Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review—The Princess Spy

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About the Book:

Margaretha has always been a romantic, and she hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story.

Unable to pass his message on to her father, the duke, Margaretha convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger. But when Colin asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment for retrieving a lost heirloom, Margaretha discovers that she might be very wrong about both Colin and her potential betrothed.

My Rating: 5 Stars

I am always eager to get my hands on a new Melanie Dickerson fairy tale retelling and The Princess Spy did not disappoint. I thought it was a very fun adventure and not quite as predictable as The Captive Maiden (which I still loved, it’s just the being captured over and over in the same book felt a bit monotonous). One of the things I love most in Melanie Dickerson’s books is how much I actually like her heroines. That’s quite a feat. It’s always hard for me to find girl characters I really like. That’s why I usually read books for the guys. ;)

Speaking of guys, her heroes are also awesome. I’ve loved all of them. Wilhelm will always be my favorite, but Colin was right up near the top. I really enjoyed his character, and he and Margaretha were so cute together. Also, the way this book tied in with The Merchant’s Daughter was fabulous. It was just an extra little detail that made me love the book even more. Plus the cover is just gorgeous. How could it not make you want to read it?

I highly recommend The Princess Spy as a well-told continuation of Melanie’s fairy tale retellings, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

By the the way, The Princess Spy is currently only $1.99 for Kindle! I don’t know how long it will last, but it’s a great price for a great book!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Favorites of 2014

I see many of my blogging friends have been writing posts of their top 10 books of 2014. Honestly, I’m not sure I even read 10 books this year. I probably did, but it just wasn’t a great year for reading. I had too much else going on. So, I’ve decided to do a different kind of list. Instead of just books, I’m going to encompass a variety of favorites and highlights that have really stood out to me from this past year. :)

Top 3 Books

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3. The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan

I’m a big fan of the Ranger’s Apprentice series, so it was incredibly fun to revisit the world when I never expected there to be any more books.

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2. A Cowboy Unmatched by Karen Witemeyer

I was so excited to read this story of Neill. It completely lived up to my anticipation. Who doesn’t love Karen Witemeyer’s Archer men?

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1. Chasing the Lion by Nancy Kimball

This was definitely my top read of 2014. It quickly made its way into my top 3 favorite books/series of all time with The Lord of the Rings and Books of the Infinite. You can read my full review here. I can hardly wait to read book two. It’s at the top of my most highly anticipated future releases.

Top Movies

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

My brothers and I went to see this yesterday morning, and I thought it was spectacular. I pretty much loved everything about it . . . well, maybe not the sad parts. Yeah, I cried, like, five or six times. Basically on and off through the whole last half hour of the film. And I’ve never cried during a movie in the theater before. So that’s saying a lot. I thought it was a perfect end to The Hobbit Trilogy, and I absolutely loved how it so seamless connected with The Lord of the Rings. It’s definitely my favorite movie of 2014.

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Dawn of Planet of the Apes

I grew up watching the old Planet of the Apes movies, so it has been really fun to watch the new ones. I recently watched this second movie for the first time with my family and thought it was an incredibly well done movie. One of the best I’ve seen this year.

Top TV Show

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Scorpion

Oh my goodness, I cannot begin to tell you how much I adore this show. It’s amazing. I love everyone in it (which is unusual), though if I had to pick a favorite, I’d pick Toby. And I ship him and Happy so hard. ;) It’s a perfect show if you feel like you don’t quite fit in with “normal” people.

Top Writing Moments

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The release of Resistance was a huge moment for me this year. It was my first release as Jaye L. Knight as well as the beginning of the biggest adventure series I’ve ever worked on. It was definitely frightening right at the beginning wondering how readers would like it, but it’s been an amazing experience so far.

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Winning a Readers’ Favorite award was absolutely incredible. I never imagined getting to that point in my writing.

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And, of course, there was the moment Resistance hit #1 in Christian Fantasy on Amazon. That was very exciting. I had no idea when I first published Resistance that I would hit all these milestones in the first several months.

Then there was finishing book 4 of Ilyon Chronicles, which had been giving me fits. I wrote 88,000 words in eight weeks between June and July. Definitely a big writing accomplishment.

And last, but certainly not least, one of the biggest highlights of the year was getting to know old friends better as well as gaining many new friends and fans. It has been an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to see how 2015 goes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Resistance Sale Report + Bargain eBook Websites

I’m kind of late in posting this, but I’ve been busy lately with filling a bunch of Christmas orders from my Etsy shop and working on the surprise project I mentioned on Facebook the other day (my lips are totally sealed for now). But, as you probably know unless you’re just visiting my blog now, I had a 99 cent sale on Resistance from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. My final count was 110 sales. Could have been better, but it wasn’t the worst either. As part of the sale, I submitted to a bunch of bargain eBook websites. I’m not sure how much it actually helped, and I only know of a few who posted it for sure. Thanksgiving is the day I had the most sales: 37. It dropped then to about 20 sales a day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Monday I was listed on Choosy Bookworm and had my second highest day with 27 sales. I’m sure the listing helped. Either that or everyone was looking for deals being it was Cyber Monday. So I don’t have any really detailed reporting to do on my sale, but I thought I’d share my experience. Whenever I have another sale, it will be interesting to compare and see if having sales around Black Friday and Cyber Monday is actually worth the hype.

