Saturday, March 28, 2015

How a Star Falls—Audiobook Review + Giveaway!


Looky here, my first audiobook review! :D Firstly, I rarely listen to audiobooks anymore (I listened to quite a few when I was little), but I was excited for a chance to listen to How a Star Falls and review it. You may remember that I reviewed the novella for Amber’s blog tour. I loved the story and thought it was a very cute romance. I also loved that it was a story of young adulthood and how Amber perfectly captured how things don’t always turn out the way you dreamed when you were young, but it can still lead to a bright and even better future. Getting to listen to it was a real treat. The narrator did a fine job in bringing to life the story’s main character, Derrick. It was so much fun to get to hear his voice in this way. I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you haven’t read the story before. It’s not too long, about two hours. Perfect to listen to if you’re sitting down to a craft project or something like I was when I listened to it.

Here’s a bit about the book, Amber, and her narrator. And make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of the post! :)

About the Book

Unabridged audiobook narrated by Patrick Wilson Mahaney | 1 hour and 55 minutes

How does a star fall?
Quickly. Completely. Unexpectedly.

Derrick Knolane escapes to Trinidad Head most evenings, avoiding his apartment and planning for the day he'll break free of Humboldt County. Working in a music store might be fine for a while, but it's far from the goal he had in mind when he got his college degree. Not to mention the fact that his roommate is a jerk and his family won't stop trying to run his life.
Then Brielle falls into his world.

She claims to be a star. Not from Hollywood, but from heaven. He thinks she's crazy. Certainly delusional. Yet, he can't just leave her alone on the cliffs. So he takes her home.

And his whole world falls apart.

A heartfelt and fanciful contemporary romance novella, How a Star Falls explores the uncertain season of new adulthood and shows that sometimes the worst inconveniences make for the best miracles of all.

Add audiobook version to your Goodreads shelf

Audiobook Purchase Links

Less than $7! (You can listen to a sample on the following sites, as well.)

Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Author Bio

Amber Stokes - Star Gazer PicAmber Stokes works as a content writer (marketing services) for a Christian publisher. On the side, she self-publishes inspirational fiction depicting the seasons of life and love. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor's degree in English and to run her own freelance editing and publicity business for over a year. Happily, this new chapter of her career takes place in the Pacific Northwest—a part of the world she's always considered home. Learn more about Amber’s books at

Social Media Links
Twitter: @SeasonsHumility
Goodreads: Amber Stokes
Google +: +AmberStokes

Narrator Bio

Patrick Mahaney is a comedian, writer, and performer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter at @patrick_mahaney.


Experience How a Star Falls as you’ve never heard it before! Enter to win one of three digital audiobook copies of the novella using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to anyone who can access (Prizes will be distributed using promo codes through that site.)

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Brothers and Betrayal—Blog Tour + Giveaway!

About B&B

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And here we are with the second blog tour post of the week. Today I am excited to share a fun interview with Sarah Holman, author of the Brothers and Betrayal! Looks good, right? I always love a good medieval adventure. :) You can pre-order the book here in anticipation of its release on March 28th. Now for the interview.

What was the first story you ever wrote?

It was a Robin Hood type story set in the fictional country of Shieham. The only major difference between my book and most Robin Hood stories was that the main characters were Christians and the main girl was a princess. I had a lot of fun writing it and it will always have a special place in my heart.

Robin Hood stories are always fun. :) What inspired you to start writing?

I was a frustrated eleven-year-old, obsessed with all things Medieval (mostly because of Robin Hood), who couldn’t find any books like the ones I wanted to read. So, I put both my passions together and started writing.

What character from your books are you most like?

I would have to say that Maria Morris (from the Destiny series) is most like me. I put so much of myself into those books that Maria and I became one and the same. While each character always makes an impact on me, I still feel the closest connection with Maria.

What is the most interesting experience you’ve had while writing?

There have been a lot, but I would have to say that the event that stands out was this January. I was working on the second book in a yet to be released series that is set at the Texas State Capitol. I got up early to see the swearing in on the Texas House of Representatives then spend the rest of the day writing in the book. It was so much fun to write in the very place that I set my book.

If you could spend a day with any historical figure, who would it be and what would you like to do?

I would spend it with Dr. Joseph Warren. He became my hero while researching A Different Kind of Courage. I would love spending a day just following him and watching him at work and listening to him speak at the various committees he was a part of.

Favorite color?

Sky blue.

Yay! Blue! :D Cake or cookies?

Cookies, right out of the oven. (Now I need to go bake some)

Coffee or tea?

Tea! I hate coffee but I am a tea fanatic. I have about a couple dozen different flavors of herbal, back, and white teas. I love them so much. My favorite right now is a Pumpkin and Spice black tea I got in a little shop in Fredericksburg, Texas.

*nods enthusiastically* Yup, I hate coffee and love my tea as well. :)Pizza or pasta?

Pasta. Though I do love pizza, I get tired of it pretty quick. I could eat pasta in various forms for many days in a row.

About Sarah

5072728Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of three published books and counting. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.




You can check out the rest of the stops on the tour here!


