Until then, happy reading!

Alexandria

Posted on Leave a comment

Book Review: Earth Quaking

Today, I’m overjoyed to share my book review of Earth Quaking, by fellow author and friend, H.A. Pruitt! I’ll let the review speak for itself, but this is not an adventure that you’re going to want to miss.

*

The adventure through Anelthalien continues…

Four young heroes – Kindle, Tad, Ella, and Andrew – are making their way through unfamiliar country. Dangers surround them, and their quest to save Anelthalien and put an end to the evil throne feels more impossible and uncertain as the days pass.

But it’s not only their quest that the heroes are uncertain of…

One of them is hiding something, and, before long, shadows of suspicion begin to cloud their vision, their purpose, and their ability to trust one another. Like me, I suppose you’re wondering: if the four heroes can’t overcome their own doubts and learn to trust again, what hope does the land of Anelthalien and its people have?

Earth Quaking is a stunning exploration of that struggle we all face between doubt and faith. Kindle, Tad, Ella, and Andrew are four of the most real, endearing, and well-written characters you’ll find between the covers of a book. After reading Earth Quaking, I cannot choose my favorite; I love them all and see a little of myself in each of them.

And, perhaps, that’s part of the wonder of Anelthalien. You go there for a good story and a thrilling adventure, only to discover pieces of yourself that you’ve been missing, that you thought were gone for good.

So, if you’re looking for the courage to endure impossible circumstances…

If you’re longing to reclaim the hope you need to place your trust in someone again…

If you need help to remember that things really do happen for a reason and at the perfect time, even when we don’t understand why…

Open the pages of Earth Quaking.

Anelthalien is waiting, and it’s that rare fantasy world where hope comes alive and faith begins to flourish again.

I wouldn’t wait a moment more to explore it.

Would you?

*

You can start your adventure through Anelthalien in book one, Anelthalien, and then continue the journey in Earth Quaking.

Here’s a little more about the author, H.A. Pruitt:

“H. A. Pruitt is the author of the Christian fantasy book Anelthalien. Anelthalien is a portal fantasy that readers say reminds them of The Chronicles of Narnia.


“H.A. Pruitt is a pastor’s wife who teaches two Bible studies and wrote the recovery program for the church they serve. Her mission in all she does is to listen to, obey, and glorify God. She has always enjoyed art, using her imagination, and writing and is enjoying God using those abilities to shape her into an author.
Also, she really loves her guinea pigs . . . all 14 of them.”

You can connect with Heather on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook!

And be sure to add Anelthalien and Earth Quaking on Goodreads!

*

This week is a week of bookish holidays! Yesterday was Read-A-Book Day and tomorrow, I’ll be celebrating International Literacy Day on Instagram by sharing one of the books that I read again and again (and again) as a kid. I hope you’ll join me!

What will you be reading this week?

Alexandria

Posted on Leave a comment

Character Names! Behind the Scenes of Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves

Have you ever wondered how authors come up with character names?

For me, it’s different for every story I write!

When I wrote Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel, many of the characters were based on family members (makes life easy, right?! 😅)

But when it came time for Chip’s tale, God had something different in mind.

I wrote this book in an illustrated journal, and as soon as I saw the owl pictured above, I heard the name, Abaline.

Although, it took me a few tries to decide on the spelling 😄

Alfeus’ name came to me spur of the moment, and, of course, Chip got his name from the charming young rabbit who used to sit outside my window.

Sometimes, there isn’t a certain way that character names come about. They just feel right.

And when God gives you that certainty, you learn not to question it 😊

How do you come up with character names? Do people you know inspire them or do the names just come as you’re writing?

*

Next week, we’ll continue on our behind-the-scenes’ adventures for Chip’s story!

What would you love to know about the making of Chip?

I’ll also be sharing a review for H.A. Pruitt’s novel, Earth Quaking, a book that is very close to my heart.

Happy reading!

Alexandria

Posted on Leave a comment

Behind the Scenes: Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves

Hello, fellow book lovers and writers! Welcome to the first behind-the-scenes look at Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves!

Every Saturday, I’ll be sharing more about my journey of writing Chip, creating the artwork, and binding the manuscript edition!

Let’s turn the first page of this woodland journal and let the adventure begin!

*

It all started on a chilly March morning, a little over a year ago. I had just sat down at my desk when a little rabbit nestled down in the grass outside my window.

