Book Reviews

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

“If you knew all the answers, there’d be no need for trust, little one.”

What an absolutely charming and enthralling read! I was blown away by every splendid detail. This was a story about love, abuse, literature, friendship, and faith. 

“It is not hopeless,” he said with surety. “It is uncertain, and this is the cross God always gives us in life, uncertainty. But it is not hopeless.”

To begin, who doesn’t love C.S. Lewis? The Chronicles of Narnia have held their popularity since their publication and his theological literature is profound. So, of course, I was intrigued by the woman who influenced and fell in love with him. She was his match in every way! And she was smart and brave and faithful. Even when her first husband was unkind, she was determined to make things work. She didn’t just go off dallying with other men or entertaining fancies about Jack (C.S. Lewis); no, she was committed to fulfilling her marriage vows. Despite, this there came a point where her husband became too terrible and they divorced. Even then, Jack and Joy kept their relationship within the friend boundaries; although, Joy did develop a huge crush on him. As was mentioned before, they eventually got married and enjoyed three happy years together as husband and wife before Joy passed away. 

“God might not fix things for me, but he would be with me in whatever waited ahead, that was clear.”

Not only was the story beautiful, but the writing was stunning as well. It was decorated with velvet and filigree and I loved that! As you may know from my other reviews, I am not a fan of plain writing (simply telling the story with little artistic flourish). This was not at all like that. The author also did a lovely job setting the scene in both America and the various locations in England. In this, and the letter-writing and dialogue, it was clear that she had done her homework. Bravo!    

Lastly, this was a clean read. Sex is alluded to but is not at all blatantly described.

Altogether, I think this is one of my favourite reads of 2020. 

“We’re connected everywhere. Even before we met, we were all of us tied together with these funny little threads. I love those small hints that God brings people together and says, ‘Here you go. This one’s for you.”

 

Elephant Waving Goodbye GIF by Reactions | Gfycat

 

Ramblings

Free eBook – Ashes of Glass

Today is the day! My debut novel Ashes of Glass is free on Amazon.ca today and tomorrow. If you have a couple minutes pick it up and add it to your summer to-read list.

Click HERE to find Ashes of Glass on Amazon.ca.

A servant struggling to survive.
A prince becoming a leader.
A snake seeking power.

Arella Marceau, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, finds herself diminished to a lowly servant who must obey the every whim of her stepmother. Then she meets Freddie who is handsome, kind, strong, and of course, very charming. They spend an afternoon together, exploring ruins, becoming lost in the forest, and dealing with gypsies and Arella begins to fall for the young man. When a mysterious debt arises, it inevitably tears Arella away from what she thought might have been a shred of happiness.

Arella accepts her dismal fate, but working as a scullery maid at the palace is a tumultuous task. For it is soon revealed to her that Freddie is Prince Friederic, heir to the throne of Ormandy. Even though discovery would mean life-shattering consequences, Freddie and Arella defy social expectations and meet in the safety of a secret garden. To complicate things further, Arella’s creditor seems to be frighteningly fascinated with her, as well as with the monarchy. What kind of secrets does he keep behind his black eyes?

As Arella’s life spins out of control, she must hold to her love for Freddie and to her belief that God has a perfect plan.

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Ramblings

Beta Reading Service

For as long as I can remember, I have loved writing. It is such a joy to weave stories into colourful and complex tapestries. But over the past few months, I have discovered that I also enjoy helping other authors. I suppose much of it has to do with my experience which made me realize how important it is to have others read and critique your work. Sometimes it’s hard to accept what people say, but in the end, your story will shine all the more.

With all of that said, I decided to offer beta reading services. I wish I had lots of time and lots of money but as a student, things are a little tight. So to start out, I am going to ask for a small fee.

$0.0003/per word which works out to be around $27 for 90,000 words. I will read the first 2,000 words for free so you can get a sense of how I work and so I can assess whether or not I will be a good fit for your novel. I use google docs for beta reading which allows me to comment directly on things and which allows you to get my comments as soon as I make them.

Genres that I am interested in: young adult, Christian fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, and children’s literature.   

Genres that I am not interested in: erotica, non-fiction, and horror.

Here is the link to my read shelf on Goodreads so you can see the kind of books I like. https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/69093165-e-j-hill?shelf=read

Also, here is the link to a list of book reviews I have written. I encourage you to read one or two of those. https://letterstoyou312.wordpress.com/book-reviews/?frame-nonce=c1e7c6bca8

If I haven’t scared you away yet and you think I would be a good fit for your book, please send me an email: emmajoyhill20@gmail.com  

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Ramblings, Uncategorized

Top Ten Reads of 2018

Happy 2019!!

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Looking back at 2018, here are some of my favourite reads.

