Announcing Five Fall Favorites 2022!

Announcing Five Fall Favorites 2022!

Seven autumns ago, there was an idea. *cue Nick Fury voice* Fall is my absolute favorite season, and I wanted some way to celebrate it and the bookishness it always brings with my best blogger friends. I shared the idea with Rebekah Morris, and together we brought it to life with our first Five Fall Favorites party.

Since then there’s been a party every autumn, and Rebekah has served as an amazing hostess. (Give her a round of applause! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘) This year she’s stepping away from it, and I’m taking up the mantle again.

I hope we all have a very fun party celebrating my three favorite things–autumn, books, and the bookish community. ๐Ÿงก

If you have a blog and would like to participate, go ahead and sign-up here: https://forms.gle/CPR8ZPVhjf7sc4uM9. (Sign-ups close the 17th!)

See you there! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Interview with Sarah Holman

Interview with Sarah Holman

UPDATE: Congratulations to Amelia S. for winning the giveaway! Thank you everyone who entered.

Today we get to catch up with one of my absolute favorite indie authors, Sarah Holman, and I couldn’t be more excited. ๐Ÿ’›

Welcome back, Sarah! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi Kate! Itโ€™s so fun to be back here! 

Nine months ago, I married my best friend and moved to the big city. Iโ€™m loving married life more than words can say. Itโ€™s pretty amazing to be married to Scott, whoโ€™s been my best friend for years. Itโ€™s worth it even if I do miss living in the middle of nowhere.

(Look at these precious people!)

Iโ€™ve been an avid reader from a young age and started writing down my own stories around eleven. I love writing and sharing the truths God teaches me in a story form. Iโ€™m passionate about encouraging my fellow believers, especially my sisters in Christ, through stories and in my life.

When not reading or writing. I can often be found hiking at Texas State Parks with my husband, hanging out with my awesome family (both the one I was born into and the one I married into), or working on some sort of craft project.

Congrats on your latest release, Kateโ€™s Informant! May we have a brief introduction?

Of course! In this story, the team members are trying to determine if the threat of terrorism is real or just talk. As in real life, they struggle with sorting who is telling the truth and who is telling lies โ€“ whoโ€™s a friend and whoโ€™s a foe.

As a loyal fan of the Kateโ€™s Case Files series, Iโ€™m always excited to hear more about the series. What is your inspiration for it, and what are your long-term plans?

The original inspiration was Sue Thomas FBEye, which was a pretty cool show based on a true story of a deaf woman who went to work for the FBI. I also wanted to write a series that delved into how complicated friendships and relationships can be, but still be good. 

My long-term plans are to get the next book out ASAP (Iโ€™m working on a rewrite at the moment). I have a total of 10 books planned in the series and my hope is to have the last book come out in late 2023 sometime. We shall see if life cooperates with that goal. 

What other projects, writing or otherwise can you share about right now?

I have a lot of fun projects in the works. Iโ€™m currently editing my epistolary novella I wrote for my newsletter readers and plan to put it on Kindle Vella. Iโ€™m also hoping to release my 4th of July story that was part of A Very Bookish 4th of July last year on its own in the next couple of weeks. Also in the works is the next A Very Bookish collection and a new story for my newsletter subscribers. 

How long have you been an author? What advice would you give to newer/breakout authors?

I started writing when I was 11 which was twenty-one years ago. I published my first book in 2011.  Time flies! 

Here are my best pieces of advice for writers:

  1. Read all the time โ€“ both fiction and non-fiction
  2. Be willing to see some of your work as unpublishable stepping stones. You probably wonโ€™t write an amazing story on the first try (or maybe even the 5th time). Keep writing and improving.
  3. Find people who will be encouraging and honest with you about your stories. You want people to both build you up, but also help you improve.
  4. Most of all, stay connected to The Author. God is writing your life story. You want to make sure you are listening to Him.

What is your favorite way you’ve seen God work in a seemingly ordinary moment?

