Friday, June 30, 2017
I'M BACK TODAY because my friend, Faith, just published her first novella. Ever. And it's called Dandelion Dust.
I'll repeat that.
MY FRIEND PUBLISHED HER LOVELY BOOK, GUYS. And it's adorable and re-read worthy and... maybe just GO GRAB A COPY.
Okay first finish this post...then you're free to leave and buy it. *wink*
And just like the banner says, I'm participating in her blog tour!! So we've got a whole enchilada of things to read AND an interview at the end. LET'S GET TO IT.
Like a speck of dandelion dust riding the tides of a prairie wind, life is fleeting. Though I never realized just how fragile it was until that day . . .
Charity always had a dream. It was simple, really. Find a guy, fall in love, and get married. The day she met Ryder, Charity knew he was the man God had chosen for her. But she never expected their relationship to be tested and tried through the fires of a freak accident. Suddenly, her world is thrown into chaos, and the bleak, white walls and sterile smells of a city hospital fill every spare minute. And then there comes the dreaded news. It was likely Ryder would never make it out of the hospital bed. As her carefully laid plans for the future come crashing down around her and the sun seems to set on her dreams, can Charity still find hope in the dark of night?
Like a dandelion, life is beautiful. But treasure every moment. . . for one day, the flower will be gone.
Add Dandelion Dust on Goodreads right here.
Rating: 4 stars
When Faith posted on her blog with a sign-up form to beta-read her soon-to-be-published, and FIRST, novella, I jumped at the chance - partially just because Faith is my friend and it was her book - ya know?
And I was delightfully surprised and impressed. Faith has a fantastic writing style - it flows nicely and doesn't feel stilted. The dialogue is real and everyday. The plot kept me going. The characters grabbed my attention. On page one I was already interested and rooting for the couple. Overall? I think Faith hit a home run with her debut. She's a really good writer, guys.
Dandelion Dust is an adorable, sweet tale that will capture your attention and keep you hoping and wondering and wishing. It paints a lovely tale of young love and faith in God with wonderful fictional humans. I'm totally going to reread it - as soon as I can get my hands on my own (signed *ahem*) copy.
The main characters were well-rounded and, honestly? could be real people. (They are, right? I mean, I could just hop on a plane and go see 'em? Waaaait...no?) Namely Charity and Ryder and Drew and Hannah - all of whom I liked. Charity was a great main character - very sweet and relatable. Which is really cool because it's not often I like the main girls in books. Often enough they're annoyingly naive or frustratingly stubborn or whiny - but Charity? *shakes head* She wasn't any of those things. Her relationship with God - but also with Ryder - was, again, real (I keep using that word but it's true). Ryder was charming and goofy and sweet. Hannah feels like a bit of a mystery - but I think that'll be revealed in the not-toooooo-distant future? ;) And Drew - definitely one of my favorites. He was the cool older bro who's really sweet and caring and thoughtful. (There's a story with this guy, Faith. *raises eyebrows pointedly* ;))
The romance in this novel was SO well-done and cute! I was literally sitting there reading, thinking: "How does Faith write this good?!" The romanc was really clean, which was fantastic. Charity and Ryder's relationship was well-written and realistic and adorable. Another thing I liked about Dandelion Dust was the uniqueness of it, but also some of the scenes that were really cool (and I didn't feel like I'd read them before *nods*). Like the hair cut or shouting match with God - both great. <33
The story itself progressed well - and there was most definitely a curveball thrown in that I kind of saw coming but didn't want to have happen. It was sorta like “Is she gonna do it? Is she? Is that where this is headed? WAHT SHE DID IT. NO.” And then even that all turned out so beautifully, it warms my heart. <333
Overall, Dandelion Dust is a book I want to reread. And have other people read. It was well-written, realistic, touching, lovely…Faith did a fabulous job, and I’m totally in for reading the edited version. SOON. Most definitely recommended.
Faith Potts is a teenage writer, living with her family and beloved yellow labs in the southeastern US. When she's not writing stories, consuming large amounts of coffee, reading books, or creating pottery, she can be found laughing harder than is healthy, daydreaming, and – of course – blowing dandelions.