That’s certainly not an unusual sight at my house, but this rabbit was different.

Set apart from the rest.

He had a big chip in his left ear, and I immediately suspected that this rabbit, in particular, had seen his fair share of adventure.

I would see him from time to time, chasing after other bunnies, snoozing in the afternoon sun, and taking his pick of our flowers (we planted them for his benefit, right?!) 🌸🌷

I felt a story beginning, but I had no clue where God was leading yet.

I picked out what felt like the perfect journal to use for a story about a rabbit and his forest friends and began to scribble notes.

My first thought was that this would be a simple story about 3 bunnies: Chip, Riley, and Sara. It would chronicle their adventures, their mishaps and mischief.

And I suppose that would have been an entertaining and sweet tale, but it was not the one that God was calling me to write, and it would have been a shame to miss out on the adventure Chip did, in fact, have.

Little did I know that over the next few weeks I would come across a beautiful devotion written by Charles Spurgeon, and God would use it to change everything…

But that’s a story for next week 😉

Join me here next Saturday for more about this altogether unexpected story that God gave to me and all the wonderful things that resulted from it.

*

If you’ve received your copy of Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves, please share with me! Tag me (@2125Books) with #bookofroseleaves 📖🌹

I’m so excited to see the book in readers’ hands and everyone’s coloring creations!

And once you’ve finished the story, will you please consider leaving a review on Goodreads? Reviews help authors so much and don’t have to be anything fancy. A simple 5 star rating and an, “I loved this book” is perfect!

Thank you so much!

Alexandria

Posted on Leave a comment

Meet Romulus Took: Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves

What do you collect?

I know of a certain badger named Romulus Took, whose home is full of all sorts of oddments, trinkets you’d be unlikely to find anywhere else.

For a badger, he’s an unusual sort, but I’ve grown to love him, and I believe you will, too.

Here’s a look inside Romulus’ burrow, and the items he’s acquired from a place called Elsewhere…

Any guess which is his favorite? 😉

I can’t wait for these postcards to make their way into the world! 📬

Until then, here’s an excerpt from Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves, featuring Romulus!

*

“It was widely accepted that Romulus Took was an odd sort of badger, though a well-loved one. He was notorious for collecting all sorts of trinkets from the human world; the badger was fascinated by them all, but it was candles that he loved best.

Chip’s father often related the day, quite some time ago, when Romulus Took had brought the first candles to Everleaf.

The skeptical and the enchanted alike had accepted Romulus’ gift with curiosity, which quickly turned to delight as, candle by candle, a small corner of Everleaf Forest was illuminated by dozens of flickering lights.

He never would say where he found the candles or the countless other oddments that filled his cozy home. No matter how many times Chip asked – and the badger had long ago lost track – all Romulus Took ever offered was a smile and wink, and perhaps, a self-satisfied, “Oh, Elsewhere.”

What do you think the secret of Elsewhere is? There’s certainly more to this badger than meets the eye!

Until you can uncover these secrets for yourself, please add Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves on Goodreads and be sure to follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss out on any writing updates!

Wondering about Elsewhere with you,

Alexandria

Posted on 1 Comment

An Excerpt from Hoover’s Horn

Are you ready for a sneak peek of Hoover’s Horn?

It promises to be a magical adventure!

*

“Sally stood up, scanning the room filled with chattering, jostling garden gnomes. ‘I have one gnome who has not yet shed his wishdrop… I think he’d be pleased to help you out,’ she said, still scanning the room. ‘Cott? Cott? Where are you, Cott?’ Sally called. ‘I have some visitors for you!’

Luna lifted her head and noticed the conglomeration of gnomes on the staircase begin to shuffle and squeeze, as if making way for someone to pass through.

A stubby gnome popped out of the group, waving his hands in the air.

‘I’m here, Miss Sally!’ he hollered, continuing to weave his way through the crowd.

Luna noticed two gnomes trailing behind him. One had two cute braids sticking out from under her pointed hat. She wore a blue dress and had rosy cheeks. Behind her was a gnome who was even shorter and stubbier than the others. Luna knew right away he was a child – even though he had a large, white beard. He held onto his mother’s hand and waved cheerily at every individual they passed.

When the three gnomes finally reached Witch Sally, they bowed politely and introduced themselves.

