Saturday, February 16, 2019

LIVE WITHOUT YOU BY SARAH GRACE GRZY // blog tour review + giveaway!



Happy Saturday, O readers! Welcome to the blog tour for Live Without You by Sarah Grace Grzy! I'm excited to share my review for this wonderful, heart-breaking, heart-warming novella. And stay tuned, because there's a giveaway. WOOT WOOT. (Click HERE to visit the blog tour's main post and to see the full blog schedule.)

First of all, though, here's some info about the authoress and her story!


~AUTHOR BIO~


Sarah Grace Grzy is a voracious reader, and if it weren’t for this crazy thing called 'Life,' she’d be tempted to spend all her days in front of a wood stove, book in one hand, coffee mug in the other.

A lover of learning, she finds enjoyment in many things and has more hobbies than she knows what to do with. Sarah Grace is a freelance web and graphic designer, and when not working, spending time with her ever-growing family, or reading, she can be found painting, playing the piano, or fangirling with her sisters and friends. She inhabits the State of Great Lakes, and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else—unless it meant she could have a baby penguin, in which case, she’d gladly move to the South Pole.



~LINKY LINKS~





~BOOK BIO~ 


Piper Redding is a loner, but lonely. Everyone she loves has abandoned her and opening her heart to others is just asking for more pain. She can’t help but blame herself for her brother’s tragic death six years ago, and in her guilt, she shuts herself off from the world. No one could love her—not even the God who promised to be there for her but wasn’t.

For paramedic Ezra Bryant, failure is not an option. He’s had enough of it, and only by God’s grace is he able to put it behind him. But when a traumatic event brings Piper’s greatest fear and Ezra’s failures to light, can they use that event to allow God to mend their broken pieces? Can love triumph over fear, and grace over guilt?


~MY REVIEW~


Oh, where do I even begin? Contemporary Christian romance novellas are not my go-to reads, though when I do pick one up, it’s usually sweet. I usually enjoy it. Often 4-star material. *thumbs-up* And Live Without You IS super sweet, but friends… it is SO much more than that smol, pretty word implies. It’s brimming with heartache and pain and depth and hope and realness and beauty - somehow all of that is threaded through a novella-length story with the sort of skill that makes it feel not that short at all.

Yes, it’s sweet. As sweet as a dash of sugar. And yet it’s also as powerful as... a sip of orange & spice tea?? (Idk, I love that tea. <3)

Let’s start with the main characters:

Piper is dealing with grief, and other difficult inner conflicts as part of the package. She was there when her older brother was shot to death years ago, but she still gets the nightmares. As the pain hit her in waves (physically as well as emotionally) from the very beginning of the book, and as her true healing began and progressed despite the obstacles that stood in her way, my heart pounded with concern, twisted in pain, and leaped with excitement right along with her.

But, Piper’s grief doesn’t define her as a character. Her unique, complex personality shone through the pages. You can’t help but adore her. YOU JUST CAN’T HELP IT. <3

This is a collage for Piper that the author herself made! Isn't it lovely? *heart eyes*



Ezra isn't just the love interest. (I love how their relationship doesn't even start as a romance.) He gets his own POV and is struggling with his own internal conflicts and flaws. Best of all, he is SUCH an inspiring man after God's own heart.

Not to mention Ezra is just plain ADORABLE. He has the cutest tendency to apologize for things, and the way he talks to that stray cat!!! Lemme just say, I've never found a person-cat relationship so amusing. And person-cat relationships generally amuse me. ;)

As for the supporting cast, all of them are strong personalities, super well developed for a novella. I especially loved snazzy, straightforward Cecile, and Ezra's dad is soooo supportive and just all around incredible. If any fictional father deserves a Best Dad Ever mug, Ezra's does. (In fact, he probably already has one.)

Two other well-executed aspects of this book:

1. The twists. Especially towards the end. I was silent-screaming, hyperventilating, almost crying, etc. I WAS NOT OKAY. I know I can't sufficiently translate my emotions, and that stresses me out because I wish I could capture them properly in words. They were just ALL OVER THE PLACE.

