Friday, November 27, 2015

Epic Black Friday Sale on Christian Indie Books + Audiobook Giveaway! 

Happy Black Friday, friends!

I'm thrilled to be participating in an exciting sale lasting today (November 27th) through November 30th with a bunch of other Christian indie authors! (You can check out the site with all the deals HERE.) We're offering everything from package deals on paperbacks, free shipping on paperbacks, $.99 ebook deals, and FREE ebooks. Pretty sweet, right?? 

You'll find my books on the eBooks Only page. My two historical novels are on sale for $.99, and my shorter stories (historical short stories and contemporary novellas) are FREE. could get all my ebooks for less than $2! Would love for you to be able to pick up any you're missing - or to give the free ebooks a try if you haven't read any of mine yet. :)

And of course, I hope you'll browse all the other fab deals on the site! 

If you can't decide where to start your browsing, check out this fun tool:

(Which Indie Christian Books Should You Read?)

It's so awesome to see deals from friends like...
And there are many other books in various genres to check out!

To recap, here's the official word on the deal from our wonderful event organizer Leah E. Good:
In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 27-30. There's literally something for everyone. Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you. Don't know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out! 

One last thing: I'm also giving away 5 promo codes for the How a Star Falls audiobook! This is a one-day only giveaway that's open to everyone and anyone with access to The audiobook is narrated by Patrick Wilson Mahaney (@patrick_mahaney) - and I think Patrick did a fantastic job of capturing Derrick's voice. :)

Want to learn more about the audiobook/story and listen to a sample? Click HERE. And enter to win a FREE copy through the form below...

A note on the Ebooks Only page: All books are listed as "Sold Out." This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click through to the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good for her fabulous work organizing this sale! Gloria Repp for completing the time-consuming job of uploading book info to the sale website, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

For the Love of Pinterest (A Storyboard Party)

When I heard that author friend Elisabeth Grace Foley was planning a Pinterest Storyboard Party, I was all on board that train - no looking back!

You see, Pinterest has played such a large role in my story brainstorming process. At first, it was more of a way to try to convey visually what I had already created, but now the process has evolved to the point where I'm pinning visual inspiration before and during the writing process. It's a combination research and motivation tool, from pinning helpful articles and reference pictures to beautiful quotes and character look-alikes.

Today's event is sort of a "show-and-tell," as Elisabeth put it. :) Below you'll find glimpses of my projects that are already out there and ones that are to come. (Be sure to click the top/title of the widgets to see all the pins.) I'd absolutely love to hear if a certain board or pin intrigues you!

And if you're a writer with a storyboard(s) of your own, I hope you'll link to it/them in the comments section, so we can hop over to Pinterest and take a peek!

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Amber's Storyboards (in Alphabetical Order)

Bellflower | Short Story

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast in an 1880 mining town

Highlights: Really love these actor picks for Annabelle and Jacob (Robin Wright and Randall Batinkoff). Also, some of the Beauty and the Beast images are so fitting!

Follow Amber Stokes's board Bellflower | Short Story on Pinterest.

Bleeding Heart | Novel

An inspirational Western romance about five bleeding hearts on a profound journey

Highlights: Lots of personal photos mixed into this board for my debut novel. And there are some absolutely perfect (and poignant) quotes that fit the theme of the story. (Bonus: You'll find a personality quiz tucked in there, too!)

Follow Amber Stokes's board Bleeding Heart | Novel on Pinterest.

Fairy Slippers | Short Story

A retelling of Cinderella in an 1888 redwood lumber town

Highlights: Lovely fairy-tale-esque pictures and some cool pins of the fairy slipper orchid.

Follow Amber Stokes's board Fairy Slippers | Short Story on Pinterest.

Forget Me Not | Novel

An inspirational Western romance about remembering the good amid heartbreak

Highlights: Gorgeous scenery shots - and a pic of a young John Cusack as Harry in The Journey of Natty Gann (that's definitely a highlight!).

Follow Amber Stokes's board Forget Me Not | Novel on Pinterest.

How a Star Falls | Novella

A new adult contemporary romance about a girl who claims to be a star (not the Hollywood kind!)

Highlights: Beach, stars, and romance - need I say more? I think the mood of this board really worked its way into the story.