‘The name’s Terracotta Glaze. ‘Tis a pleasure to make your acquaintance.’ He lifted his leg and showed them an inscription on the bottom of his boot. It said: 100% Terracotta. Then the gnome bowed humbly once again. His red pointy hat seemed to be so firmly attached to his head that it didn’t even wiggle as he bowed. Luna thought he was quite charming.

‘This here is my lovely wife, Dripdrop,’ Terracotta gave her a peck on the cheek, making a clinking sound like two glasses bumping into each other. He gestured to the smaller gnome. ‘And our son, Bert.’

Terracotta had a cheerful face and a shiny white beard – made of the same hard material as the rest of him – framing his face. He reminded Luna of the pictures her family, the Robbins, always hung around the house during Christmas time. What did they call the man with the red suit and white beard? But the gnome wasn’t wearing a red suit, just a red pointy hat. His clothing was blue, matching Dripdrop’s blue dress.

Edwin stepped forward, ‘It is an honor to meet you, Mr. Terracotta Glaze.’ Edwin extended his hand. ‘I am Wizard Edwin – an old classmate of Witch Sally’s.’

Terracotta extended his own little hand, reaching up to shake Edwin’s. Seeing the size of the garden gnome’s hand, Edwin corrected himself and instead of his entire hand stuck out a single finger, using it to shake hands.

‘Pleasure ta meet ya’! And call me Cott. My friends all call me Cott,’ the little gnome insisted, smiling warmly.”

*

I don’t know about you, but I feel sure that Terracotta Glaze is a friend worth having!

Get to know him better and join him as he helps return Hoover to his owlish state in Hoover’s Horn, book two of The Cottonwood Chronicles!

And check out these fun, whimsical coloring pages that Erica Richardson designed herself! I can’t wait to color them 🙂 You can see more and download your own coloring pages here!

And be sure to follow Erica’s writing journey on Instagram!

*

Next week, something different is coming…

Earth Quaking by H.A. Pruitt releases June 30th, and the celebration is just beginning!

Until then,

Alexandria

Posted on Leave a comment

Book Review: A Tapestry of Light

“Sometimes little things held more strength than the grand.”

For Ottilie Russell, life has been an unending pattern of loss.

First, her father and siblings, wrenched away by illness.

Then, her mother, stolen away in a senseless accident that leaves her with the daunting responsibility of caring for her grandmother and younger brother, Thaddeus.

Ottilie is determined, though. Amidst the swirl of doubt and grief, she steels herself to use her unique gift for embroidery to honor her parents’ legacy and provide for her family.

But Ottilie soon learns that her mother’s plans for them were quite different than what she expects, and plans have been set in motion that promise to rip away everything that is familiar.

Everything comforting and reassuring.

As much as Ottilie has wrestled with her British and Indian heritage, she is about to find herself more torn between the two than ever before. The only way forward is to carefully gather the smallest scraps of faith and courage she has left and discover if they will be enough to make something with real strength.

Kimberly Duffy’s books are absolute wonders and a gift to anyone who reads them. In A Tapestry of Light, the pages are filled with characters who hold their darkest struggles up to the light with a courage and vulnerability that is exceedingly rare. 

Readers will be comforted to know that they are not alone in their doubts or pain, challenged to ask the hardest questions, and emboldened to face their long-held fears.

There are countless lessons and comforts to be found in the pages of this book, but, by far, the most important one for me is this:

Sometimes, it is the smallest stitches that transform a tapestry into a work of stunning beauty, and, often, it’s the seemingly insignificant seeds of faith that make a person radiant with the hope that even a life fragmented by loss can be daily made whole.

*

A Tapestry of Light is available on Amazon and Bookshop, a really fantastic site that supports indie bookstores with every purchase!

You can connect with Kimberly on her website and Instagram.

Join us Thursday for an interview with the author!

Until then, happy reading!

Alexandria

Posted on Leave a comment

An Interview With M.H. Elrich

I’m so excited to share my interview with M.H. Elrich! She shares the heart behind Etania’s Worth, the inspiration she hopes readers find in the story, and her plans for the rest of The Daughters of Tamnarae series!

*

Etania’s Worth is such a powerful, redemptive story. What inspired you to include characters who are struggling to receive grace and accept God’s calling on their lives?

First off, thank you for the compliment. I definitely wanted that to come across in my book, so it makes me happy that you discovered it! I was actually inspired by real life circumstance. I have also struggled with receiving grace and accepting God’s calling on my life. For a long time, I vacillated between doing an office job and teaching. Eventually, God convinced me to teach, albeit kicking and screaming, and I discovered he was right, I love it! So I can relate to Etania very much about not being sure if this is what God really wants. I also have thought I didn’t deserve God’s love or grace, so writing that for Etania came through easily.

