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.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Guest Post: Kirsten Fichter: Rumpelstiltskin Retellings We Need

Guys! It's one of our favorite guests to host here on the blog! Today is release day for the fabulous Kirsten Fichter and her new Rumpelstiltskin retelling, A Bit of Gold, and she has kindly agreed to stop by and share some love with us!

Amazon Link to Buy

Rumpelstiltskin Retellings We Need 

Rumpelstiltskin is a fairytale that is quickly amassing fans, probably more so than most fairytales. That has largely been due to the fact that we’ve had some great Rumpelstiltskin stories popping up over the years, and they’ve left quite an impact on both the reader and the viewer. But as many great retellings there are out there, we still have quite a few left that I would love to see come out. So, let’s get right into it, shall we?

Non-magical Fantasy. For me, personally, a fantasy book with no magic is the way to go. That’s what I write, and that’s how I wrote my own Rumpelstiltskin retelling – A Bit of Gold: A Rumpelstiltskin  Story. But mine is just one story in a non-magical setting. I would love to see how other authors tackle  this story and retell all of the important elements without magic.

Cyber Tech/Crime. Rumpelstiltskin can make gold. That much is fairly obvious, but maybe this time it isn’t actual gold. Maybe it’s digital gold. I’ll be honest, I don’t truly understand all that goes into things like Bitcoin, but I would love to see Rumpel go online. He’d probably wreck the internet faster than Ralph did. And make a fortune while doing do. Pun intended.

Historical. Honestly, historical retellings are some of my absolute favorites. Yes, they tend to be non- magical, but I love when people get to retell cool historical events from the POV of a fairytale. Rumpelstiltskin in Versailles, anyone? Or in the Aztec nation? Rumpel also seems to fit nicely into something Regency. I need them all, yes.

Dragon Fantasy. Please tell me you know where I’m going with this one. The gold is the key! Dragons are notorious for collecting and hoarding gold. If one were smart enough, he’d pluck up ‘ole Rumpelstiltskin himself to spin endless gold for his hoard. Imagine Rumpel in a dragon’s lair. OR… would it be better to have Rumpel turn into a dragon himself (a.l.a Eustance Clarence Scrubb) for his greedy, golden thoughts? Oh, it’d be glorious! Someone, please get on this right away!

Wild West. Two thoughts here concerning our titular character involved in the Gold Rush. Either  Rumpel is a miserly old geezer, looking to keep away from all society and quietly spin his gold in  peace. One wrong move, and BAM. Squatters are pouring in from everywhere, searching his land up  and down, right and left for this mysterious supply of gold. OR… Rumpel discovers his own gold mine  and uses his newfound wealth to trick townspeople into handing over things of value (like real estate)  in not-so-honest deals.

Family Comedy. So, that’s not exactly a genre, but I’m labeling it this because this idea can go into a TON of different sub-genres. We all know Rumpelstiltskin is after the queen’s baby, but what would happen if Rumpel actually GOT the baby? Would the queen fight to get her child back? Would Rumpel make a good foster father, or even consider adopting the baby? What if Rumpel won the baby accidentally, and is now strapped with looking after a child he hadn’t planned on? I need more Rumpel  vs. baby stories. The idea is pure GOLD. (The puns are strong with this post; sorry.)

What about you? What Rumpelstiltskin retellings do you need on your bookshelf? What did I miss? Let us know what your perfect Rumpelstiltskin retelling would be in the comments! 

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Audiobook Review: When the Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer

Libby has been given a powerful gift: to live one life in 1774 colonial Williamsburg and the other in 1914 Gilded Age New York City. When she falls asleep in one life, she wakes up in the other without any time passing. She has one conscious mind but two very different lives and bodies. 

In colonial Williamsburg, Libby is a public printer for the House of Burgesses and the royal governor, trying to provide for her family and support the Patriot cause. The man she loves, Henry Montgomery, has his own secrets. As the revolution draws near, both their lives—and any hope of love—are put in jeopardy. 