Follow Amber Stokes's board How a Star Falls | Novella on Pinterest.

Morning Glory | WIP

An inspirational Western romance set in Oregon and featuring Myghal from previous books in the series

Highlights: This board feels like a reflection of different points in the brainstorming/writing process. It's a little all-over-the-place, showing the spurts of direction and the aimless wandering through inspiration. Hopefully this will all come together at some point!

Follow Amber Stokes's board Morning Glory | WIP on Pinterest.

When Frozen Days Melt | WIP

A young adult contemporary romance featuring younger sister Chloe (from How a Star Falls)

Highlights: The overall tone of the board - it's just so happy, dontcha think? I like the fashion pics, the yummy ice cream images, and the glimpses of home.

Follow Amber Stokes's board When Frozen Days Melt | WIP on Pinterest.

Where Trains Collide | WIP

A new adult contemporary romance featuring middle sister Trisha (from How a Star Falls)

Highlights: Autumn and trains - two of my favorite things! I want to hug this board. ;) Also, the scene from The Office (for some reason, it makes me happy every time I glance through the board) and the cool GIF pin at the bottom.

Follow Amber Stokes's board Where Trains Collide | WIP on Pinterest.

While You're Awake | Novelette

A contemporary re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty with a barista and a freelance editor

Highlights: Cute German shepherd pics and interesting facts about honey bees.

Follow Amber Stokes's board While You're Awake | Novelette on Pinterest.


I'm deeply inspired by music. To discover some of the musical inspiration behind these stories, check out the "soundtrack" boards:
(Note: The other stories have some music pins mixed in with the other pins on the main boards.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How a Star Falls...Once Again (New-Cover Reveal and Anniversary Party!)

It's Derrick and Brielle's one-year anniversary! (Well, OK, that might not be the case in the timing of the follow-up novella, but we're talking about non-fiction years vs. fiction years. ;)) And I'm so excited to celebrate the occasion with a fun giveaway (see end of the post) and the reveal of the book's new cover...

Don't they make such a sweet couple??

The Many Faces of Derrick and Brielle

My wonderful designer and friend, Lena Goldfinch, was the one who suggested that the cover for How a Star Falls might need an update, so it could better match my other contemporary covers. While I truly loved the original - a case of the egg before the chicken; that is, the cover coming before the story - I could see how branding my books by design would be a very good idea. Not to mention, I'm all for a cute couple cover!

See how nice they all look together?

The first two are available now; Where Trains Collide is up next!

Brielle and Derrick, Ava and Keegan, and Trisha and Paul. I love these models that represent them! (By the way, each of these stories is a standalone, although the characters in How a Star Falls and Where Trains Collide are connected. Confused yet? You're welcome. ;) *insert a bit of author sass*)

Anyway, the model photo we landed on for How a Star Falls was not the first one we tried on for size. Here's a peek at some of the cover comps Lena put together for me (with watermarks, since these are just examples of what we could do after purchasing the desired image):

(Click image to enlarge.)

Lena and I discovered a lot of really sweet couple photos that seemed like they could fit these characters! Before finding the photo for the cover on the right, I really liked the comp in the middle. It had the right "feel" to me - the scene and the mood and even the general appearance of the characters. But then Lena stumbled upon a cover "twin" that was much too close in appearance, so we bid that couple farewell.

I found that fourth comp quite darling, but it just wasn't quite right for the story. It sure is a pretty picture, though!

The couple on the left came very close to gracing the final cover. The general appearance was right, and the night scene with the added star was the perfect touch. But I felt a little unsure about the guy... I just didn't picture Derrick in an outfit like that, and he looked a little too young for Derrick's 24 years. The couple just felt more YA (young adult) than NA (new adult), getting ready for prom instead of life during/after college. ;)

So I kept looking...and then we found them.

Derrick and Brielle.

I was afraid the lack of a nighttime background would create a disconnect, but Lena reminded me that the sun is a star. ;) And really, it's not about the straightforward imagery in this case. This couple, this scene, created the right mood and portrayed the characters and their personalities brilliantly. 

Brielle looks so sweet and lighthearted and innocent.

Derrick looks so quiet and caring and enchanted by Brielle.