What made you choose to write in the Christian fantasy genre? How do you think this genre uniquely speaks into readers’ fears or struggles?

I chose to write in the Christian fantasy genre because I realized it was impossible for me to separate my faith elements from my fiction. Many people are able to write clean fiction without faith elements, and maybe one day I will be able to do that. But right now, I find it easier to have a God character in Melchizedek and focus on the Christian audience. I think this genre speaks uniquely to Christians in that it inspires them in their faith. I think that more Christians need books that help them grow in their faith, and not through nonfiction, but through the fiction format. Plus, this helps the nerds like me out there who love fantasy, but also love God.

Parents are typically absent from young adult stories. I love that your book is different! What led you to give the parents such pivotal roles in the story?

I actually want to reverse reader expectations, so that’s a good catch. 😁 As a reader myself, I saw the absentee parents trope and thought: that’s not realistic! Most people have one or two parents. So I wanted to create a relationship dynamic with parents that was realistic. As a young woman, I wasn’t as close to my father as I am now. Formulating Etania’s relationship with Jakin was easier because of these experiences. I haven’t gone through exactly what Etania went through with her mother, but I know how I would feel if I did. Thus, I created parents that reminded me of my own, but different.

I walked away from Etania’s story with a fresh understanding of Who God is and who I am in Him. What do you most hope that readers take away from reading Etania’s Worth?

Honestly, that is the message I wanted people to take away from my story! I’m so happy you got it! 😀 I recently added to the novel the key verse, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies.”-Proverbs 31:10 KJV. I want every young woman who reads this book to realize that God loves them and values them far more than rubies.

Can we look forward to a sequel to Etania’s story?

Yes! Finally, after two years of finishing my credential and the draft of Etania’s Calling, I am able to work on finishing it. I hope to come out with the sequel in December, God willing, and publish the next book in Etania’s series the year after that. Therefore, Etania’s story will take place over three novels, Etania’s Worth, Etania’s Calling, and Etania’s Destiny. After I finish working on Etania’s stories, I intend to start publishing three books on Etania’s daughter, Lavanna, and at least one book on Etania’s mother, Tala. That should complete my Daughters of Tamnarae series, but who knows? God may inspire me to write more. The best way to stay tuned to my book progress is to join my email list or to follow me on Instagram.

I talk about it more on those two platforms than anywhere else.

Thank you so much for the interview!

*

Thank you so much for doing this interview! Follow M.H. Elrich’s writing journey at the links above, and be sure to grab a copy of Etania’s Worth on Amazon or Bookshop!

Next week, I’ll be featuring my review of A Tapestry of Light and an interview with the author, Kimberly Duffy! I can’t wait!

Alexandria

Posted on 2 Comments

Book Review: Etania’s Worth

What a delight to share this wonderful story with you this week! Read my full review of Etania’s Worth by M.H. Elrich below! And come back on Thursday for a special interview with the author!

*

Etania. She felt Melchizedek’s voice, warming her whole body… Lean on me.”

The land of Tamnarae and its people are at terrible risk. Melchizedek is no longer amongst them, and the forces of Malstorm, known as the Skazic, are rising once more.

Yet, there are those blessed with Neuma – unique gifts bestowed by Melchizedek Himself – who remain loyal and are willing to risk all to fight for what is good and true.

But when Etania, along with her family and friends, is called to join the fight, she discovers that leaning on Melchizedek in faith is the greatest battle of all…

Etania’s Worth is such a remarkable story. Full of adventure, love, betrayal, and courage, it’s a novel that is sure to entertain readers of all ages and challenge them to face their fears with bold faith.

The characters struggle with real brokenness and doubt, but what truly sets this story apart is the redemptive arc that most of the characters experience. Reading a novel where many characters learn to receive grace and healing was so refreshing. I’m sure that readers will agree, as they turn the last page, that we need more stories as brave and full of faith as Etania’s Worth.

*

I’m so grateful that I had the chance to read this remarkable story!

Pick up a copy for yourself and a friend at Amazon or Bookshop (a wonderful site that supports independent bookstores with every purchase)!

Join me on Thursday as I share a wonderful interview with M.H. Elrich!

Until then, happy reading!

Alexandria