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The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

This was a magical read! I was completely captivated by each strand that Franklin wove to create this colourful tapestry.

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The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown

I was captivated from the very beginning. The authors have a way of writing that enchants the readers and draws them into this colourful, exciting world.Image result for if i run series

If I Run Series by Terri Blackstock (If I Run by Terri Blackstock)

Oh my goodness, this series! So good! I was sitting at the edge of my chair the entire time. Review for books #2 and #3 are coming soon.

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The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

The world Wallwork immediately established was magical and intriguing.

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Changeling (Sorcery and Society #1) by Molly Harper

I loved this book! It was such a beautiful and captivating story. I can’t wait to read book #2!

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I was immediately sucked in by Morgenstern’s beautiful and descriptive writing style. There was something magical about it, something intricate like a delicate spider web glistening in the morning sun.

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Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

The first little bit had me wondering if the entire book was going to be so dark. I thought, “There is a good chance I won’t finish this book.” Then Rose escaped the Garden and met Rayce. That’s when I fell in love with the story and a certain character….

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The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

I definitely recommend this book. It was a lovely read and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and discovering where Tiki’s journey will lead to next.

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Shadow and Thorn by Kenley Davidson

The first thing that caught me was the writing. To me, it had a certain grace about it which danced with elegant steps across the pages. And it took me by surprise, I had not anticipated such charm when first I turned to “Chapter 1.”

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Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

This book is a golden little nugget I found while digging through piles of dusty books at my local book fair.

And lastly, the honourable mention goes to…

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Bandaging the Blitz by Phyll Macdonald-Ross & I.D. Roberts

As a book co-written by someone who actually lived through these things, it had a beautiful authentic atmosphere. Each time I picked up this book, it was like I stepped through a portal into the 1940s.

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While I was writing this up, I kept thinking, “Oh, ya! That was such a good book! I should read it again.” Haha. I definitely recommend all of these books. They are amazing and very enjoyable.

Have you read any of these books? Are they on your favourites shelf?

Ramblings, Uncategorized

Top Ten Covers of 2018

Happy New Years Eve!!! 

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Out of all the books I’ve read this year, here are my ten favourite covers!

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The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Isn’t it magical?!? The story is amazing too! I highly recommend!

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The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

This is the perfect read for Christmas break!

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Changeling (Sorcery and Society #1) by Molly Harper

This silhouette cover is not extremely elaborate and yet, it is still elegant.

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The Watcher of the Night Sky by Rachel Pudsey

I love the title artwork on this one!

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If I Run by Terri Blackstock

I love how the covers are like a puzzle and make up one picture. The spines do that too.

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Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, but I have to admit, the cover is pretty neat.

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The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

I love the detailing behind the text. It adds a unique and beautiful element to this one.

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Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

I quite like the black background. It gives this one a sense of mystery. (which fits perfectly with the story.)

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The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Again, not super elaborate, but the blood dripping from the crown… so chilling.

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Thief of Cahraman by Lucy Tempest

 

Wow! That was actually pretty hard! Have you read any of these books? Are any of these covers on your top ten?

Tags

The 10 Question Self-publishing Tag

Happy Monday! Self-publishing was a long journey for me and I thought I would share some of it with you guys through this tag. Hope you enjoy. 🙂

1. What is the title of your debut novel?

Ashes of Glass

Ashes of Glass. It’s a retelling of Cinderella with a few twists.

2. Why did you choose self-publishing?

I think it chose me. I sent queries to a number few agents and heard back from one of them, “While your work has merit, it is not quite a fit for us. With respect and regret, we must decline.” After a while, I wasn’t sure where to go. Do I keep sending out queries? Do I just leave this novel and start writing a new one. During the summer I worked at a u-pick berry farm and met a woman who was a self-published author. She told me about CreateSpace and the royalties a self-published author receives. Prior to this, I didn’t know much about self-publishing so that day I went home and looked into CreateSpace. I was hooked right then and there. I was going to publish my book! Before I did, though, I edited ferociously and laid the foundations so I could begin building a social platform.  Finally in January 2018, I felt it was ready and hit the publish button!

3. What’s your favorite thing about being an indie author?

I can do pretty much whatever I want! I made the cover myself, I designed the inside, I added and removed scenes. But this can also be a pitfall since as the author, it’s sometimes like I’m wearing blinders. Whether the cause is stubbornness or pure ignorance, problems sometimes arise from my desire to be independent.   

4. What’s the hardest thing about being an indie author?

Building a platform and getting reviews. You obviously want people to read your book. That’s why you published it, right? I needed to get myself out there, make a twitter account, get a blog going, review books, join goodreads groups etc. But at the same time, I had to be careful not to spread myself too thin. I couldn’t do everything.   