Lena described the atmosphere perfectly with the word "ethereal." 

And hey, Brielle even bears a slight resemblance to her previous counterpart, dontcha think?

About Derrick and Brielle's Story

Sweet New Adult Contemporary Romance Novella 

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.

This novella is available in the following formats: 
Paperback ($6.99)
Kindle ebook ($.99)

Note: As of right now, the audiobook and Kindle formats of the book have been updated with the new cover. The paperback will maintain the previous cover for the time being.

Giveaway Time!

Fill out the form below to enter to win one of three prizes from some of my favorite Etsy shops! The prizes are…

Why these prizes? The earrings include stars, which fit this occasion for obvious reasons. ;) The compass is a reference to a song mentioned in the story: “If My Heart Was a House” by Owl City (you can listen HERE). And the cards are a little teaser for my next contemporary romance, Where Trains Collide. (Let’s just say the hero’s nickname is Paul Bunyan. Can you guess the heroine’s nickname?)

Note: Giveaway is open to US residents only due to shipping costs. 

Cover Reveal Participants

As always, I'm so very grateful to my "Gems" for spreading the word about my bookish news!

If you'd like to join my street team, Amber's Gems, you can sign up HERE. And feel free to send me an email at if you'd like to review an e-copy or audiobook copy of How a Star Falls!

Here's a list of the lovely gems participating in the anniversary party:

P.S. My designer is gearing up to release a sweet new historical romance novel next month! You can learn more and pre-order The Bartered Bride HERE. (And if you're a blogger, you can sign up to participate in the blog tour HERE.)

Thank you for helping me celebrate this occasion! I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new cover or anything else about this post/story!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

And...Action! Interview with Cat Detective Buckley + Giveaway!

It's not every day you get to introduce a cat detective as your blog guest! ;) I'm thrilled that Buckley was willing to come back on the blog to give us the lowdown on his latest case. (Click HERE if you'd like to read previous posts featuring Buckley and his friends!)

Buckley and his "brother" Bogey are real cats who inspired the fictional Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers. Buckley is the "rookie" who's still learning the tricks of the trade from Bogey - and sometimes (well, much of the time) it's an uphill climb. But Buckley has a willing heart and an open mind, and he's been learning a LOT about the detective business.

Get to know Buckley better in this fun Q&A! (And did we mention there's an awesome book giveaway at the end?) Discover what this cool cat has been up to and what movies and movie stars have to do with his new book...

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Amber: Welcome back to the blog, Buckley! The last time I had the pleasure of hosting you was way back when you and Bogey solved The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks. If I’ve heard correctly, you’ve solved at least two more mysteries since then. Could you tell us a little about those cases? (Anything that’s not confidential, of course!) 

Buckley: Hello again, our wonderful friend, Amber! Holy Catnip! Thanks for having us here today. Hugs and wet nose kisses from Bogey and me. And yes, the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency has been very busy since we last spoke. Whew. We’ve had a couple of cases that turned out to be real doozies!

First there was The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues. That one started when we discovered a mysterious package hidden in our Mom’s antique store. Of course, Bogey and I stashed it away until we could figure out who it really belonged to. And it was a good thing, too, because a whole bunch of mysterious strangers suddenly showed up, and they were all after that package! It all happened just as a priceless, jeweled statue collection went on display at our local museum. Before long, we were up to our fuzzy ears in ancient symbols and hidden treasure, and . . . dinosaurs! (Okay, not real dinosaurs, but they were still pretty scary . . .)

Then, our newest mystery, The Case of the Clever Secret Code, took place just as everyone in the entire city of St. Gertrude was getting ready for the big Fourth of July celebration. That’s when famous movie star Steele Bronson rolled into town in his huge limo. Of course, it wasn’t long before the whole city was in a frenzy over the famous celebrity! Much to my amazement, Steele Bronson insisted that Bogey and I have starring roles in his newest movie, which he planned to film at our local library.

After that, everything just went haywire, and we soon had our paws full with secret codes and hidden keys, as well as a whole bunch of history from the Revolutionary War. And it all played a role in solving our most complicated case ever. Especially when we quickly realized that there was something very wrong with the whole picture, especially the one that Steele Bronson was filming . . .

