When Your Copy of Romanov Arrives [the definitive guide]

In the event that anyone happened to forget, Romanov by Nadine Brandes releases May 7. That is a week from today.

A. week. from. today.

For those of you who don’t know (where have you been and what have you been doing with your life?), Romanov is a historical fantasy retelling of Anastasia.

I had the privilege of reading it last summer, and I wasn’t sure how it could ever top Fawkes or The Out of Time series (Nadine’s previous books which I ADORE to high heaven). But then it did.

Thus, in celebration and warning, I’ve compiled this guide for when Romanov appears on your front step (because you’ve pre-ordered it, right?). You’re welcome in advance. (Also, this started out as an eleven part series, but I’ve taken the liberty of condensing it down to a single post.)

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If you’re like me, your heart is tuned to the sound of the mail truck. And the FedEx truck. And the UPS truck. Thus, when you hear (aka: sense with your bookwormish, snail-mail-obsessed sixth sense) the delivery truck approaching, you know the time has come.

Romanov arrives.

You fling open the door, race and/or dance down the front steps, and scoop the box out of the driver’s hands before he’s even made it out of his truck.

Or maybe you’re slow and/or an introvert and find that Amazon fulfillment box lying alluringly just outside your front door.  Your hands go shaky, your mouth goes dry, and you gather up the box like a dragon with treasure, retreating back into the safety of your house.

Step One: Put on the proper soundtrack. 

You know in the movies when the hero finds the priceless artifact? He opens the box, and light floods out while a orchestra adds epic notes to the moment.

Friends, this is that moment in your life.

Or also that moment when Thor’s restarting a dying star. It’s also like that moment.

You’re only going to get it once. So make it count.

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Select the proper song (I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a playlist for such a moment [no, I’m not obsessed]), pop on the headphones or bluetooth connect with the speaker, and turn the volume to the max.

Step Two: Wash your hands.

I don’t know what you’ve been up to on The Day When Romanov Arrives, but you don’t want to get any grubby fingerprints on that gold-foil cover no, I’m not fixated on the gold-foil cover, why do you ask?.

So go scrub the chocolate or pizza residue or ranch dressing off your fingers.

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Step Three: Open the box.

You can video this to post on Instagram and/or Facebook if you like, but I advise against it because cutting open a box one-handed is bound to end badly. You could end up stabbing yourself, or worse, Romanov.

So don’t try to be a hero. Video yourself with Romanov after you’ve already opened the box.

Step Four: Pose for pics and videos and publish on social media.

On the day Nadine revealed the cover for Romanov way back in 2018, I rambled and raved for a full nine Instagram stories. And that was just discussing the cover, so really, the sky’s the limit for this initial photo shoot/five part Youtube series about Romanov‘s arrival and how excited you are about it and how much you want to read it.

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Thor = Romanov, the girls = you, Loki = e’rybody else

Also, did Romanov even arrive if you didn’t document it on social media (that was not at all a burn to the #bookstagram world [or was it? {I need to stop, especially since I will be documenting the socks off the arrival of my various copies of Romanov}])?

Step Five: Stop Reading Whatever It Is You’re Already Reading.

Romanov arrives on your doorstep (because you’ve pre-ordered it, right?), and you think to yourself, “Oh, wonderful! I’ll start it as soon as I’m finished with Such-and Such.”

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That is not at all what you should say to yourself when Romanov arrives in all its gold-foil glory.

Stop whatever it is you’re #currentlyreading. It’s lame in comparison to Romanov (I realize that is a VERY bold statement…. and I stand by it 139%).

Step Six: Abscond from all responsibility for the next 72 hours.

“Why 72 hours?” you may ask yourself. You clearly have never read a Nadine Brandes book.

Granted, it’ll probably only take six or so hours to read Romanov (probably less because it is in fact the smallest book Nadine has written to date). But you will be so wrecked after that you will need quite some time to recover and crawl out from under the mountain of used tissues.

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^ how Nadine writes books ^

I am not a story crier. I don’t cry over books or movies hardly ever (I didn’t cry during Avenger’s: Endgame, if that gives you any perspective).

However, there are two novelists who have a history of sending me to tears: C.S. Lewis and Nadine Brandes.

So just know that this book is going to take you everywhere emotionally before it finally spits you out at the end, and it takes time to recover from such trauma.

A few reactions I had along the way:

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^ me trying to make everything okay with fire ^

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(this many uses of this Thor gif is not an accident, FYI)

Step Seven: Gather reading supplies.