Ooo, what an awesome question, but a hard one. It happens so often. I think maybe itโ€™s when someone finishes one of my stories and then tells me how God used it in their life. Or maybe itโ€™s when I share something God has been working on in my life and it impacts someone else. Or maybe itโ€™s the conversations Iโ€™ve been able to have with others just because of a simple act of kindness. 

I love this answer. Thank you so much for coming!

Thank you for having me. This has been so much fun!

Follow Sarah on her Blog // Instagram // Goodreads

In honor of her newest release, Sarah is giving away two (2) signed paperback copies from her Kate’s Case Files series! Winner gets to choose from books 1 – 5. (Alternate international prize is audiobook codes.)

ENTER HERE

Stay tuned for my reviews of the series and more from Sarah. ๐Ÿ’›

(All images and cover mockups provided by Sarah Holman)

The Magical Nostalgia of The Mandalorian

The Magical Nostalgia of The Mandalorian

I still remember the day my dad rolled the old TV cart out into the cafeteria of the former school-turned-church we lived in and sitting us down to watch Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope.

I don’t remember much. Luke seemed cute, there was a Princess, a lot of desert, funny droidsโ€ฆ *shrugs*

Luke, Leia, and Han pause in the hallway, blasters drawn

We discussed the movie like we always do, evaluating what was good and not so good, keying in on the worldview and messages. We even got a lesson in film history. (#homeschooled)

A lesson that eleven-year-old Kate always remembered.

My dad explained the Old West and medieval inspirations George Lucas brought together to make something entirely new. 

(There’s a writing lesson in there somewhere. ๐Ÿ˜‰)

I mentioned before that I didn’t grow up on SW, and while I watched the movies once as a kid, it was other things that caught my imagination.

Roy Rogers movies. The Andy Griffith Show. The Prisoner (1967). Historical movies, animated movies, old black and white feel-good movies. Secret Agent Man. BBC Sherlock (filtered). Doctor Who.

(Among maaaannny other movies and shows more or less contemporary. ๐Ÿ˜‰)

The Star Wars sequels appeared on my radar and impressed me to varying degrees. (Episode VIII… a.k.a. controversially my favorite.)

And then came The Mandalorian.

The Mandalorian and the hermit ride blurrgs in the desert

Half-hour episodes.

Uniquely titled “Chapter 1” and so on.

With a soon highly recognizable theme song.

Simple yet highly effective backgrounds.

A straight forward and compelling plot.

Characters you knew which side they were on immediately.

A grim, highly-skilled man willing to risk anything for the innocent.

His trusty, rescued sidekick.

The wise hermit of the desert.

A village in need of help.

All in a barren, wild world with every man for himself.

Sound familiar?

What Star Wars had set out to do (as expressed to me when I was a child) was on full, beautiful, Western display in a single, eight-episode season.

Even as I enjoyed the genre-bending, I felt a familiarity that went deeper than the setting and characters.

It reminded me of an old show with it’s short episodes, honesty of characters, theme song and filming style, and even with that weird “filler” episode where Mando runs a mission with his former outlaw gang. 

As a film nerd I’m excited by mind-bending plots, unique editing, and craaazzzy advancements in tech.

But as a viewer who loves relaxing and enjoying a compelling, down-to-earth story, I will be eagerly looking forward to season 2.

Baby Yoda rides in his baby stroller

โ€ข โ€ข โ€ข

(I realize this post has likely already been written. Likely by a middle-aged man. Anyway, if you want to read more about the strong Old West parallels in this show, check out this article.)

My Favorite (Ill-Fated) Star Wars Ships

My Favorite (Ill-Fated) Star Wars Ships

I wouldnโ€™t usually consider myself a big Star Wars fan. I didnโ€™t grow up on the movies and I have zero merch (though I plan to fix that with a Funko Pop of Rose Tico soon). 

But when Katie Hanna and Eva-Joy announced the event was for anything and everything Star Wars related, more than a few topic ideas came to mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And thatโ€™s the beautiful thing about Star Wars. Itโ€™s such a vast, varied universe with room for something for each of us to enjoy. ๐Ÿ’—

Speaking of enjoyment, what do shippers like myself enjoy almost as much as (or maybe more than? ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜‚) a good happily ever after?