Click image to enlarge.

Amber: Wow! You've certainly had a lot on your plate (or in your cat dish, I should say)! 

For your latest case, how did it feel to meet a movie star and see a movie being filmed in your hometown? 

Buckley: Well, to tell you the truth, Bogey and I had never even heard of the man before. And we were pretty surprised by the way people reacted when they heard he was in town. Women were fainting and screaming and all kinds of stuff. Plus, everyone kept talking about how “hot” he was. Sure, it was late June, so I guess it was pretty toasty outside. But still, I had to wonder: If the man was so hot, why was he wearing a jacket? Bogey and I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about. 

Then we were even more surprised when he walked into our store with some kind of trophy, something he called an Academy Award. Plus he had a whole stack of glossy photos of himself. This seemed strange to me, since I’ve never met someone who walked around carrying their own pictures before!

Amber: Oh my! We humans can act a little odd when it comes to seeing or being celebrities, true enough. ;) 

Speaking of movies, do you enjoy watching them when you’re not on the case?

Buckley: Absolutely, Bogey and I like movies a whole bunch!! But we never actually watch them. We just like them because the people in our house usually rest on the couch while they’re watching the TV. And that’s the perfect time for us cats to cuddle up on someone’s lap and take a good nap. Even so, Bogey does watch a few movies from time to time, and I do like the special cat DVDs that have nothing but birds and fish. Our Mom puts it on every once in a while to keep us cats entertained.
Amber: Sounds like our Christmas DVD that has lovely winter scenes and pretty music to enjoy in the background. I think you'd like it! In fact, I’ve heard you’re also a music lover. :) What do you like most about it? And which genre do you like most?

Buckley: Oh yes, you’ve got that right! I love music a lot. It helps me to relax when I’m nervous about a really big case. I’m kind of a jazz cat at heart, and I especially enjoy soft jazz or piano music. My favorite music, of course, is the soundtrack from The Pink Panther. My ears always perk up when that music is playing! Plus, our Mom has been learning to play the piano, and Bogey and I really like to help her. Bogey sits on the seat next to her and I sit above the keyboard. We like to reach over and hit a few keys ourselves, every now and then. After all, playing the piano should be a family affair, don’t you think?

Amber: I think you're quite right! It's fun to enjoy music together. 

Your latest case has to do with secrets and codes...which leads me to wonder about the secrets of cats. Is there anything cat owners should know about cats’ common thoughts and behaviors? Any secret signals or hidden codes that we often miss or misinterpret because we don’t speak your language? 

Buckley: Ha! I’m afraid I can’t reveal too much here, since us cats have kind of a code that we don’t let humans in on everything we’re up to. But I can tell you, us cats are really very good when it comes to working on a computer. And even though we can speak human language just fine, we always switch back to cat language when humans are around. Otherwise it might freak them out. 

Plus, most people don’t realize it, but cats are probably better at solving crimes than humans. That’s because we have night vision and an excellent sense of smell. Not to mention, we can sneak in and out of places without being spotted. But that’s all I can tell you. Sorry.

Amber: Fair enough. ;) Are you and Bogey working on any cases currently?

Buckley: Right now we’re sort of recovering from our new book release. So we’re just getting caught up on our naps and running our nightly surveillance around the house. Still, Christmas is on the horizon and we’re expecting big things to happen. So our agency is ready to jump in on all four paws when a new case for the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency comes up! Holy Mackerel!

Amber: You run across a lot of “bad guys” and scary situations while on the case. What gets you through the difficult times? How do you hold on to the hope that good will triumph over evil?

Buckley: Wow, that’s a tough one! Because bad guys can be very scary, all right! But I learned a long time ago that when I’m in a pickle, it’s a good idea to rely on those who are bigger and smarter than me. For me, that’s my big brother, Bogart, and the cat in our house that we call the Wise One. Our Mom, on the other hand, talks about relying on God when she’s scared. She says He’s bigger and smarter than anyone! She says He will make sure that good does triumph over evil. Well, I have to say, that makes me a pretty happy cat!

Amber: And rightly so! Your Mom is very wise. 

I think it’s awesome that your cases have been written down for others to read! Is there a particular age group that would most enjoy the stories?