2. The overarching and overwhelming Christian theme. And no, by “overwhelming” I do not mean overly preachy. And yes, “overwhelming” is used positively here. It was SO refreshing to read a book packed full to the brim with Jesus and His love. The hurt and pain are very real in this novella, but the love and hope and light are just as prevalent. These two areas combine to produce a story of healing like no other. Gaaaah, thinking of it jerks at my heartstrings all over again! <333

I don't think I have anything negative to say, actually. 5 out of 5 stars for Live Without You! I have to say, I enjoyed it more than I think I was expecting. :D

Highly recommended for fans of Christian fiction and sweet romances. <3



~MORE LINKY LINKS~




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Now, onto the giveaway! *dun dun DUN*



Giveaway Information (written by the hosts - I just copied it, hehe :D)

Grand Prize ~ $20 Amazon gift card, Signed Paperback of Live Without You, Specialty designed mug.
Second Prize ~ $5 Amazon gift card, ebook copy of Live Without You
3 Third Prize Winners ~ Ebook copy of Live Without You


Grand prize open to US entrants only, 2nd and 3rd prizes available internationally. Giveaway runs from 12AM 1.21.19 - 12AM 1.23.19. Victoria Lynn Designs retains the right to disregard any entries that they deem bogus or spam. Good luck to the entrants!

To enter the giveaway, follow THIS LINK. :)

~~~

To wrap up this post, here's a quote for you to soak up:



I do hope you'll check out Live Without You! It's sweet. It's powerful. And it's full of Jesus. <3

The Lord's Truly,


P.S. Oh, I almost forgot! During/right after I read Live Without You, I stumbled across a song I used to listen to A LOT when I was younger. It's one of the most beautiful songs in the whole entire world, so I don't know why I haven't listened to it as much as I used to. But ANYWAY, my point is that "Safe" by Britt Nicole is Piper Redding's song. I almost started CRYING, it fits with our dear Piper so well. :') If you've read this book or are planning to read it, you just have to listen to this in light of Piper and her struggles and healing. YOU MUST. I INSIST.

So yeah, that's all I wanted to say about that. ^_^ 


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A WINTER DARK AND DEADLY // nicki chapelway cover reveal


I don't know about you, but I really like cover reveals. They're FUN. And they're especially fun when you have a few significant gifs to scroll through while waiting for the gorgeous cover to pop onto the screen, in all its bookish glory.

That, my friends, is a sneak peek of what you're about to experience! A Winter Dark and Deadly by Nicki Chapelway has a cover I'm suuuuuper excited to reveal to my fellow Winter Cursed fans! And if you haven't read Winter Cursed, then all I've gotta say is 1) it's QUITE good, and 2) the cover for its sequel is lovely anyway. ;) (You may want to skip the synopsis, though, so you aren't spoiled for the first book.)

Without further ado, HERE WE GO.

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via Giphy
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via Tenor

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Mirror...Mirror... 

Elisabeth risked her life to defeat her stepmother and reclaim her crown, but her courtiers have a different idea of who should rule. Her twenty-first birthday is still years away, and it seems that if she does not marry they will give her throne to another regent until she comes of age.

All will fall.

However, she wonders if it will even come to that when she discovers that despite everything she has been told, her stepmother Ismena is still alive and bent on reclaiming her crown- as well as her beauty. Rumor has it that Ismena is searching for a mystical weapon in Mooraven that has the power to end them all. Elisabeth intends to find it first, but how much is she truly willing to risk to save her kingdom?

There is no fairest... 

Winter is coming and with it war. However, Elisabeth’s court is determined to sit idly by and watch the threat from afar. With nowhere else to turn, she is forced to seek an alliance with the only person who can help her. Cedric saved her once, but can Elisabeth rely on him when he is obviously lying to her?

Of them all. 

With a kingdom on the brink of war, Elisabeth quickly learns that there is no one she can fully trust. Not even herself with her control over her ice magic slipping and her heart yearning for the dark prince. Through it all, one thing becomes dangerously clear… the queen who has the most power is the one who will rule.