Libby's life in 1914 New York is filled with wealth, drawing-room conversations, and bachelors. But the only work she cares about—women's suffrage—is discouraged, and her mother is intent on marrying her off to an undesirable English marquess. The growing talk of war in Europe further complicates matters and forces her to make sacrifices she never imagined. On her 21st birthday, Libby must choose one path and forfeit the other forever—but how can she possibly choose when she has so much to lose in each life?

 I can't believe that it took me until this week to discover this series! It is phenomenal. Also, fair warning, there may or may not be spoilers ahead. I'm not sure how to write this review without spoilers. I'll try... To begin with, the narrator was absolutely perfect. I'm super picky about narrators, and I'd just as soon turn off an audiobook rather than listen to someone who makes me crazy. The story itself? I couldn't get away from it. I listened in my free time, during my lunch break, late at night, doing dishes. The story had a grip on me that I just can't explain. Usually, I don't care too much for Revolutionary War settings, but this one was just lovely. It may have been Mama that made it so great. Even I didn't know how I wanted to story to end. And Henry... oh, Henry. This is where it might contain spoilers so just skip the rest if you don't want to know why I love Henry and also how I feel about the ending. Seriously, though, I thought. I had one flash of a thought about halfway through, and then I dismissed it. It was ludicrous. Except that it wasn't. And I also am amazed that somehow I went from only loving 1774 to slowly wanting more and more of 1914. It was marvelous craftmanship there. I want you to know that the last two chapters, I lay abed sobbing through the whole bit. I couldn't stop. It may be one of the most touching stories I have read this year. (And yes, I already read book 2. It is also amazing, but will get it's own review later. And yes, I have also pre-ordered book 3.) Highly highly highly recommend to lovers of historical fiction. One of the best uses of a dual timeline that I have ever seen.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Audiobook Review: The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron

An ounce of courage. A leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life - one that's reimagined from what they might have become.

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World's Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny - a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her arranged marriage. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

When Rosamund's path crosses with Mable's and the Ringlings' glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, choosing instead the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers' circus.

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster's Wife will escort listeners into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the Greatest Show on Earth!

 Y'all, I haven't the words to express how much I loved this story. Since I spend at least an hour in the car each day, I've been listening to audiobooks during my commute. Let me tell you, this one was spot on. From a strictly audio perspective- The fact that this narrator swapped back and forth among accents (British, Irish, American, French, and Italian) so frequently and without missing a beat was completely bizarre and totally impressive. The story itself... the time jumping was well done. The romance was slow and sweet. The story was one that I cared about. The characters were dear to me. Seeing the parallels between the lives of Mable and Rosamund was *chef's kiss* because my nerdy heart was loving it. My one complaint is that I felt that the character of Mable was one that I really wanted to be attached to because the other characters were so attached to her, but her POV faded off towards the second half of the book. I would've loved to have her still be a strong voice in my head so I could know her as an old lady as well as I did her younger self. Overall, getting me into the circus vibe and making me want to reread all the circus books I've ever read. Recommended for lovers of the circus life, sweet romance, time slip, and the magician that is Kristy Cambron.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Review: The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater by Jaime Jo Wright

It promises beauty but steals life instead. Will the ghosts of Barlowe Theater entomb them all?

Barlowe Theater stole the life of Greta Mercy's eldest brother during its construction. Now in 1915, the completed theater appears every bit as deadly. When Greta's younger brother goes missing after breaking into the building, Greta engages the assistance of a local police officer to help her unveil the already ghostly secrets of the theater. But when help comes from an unlikely source, Greta decides that to save her family she must uncover the evil that haunts the theater and put its threat to rest.