But one thing I wanted to do was share the bargain sites I submitted to since they’re all free (which is really hard to find). It took a really long time to submit to all of them. I’m not sure if it was really worth it, but I’d probably do it again just in case it does make a different. Hopefully it can be beneficial to someone else who’s looking for free sites to submit to. After all, I spent hours digging all these up.

I also submitted to eReader News Today (which isn’t free, but worth the price from what I’ve heard), but it was very last minute. I was declined because they didn’t have room to post it (my bad for not making up my mind sooner), but I definitely plan to submit again for my next sale.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Becoming Nikki Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Becoming Nikki Cover 8 Front

About a month ago I shared this cover with you for Ashley Elliott’s debut novel. Well, today that novel has released! As part of the celebration, I’m taking part in Ashley’s blog tour and sharing an interview with Ashley, plus a giveaway of a signed copy of Becoming Nikki. But first, about the book!

 

 

 

 

 

What would you do if you were given the opportunity to rebuild a broken relationship?

Alec and Nikki Scott are the perfect ice dancing duo, executing flawless technique and brilliant performance abilities each time they compete. No one doubts their camaraderie, not even their closest friends.

But looks can be deceiving. Off the ice, their relationship is in shambles. Ice dancing is the only thing they have in common anymore... and Alec wants to quit.

Just as Nikki feels like their relationship can't get any worse, an unexpected tragedy crashes into her life. She's left struggling with a difficult choice as her opinion of her brother slowly starts to change.

Whatever she decides, she knows her life will never be the same.

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Interview

1. What inspired you to write Becoming Nikki?

Well, it all started when I discovered ice dancing while watching it during the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Meryl Davis and Charlie White were instantly my favorite and I started thinking about how much it would take to get to the Olympics.  I also had come up with the idea of a broken sister-sister relationship (which slowly turned into a brother-sister relationship) around the same time, and, as I started developing the plot of that novel, the ice dancing part eventually fused with it.

2. Which of your characters would you most love to spend the day with?

I think I'd like to spend the day with Natalie. We'd watch period dramas and eat junk food and laugh and tell each other jokes and it'd be awesome.

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

Same here! I like to refer to what I do as “crafting a novel,” because that's what it feels like. You start out with the original idea, then slowly shape it into something amazing. I also love how the story changes when the characters take on a mind of their own. It's a really great thing to watch.

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?

Me, too! I started casting Nikki when I first started writing it, and I'm pretty sure the original cast has stayed the same because I can't see them as anything else. I discovered Alexis Bledel after watching a few episodes of Gilmore Girls, and Jonathan Rhys Myers came after I watched August Rush (both of which I really liked, but can't really recommend because of Content.)

Nikki and Alec

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?

Heehee. I think my least favorite part is editing... and editing... and editing. That feeling in the back of your mind that you can never stop editing because it's not perfect yet! I feel this way, at least, because I'm partially a perfectionist. (Haha.) But I still enjoy it because I can listen to awesome music while I edit. ; )

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

Absolutely! I'm working on a new novel entitled The Art of Letting Go. (It's probably my eighty-fifth novel, but the second I'll actually finish.) It's about a teenage girl who loses her best friend in a horrific shooting at her school and has to learn to let go and move on, even though she's wrapped her entire life – including her future – around this guy. It's really depressing, sad (the first novel I've written that I've actually cried over), and has a grittier, more mature feel than Nikki that I love. I should be finished writing it sometime in the near future, and I'd really like to try the traditional route with that one.

7. What hobbies do you have outside of writing?

I love to sing, listen to Broadway musical soundtracks, play the violin and piano, read books (a LOT of them), swing dance, take walks, watch movies (a LOT of them), take pictures, and hang out with my friends and family.

8. What are some of your favorite books?

I have, like, a million favorite books... I've narrowed it down to (probably) the top five.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (and all books in the series) by Emmuska Orczy

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Eight Cousins / Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

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

Heehee...

1. I used to have a stamp collection. Stamps, catalogs, three-ring-binders, the whole shebang.

2. I'm gluten- and dairy-free.

3. I've meet an Olympian and held her medal, which, if memory serves correctly, was gold. And it turns out she has the same birthday as me. What're the odds???

10. And finally, what advice would you give other authors seeking to publish?

Find people who can help you! You don't have to do it alone. I was stuck in the publishing/final editing stages of Nikki for over a year because I was overwhelmed and didn't know where to start. *music comes in* But then a heeeero comes aloooooong... aka Morgan came in and gave me the kick in the pants I needed, along with her amazing formatting SKILLZ that she lent to my novel. Moral of the story: Don't feel like you have to figure it out by yourself. Ask for help. The person who is exactly what you need might be right around the corner!

About Ashley

9801849Ashley Elliott is a writer, reader, musician, photographer, tree-climber, and Leaguette. She speaks fluently in movie quotes and spends most of her time fangirling over her latest obsession. In her free time, she enjoys laughing with her friends, laughing over Christian indie films (but secretly loving them), and laughing with her five crazy siblings. Ashley is a homeschool graduate and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Humanities through CollegePlus. She lives in Georgia with her parents and siblings, and doesn't have any pets.

You can find out more about Ashley on her blog.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Jaye’s Resistance–Street Team

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It’s been on my to-do list for quite some time now, but I finally got an official page set up for my street team! Joining comes with some fun perks, such as being the first to know about any new books, and I'll be forever grateful for any help spreading the word about those books. So, if you're interested in joining, head on over and check it out! :) Don't worry, I won't bombard you with emails or demands. ;)

Jaye’s Resistance