Find this girl on Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads! Be sure to give her a follow and friend her - she's really fun. ;) Also find her on her blogs - Chosen Vessels and Stories by Firefly.
INTERVIEW with Faith herself:
1) HELLO, FAITH! Thank you so much for stopping by my corner of the internet! It's a pleasure to have you here. First off, I want to wish you a huge, ginormous congratulations for publishing Dandelion Dust! It must be so exciting!! (I'm personally looking forward to having a paperback copy on my shelf. *nods*) Let's get down to business - what inspired Charity and Ryder's story and the characters themselves?
The inspiration for the book/plot actually came from a dream I had back in late December. It changed a lot from the original, but the main points are still there. Charity is basically me, so I guess that's where her character-inspiration came from. And I would be lying if I said that the idea of a 'farm family' didn't come from my close friend's family.
2) What did the writing process look like? Do you have a favorite - and least favorite - part of that process?
The writing process looked like...chaos. Legit chaos. I wrote the first draft in 25 days, which was really fast for me at the time. (And, honestly, still is. :P) Hmm...tricky. I don't know that I could pick a favorite or a least favorite! I enjoyed it all, except maybe formatting? Yeah, word doc hates me.
3) Is there a scene that you particularly enjoyed writing? One that you didn't see coming but love how it turned out?
The haircut scene. Hands down. It came into the book in the third draft/second edit (right before beta-readers) because I felt like that area needed something light-hearted after all the 'heaviness' of the first half to three-fourths of the book. It will always be among my top three favorite scenes of the book. ;)
4) What is the biggest thing you want people to take away from Dandelion Dust?
To trust God no matter what. As hard as it may be to see (and chances are you wont see, at least for awhile and maybe not ever), God has a plan. Every difficult situation in each of our unique lives, every hardship or struggle we face, has a purpose. One day it will all be worth the hurt.
5) AND LASTLY would you mind giving us a hint into the next book in the series?? *wants Drew's story*
Hehe, you'd like that, wouldn't you? XD I don't want to say too much about what I'm thinking for the sequel...but I can give a couple hints. Here you go: Wedding preparations. Tear-jerkers. Road trips. Summertime. *smiles*
And guess what?! Faith is giving away TWO paperback copies of Dandelion Dust!! The contest lasts only until midnight tonight SO HURRY AND GO ENTER. You won't regret it. *nods*
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Drum roll, please! *dun dun duuuuuh* GUYS, my friend, Allison Tebo, just released her latest - The Reluctant Godfather! Woot woot!! XD Want the scoop? It's a Cinderella retelling, BUT the twist is that there's a fairy godfather and it's from his point of view. It's also the first book in the Tales of Ambia series! Crazy cool, right?! *wink* So I'm here today celebrating the release of this hilarious, charming novella - replete with all the info + links, an interview with Allison herself, and my four-star review.
LET US BEGIN.
A humorous and magical re-telling of Cinderella from a unique perspective.
Burndee is a young and cantankerous fairy godfather, who would rather bake cakes than help humans. A disgrace to the fairy order, Burndee has only two wards entrusted to his care…a cinder girl and a charming prince.
A royal ball presents Burndee with the brilliant solution of how to make his wards happy with the least amount of effort. He’ll arrange a meeting and hope the two fall in love.
|Isn't she pretty?!|
Allison Tebo is a Christian homeschool graduate in her mid-twenties, who works part time as a sales associate for a major transportation company. A graduate of London Art College, Allison pursues avenues in cartooning and illustrating as well as singing and voice acting.
In her spare time she writes and blogs at www.allisonswell.com.
It is her goal to write fiction that appeals to many different kind of people, by writing clean, classic fun.
Her faith in Christ directly influences all she writes about - or does not write about. Whether the story possesses a strong message or is simply fun and imaginative fiction - her desire is to bring honor to God - and to provide quality stories for everyone to enjoy.