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Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Wildcat of Braeton—Blog Tour + Giveaway!

WoB Cover (1)

This happens to be the week of blog tours, or at least it feels like it. I have a blog tour post both today and tomorrow. :) Blog tours are always great fun. Today I have the pleasure of sharing an interview with author Claire M. Banschbach celebrating her newest book, The Wildcat of Braeton! You may remember I helped share in the cover reveal a little while back. Before we get on to the interview, here is a bit about the book.

“If you’re fighting our battle, we’d best make you look like a champion,” Tam said to Aiden. Tam and Blair began to apply the war paint the Clans had worn into battle since before they arrived in Braeton.

“You ready?” Tam asked when they finished.

“As I’ll ever be,” Aiden replied. “Tam, if everything goes wrong, you take charge after me.”

“I’m praying nothing goes wrong,” Tam said. “Just remember what Diarmad said when he built this place: ‘In times of trouble, a Champion shall rise up and Scodra shall not fall.’”

His term of service to Lord Rishdah now complete, Aiden returns to his home in Braeton. As he travels he hears rumors that trouble plagues Braeton. Clan Canich is being attacked from within. He arrives, determined to save his father, his brothers, and his Clan from the treachery of one man.

A year has passed since the Calorins were driven from Aredor and Corin is struggling to rebuild his country. Despite the peace, a fear haunts him that the Calorins aren’t far away. The Hawk Flight takes to the forest again to defend the borders against a possible attack from the neighboring country of Durna and its Calorin ally.

As Aiden and Corin struggle to adapt to their new lives they know one thing for certain - war is coming to the North!

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A little note from Claire regarding the release of the book:

Due to circumstances beyond my control, the release date has been moved to (most likely) May. However, if you feel that you cannot live without this book, you can buy it here- Warning- it costs about a hundred-million dollars (or I’m a poor college student and anything over $20 is expensive), so I would wait until its official release date and you can shop more cheaply! Stay tuned on my Facebook page or blog for more info on the release date!


1. What inspired you to write The Rise of Aredor and The Wildcat of Braeton?

I think seeing the Lord of the Rings movies in the theaters really jumpstarted my imagination to start creating worlds. It was shortly after seeing those movies that I began to do some writing. It was truly terrible. But I always kept the story idea in my head and a few years ago started writing The Rise of Aredor. The Wildcat of Braeton picks up a year after RoA and follows my sister’s favorite character. So you could say she inspired the second one with her incessant hounding for his story.

2. Where would we be without LOTR? I was writing before that, but I probably wouldn’t have started writing fantasy if not for those movies. :)Now, which of your characters would you most love to spend the day with?

I would love to spend the day with Kara and Kieran, the twins from Braeton. They’re both basically my age and they love horses and could teach me a few riding tricks.

3. Creating and working with characters is my favorite part of writing. What is yours?

I’d have to say the same! I love it when characters stop and tell me little fun facts about themselves, or when a completely new and awesome character just shoves his or her way into the story and it really takes off from there. I think it’s almost easier to take a character and what you know about them and then backtrack to find out where they came from and what their home might look like.

4. I love it when I can find just the right “casting” choice for my characters because it helps clarify them in my mind. Do you have any casting choices for your characters? If so, who are some of the main ones?

One of my sisters is actually putting together a “casting list”. For Aiden, the main character in WoB, Richard Madden (Cinderella) pretty much has the part. As for Corin, the main character in RoA, Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games) currently holds first place. But it’s not official yet. :)

5. For me, actually getting my stories written is the hardest part of writing. Planning, rewriting, and editing are much easier. What is your least favorite or hardest part of the writing process?

Editing! I go from being really excited about the story to never wanting to see it again! But it’s really hard to let some parts go or convince myself that other parts actually really need to be rewritten. It’s a long process that I wish didn’t have to happen. Haha!

6. Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress or what’s next for your writing and publishing plans?

One of my current works in progress is titled “The Mountain Baron” - The man known as the Mountain Baron turned his back on the world after it turned on him. Branded a traitor and accused of killing the prince, he takes to mountains and builds a stronghold of outlaws and outcasts. He believes in nothing but the justice he was refused. He wants nothing more to do with his God, Alsaya, or his Clan. But when word reaches him that a lord has seized his brother, a Seer of Clan MacDuffy, he rides from the mountains. That would be the lord's last mistake. MacDuffys look after their own.

As far as publishing? I might prepare my short sci-fi for publication next.

7. What hobbies do you have outside of writing?

Does studying count? Haha! I love reading, horseback riding, and playing sand volleyball. I don’t get to the gym often enough for it to be a hobby. I also love watching movies!

8. What are some of your favorite books?

Shadow Hawk by Andre Norton, Triss by Brian Jacques, The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, I don’t think I can pick a favorite from the LOTR trilogy, Cinderella and the Colonel by K.M. Shea, and I’ll give you a shoutout here because I really really really love Resistance!

9. What are three random facts about you that most people probably wouldn’t know?

1- This I recently discovered about myself- I don’t like putting butter on my bread.

