Dust to Flame Cover Reveal!

I’ve fallen down on the job of keeping track of one of my favorite authors, apparently. When Hope Ann announced her upcoming book Dust to Flame, I was surprised and delighted. 😉

Today I get to share the (gorgeous) cover with y’all!

I’m really fan of the fonts. They look as if they’ve been intricately carved out. I also love the faded arches in the background, and I’m very curious about the title.

Okay, but I should probably just show it to you. XD

Here you go…

Synopsis:
When you defeat everything life hurls at you, it’s a perfectly legitimate move to rub your conquest in the faces of those who sneered at your suffering.

Rafe, a former street-lad who clawed his way to the glittering life of a story-actor, has been waiting. But from the moment he sprung from his carriage into the gritty dust of Cainth, life has not gone Rafe’s way.

Unexpectedly dragged into a web of greed, treachery, and stolen rift powers, Rafe intends to do what he has always done. Survive.

At least that was the plan before he accidentally protected a child.

Before he accidentally gained the powers of an immortal.

And before he caught himself accidentally slipping toward the deadliest mistake possible.

The mistake of letting one’s self care for another.

Welcome to the world of…

DUST TO FLAME

Add on Goodreads

Preorder on Amazon

*sighs happily* Another Hope Ann book is coming y’all! 😀

Oops, Books Are on Sale

Okay, so it’s Black Friday again. *sucks in breath* Remember that sale last year with 150+ indie books available? It’s happening again with 280 or so books in it this time. 😮 😍

I browsed through the titles today, and it was so exciting to see so many of my favorites on sale for $0.99 or even free. Some highlights I recommend… 

  1. The Accidental Cases of Emily Abbott series (I looooved these so much this summer that I’ve been re-reading them already. 😀 )
  2. At the Christmas Lodge (This one is super cute, and yes, I think I recommend it constantly. 😁 )
  3. The Shallows trilogy (Aaaaaahhhh! The entire series on Kindle for less than 2 bucks?! Do it.)
  4. The Beast of Talesend (This was a hilarious find this year. 😂)
  5. Emmeline & Suit and Suitability (These are both from the Vintage Jane Austen series and are my favorites.)
  6. Implant (Super clever sci-fi!! A bit gruesome in some parts, FYI. Read my review.)

(All of my books are on sale as well if you’ve been waiting to get any. 😉 )

I’m also really excited to pick up some books I’ve had my eye on (finishing series is a good thing, right?!) and try out a couple new ones. 

The Lady and the Frog by L. Palmer has THE most adorable cover and a really quirky sounding plot. It also come highly recommended from some Goodreads friends, so yay!

The Case of the Invisible Thief by Perry Kirkpatrick is the latest Kitten Files mystery, and I still haven’t read it. #fangirlfail This must be remedied. 😁

I read the first two books in the Firmament series by J. Grace Pennington years ago, and I think now it’s time to continue. Machiavellian and Reversal Zone are going in the digital cart. 😉 

Are you buying any books today? Which ones are you most excited about?

Baby in a Raincoat

Last Thursday, we hurried inside the church building, running a little late and more than a little in danger of getting wet from the rain that poured down.

I love rain so much. Thunderstorms as wild and loud as a fireworks show… sheets of rain blowing sideways like unsteady toddlers… drizzles of rain too weak to be called a storm but just enough to paint the sky as gray as England.

I love to watch raindrops race down the windows in big tears or hear it pound on the metal roof of the grocery store. I love feeling the first heavy drop hit my nose and ducking into the car before the rest can catch me. I love that weird, tired sound windshield wipers make. I love seeing forks of lightning flash like a tourist’s camera followed by the loud rumble that jumps my heart. I love the smell of rain before and the smell of rain after. I love the squelchy things it does to grass and leaves and dusty earth. I love the way it beads across a spider’s web and catches a world in each droplet. I love the way it rushes down the drains along the streetsides like busy little rivers on their way to nowhere. And I love staying in and looking out and letting pictures fill my mind with new stories or better old ones.

I love rain.

We don’t get much rain where I live now, though we are a little heavier on thunderstorms than some  places. While I loved rain when I lived in PNW, it’s even more exciting when it happens here, and it’s lovely to see the excitement rippling through others.

Back to Thursday morning, our third day of rain in row… We were on our way into church to serve as childcare workers and were running a little late. My sisters and I reached our respective placements, and found that fortunately, no kids had arrived yet.

The kids slowly came in, a little late, a little wet, a little excited just like we had. My sister and I shared a delighted look when T stumped his way through the door. T has Sharpie-black, stick-straight hair, and little dark eyebrows the color of his eyes. He reminds me a lot of one of my nephews with his shy sweetness and his expressive face.

