Ибо так возлюбил Бог мир, что отдал Сына Своего Единородного, дабы всякий верующий в Него, не погиб, но имел хизнь вечную.
While I receive many books in exchange for review, I am never required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my very own.

Friday, April 9, 2021

The Bear of Rosethorn Ring Blog Tour: Guest Post: Kirsten Fichter

 EEEEK!! Y'all know I love a good guest post, and of course, Kirsten is basically my absolute favorite guest to have here! (Inserts round of applause)

Without further ado, the author herself! (Click on the photo to go to Kirsten's blog!)



Retelling an Unknown Fairytale

 

            Fairytale retellings are becoming a bigger genre every time I turn around. Big-name authors and indie authors and all the authors in-between are writing their take on some of the most popular fairytales out there. I’ve been trying to keep up with all of them (at least, note and list all the retellings that I can), but I think I’ve got to admit that it’s impossible to find them all. Especially all the Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast retellings. There are hundreds of those. Or so it seems.

            (Don’t get me wrong; I love a good Cinderella retelling as much as the next fairytale enthusiast. I just wish people would do MORE.)

            But what about fairytales like Thumbelina? Toads and Diamonds? The Steadfast Tin Soldier? The last has a mere ONE retelling that I know of, and the other two aren’t much better. And the fairytales that are so obscure that, if I mentioned them, no one would have any idea of what I’m speaking? Zilch.

            “These aren’t popular fairytales,” you argue. “People want Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast because they already know the story. They want to have something familiar within the retelling.”

            If you say that, you’re not wrong. We do have a tendency to lean towards things that are familiar. But in doing so, we’re leaving so many wonderful fairytales untouched and unloved. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if you call yourself a fairytale enthusiast/author, you have to do better than just a version of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. You have to go all in.

The unknown fairytales NEED a chance in the spotlight. Many of them are beautiful stories that have magical elements and themes not found in some of the more popular ones. I don’t know why they’re not more known and loved, but they should be.

            Committing to retell an unknown or obscure fairytale isn’t easy. I struggled a bit writing my book, The Bear of Rosethorn Ring, since it’s based on the little-known fairytale Snow White and Rose Red. Now, even though people may recognize the names of our titular heroines, they often don’t know the actual story. (Try me: Do YOU know their story?) I wanted the story to be unique as a retelling, and yet still have enough of the original fairytale to make people interested in that as well.

When working with an unknown tale, it’s really important to keep as many of the big elements intact (or somewhat intact), to allow the reader to get a good feel of the original story. Cinderella is so well-known that if you take away the glass slippers, people still recognize her. If, however, you retell something like The Gnome and take away the underground kingdom, there’s a good chance people won’t recognize it. Many of the original elements are what make the fairytale in the first place, so why erase them?

Now, I’m not saying that you should spit out a near-exact replica of the original fairytale. No, it needs to be your own. Your style, your spin, your retelling. While you should stick to many of the BIG elements, the smaller ones you should change around to create a new story. Decide what’s important to keep for the retelling, and then make the rest your very own.

Obscure fairytales have the same problems that popular fairytales do: ALL THE WHAT IFS. They have plot holes, unexplained details, and sometimes unsatisfactory endings. And these are the perfect fodder for a good retelling. Look for the pieces in the fairytale that don’t make sense, and make sense of them. Cinderella has been given a good many reasons to go to the ball, but do we have reasons for why the witch wanted to poison the prince in The Riddle? Why did the queen put that pea under twenty mattresses when making up a bed for the princess, and why were there twenty mattresses? That reason just became your retelling.

The fun part about retelling an unknown fairytale is that there are so many ways to retell it since no one (or next to no one) has retold it before. If the fairytale is obscure enough, your retelling may be the very first. It’ll be the gateway that introduces people to the original fairytale. How cool is that? I want more people to know about SWRR, and that’s one big reason I’m so excited to share The Bear of Rosethorn Ring with everyone. One of my favorite obscure fairytales is Princess Rosette, and I know that if I ever get around to retelling it one day (which I’d love to, BTW), I’ll be using my retelling to introduce this fairytale to more people.

