Two YA Authors to Read this Spring PLUS a Giveaway!

Spring weather in Florida is blissful and hints that summer is just around the corner! Maybe you have an official spring break, or maybe, you’re in my camp and don’t technically get one. Regardless, you can still hop in to some spring reading. If you’re a sunshine girl like me, I suggest grabbing a beach towel, some sun protection, and a book you’ve been wanting to read to enjoy the best of both worlds (in my case, Florida and fiction).

Perhaps you’ve finished your current read and are looking for something new. If you enjoy young adult fiction, here are two authors worth adding to your list. Also, be sure to scroll all the way to the end of this post, because there’s a chance to enter a spring giveaway of 30 books (including one of my own) and a grand prize!

Emily Golus

Today, Golus’ sequel to Escape to Vindor releases, and I’m excited to share my review of Mists of Paracosmia with you. When Golus invited me to be an advance reader, I said yes, even though I was in the middle of wedding planning.

Golus spins another page-turning fantasy adventure in this sequel. This time, instead of Megan translating to Vindor, her younger brother finds himself there. Arden has been bullied at school, and when he hears there are Samurai in Vindor, he thinks he’s found his chance to train and teach the bullies a lesson when he returns home. However, though his journey, he learns the qualities that make a real warrior and hero are sacrificial, not selfish. Plus, Vindor’s problems are much larger than his own, and somehow, he must find a way to help.

I loved how Golus developed the sibling relationship between Megan and Arden. While Arden is trapped in Vindor, Megan is desperate to find a way to get him back—and risks everything in the process. We also see a more mature Megan in this story as she is now in college and learning what true friendship, and perhaps romance, looks like.

The ending was well-foreshadowed and still offered a delightful surprise. Why do the mists destroy memories in Vindor, and who controls them? This fantasy, with its well-crafted world building and lovable characters, offers a clean, thought-provoking, and memorable story readers of all ages will enjoy.

Lisa Mayer

Mayer’s first book in the Aletheian Journeys, The Arrow Bringer, released in March, which happened to be my wedding month. I had planned to read the book during my honeymoon travels but finished before I left because I had to find out what happened to the characters!

From the opening sentence, I was invested in Evie’s story. She’s dying of leukemia yet about to embark on the most important quest of her life, one that will decide the fate of her people and her soul.

Mayer’s descriptions are so vivid that the scenes spring to life in my imagination. Her world-building is masterful, and she makes me genuinely care about the characters. This story very much reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia with its redemptive theme. From what I hear, there’s a sequel, and I’ll be watching for it.

Spring Giveaway

Now through May 4, you have the chance to win thirty books and a $100 Amazon gift card! I’ve partnered with other Christian fiction authors in this event, hosted by Celebrate Lit, and am offering one of my own books, a Kindle copy of The Revisionary, as one of the prizes. I’d love for you to take home some good reads and the grand prize!

Click the image below to enter the giveaway or learn more at the Facebook event.

Do you already have books lined up for your spring reading? If so, please share in the comments!

Kristen

 

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Fighting Fear through Fantasy

At the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, I met author Emily Golus, whose young adult fantasy, Escape to Vindor, won the Selah Award for its category. I was instantly drawn to her sincere, winsome personality and looked forward to reading her novel.

Last week, I read it. Yes, the story is incredible, but beyond that, I was moved by how much it personally challenged me.

Summary

Megan Bradshaw can defeat a sphynx when she’s imagining her alter-ego Selena in the fantasy world of Vindor, but in real life, she bombs oral speeches and dreads the idea of moving to a new school. If only she could be Selena all the time!

But when Megan gets her wish and finds herself transported to Vindor, she’s in over her head. Vindor faces a growing threat from a mysterious Shadow, and unless she can find the real guardian Selena, Vindor might perish. She, Megan Bradshaw, is a sham, and it’s only a matter of time until everyone finds out.

When reality hits that there is no other Selena to rescue Vindor, Megan must confront the Shadow and her own fears to save the world and creatures she loves.

Review and Take-Away

Golus’ writing, world building, and characterization are masterful, but what I loved even more was the theme for readers to apply to their own lives. When Megan discovers that the Shadow feeds on fear, she sees how fear controls her life and the lives of others. She develops self-awareness for the root cause of her fears and the lies they tell her.

We readers have seen the theme that love conquers fear before, but the way Golus develops Megan’s journey of discovery, climaxing with her understanding of the ultimate Love, truly touched me. It challenged me to identify and confront my own fears and take them to my God who is so much greater than them.

The spiritual thread runs seamlessly through the story in a quiet but confident way. Middle school and older readers will enjoy this book. I’m adding Golus to my favorite author list.

Return to Vindor

Perhaps the best Instagram news from last week was Golus’ post that there’s going to be a sequel. Readers can return to Vindor in 2019! You can follow the author for updates and more at worldofvindor.com.

What’s your latest favorite read and why did you love it? Share your thoughts in the comments. Happy reading!

~ Kristen

 

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