Decades later, Kit Boyd's best friend vanishes during a ghost walk at the Barlowe Theater, and old stories of mysterious disappearances and ghoulish happenings are revived. Then television ghost-hunting host and skeptic Evan Fisher joins Kit in the quest to identify the truth behind the theater's history. Kit reluctantly agrees to work with him in hopes of finding her missing friend. As the theater's curse unravels Kit's life, she is determined to put an end to the evil that has marked the theater and their hometown for the last century.


Once again, I find my perfect fall story in the world of Jaime Jo Wright. Every single one of her stories is pretty much guaranteed to delight. And what's more... this was the first of her books that I have been able to read at night! I was so excited about being able to read late that I accidentally read way past my bedtime and was a mess for school the next day. The characters and plot in this story were phenomenal. Both timelines were intriguing and I wasn't mad about switching back and forth. I felt that she did a great job handling the spiritual/spooky aspects of the story. That is something that I always appreciate about her spookiness. And, even after trying half a dozen times, I can never guess the villains/plot twists that are coming in any of her books. Not in either timeline. This was no exception. I mean, I didn't even see the romance coming in one of them. That's crazy. Usually, I'm so good at it. I love a good challenge, so that's another reason to love her books. 10/10 recommend for those fall vibes.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

CelebrateLit Tour: Review: The Looking-Glass Illusion by Sara Ella

About the Book

Book: The Looking-Glass Illusion

Author: Sara Ella

Genre: YA Retelling (or dystopian fantasy)

Release Date: September 19, 2023

Step through the looking glass. Slay the Jabberwock. Seek the King.

Alice is not prepared to face what awaits beyond the Tulgey Wood. When she and the rest of Team Heart enter the fourth and final Wonderland Trial, it’s up to her to lead them to victory. But this Trial is more than a game. If Alice and the others fail to defeat the Jabberwock and reveal the truth about Wonderland, more than points and fame will be lost.

Chess Shire never believed he’d make it this far. Now he’s stuck navigating a Trial he’s seen but doesn’t remember, all while searching for the brother he left behind. Not everything is as black and white as the game that shares his name. And if Alice discovers his deepest regret? Chess might just lose her too.

Apart, Chess and Alice scour the eight squares of the Heart Trial in search of memories, truth, and an Ivory King who seems more illusion than reality. Will they learn to lead together to face their greatest fears? Or will they remain pawns in a queen’s game, never truly seeing the Wonderland they’ve come to believe in? 

I haven't got enough words to say all the good things I think about this book. I could live in Wonderland forever. The characters... stunning! The relationships... intriguing. The betrayal... let's just say, OUCH! I was a little nervous about Chess getting his own narrator POV this time, but he honestly does add just a touch of pizzazz, and, as much as it pains me to say it, I liked it. The twists and turns in this book were phenomenal. This story has brought me to tears. I got to read an early copy this summer, and I was blown away. Sat in the common room and read until everyone started being too loud, then went to my room and read until my roommate turned the lights out on me. I could not put it down. Even after I finished it, I carried it in my bag with me to work for at least a week, because I just loved it so much. I recently got to listen to the audiobook, and let me tell you, it is amazing. Both narrators are spot on perfect for their parts. I highly, highly recommend this to all lovers of fantasy. (And go check out my "BOOK QUOTES" reel on Instagram to see some of my favorite quotes! There are so many. Alice speaks to me.) No, but honestly, I have the audiobook, the ebook, a copy for myself, a copy for my classroom, and a copy I'm sending to a friend. 

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a castle. Now she spends her days homeschooling her three Jedi in training, braving the Arizona summers, and reminding her superhero husband that it’s almost Christmas (even if it’s only January). Sara is the author of the Unblemished trilogy and Coral, a reimagining of The Little Mermaid that focuses on mental health. Her latest journey into the world of The Wonderland Trials feels like coming full circle after working for Disney. Sara loves fairy tales and Jesus, and she believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.”


More from Sara

“Step through the looking glass. Slay the Jabberwock. Seek the King.”