Retelling an unknown fairytale isn’t just allowing the author to have fun with something that’s been untouched. It’s also allowing the author to become the doorkeeper to offer readers a whole new world of fairytales.


Thank you Kirsten, for agreeing to be here today! Don't forget to check out all her books on Amazon!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Review: The Bear of Rosethorn Ring by Kirsten Fichter

 You know I love a good Kirsten Fichter book, and of course, this newest installment was no different! (Mind, there are slight SPOILERS for Diamond and the other books if you haven't read them...) Two sisters, Diamond (our lovely Rapunzel) and Marta (our Sleeping Beauty heroine) are finally reunited after spending literally their whole lives apart. As they navigate the tricky waters of familial relations, their father once again betrays their trust by falling back into his old habit of gambling. When he indebts himself to a crazy circus owner, the only way the girls can get him back is by solving the mystery of who wants to assassinate the circus master. 

As always, the characters were so lovely. This one was different in that there was no main romance arc. I kinda liked it, because I know there will be more in the future, but Kirsten wasn't afraid to stop and develop some other relationships on the way. Also, kudos to her for retelling Snow White and Rose Red when very few people have attempted that, unfortunately. I loved seeing all the little pieces of the original plot that were woven seamlessly into the world she's created. It's always interesting to me, because Kirsten's books are non-magical, and I never cease to be amazed at how she gets those magical bits in there without, well, you know, magic. My main complaint is, per usual, that I want the stories to go and go and go and be longer, but tis only a novella length. That being said, totally worth the buy! Go check her out on Amazon. (There should be a link at the bottom of the post unless I get distracted by something shiny before then...) Another thing that I liked was that I felt there was a more mysterious air to this one... just a tiny bit of detective work thrown in, and I live for a good mystery, y'all. While Diamond or Spindle Dreams are probably still my absolute favorite, this is a wonderful next installment. I just really want to know what story she's doing next! (That's usually at the end of the book, and I didn't see it this time...)

I did receive this as a free ARC, but you know me... what I say is what I honestly believe.

Here's some lovely links! Don't miss the giveaway happening at Kirsten's blog and check out the Instagram challenge, too!

-       Author’s Pages

o   Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

-       BoRR’s Pages

o   Goodreads | Amazon

-       Series’s Pages

o   Goodreads | Amazon



Monday, March 22, 2021

CelebrateLit Tour: Review: Painted Memories by A.M. Heath

I am so sorry! I have been much too absent here lately. Being a senior is no joke, and I'm just busy plugging away all the time. I have so many good books to share with you, and today we're jumping back in with a tour. 

She moved on when the love of her life died in the war, but what will happen when she finds out he’s alive?

Olivia Jernigan never thought she’d get over Grady. But three years after his death, she’s on the verge of marrying Kenneth Wade when she receives a new painting by her deceased fiancé. Olivia flees home to learn what really happened to the man she thought died in the Korean War. The man she thought loved her enough to come home for her.

Grady Barnes woke up three years ago in a hospital room with no knowledge of his identity. The only memory to resurface is the image of a woman he can’t stop painting. When she suddenly shows up at his painting class, she may help him discover where he really belongs or she may disrupt the life he was building for himself.

Olivia and Grady have a history. But now, they wonder if they still have a future … or perhaps, their love is just a painted memory.


This was my first time reading something by this author. I enjoyed the setting and plot (Everyone knows I'm irresistibly drawn to those mountains... and I've yet to meet the amnesia book I didn't pick up.) but also the time period! For once it's a war novel not set in WWII. Don't get me wrong, I love a good D-Day romance as much as the next person, but sometimes it's just nice to switch it up. This might be the first book I've ever read set in Korean War times. The storyline itself was great, and even I didn't know how it was going to end, which is starting to be a rarity. I'm all in for those twisty ol' plot lines! The characters were sweet, but I would consider this a light read. I didn't feel like there was a ton of deep development, and part of that was the shortness of the story. The time-hopping also threw me off a little, even though I'm usually fine with that. I really did just want the story to stay put in the present day. I guess that just shows how invested I was in what was happening, though. The ending was very sweet too. All in all, a really good little book that you should definitely pick up. Four stars!