But today, my shy little friend T came into class with his hands deep in the pockets of a little yellow rain slicker with black, line-drawn boats all over it. He wore the hood over his head, and just a little bit of his hair and his chubby face peeked out.

Over the course of the day, a few teachers asked him if he wanted to take his coat off. When his mom came to pick him up, she pushed his hood back and he immediately asked to have it back on again.

It was pretty adorable watching him walk around like that, but it was especially interesting to see him more confident than usual. Maybe it was the joy of getting to wear something new and unusual, or the holiday of a rainy day, or maybe he imagined himself as a little knight or explorer or something else. But I think I’ve understood a little bit of what he was feeling as I’ve pulled out my favorite sweatshirt and walked around the house wearing a blanket cape that makes me feel a little bit like a vintage star or Princess Leia.

Rainy days are just wonderful. ❤

Book Review: In 27 Days

“Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him.

Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, she is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back twenty-seven days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.

Time ticks away as Hadley looks for ways to not only talk to Archer but to know him on a deeper level. But just as she and Archer connect, a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart. Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything—including her life—to keep Archer alive.” (from Goodreads)

I saw this book at the library when it was first released, and it quite intrigued me. (Not to mention the cover is one of the most gorgeous ones I’ve ever seen. ❤ ❤ ) I looked at it a few times, but I always put it back because I wasn’t sure I was up for reading a book with suicide as the main topic.

Flashforward about a year later and my Goodreads feed blew up with friends leaving rave reviews of it. I got a few more details from them about the content (thank you for answering my detailed questions!) and finally decided it was time to give it a try. I couldn’t find a copy at my library, so I bought a used copy and I’m so glad I did.

This book is not what I was expecting. I have no idea what I was expecting, exactly, but this wasn’t it. This was so much more. More compelling. More emotionally tangible. More everything.

The opening chapter caught hold of my emotions so well. I felt every question, ounce of devastation, and shred of guilt Hadley did. The unexpected death of someone I didn’t really know has hit me twice now, so I related deeply. The suicide was never shown or explained even, but I didn’t feel that it need to be for me to see the devastating wrongness of it happening.

I really liked all the characters. Maybe liked isn’t the right word, since some of them were unsavory. They were well done, and I felt like I knew them by the end. Hadley was just really, really normal–not a Mary Sue or a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Even though she wasn’t the one who the deal was centered on, I loved how she had loneliness and worry for the future and some things she needed rescuing from just as much as Archer.

Archer. He was not a particularly likeable character, but I was rooting for his rescue every single page. He had so much to live for and yet so much trauma and unaddressed PTSD and guilt that threatened to suffocate him. Not to mention the social barriers he had built to protect himself. Every once in a while, I got a glimpse of the sweet man deep inside him, but I grew to love him in all his facets. Oh, and I very much loved his family. They were realistically loud and nosy and wonderful. XD

I guess Death is probably the third character of the main ones. He was as mysterious and unsettling as you would expect, but I liked the pretty strong hints that he’s definitely under God’s authority and possibly some type of angel. I wasn’t expecting that from a mainstream published book, so kudos.

And the crux of the story came directly from a Scripture. ❤

Friend, this book isn’t about a suicide or preventing a suicide or falling in love or rescuing and being rescued or the sanctity of life or learning to live even though it was about those things. No, the book was about answering the question, how far would you go to love someone? With nothing in return? Just because someone needs to love them. What are you willing to give up?

It was thoroughly amazing and challenging and tearjerking. ❤

I’m going to pass on the favor done to me by my lovely Goodreads friends and tell you a little bit about the content. This book was heavy on redacted language as well as a very obvious acronym for one word. I’ll be using some whiteout on my copy to make re-reads more to my preference. 😉 Also, the kissing in this was a little more descriptive than I prefer and happened in an undefined relationship.

Altogether, this was a truly impactful read. I’m so glad I took a chance on it. ❤

A Few Lovely Things

Welcome to Kate’s Curation of Lovely Things, the part of the show where Kate comes out and curates lovely things. Or in English, she shares with you some things she’s been loving lately. 😉

My fantastic nephews were over a lot last week, and we took them to the library to bring home approximately a million and a half picture books. Seriously, they are the cutest little bookworms. ❤ I read and reread books about superheroes and baking, and it was really fun. 😉 

One of my favorites was Baby Cakes by Theo Heras. 