~~~

Dunno about you, but I'm DYING to find out what happens next to Elisabeth, Cedric, and everyone else. O_o Add the book on Goodreads HERE! Also, be sure to visit Nicki Chapelway's author page on Goodreads and her brand-new author blog: Myths, Magic, and Madness.


I hope you're having a light-filled and safe winter, frens! <3


The Lord's Truly,

Saturday, February 9, 2019

5 FANTASY SUBGENRES I HAVEN'T READ MUCH IN // february is fantasy month!

There's something special about fantasy.

There's something so, so special about diving into a different world bred from the human imagination - that amazing, God-gifted tool inspired by all we see and feel and know about the world around us.

Fantasy is almost LIMITLESS. There's so much to play with in the genre, and so many subgenres for both fantasy writers and readers to expand their horizons across.

This month, a big chunk of bloggers led by Jenelle Schmidt are celebrating fantasy in an awesome event called February is Fantasy Month. << Click to see the main post over on Jenelle's website! And there's a giveaway for a pretty epic letter-opener, so you'll definitely want to check that out HERE.

Today I'm contributing to the event with a post about GENRES. Specifically, the subgenres of fantasy. Because obviously, I can't talk about anything but fantasy for February is Fantasy Month.


Image result for against the rules gif
 via Gifer

Instead of discussing fantasy subgenres in general, though (because that would probably result in a monstrous, scattered post NOBODY has time to read), I'm narrowing down the discussion to fantasy subgenres I haven't read much in. Maybe, as we consider these subgenres, we'll be able to figure out the why. If there even is one, haha. I imagine that for at least some of these, I don't have much of an excuse. ;P

Note: All book links go to their respective Goodreads pages.


1. Historical Fantasy


Basically, historical fantasy is fantasy set in an actual historical period of our world. That could be Victorian era, ancient times, or even World War II. SO MANY OPTIONS. And yet I haven't read much of it??? I know Libba Bray has a few, e.g. A Great and Terrible Beauty and The Diviners, but I'm not interested in any of Libba Bray's works. And I Darken by Kiersten White and Jackaby by William Ritter are on my TBR, not to mention Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, but I can't think of a lot. Part of the problem is I simply haven't heard of many historical fantasies that I'm actually interested in. GIVE ME RECS??

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What intrigues me about historical fantasy is that it blends alleged historical accuracy with fantastical elements. That's a win-win!


2. Comic Fantasy


I read a lot of fantasy with humor in it (I'm pretty sure every single book has at least a TINY bit of humor), but the official comic fantasy genre has "amusing the reader" as its biggest focus. At least, that's how I understand it.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman and The Lady Janies series are two comic fantasies on my TBR. At least, I'm assuming The Princess Bride is comic fantasy.

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via Imgur

The Lady Janes could be historical fantasy as well, although I'm not sure about their historical accuracy. I've definitely heard that those books are HILARIOUS, though, so I'll venture to put them under comic fantasy.

I've heard of plenty of fantasy books in the comical vein, so I have no excuse for not having read many of them. *insert blushing emoji*


3. Grimdark Fantasy


Okay, so I'm justified in not having read much grimdark. This subgenre in general doesn't appeal to me, mostly because of the heavy topics/themes it often delves into, plus the predominantly dark atmosphere puts the reader in a headspace I'd rather not spend a lot of my reading time hanging out in. It's #uncomfortable. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 always pops into my mind when I think about this: "You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness."

Not to say I don't love a good dark fantasy (a lot of the fantasy I enjoy, even write myself, has dark elements) mixed with light and hope to combat the darkness. That's realistic and inspiring. And not to say that I don't love a well-written story that happens to have an unhappy ending or a morally gray character every once and a while. But grimdark fantasy seems to delve DEEP into moral grayness and triggering topics, and most of the time I'd just... rather not, ya know?

Examples would be The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. Due to significant amounts of language and moral grayness in the former and other triggering content in the latter, neither are books I'm interested in at this time. They're super popular, though, and I know people who love Locke Lamora especially.