As always, these are my own honest thoughts and opinions, though I was given a review copy of this book.

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Besides being an Indie Author, I’m a wife, mother of four, children’s Sunday School teacher, sweet tea drinker, history fanatic, romantic, bubbly, lover of broccoli, and a retired cake decorator who has a soft spot for Christmas trees, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What I’m not is a laundress (or at least not one who keeps up very well), a duster, tall, or patient in a doctor’s office.

More from A.M. Heath

The Blessing of Unexpected Research

 

With any novel, there’s always a measure of research involved. While historical novels are more in-depth, even contemporary novels need research when the characters are involved in a job or a setting the author isn’t familiar with. Research can feel so random at times. It’s almost comical the strange topics you end up spending an hour or longer digging into online.

 

As I sat down to write Painted Memories, I was already well into the first drafts of Dance With Me and Yesterday’s Christmas, so the 1950s setting wasn’t as foreign to me as it once had been. But there were newer aspects involved.

 

For example, I recently found myself researching long-distance calls during the 1950s. And I often look up commonly misspoken phrases/words.

 

One of the ways I love to research is to imagine myself in the character’s shoes. Sometimes I have opportunities to play pretend. Maybe a little red lipstick or a new hairstyle to help me get into character. Visiting a historical home to get a feel for the lifestyle from long ago. A walk in the rain might be an opportunity to imagine the weary march of a soldier. A bad case of strep was once inspiration for a character on their death bed.

 

But, by far, the most memorable research experience was given to me by surprise. It was one of those things that I didn’t ask for and I wasn’t thrilled with when it happened but, even at that moment, I couldn’t help noticing the timing of it all and the big way God would use it for good.

 

I forgot the PIN to my debit card.

 

We all forget things from time to time. But this was a PIN that I used multiple times a week for nearly twenty years.

 

YIKES!

 

I was standing at the register when “poof” the code disappeared from my brain. I remember standing there in panic because nothing came to mind. I punched in a couple of combinations but neither was correct.

 

I spent the next couple of weeks trying to remember it but I never did.

 

It was confusing and scary. I remember searching my brain but there was only empty darkness. Yet, I could feel it. I could practically sense it right on the edge of my mind, but I never could bring it any closer.

 

I was amazed at my sudden connection to Grady. When I wrote for him, I put myself in his shoes and imagined what it would feel like. But when a small piece of my memory suddenly disappeared, I had a new understanding. When I wrote his scenes where he talks about sensing a memory close by but never being able to bring it any closer, I wrote that from experience. That’s exactly how it felt for me.

 

I had started the first draft about 2 weeks before I forgot my PIN. So instead of being angry, I couldn’t help being grateful. I thanked God and put my experience to good use. It was all I could do.

 

Sometimes we’re not dealt with the easiest hand. But if we’re willing to let Him, God can still use it for our good and His glory. In the book, Grady and Olivia talk about how God redeemed the time they thought was lost. That time when they thought everything was ruined and nothing was going right, God was using in a subtle but remarkable way.

 

The Christian life is often like that. We tend to think that something has lost all purpose but God is redeeming it and making it into something beautiful.

 

I’d love to hear from you. Is there a moment in your life when it seemed that all was lost but looking back you can see how God was using it for good?

Blog Stops

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 9

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 10

Purposeful Learning, March 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 11

Texas Book-aholic, March 12

Blossoms and Blessings, March 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 13

Inklings and notions, March 14

Batya’s Bits, March 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 15

deb’s Book Review, March 16

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 16 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 17

For Him and My Family, March 18

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 20

Mary Hake, March 20

Adventures Of A Travelers Wife, March 21

Connie’s History Classroom, March 22

Live. Love. Read. , March 22 (You are here)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, A.M. is giving away the grand prize package of a Grace is Sufficient mug and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/108d6/painted-memories-celebration-tour-giveaway