My mini-review: This picture book is so adorable. ❤ I was surprised to find out that it was published recently because it has the feel of a classic book. I love the illustrations, and sweet, short text. The pages are nice and thick too so my youngest nephew can turn pages without destroying them. 😉

I also brought home The Hug and Hair Love, and I’m quite looking forward to both. XD 

I also got to share my brand new paperback copy of the graphic novel Martin and Marco by Jonny Jimison (the new gorgeous edition!!!) with my oldest nephew, and I’ll be reviewing that here soon. All I can say now was that I loved every minute of it, and my nephew was glued to the pages. He can’t even read yet, but he studied it so hard at least twice. Pretty cute. 😀

We had a ton of planned activities and crafts and games, but sometimes in the evening everyone was just a bit too tired, so we started a new kid’s show with them. It’s called Hello, Ninja. It’s based on a baby book by N.D. Wilson, and it’s sooo cute! And really positive too. I enjoyed the family relationships, the way the best friends build each other up, the imaginative play, and the SOUNDTRACK. I’m only a few episodes in, so watch at your own discretion, but it was fun. 

And this weekend, after a lot of festivities and a really good, uplifting church service, I got to discover one more lovely, heart-filled (and kind of hard) thing. 

Here’s my review of “Harriet”, originally posted on Facebook…

Just watched Harriet with my siblings and a friend last night. It was such an amazing movie, and I’m so glad I got to see it! ❤

A list of things I loved about it (in no particular order):

1. Harriet. She was such an amazing woman, and I loved the faithful portrayal of her.

2. God was magnified as her guide and friend.

3. THE SOUNDTRACK. I’m listening to it right now.

4. William Still. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie then read his Wikipedia.

5. Harriet’s various allies. It was such a diverse group of people, and I loved seeing how their small acts of resistance and faithfulness worked together to bless many people.

6. The historical accuracy. Some things were tweaked/added for story reasons and increased drama, but it was still really faithful to the real events.

7. The Combahee River Raid. I cried.

If you haven’t seen this yet, get yourself to a theater! ❤

Content note: Since it’s portraying such a horrible time in history, there are at least two very rough scenes as well as allusions to others. There was also one use of the F-bomb and frequent use of the “n” word. A couple of bathing scenes.

One more lovely thing… you are loved by God, so, so deeply. He gave up everything to call you His own, and if you give yourself to Him, He will save you forever and make you into a new, even lovelier person than you are now.

A Very Bookish Christmas UPDATE!

Not to freak anyone out or anything, but it’s 39 days until Christmas. Isn’t that awesome?!! And I *think* my crazy Southwest weather might finally be turning the corner into coldness. 😉

It’s also only 13 days until A Very Bookish Christmas (a.k.a. the first anthology I’ve ever been published in, and I love the authors I got to collaborate with) releases! 😀 😀

From what I hear, it’s currently being formatted and nearly done. ❤

It will be available in paperback and ebook November 29th through December 31st. So, limited edition. O.o. Ebooks are available for preorder right now on Amazon. (Side note: I just preordered a book for the first time in my life, and I’m so excited waiting to see it appear on my Kindle. XD )

I think that’s all the info on it I have to share right now, but you’re gonna love it and YAY and Christmas is coming!!!! 😀

Have a good weekend!

Book Review: The Bookshop Girl

“Property Jones lives happily with her mum and brother in their cozy old bookshop, even if there aren’t many books on the worn shelves and it’s always a bit too chilly inside. Lately, though, her mum has been making a lot of nerve-calming tea as she does the accounting, and Property is beginning to worry about the future of the White Hart.

But everything changes when Albert H. Montgomery, the owner of the greatest bookshop in Britain, announces a drawing to find the Montgomery Book Emporium’s next owner . . . and the name he draws is the Joneses’! But there is more to the Emporium, and it’s peculiar former owner, than its thousands of books in extravagant and whimsical displays. Albert Montgomery is hiding something that could destroy everything. Property Jones has a whopper of a secret too–and it might just be the key to saving her family and their bookshop.” (from Goodreads)

This book was so enjoyable. Highly atmospheric, written in a very droll style, and so sweet the ending brought me to a few tears.

The Book Emporium was amazing! I loved the quirky way it was built and the description of each room was better than the last. *sighs happily*

Property (yes, that’s her name; yes, there is a good explanation; and don’t worry, she was very much her own person) was a great character whose power lay in observation. I loved the way she loved books, and, boy, was she clever! Her family–not the one who left her behind but her real family–was pretty sweet. I especially liked the surprising, caring heart deep inside Michael.

Okay, the way they foiled the nefarious plot was BRILLIANT and surprisingly funny. I was slightly uncomfortable with the moral ambiguity of “cheating the cheaters”, but it wasn’t a huge deal.

(I had a few very lovely quotes picked out to share, but the book was regrettably returned to the library, so I guess you’ll just have to read it. 😀 )

Altogether, this was certainly a gem. ❤

More Words!

Words are happening!!!

Last week I added 4k, give or take, new words to my current story. I’m a NaNoRebel, and there were some snacks. XD My disastrous christening was perfectly disastrous, and I surprised myself with some new details and character developments I wasn’t expecting. The dog in it is slowly morphing to have the personality of my dog, and I love it. 😉

Here’s a (very rough) excerpt of my writing, just for fun. 😀

As they neared the church, the sweet smell of apple blossoms rose to meet them and a few blew in through the open carriage windows.