Buckley: It’s funny, but we originally wrote our books for kids ages 8-12. But pretty soon we found out that grownups were buying our books, too. So we usually say our books are for kids and cat-lovers of all ages. I guess lots of people just like reading about Bogey and me and all of our friends as we work to crack another case. Maybe it’s because we remind them of their own cats.

Amber: I certainly enjoy reading about your adventures! I definitely think cat-lovers of all ages would find them to be sweet and entertaining.

Now, this is a for-fun question, since your Mom is a friend of mine and has told you a bit about my books. :) My latest stories feature stars, bees, and trains. What are your thoughts on those topics? 

Buckley: Holy Catnip! I love all those things! And you sure picked some great things to write about! In my Christmas book, The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks, I got stuck outside one night. This was right after I’d heard about the Christmas story, and how people followed a bright star to find baby Jesus lying in a manger. So I climbed into the Nativity scene on our front yard and looked up at all the stars in the night sky. I tried to find the brightest one, and I tried to imagine what the Christmas star must have looked like all those years ago. It was such a beautiful night!

As for bees, Bogey and I love to sit in our living room window and watch all the busy bees in our garden outside. They sure do like our flowers. And when it comes to trains, we always chase the train our Dad puts out at Christmas time near our big Christmas tree. We knock it off so he can put it back on the track again. We just know he really enjoys our little game.

Amber: So fun! And I loved that scene in your Christmas book.

Before you go, do you have any parting message you’d like to share from the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency? We’re glad you took time off from work to join us today!

Buckley: I just have to say, since I’m still kind of the rookie and Bogey is the pro in our agency, sometimes I’m a little scared when it comes a new situation where I’m not sure what to do. Sometimes I think life would be a whole lot easier if I just lazed around and took naps all day.

But after a few cases, I realized how much I would miss out on if I didn’t step outside my comfort zone (as my Mom calls it), and try something new. I’ve learned a whole bunch of new skills because of it, and I’ve met wonderful people and cats, and I’ve even played a big role in helping to crack some very tough cases. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, sometimes it’s good to take a leap of faith, even when it’s a little scary.

Anyway, I sure would like to thank you again for hosting us here, Amber. Bogey and I (and our Mom!) really appreciate all you’ve done to support our books. Hugs and wet nose kisses to you! You’ve been a good friend to us, and a real blessing. We’d like to tell you Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas in advance! Holy Catnip!

Amber: That's a great lesson you've learned, Buckley. Thank you for sharing! And a very happy Thanksgiving and Christmas to you, your Mom, and the rest of the gang!

Readers, you can connect with Buckley and his Mom at the following sites:
Buckley and Bogey website | Cindy Vincent's website | Whodunit Press
Goodreads | Pinterest | YouTube

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Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win one of three autographed copies of The Case of the Clever Secret Code! This book would make a great Christmas gift for a cat-lover in your life - or a fun treat for you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 9, 2015

What's Your Ideal Deal for Black Friday? (Survey)

When I was told about the opportunity to join with fellow Christian indie authors to create an epic group Black Friday sale, I couldn't resist! And the cool part? You get to help us decide what sorts of deals/offers to share at the end of this month!

Fill out the form below (or at this link) to let us know what would make this Black Friday a book-buyer's Technicolor dream. ;)

P.S. Bloggers, there's a spot on the form where you can sign up to share about all the upcoming deals...and score some free books in the process! (Woot!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Plenty o’ Pretties (and Some Fun to Come)

I've been getting a few things in place for a bookiversary celebration on November 18th - the one-year anniversary of the release of How a Star Falls! Woot!

Let's start with a teaser of the giveaway. :) I've been in contact with a few of my favorite Etsy shops, and I'm so excited to partner with them and feature an item from each store for the prizes! I won't tell you what the items are yet (gotta have some surprises, right?), but here's a look at the stores the prizes are from:

Baubles, Beads and Stuff is a brand-new Etsy shop run by blogger extraordinaire Rissi (Dreaming Under the Same Moon) and her mom, and the pieces are so classy! You can find a lovely variety of necklaces and earrings there - big, bold, and colorful. Allow me to show off the necklace I recently received from their store...