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These are adult books, by the way. Grimdark fantasy is usually adult.


4. Paranormal Fantasy


Again, I have a right to stay away from this. Vampires, werewolves, and other such beings are creatures I feel uncomfortable reading about in general. There are exceptions - based mostly on what the role of the vampire or werewolf is and how they're portrayed - but not many.

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer - of course lol - and The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater are examples of paranormal fantasy. Personal preference, but I keep my distance.

Me @ sparkly vampires
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via somewhere, idk. Credit goes to original gif creator.

Yes, you heard me. SPARKLY.


5. Arthurian Fantasy


This is technically a sub-subgenre because it's a branch of medieval fantasy, but a double subgenre is still a subgenre, so it works. ^_^

Arthurian fantasy is basically the realm of King Arthur retellings and reimaginings. I think the general requirement is that the story be set in the medieval setting and time period of King Arthur and heavily incorporate Arthurian legend in some way. Can a book even be legally categorized as Arthurian fantasy if it doesn't have an obvious Merlin or Queen Guinevere character?? Likely not.

Examples would be The Once and Future King by T.H. White and Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell. My mom, sis, and I are *cough* trying to read the former together. (We're making slow progress.) Song of the Sparrow used to be on my TBR, but I've since lost interest. *shrug* Maybe that interest will come back someday, but don't count on it. XD