Marinne caught one in her hand and whispered to the sleeping baby. “Soon, my child, there will be apples hanging from the castle trees, and you and I will pick them together.”

Harbor slipped an arm around both of them, careful not to disturb the small metal stars that had been sprinkled into her hair, and leaned over to speak with his son. “And very soon after that, cook will make wonderful smelling things from the apples, and you will grow big and strong from the eating of them.”

Marinne laughed, in an instant imagining their child as a little boy and then as a grown man. “But you won’t grow too fast. You will be our child for a little longer.”

*squeezes all my characters in a hug* *tries not to get too attached to them because of the genre I’m writing* #disastersabound

Now I’m at a little bit of a sticky spot–one of those ones where time needs to pass but not be skipped over. If it were a movie, I would do one of those cool montages with a lot of changing leaves and smiling and worrying and Danger Looming. I think I’ll figure out how to do that in written form eventually, it’s just a bit daunting. 😉 

Ah, I just had an idea! I think that will work. Wow, okay. Now I’m excited.

I’ll have to postpone writing that for a bit since I have some very amazing company here, but I’m excited to get back to it and move these characters forward in their story.

My Shoes Have Bows

“I love your shoes.” “Thank you.”

A little while later, “Where did you get them?”

I answered as best I could, amazement and a little sense of wonder growing inside. This compliment came from E, a freckle-faced, wide-eyed four-year-old, one of 14-18 kids I get to hang out with as a childcare volunteer. She had been one of my shyest all day, but apparently after our conversation on the playground about macaroni and cheese, she was ready to be friends.

This isn’t what surprised me most about E’s compliment, though.

My shoes are probably my favorite I’ve ever had. Comfortable, the most common color I wear, and a really good fit. I wear them so often that they are beginning to fall apart, and I’m in the “oops, these look shabby, don’t they?” stage.

And E loved them. It probably has something to do with the bows on the cross-straps. Or maybe she really likes brown. Who knows.

I periodically think about how we love things. I think about it when I see a five star review that is mostly “I loved it! Except for these negatives” followed by a long list. I think about it when I see something so, so beautiful and monumental picked apart by critics because it wasn’t perfect enough. And I think about it on days like today when I have to write three negative reviews in a row.

Granted, there are times when the negative needs to be mentioned, especially if it came as a surprise or is going to hurt someone, but why not share more of what we loved about that five star book? Why not spread it from the rooftops that this movie is monumental and beautiful in all the ways it actually is? Why not post a positive review or status on the same day as the negative ones?

This world is pretty messed up, and some days I’m just waiting for the replacement. But even on those days, I can find something to love because there are little bits of beauty mixed in with the broken. And when I find something to love, I’m going to follow E’s example and love it louder and longer than anything else.

And my shoes are pretty cute with those bows.

*

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Things I’ve loved (so far) today:

My dog’s laying-on-the-floor-resting face

These two heroic stories (HERE and HERE)

Hashbrowns

Supplements to fight off a seasonal cold

Fall decorations ❤

Plate Update: LEGO, Sherlock Holmes, and Autumn

October was weirdly half-autumn, half-summer, but it was a good month. 😉 

Last month’s full plate included some cheesecake. 😀

Here’s an update on my full plate…

Pleasure read:

Beneath a Prairie Moon (four stars)

Perception (four stars)

How to Read a Book (picture book, three stars) 

The Bookshop Girl (five stars)

Beta-read (eeek!):

Gingerbread Treasures (another story from A Very Bookish Christmas ❤ )

Answered:

Emails and texts

Questions about Kiera for this vlog 

(A thinking face…)

Wrote:

Meeting minutes for my transcription job (lots and tons)

Some reviews…

5k words on a new project ❤ ❤

Blog posts (the top three being Kiera Q & A Vlog!, Longing to Write, and September’s plate update.)

Edited:

“Sincerely, Jem” (drafts on my own, with another reader, and with my editor, Kelsey Bryant, phew!)

Miscellaneoused:

Made two LEGO spaceships (please be proud of me 😛 )

Filmed an actual vlog 

Attended a really good Bible study

Cleaned the house for parties

I also attended more choir practices with my family, started rewatching BBC Sherlock (on a filter), and absolutely loved the colder weather. 😉 Also, I went to the library for the first time in forever. 😀

This month, I’m looking forward to releasing the A Very Bookish Christmas anthology with my fellow authors (ahhhhhh!!!!), celebrating Thanksgiving, writing some as a NaNoRebel, and seeing what else God has in store for the month. 😉 

How was your October? What are you looking forward to this month?