You can browse the pretties at:

Cindy Lindgren is always a pleasure to work with, and her designs are so sweet and whimsical! You can find cards, prints, fabric, and posters at her shop. Aren't you gonna have fun guessing which card design I'm offering for the giveaway? ;) Check out Cindy's store at:

Jaye L. Knight is someone many of you already know and love. She's the author of the new-adult Christian fantasy series called the Ilyon Chronicles. But she also runs this Etsy shop on the side and offers a wide array of lovely and clever jewelry pieces and bookmarks. See what's available at:

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Goodness, there's so much awesomeness to explore on Etsy, am I right? Feel free to send a shout-out to your favorite shops in the comments section. :)

As for what else is in store for the anniversary celebration, I'm very excited to announce that we'll be unveiling a new cover for How a Star Falls! While I still very much love the original, my contemporary romances will now be branded with couple covers. Who else is psyched to have Derrick join Brielle on the cover of the novella?? This couple holds a special place in my heart. ♥

I also thought of something tonight...

You see, I really want to draw attention to the audiobook version of How a Star Falls. It's my first audiobook, and I really, really loved how the narrator interpreted Derrick's voice and brought the story to life. :) It would tickle me pink (like the shirt I'm wearing in the pics above!) to see the audiobook get a little extra love during the anniversary celebration.

To that end, I wondered if any of you would be interested in doing a listen-along? Kinda like a read-along, but with an audiobook? Since the book is only two hours long when read aloud, I imagine a week of less than 20 minutes of listening per day would do the trick. You could listen on the way to work/school, while eating a meal, right before bed...pretty quick and hopefully fun. :) We could chat about the little snippet of story each day, our thoughts on the narration, our own dreams and memories the scenes bring to mind, whether or not we agree with Derrick's taste in music, what we like/don't like about the beach, etc.

And here's the thing: I have extra promo codes for downloading a free copy of the audiobook, so if you're interested in joining a listen-along, I'll be happy to send you a code! (Email me at to request a code.) I'd just ask for a quick and honest review on Audible and Amazon when you're done listening. :)

What do you guys think? I could see this starting around the 15th or 16th maybe, and lasting for a week?

Looking forward to celebrating the bookiversary with you in a couple of weeks!

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P.S. Fellow bloggers, have you heard about the new Book Blogger's Planner? It's available for pre-order now, and it sounds just fab! (I've already got my copy secured. ;)) Learn more about the planner HERE and about Jamie's new Shoppe opening in December HERE. It sounds like such an awesome endeavor!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Review of The Golden Braid

About the Book (from the author's website)

"The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower...

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.

Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim. 

The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel, in turn, rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to him than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?

As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery are about to be revealed after seventeen years. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?"

Releases November 17th!

My Rating


My Review

I enjoy Melanie Dickerson's blend of adventure and fairy-tale favorites. The Golden Braid doesn't completely turn the story of Rapunzel on its head, as there are a lot of familiar elements embedded in this retelling, but she does take it on a merry dance with some fun twists (including connections to her previous retellings, especially The Princess Spy), unique personalities, and a good cast of secondary characters.

Of course, it's Rapunzel and Sir Gerek who steal the show! Well...and Rapunzel's mother. The three of them form a complicated braid of emotions and shifting loyalties. From their first danger-filled introduction on the road to Hagenheim, to the bitter, suspense-filled end, their story is one of secrets and suspicions.

I'm a little torn about the middle of the story. Part of me would have liked even more glimpses into the blossoming friendship and romance - more time with the hero and heroine together. Another part of me would have liked a bit more "new" tension in the outside circumstances (which is only a potential problem for those who are familiar with the plot of The Princess Spy). But still, there's a continuous, underlying thread of suspense that's unique to Rapunzel's situation, and it is interesting seeing one story's plot from another character's point of view.

This latest retelling from Dickerson has a very tender romance when all is said and done, and for that, I say bravo! By the end I was definitely rooting for the hero and hanging on for the crazy ride on the road to a fairy-tale-worthy resolution. There's a sweet message about love seeing beyond social status and never giving up while there's still hope. Fans of Dickerson's writing and sweet fairy tales with a dash of danger should enjoy meeting the girl with the golden braid.

*With thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*