An ill-fated, forever-doomed ship. *evil, pained grin*

Here are my favorites…

Jyn/Cassian

Jyn and Cassian disguised in the town scene

๐Ÿ˜ญ

I love these two so much. It doesnโ€™t help that I put myself through the torture of their movie at least twice and read the novelizationโ€ฆ

Itโ€™s hard to portray emotional depth in such an action-packed film, but their comradery, shared commitment to the cause and growth, and silent understanding spoke volumes. Iโ€™m so glad that every step of the way they had each other. ๐Ÿ’—

Their last moments together* are one of the most beautiful movie moments Iโ€™ve seen.

Jyn and Cassian hug as the Death Star destroys the planet they are on

*I refuse to believe they are dead. All the lore surrounding her necklace, okay? Send help.

Damerey (Rey/Poe)

Rey and Poe have an intense first meeting

Forgive me for this one. Itโ€™s been more a case of โ€œooo, they seem cool, where is this going?โ€ Ever since THAT ^^ โ€œI knowโ€ meeting scene and their shared bond with Leia in one of my favorite SW movies. 

I think Iโ€™ve mostly worked it out of my system by skimming two fanfics, obsessing over the Treverrow script, and stalking the only Damerey fan account in existence, but anything could happen. I wonโ€™t promise not to enjoy their few interactions. ๐Ÿ˜‰

โ€œYou know what you are? Youโ€™re a difficult man.โ€

(I better move on before I spiral again.)

Rey and Poe have a lighthearted argument

The Mandalorian and the Widow (Din/Omera)

(Please appreciate with me for two seconds how much that looks like a Narnia title.)

Omera protects her daughter from raiders

How in the galaxy far, far away did a half-hour TV episode make me care about these two together so much? Mando was so at home with her and her people, while she in turn both appreciated his protection and matched it with courage and resourcefulness.ย 

(And they were adorable together, even with his mask. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Iโ€™m guessing they have longer term plans in the ship department for Mando (a certain former shock trooper, mayhaps?), but I have a teensy, tiny wish that s2 would pull through on this one. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‰

Omera fondly touches the Mandalorian's mask

There you go! Tell me about your favorite Star Wars ships, doomed or otherwise. I love hearing different perspectives. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A Very Bookish Christmas: Meet and Greet!

A Very Bookish Christmas: Meet and Greet!

Yesterday I did a very cool author-y thing. I hit “publish” on the paperback version of Sincerely, Jem. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคฉ

^^ A.k.a. the most exciting pop-up message of an author’s life. ๐Ÿ˜†

And today… IT’S AVAILABLE, Y’ALL!!

I’m extra excited because this is the first paperback book I’ve formatted myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰ #authorgoals

As are three other pretty cool books–the same ones that originally appeared in the A Very Bookish Christmas anthology. Would you like to meet them?

Sylvie of Amber Apartments by J. Grace Pennington is inspired by Anne of Green Gables, and I super excited to see how Grace mixes her characteristically deep themes with a slice-of-life storyline. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve heard fantastic things about this story, and I’m a huge fan of The Firmament series and Implant also by this author, so… ๐Ÿ˜€

Gingerbread Treasures by Rebekah Jones (#exceedinglycutecover) is inspired by a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and it DEFINITELY gave me those vibes. If you’re a fan of mysteries with a slight historical feel, you’re definitely going to love this one.

Molly and Anna by Sarah Holman (Pollyanna-inspired) is a fantastic mixture of pretty cute and sweet while wrestling with a really hard topic. I appreciate the author’s willingness to bring up the topic of racism and do her best to address it.

In celebration of our new releases, we’re giving away a $15 Amazon giftcard! ๐Ÿ˜€ Find the giveaway HERE.

Merry Christmas in July!

Have you read any of these books? Or which one(s) are you looking forward to reading?