It’s my tagline for The Looking-Glass Illusion, but in truth, I had no idea what those words truly meant until I wrote the ending (and rewrote it several times).

I didn’t fully understand what the looking glass did or did not do—only that Alice had to step through it.

I didn’t know who or what the Jabberwock really was—only that Team Heart had to overcome it.

And I really couldn’t quite figure out this Ivory King character I had introduced in The Wonderland Trials—only that he was real, and that, somehow, the King would reveal himself in the end.

This is my process and it’s rather frustrating not to know what you’re up against. I wish I could outline and have all the answers ahead of time. I wish I knew every intricate detail about my stories. It would certainly make the writing life a lot easier. But I like to think the not-knowing part is God’s way of keeping me humble in all of this. Because I only discover the story and the true underlying theme of it all when He decides to reveal it to me.

So, in the name of revealing things, here are three truths God showed me through the process of writing The Looking-Glass Illusion.

  1. Faith is not blind.

I think we can all remember the quote from The Santa Clause with Tim Allen that goes, “Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.” It encompasses the idea that we don’t have to see in order to believe. And while I believe this is true, I also think if we say our faith is blind, we’ve missed the mark.

God gives us every tool we need to base our faith on the truth in the Bible. He doesn’t ask us to walk blindly. He’s given us sight in His Word! And while we don’t know or see everything yet, we do have concrete evidence to stand on that what the Bible says is real.

In The Looking-Glass Illusion, Alice steps through the looking glass not knowing what awaits her on the other side. She does know, however, that The Adventurer’s Almanac her sister gave her has never steered her wrong. It’s guided her along the way, and she holds fast to it as she steps into the unknown.

I didn’t know how this book would end. But I do know that time and time again, God has walked with me through every ending to every book I’ve written. When I hold fast to that truth, I can have faith and the courage to move forward rather than let fear get the better of me. And speaking of fear . . .

  1. Fear is a liar.Anyone who’s listened to Christian radio has probably heard the popular song “Fear is a Liar” by Zach Williams. It’s a great song and I think we all need to hear it from time to time. Alice and her team have a multitude of fears to overcome. Chess Shire in particular has to overcome his fear of facing his past. I won’t spoil anything for those who haven’t read it, but the theme of overcoming fear is an overarching one in this duology. Perhaps I could have made it more complex and profound, but it’s really quite simple:Fear is a liar. And the only way to combat lies is to stand on the truth of what we know is real because . . .
  2. The fairy tale is real.I am often asked why I choose to write fairy-tale-inspired stories. I like to turn back to my author tagline. While my logo and website design and even my bio have changed over the years, my tagline has remained the same:“Happily Ever After is Never Far Away”This is something I have held to from the onset of my author journey. While fairy tales may be but stories, our walk as Christians is in the living breathing fairy tale of God’s Word. Remember that quote from “The Princess Bride?”“Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles!”

    That line always reminds me of the Bible. Everything we love about fairy tales can be found within the pages of His #1 Best-Selling Book. And it all really happened! The fairy tale is real, and no matter what dragons (or Jabberwocks) we face in this life, we are promised happily ever after (dare I say, Wonderland?) in the next.


    Thank you for taking the time to sit a while with me and for sticking with this series through its conclusion. Cheers, and happy reading, Wonders! The true Wonderland awaits!


Sara Ella


To celebrate her tour, Sara is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, a $15 Starbucks gift card, and a hardcover 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.


Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 30

Texas Book-aholic, October 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 2

Where Faith and Books Meet, October 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 3

Blogging With Carol, October 4

The Book Club Network, October 5

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, October 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 6

Live. Love. Read., October 7 (YOU ARE HERE)

Holly’s book Corner, October 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 9

Raining Butterfly Kisses, October 9

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 10

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 11

Simple Harvest Reads, October 12 (Guest Review from Mindy)

Books You Can Feel Good About, October 13

Wishful Endings, October 13