2- Gladiator is my favorite movie

3- Even though I live in the great state of Texas, I do not like Dr. Pepper. It’s much too sweet for me. I am a Coca Cola drinker.

10. Gladiator! I LOVE Gladiator too. :D But anyway, final question. What advice would you give other authors seeking to publish?

I would say to keep writing. Step out of your comfort zone and get other people to look at your work. Realize that you will get good feedback and bad feedback but it will prepare you for editing. Be able to stay true to your story and the reasons you wrote it. Treat everything as a learning process. I have two books out and I still have so much to learn about writing, publishing, marketing, etc.!

About Claire

Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, TX, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. An avid reader of Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and many other adventure novels, Claire was prompted to begin writing her own fantasy novel at seventeen after several years of daydreaming. She continues to write in her spare time (and often when she doesn’t have spare time). When not scratching out stories and homework with pen and pencil, Claire partakes in the joys of watching the Boston Red Sox, Aggie football, playing volleyball, and horseback riding. She hopes her faith and strong foundation in God will continue to help guide her writing. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center.

Twitter: @TheRiseofAredor

To see the rest of the awesome stops on the tour, make sure you check out the schedule here!

And now for a giveaway (because what kind of tour would it be without one, right? ;)

Opens at midnight March 23 and closes at midnight on March 28. Giveaway includes 2 signed copies of The Wildcat of Braeton and accompanying sets of four notecard sized illustrations from the series!

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review—Dauntless


About the Book:

Where Legend and History Collide, One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

I hate writing reviews to begin with, but it’s especially hard if it’s not a book I can gush over. Dauntless wasn’t one of my favorite books, which is somewhat surprising since I love anything like Robin Hood. But I will say this is very much just how the story hit me personally and not how it was written. I think what threw me off in the beginning was that the way in which the young men in Merry’s group were introduced left me initially thinking they were much younger than they were. This got really awkward when one of them turned out to be Merry’s age and was part of the book’s love triangle. It was hard to erase my initial idea of him as a young teen. Beyond that, I just couldn’t picture the scenes as clearly as I’d like. Through most of it, I just didn’t feel like I was IN the story.

One other thing that just felt off to me was the romance. Now, anyone who really knows me knows that I am a hopeless romantic. I love a good romantic story, but there was just something about this I didn’t really care for. I think it was so much mention of the physical attraction. Physical attraction IS a part of romance. It’s not what it should be based on, but it’s still part of it, so I don’t have a problem with it as long as it’s done tastefully (which I’m not saying Dauntless isn’t), but I think it was just a little too prominent. It felt like it needed something more to balance it out. (I know, that’s so vague and helpful. :P)

All that said, I found myself quite enjoying the last quarter of the book. I finally felt like I was really in it, and I thought it had a great ending. And even though I didn’t love Merry (I almost never love the female protagonist, so that’s no surprise), I loved most of the supporting characters, especially little Wren. She was adorable. :)

As I said, this is just how I felt personally while reading it. With everything I have going on, parts of it probably just hit me wrong that won’t bother anyone else. I’ve seen many five star reviews of this book, so if you like Robin Hood and medieval fiction, by all means, check it out. Just because it wasn’t my favorite doesn’t mean you won’t love it.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Secret Project Reveal!

Yep, I’ve got a big surprise today! I’m finally revealing the secret project I’ve been alluding to for the last couple of months.

*drum roll*

My secret project is an Ilyon Chronicles prequel novella called Half-Blood that features Jace during his life before Resistance!

Summer2015 copy

About the Novella
The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will and turn him into the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?


* * *

Excited yet? :D I sure am. I’ve wanted to share more of Jace’s life before the series began for a long time. All those years in slavery are what shaped him to be what he is. I never thought it would turn out to be a novella though. I originally planned to write a short story starting just before he met Rayad and show the meeting from his point of view. I had little bits of it written for well over a year. Then, a couple of months ago, I was talking to my mom, and we both thought it would be cool if I wrote the short story and offered it for free as a way to get new readers into the series. That’s how I ended up working on it. What I didn’t plan on was how I would be flooded with ideas once I focused on the story. I kept going back further and further into Jace’s life until, before I knew it, I was starting the story when he was a six-year-old boy. From there, it grew into a 35,000 word novella that starts out with adorable little boy Jace and goes all the way until shortly after he and Rayad reach the farm.

I’m quite pleased with how it turned out and plan to publish it sometime this summer. I’m very eager. It’s definitely a sad story, but the end has a tone of hope that I think is a good lead in to the main series. You can expect to see the cover within the next couple of months. I’m very excited to share that too. So, is the secret as good as you hoped? ;)

And now, something I just have to share. I woke up to a most wonderful surprise this morning. You may remember me gushing over Chasing the Lion by Nancy Kimball (my review). It’s my all-time favorite historical novel. Nancy is an amazing writer. Well, a few days ago, she let me know she was reading Resistance. Talk about exciting and terrifying all at the same time! She finished it yesterday and posted her review. I am quite speechless at the moment. To have one of my favorite authors not only read one of my books, but give it such a glowing review is something I’ve only ever dreamed about. All I can say is how thankful and amazed I am for where God has taken me and my books after all these years.