Upcoming and Exciting

Upcoming and Exciting

I’m excited about two word-related things right now…

#1? The other day, I printed off draft one of “Imperfect”. You probably heard me cackling in excitement. ๐Ÿ˜† Then I stapled it together in segments of a chapter or two, located my red pen, and got to work. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to it, but I’m already to chapter six and suuuppppper excited.

Aesthetically messy ^^

I posted this on Facebook, and it’s painfully true…

#2 on word-related things I’m excited about…

Paperbacks will be available this upcoming weekend in connection with a very special blog party. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

My fellow A Very Bookish Christmas authors and I are releasing our books separately, and I can’t wait for you to see the full amazingness. ๐Ÿ˜€

Stay tuned for a giveaway and some pretty fun blog posts! See you then. ๐Ÿ˜€

My Top 5 Favorite Books for 2018

My Top 5 Favorite Books for 2018

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Hello, y’all! Wow, it’s been a whirlwind of a week! Thanks so much for turning out and helping us explode each other’s TBR lists! It’s been so much fun. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’m sure you’re all very anxious to see who won that amazing giveaway. Click over to our hostess’s blog to find out!

Also, to further help with your bookish problems, we have twenty-seven books on sale for $0.99 and fifteen entirely for FREE. *falls over just looking at them* *hides money from self so I’m not completely broke* A few of those books are by me, and plenty of the others are ones I’ve been meaning to buy. (Send help. ๐Ÿ˜› )

I’m so excited to share this final category/genre/thingy with you. When Rebekah and I were choosing the genres for this party, we thought it would be fun to make Saturday (kinda the bonus day) all about our favorite books we’ve read in this year alone. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, in no particular order, here are my top five favorites of 2018 and the three reasons they made this list. (And several of these I already mentioned during the party, yes. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

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The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery…

  1. Made me cry with the sweetness and simplicity
  2. Gave me much to think about
  3. Has delightful illustrations

Grace and the Preacher by Kim Vogel Sawyer…

  1. Was a gift from the Lord and exactly what I needed at the time
  2. Introduced me to one of my favorite authors
  3. Cemented that I love the name Theo โค ๐Ÿ˜‰

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder…

  1. Spoke to my Neverlandish heart
  2. Made me cry (repeatedly)
  3. Had me in awe of the author’s writing skills

Wonder by R.J. Palacio…

  1. Gave me a look into the life and heart of such a special little boy
  2. Grew my understanding and empathy
  3. Warmed my heart with the sweet family life

Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur…

  1. Showed me how powerful small gifts can be
  2. Fascinated me with the unique storyworld
  3. Gave me something to fangirl over with my sister and a best friend

There you are! Those are my top five favorite books for this year–at least so far. ๐Ÿ˜€ There are still a couple months left to read in. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once again, thank you all so much for coming! And thank you to the amazing bloggers who shared their favorite books! And a HUGE thank you to Rebekah for organizing this whole thing! It’s been a ton of fun. ๐Ÿ˜€

FFF - booksDon’t forget to check out everyone else’s posts! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Before you go… I happen to be the Books party room today, and so here’s your link to a free copy of my book The Twin Arrows. Enjoy!

What have been your favorite reads this year?

 

 

 

Top 5 Favorite Christian Contemporaries

Top 5 Favorite Christian Contemporaries

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We interrupt this book recommending fest to remind you that…

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…this is the Grand Prize!! โค โค

I don’t know about you, but that stack looks pretty awesome to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Gift from the Stormย by Rebekah Morris
Boundย by Victoria Lynn
Kieraย by Kate Willis
Love Needs No Wordsย by Faith Potts
A Five Fall Favorites mug (designed by Rebekah Morris, created and donated by Salsa and Tea)
Okay, now back to books. ๐Ÿ˜€
I love stories set in my time period with strong Christian messages I can relate to.ย It’s hard for me to find books in this genre, but I do have some favorites to share. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (And if you have any favorites, please comment with ’em! I need a taller TBR mountain. :P)
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It was free, my friends liked it, I wanted something cute to read. Basically, the story of how I ended up reading Three Little Words, an adorably fantastic novella by Melissa Tagg. This book is a romance, but a friendship-based one (which is always my favorite). (Read my fangirl-y review here.)
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At the Christmas Lodge by Rebekah Morris is one of my favorite Christmas short stories. This book was light and cozy but also didn’t skip over the true meaning of Christmas. (Read my review here.)