My goodness! This Cinderella retelling was hilarious and charming and delightful - and anything but cliche. THERE WERE NO CLICHES, I'm serious. There were sooo many humorous scenes and turns that I never would've expected! Allison came up with a wonderful twist on the much-loved classic - one I've already reread (yes, I did read it twice within a four four day period, the second time aloud to my family *grins*).
Burndee was hilariously lovable. I mean, despite being cantankerous and rather sarcastic and grumpy - almost all the time - you simply can't help but like him. He made things lively and funny and honestly had me laughing on numerous occasions. It was really fun having things from his perspective! AND THERE IS GONNA BE A SEQUEL WITH HIM AGAIN OMW. You can't create a character as unique and funny as Burndee and not continue on with him... *winkwink* He's charming in an unusually charming way. I mean, a guy fairy? A godfather? That bakes? Oh, yes. That wins, Allison. It's fantastic.
The comedy in this book was very enjoyable - I laughed so, so much! And hilarious books don't come along very often, do they?! On page two I was already smiling and getting my little brother to let me read the first few pages to him. The Reluctant Godfather was so unique and delightful in ways I wasn't expecting! I mean, Allison put so many twists in here that were perfect for the retelling! Even down to the ever-present-in-Cinderella-stories mice that Ella, ya know, normally adores? (I didn't even notice what Allison did with the mice-Ella relationship until my little bro pointed it out to me, and then I was like "ooooh, I see!") Of course, the basic story is recognizably classic Cinderella, but with added details and sarcastic comments and laugh-out-loud-funny dancing scenes. (I shall say no more on that account...after I tell you that the ballroom scene was, indeed, when I laughed the hardest.) On top of the hilarity and sweetness, the writing was well-done! Allison's style fit this story.
And the ending! I admit it...I saw two different spoilers about the ending so I knew what was gonna happen (one was on accident! The other...*cough* yes, I did look at one... ahem, moving on.) It was cute, and sweet, and SO DIFFERENT, my word! It made it fun - because I wasn't reading the same old story that everyone knows by heart. It was special, AND (if I hadn't have seen those spoilers) I'm not sure I would've expected it. There are definitely hints all along (cute ones, I might add!), but not enough to made you really doubt that Allison is going to follow the normal route. I mean, I even knew what was going to happen and still sat there, reading about Colin, and went "wait, but how is this going to work out?"
One of my favorite quotes:
"Don't you realize what a disgrace that is?"
"Oh, yes, I'm disgraced," said Burndee, squinting at his creation and wondering whether he should add mint leaves.
I WOULD add another here, but it's actually spoiler material, so I can't do it to you all... (Why don't you just read it yourself to find out, hmm?)
I MUST ADD that there were a few very brief moments that were not-overly-violent. (Though those two parts with Burndee were surprising in a funny way. My mouth literally dropped open at one point, and I snapped a rubberband on my braces, hahaha. #truestory). And I was a little frustrated with a smidgen of Burndee's sarcasm towards Ella (BUT OF COURSE that all gets turned around, cuz, ya know). Also, I just gotta say that there was magic in this - but that's kinda to be expected in Cinderella?
OVERALL, this was a delightful, funny, engaging read! A round of applause to Miss Allison for creating such a fun, charming retelling!
It's interview time! Go grab a cup of java and let's get started...
1) Hi, Allison! Welcome to my corner of the internet! Happy to have ya! Why don't you start by telling us what inspired you to write a fairy tale retelling - with a fairy godfather, delightfully, as the main character?
Hi, Micaiah!! Thank you so much for having me! I'm thrilled to be here!
To be honest - the whole idea just popped into my head - one night, last summer, the whole story was suddenly there. I can't remember the precise spark that lit the fuse - but somehow, my mind snagged upon the idea of a male fairy godfather - I wish now that I could remember all the details of that mysterious process!
2) What was your inspiration for Burndee and all of his humorous sarcasm? For Ella and Collin?
I hate to cop out on this question - but honestly they just popped into my head. Characters come very easily to me and they are my strong point.
As far as the 'zingers' that Burndee is so fond of using - I'm a little embarrassed to say that I often think of stuff like that - thank goodness I have characters that can say all of that stuff for me. Hehehe!