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Arthurian fantasy doesn't appeal to me a WHOLE lot, which is probably why I haven't read much of it. If you've read any good ones, though, hop into the comment section and recommend away!

~~~

And that's it for this post! I hope you enjoyed, and if you want to read more fun February is Fantasy Month articles, follow the link at the top of this post to Jenelle's main post so you can access the full blog schedule. Or from here you can directly visit Kyle Robert Shultz's How to Write Non-Human Characters post or Jenelle's Author Spotlight of Terry Brooks!


The Lord's Truly,

What are your thoughts on these subgenres? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Let's chat about fantasy! :D

Saturday, February 2, 2019

UP NEXT ON THE GOOD OL' TBR // in which i have a book meltdown


Happy weekend, friends! I'm coming at you this fine February afternoon with a TBR post. I've been devouring "Most Anticipated 2019 Releases" posts from many various nooks and crannies of the blogosphere, but unlike the epic writers of those epic posts, the notion of adding a bunch of not-yet-published books to my TBR (the sheer number of Asian fantasies is SO intriguing...) before I can tackle some of the earlier-published books already on my TBR is a scary one.

"One step at a time," I say with a not-so-confident smile, as I unsuccessfully attempt to add The Boy Who Steals Houses, Finale, and Romanov to my TBR without anyone noticing.

Anyway, this post is actually going to be a tag called the Book Meltdown Tag. Lilian, the creator, tagged me; thanks, Lilian! <3 It's the perfect tool for highlighting books that are on the top - or towards the top - of the dreaded TBR... without getting too carried away. Maybe.


~THE RULES~

- Credit and link to the creator of the tag (Lilian @ green tea with books)

- Include the rules.
- The BEST part: choose at least 8 books that you can’t wait to get your hands in the very nearish future!
- Tag at least 3 people to do this on any social media platform you choose.
- Let the 3 know!
- Optional: You can use my featured post image if you’d like.


For the convenience of those I've tagged (see end of post), here is a smol version of Lilian's abovementioned featured image, which you can copy into your post and enlarge if you want to use it:



Now, onto eight books privileged enough to teeter at the tippy top of my TBR tower!


1. Tigerheart by Peter David

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This is an interesting one to start with because I know nothing about it. I haven't seen anyone I know recommend it, and I'm not even sure how I heard about it in the first place (except that I'm drawn to Peter Pan retellings lol). But the reason I know nothing about it is because I want to know nothing about it. I'm actively avoiding reading the Goodreads summary or the blurb on the inside flap. There's just something so thrilling and adventurous about entering a book with few - if any - specific expectations. xD

I could write a whole post about it, but suffice it to say that entering books as blindly as possible is something I've been trying to do a lot lately. It could just be a phase, but whatever the case, I'm enjoying it.

So yeah, I'm excited for Tigerheart. <3

Be aware that I don't know much about the other books in this post either. Of course, I still have legitimate reasons for having put each of them SO HIGH UP on my TBR, so do read on. If you please. ^_^


2. By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson

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I've been DYING to read a Jill Williamson book for who knows how long, and it's my own fault that I haven't yet. Her Blood of Kings trilogy sounds right up my alley - a Christian epic fantasy??? YES PLEASE - so I've decided to bump it up as the next fantasy series I'm going to read. (I don't think I've mentioned this, but I'm not a mood reader. I like to order my immediate TBR very specifically, and right now I have it so I'm only [kind of] working on two series at a time - one fantasy series and one SF/futuristic/action series. And I throw a bunch of stand-alones into the mix too, of course. xD)

Jill Williamson has been a big writing inspiration to me through the Go Teen Writers blog and the GTW book on writing, so that's largely why I'm so desperate to pick up some of her fiction.


3. Never Say Die by Anthony Horowitz

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Let's not talk about the unappealing cover. Instead, let's talk about how this is the 11TH BOOK IN THE ALEX RIDER SERIES AND I'M NOT OKAY. I just started reading Russian Roulette, but after that it'll just be this book left. I think the author's working on another one, but for now... this is it.

I'm not exactly sure, and I'm too lazy to go dig out my old journal to make sure, but I think I've been dedicated to this series since summer of 2017. That's a long commitment, folks. It's been a wild ride since Stormbreaker. :')


4. Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

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I read Entwined by this author several months ago and ADORED it. There's not much else to say except I'm itching to get my hands on another novel by her and see what other adventures she's managed to cook up.

Also, I think this is steampunk? After devouring the amazing Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld last year, I need more steampunk in my life.


5. Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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This is another one that I want to read because it's by a favorite author. It's no secret that I love Nielsen's Ascendance Trilogy with all my heart, and her other historical fiction A Night Divided was really good as well. I'm excited to see what Resistance is like!

More exciting Jennifer A. Nielsen info:

The Traitor's Game is another of her amazing fantasies, and its sequel The Deceiver's Heart comes out THIS MONTH, so I'm freaking out. Naturally. :P

AND, if that weren't enough for you...

She's releasing yet another historical fiction this fall (so basically in a billion years) called Words on Fire. The cover is beautiful, and what can I say except it sounds SO GOOD?

Yeesh. Whenever I try to talk about books, my vocabulary always feels limited to "so good" and "amazing" and that's all.


6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Give. Me. All. The. Circus.

I'm dipping my toes (or should I say quill, haha) in circus fantasy writing-wise, and I'm desperate to read more in the subgenre too. I NEED to get my hands on the Five Poisoned Apples anthology so I can read Falling Snow, but a certain novel or two is calling as well - namely, The Night Circus.

*whispers* The circus aesthetic, though. <333


7. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

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That is... a TERRIFYING cover. *shivers* I'm really excited for this series, though. My brother has been trying to get me to read it for a long time, and soon after I read Never Say Die I'll finally pick it up! It's my next futuristic series from the good ol' TBR.


8. Gossamer by Lois Lowry

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I bumped this up so astonishingly high on my TBR the other day almost on a whim. But not quite.

1) Messenger and Son by this author (the last two books in The Giver Quartet) broke my heart into a million pieces with their incredibleness, so of course I want more.

2) I saw someone recommend it for fans of A Monster Calls, and A Monster Calls is sad and tear-inducing and overall QUITE brutal, so... I'm here for this. It all makes sense.

~~~

And that, my friends, is the end of the Book Meltdown Tag!


I TAG...





~ON A LOWER (BUT STILL HIGH) LEVEL OF THE TBR~

- The Archived by Victoria Schwab
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
- To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo


So many books.

So little time.


The Lord's Truly,
Are any of these books on your TBR? Which ones have you read? What are some top books on your monstrous TBR? Talk to me! :D