 

I am entirely in love with the Kate’s Case Files series by Sarah Holman. I’ve only read (and re-read and shared with Anna and shared with Paul) Kate’s Innocence and Kate’s Capitol so far, but that’s only because I’m trying to be a good girl and not spend every last cent I get. (I will buy you soon, my precious.) Clean mysteries, super cool contemporaries, compelling characters, and Spiritual themes that talk Right. To. Me… Pretty cool. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Read my review of Book #1 here.ย 

Read my review of Book #2 here.

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(Oh, look. This happens to be part of the Grand Prize. :D) Gift from the Storm by Rebekah Morris is *probably* my absolute favorite of her titles. I loved the characters, found the mystery quite exciting, and yes, it’s another cozy, winter-y read. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s also a story of compassion and hope in Christ. (Read my full review here.)

FFF - bonfiresThose are my favorite Christian contemporary reads that have been published in the last five years. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also love the feel of bonfires and roasted marshmallows, and now my mind is spinning with ideas for a contemporary book with s’mores in it because that would be double awesome. ๐Ÿ˜€

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway and read everyone else’s posts! (I know I’ll be stalking them because I need more contemporaries to read.) ๐Ÿ˜€

Do you have a favorite contemporary book?

Top 5 Favorite Read-Alouds <3

Top 5 Favorite Read-Alouds <3

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Hello again, happy third day!!! It’s been so fun partying with you all. I look forward to this party every year, and I love getting to do it with blogging friends old and new. ๐Ÿ˜€

My family and I have a strong culture of reading. Stuffed bookshelves, huge library trips, and read-alouds galore. It’s been amazing to share stories with each other, discuss them in extreme detail, and fangirl like crazy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My mom is usually the one who reads aloud to the entire family, but my dad has shared some G.K. Chesterton novels with us older ones, and lately I’ve been doing some read-alouds with my youngest sister and my nephews. It’s really quite lovely. โค

Today I’m gonna share with you some of my favorite books to read aloud… ๐Ÿ˜€

vanderbeekers

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser was our most recent read-aloud and a huge hit with the entire family. It’s a sweet, clean read about a large, loving family, and it’s set at Christmas time to boot. We found many of their little quirks and sweet traditions to be adorable, and it was especially fun when they were similar to ours. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The second book just came out, and we are quite looking forward to trying it! โค (Read my full review here.)

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What is more classic than Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne?! โค I loved sharing this with my youngest sister and rediscovering the classic tales myself. It’s such a homey and “hummy” (to quote Pooh) book. And quite quotable too. XD No one is too old for the Hundred Acre Wood. (Read our full review here.)

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Mad About Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans is a charming collection of several of the classic tales. My youngest sister and I enjoyed the illustrations, and she even took a turn reading aloud in her best French accent. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Read my review here.)

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This darling story, Audrey Bunny by Angie Smith, has a sweet, important Biblical theme and some of the world’s best illustrations. โค I’d say the deep concepts might be a little hard for very young ones to grasp, but they would still enjoy the pictures. A five-star book. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk was a recent surprise! I was expecting a typical mouse-with-a-hidden-talent/identity book, and I certainly didn’t expect this inspiring story. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My nephews loved poring over the detailed illustrations. (Read my review here.)

FFF - boatsI hope you find something new to share with a little one (or even your entire family!). Reading aloud can be a very special way to share a book, and you’ll have boatloads of fun discussing it! โค

(I know, that was such a cheesy way to get “boat” in there, but seriously, all I can think of right now is The Lady of Shallot, so…) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Visit our hostess’s blog to check out everyone’s recommendations from today and enter the fantabulous giveaway!ย 

What is your favorite book to read aloud (or have read to you)?