3) What are a few hobbies you enjoy (besides writing, of course!)?
I love to paint and draw. I enjoy quilting. And I love to bake - obviously. :D
4) Why don't you tell us the story of how you got started as a writer! Did anyone in particular inspire you or did you start all on your own?
My big sister! I wanted to be just like her, and – I’m embarrassed now to admit it – I wanted all the accolades and attention that her stories were getting. Since then, I’ve learned that I don’t have to compare my stories to other people’s writing, and I don’t have to do something just because someone I admire is doing it. I don’t write for accolades anymore (though it’s always fun to have people get excited about my writing, of course), I write because I must. I write because it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. Writing has become as much a part of me as breathing. The words are there, and they must come out.
5) What is your favorite part of the writing process? Annnnd your least favorite part?
That is an interesting question because, depending on how I feel at the time, my most favorite and least favorite parts about writing can change - some days I love drafting and hate editing - other days I hate drafting and love editing. But, thinking it over, I would have to say drafting (especially when drafting off of outlines) is my favorite part of writing and publishing is definitely my least favorite part - that process really squashed my creativity.
6) Now, for a hard one *wink wink*: If you absolutely HAD to choose, would you rather read only non-fiction books for a whole year, or not be able to read the ending of every fictional novel you read during that year?
'dies' MICAIAH HOW COULD YOU ASK ME SUCH A QUESTION!? 'wounded look' AUGH! I - I can't even . . . 'speechless' . . . choose! Um . . . okay, I would have to chose a year of not reading the ends of fiction novels - I could always write the endings myself, either in my head or on paper. Actually, for some books, that might not be such a bad idea. Thank goodness that question is over with . . . :)
Me: *laughs* I TOLD YOU IT'D BE HARD. It's funny because whenever I ask this question I've always gotten the same answer - to not read the endings.
7) What are FIVE of your favorite books?
Another hard one! Okay, I'm going to pick the first five that come to mind. Urchin and the Heartstone by M.I McAllister. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Trion Rising by Robert Elmer. Those High Green Hills by Jan Karon. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
8) Do you have a favorite fictional character - from a movie, a TV show, or a book? Why do you like that specific character so much?
MORE TORTURE! I don't have just one favorite character from a movie, TV Show, or book - I have DOZENS. 'thinks hard' - again, I'll just have to pick the first one that comes to mind. Clavius from the movie Risen. Steady, solid, soldierly characters are some of my hands-down favorite types of characters (male characters) - and Clavius is especially unique. His search for God - and God's search for him - is palpable. Clavius' commanding personality, his vigorous discipline, his yearning for something more (for peace and belonging), his controlled fear in trying to maintain his delicate position - his fervent search for the truth, his raw devastation at finding it, his steely resolve to follow it - AH! What a character. And what a run-on sentence! Did I mention solid, soldierly characters are my favorites and that I get really excited talking about them? :)
9) And, lastly: coffee, tea, or chocolate? (Because this is important... *nods*)
AT LAST - AN EASY ONE! :D - coffee, definitely, hands-down, no-question - coffee forever.
Me: *laughs again* YES, COFFEE FOREVER. We're agreed. Thank you so much for answering all my questions, Allison! It's been a pleasure having you!
SO, if all this hasn't convinced you to read The Reluctant Godfather, maybe this will...
Allison is hosting A GIVEAWAY. Go click on that link, enter the contest, and win ALL THE THINGS - a signed paperback copy of The Reluctant Godfather, a Tales of Ambia notebook, a t-shirt enlivened with a quote from the ever-quotable Burndee, and a BURNDEE IS THE BEST mug.
Or buy the book, here, on Amazon - whatever floats your boat. (Haha, I wanted to say that... *crying/laughing emoji*)
A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS from me to Allison for publishing this novella! YOU GO, GIRL. *applause* *confetti* *balloons* *cake (and coffee)*
GO GET READING, GUYS. (my cursor just disappeared, hahahaha...)
(I shall be back in about two weeks with another blog tour post for my friend, Faith Potts, and her novella Dandelion Dust. Be sure to pop back in to see it!)