5. Looking back is there something you would do differently?

Umm maybe get an editor. I would definitely have tried to find some beta readers. Like I said, I love being independent with this all, but it’s really hard. It’s amazing how often I missed things and when I did eventually notice, I was like, “How did I let this happen?”

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6. How important is social media (blog, twitter, goodreads)?

Sooo important! I mentioned this already, but you need a social platform, you need to get yourself out there.

7. Did you hire an editor?

No, I didn’t. Maybe I should have, but it’s quite expensive and if I’m careful, I can probably catch the grammatical errors myself. I will be looking for beta readers for my next book, though. (So if you’re interested… 😉 I’ll hopefully be posting something within the next three months.)  

8. What’s your personal editing process?

First draft I just write, no regrets. Second draft and maybe third draft I read through the manuscript and fish out as many hiccups – grammar, plot, characters etc. Then I use the search on microsoft office to look for words that I shouldn’t use; for example, after, before, when, like, suddenly, slightly, hopefully, really, very, stand, turn, etc. My list is pretty long because I’m picky about it and you should be too. It’s a super important step and helps to clean up your writing. Another thing I do with my manuscript, is put it through a text to audio converter and then listen to it. This is a tedious task, but well worth the effort since it especially reveals awkwardly worded sentences and typos. After this, I print the manuscript and go through it with a red pen. This also is a lot of work, but everything looks different when you see it on real paper. Finally, I design the interior and do all the formatting and hopefully by then, it’s ready to go. 🙂   

9. Will you self-publish your next book?Related image

Yes, definitely. Self-publishing was a lot of work, but it was worth it. Right now I’m about 75% done the 2nd draft and things are already falling into place. (Does that mean I’m getting better or that I’m missing a lot???)  

10. What’s your advice to people who want to self-publish?

Start a blog and review as many books as you can. When you’re in the reviewer mindset, you notice the imperfections and if you’re smart, you’ll learn from them. Reviews on your blog will also get you noticed by other readers interested in the same genres. So when you publish, they’ll be like, “Oh hey, this person likes the same books I do. I should give their book a try.”

Are you veering towards self-publishing? How would you answer these questions?

If you have any other questions for me or want some advice, feel free to comment or shoot me an email. Here is the link to my Contact Page.  

Glossary

Beta Reader: A test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing (similar to beta testing in software), giving feedback with the angle of an average reader to the author about remaining issues. A beta-reader is a non-professional reader, so that an uncolored opinion of an average reader can be obtained. Usually, a beta reader will be unpaid. The feedback is used by the writer to iron out remaining overall issues with plot, pacing, and consistency. The beta read also serves as a target audience test to see whether the book has the intended emotional impact and feel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_reader

Self-publishing: The publication of any book, album, or other media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher.

CreateSpace: Through our services, you can sell books, CDs, and DVDs for a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing, while maintaining more control over your materials. We make it simple to distribute your books, music, and video through Internet retail outlets, your own website, and other bookstores, retailers, libraries, and academic institutions. https://www.createspace.com/AboutUs.jsp

 

Ramblings

50 Things I Love

Woot woot!!!! I have 50 followers! 😀 😀 😀

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I know, it’s not a lot, but I’m not super active on WordPress so I find it pretty exciting. To celebrate, I thought I would share 50 things that I love. The order might not be 100% accurate, but it’s relatively close. Kind of…

Anyways, here goes!

  1. My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
  2. My Family
  3. Music
  4. Books (Reading and Writing)
  5. Composing
  6. Singing
  7. Playing violin
  8. Playing piano
  9. Coffee
  10. Tea
  11. Gardening
  12. Baking
  13. Photography
  14. Movie soundtracks
  15. Drawing
  16. Singing Psalms and Hymns
  17. Playing guitar
  18. Vintage books
  19. Indoor plants
  20. Trying new recipes
  21. Baking without a recipe (hehe)
  22. Fruit
  23. Cats
  24. Horses
  25. Trail riding
  26. Receiving a paperback copy of my novel
  27. Telling myself stories
  28. CANADA
  29. Farming
  30. Rainstorms at night
  31. Roses
  32. Live music
  33. Taking nature walks
  34. Reading in the sun
  35. Getting reviews of my novel
  36. Blueberry muffins
  37. Essential oils
  38. Watching movies with my younger brother
  39. Tortilla chips and Salsa  
  40. Quiet mornings
  41. Dogs
  42. Soft blankets
  43. Herbal healing
  44. Butterflies
  45. Pizza
  46. Popcorn
  47. The after-rain smell
  48. Interacting with other authors
  49. Snowflakes
  50. The color purple 

Phew! That was actually harder than I thought it would be. Are any of these on your top 50?

 

Thanks for reading!

E. J. Hill