Reading supplies you will need for Romanov include but are not limited to:

  • a suitably comfortable chair or couch
  • pajamas
  • coffee or tea (and don’t go decaf; I don’t care if you have to work in the morning; once you start Romanov, you won’t care either; get a caffeinated drink)
  • chocolate and assorted snacks (but take that gold foil dust jacket off, kids; don’t be barbarians)

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  • two boxes of tissues
  • a blanket for when the cold of midnight comes upon you
  • a bookmark in case you need to take a bathroom break
  • cell phone (in case you need emotional support from a friend)
  • paper bag for when you hyperventilate

Step Eight: Start Reading.

If this step needs explanation or elaboration,  I don’t know what you’re doing here or with your life in general.

Bonus! Start measuring time in relation to when you read Romanov.

There is only before and after. B.R. = Before Romanov. A.R. = After Romanov.


And that’s it, kids.

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With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – there’s a fun Instagram photo challenge that starts tomorrow, in case you want to jump in! Search for this: #romanovninjas

p.p.s. – I’ve been waiting to be able to squeal with the world about Romanov for mooooooonths, and I’m (clearly) very excited that it’s finally going to be out and about. Nadine has worked so hard on it and executed it so. freaking. well. Excuse me while I go reread it. Again.

p.p.p.s. – don’t forget the Romanov arrival playlist (if you thought I was joking about making a playlist for the arrival, you were clearly wrong; I don’t joke about Nadine Brandes books).

 

Title + Cover Reveal of Nadine Brandes’ New Book – plus 5 things I’m jazzed for in this new novel and my leading fan theories – [and an ARC giveaway]

It has been said that no new posts come to Penprints during the month of November unless something momentous occurs. Well, something momentous has occurred.

Nadine Brandes has written a new historical fantasy novel, and today is the day the title and cover are revealed to the world. And you have a chance to win an ARC.

Brace yourself.

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But first, the all-important Blurb.

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King James.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

Now. The Cover.

Hold onto your hats, kids.

Are you holding onto them?

FORGET THE HATS LET’S GET TO THIS AMAZING COVER.

Here. we. go.

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Reaction to the Cover.

No words or gifs can suffice.

But. If I was forced to share the honorable mentions, they would include but would not be limited to the following.

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the correct answer: me. I will wield my copy like the deadly hardback it will be.

5 things I’m most jazzed for in Fawkes.

  1. The male protagonist. The YA market is flooded with so many books with female protagonists (aka: main characters), and it will be so refreshing to have a story from a guy’s perspective. This adds much-needed variety to the contemporary YA market and my bookshelf.
  2. Color power & color masks. Um, what is there not to be excited about with these two? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS AND SPECULATIONS ABOUT THE COLOR MASKS ESPECIALLY (first and foremost: where can I get one?).
  3. Duels. It’s 17th century England, people. There’s bound to be a duel or two, and I expect them to be quite fantastic (especially if they include the mysterious color powers/masks).
  4. The Gunpowder Plot. Well-written assassination plots/conspiracies are always exciting, but when you throw gunpowder into the mix, things get downright explosive (see what I did there?).
  5. Treachery in general. The Blurb and Cover make me think that there will be more treachery and betrayal than just in the Gunpowder Plot itself. I’m jazzed (and scared?) about the relational treachery that could happen and how the characters will work through it.
  6. BONUS: The Stone Plague. What even is this thing???????? Where did it come from?? How did Thomas get it???

My current leading fan theories.

The Blurb leaves me with a lot of questions and a lot of different ways this story could go. So, in no particular order, here are some wild conspiracy completely solid theories (mostly about the Stone Plague).

– Guy Fawkes started the Stone Plague and ends up being the ultimate Bad Guy *wink wink* in Fawkes. This just seems like a viable possibility; if he’s plotting an assassination, he’s a shady character.

– The color masks are the source of the Stone Plague. As no bueno as that would be, it would follow with the typical fantasy rule that magic has to come with a price.

– Thomas has two personalities–the one that’s more-or-less innocently suffering from the Stone Plague and then the one that created the Stone Plague. (This one sounds out there, but is it really? Is it????)

– The family of the love interest is behind the Stone Plague which would kind of drive a wedge between Thomas and his girl (I mean, can we blame him?).

– The Gunpowder Plot is successful and King James dies (it’s historical fantasy, people, anything can happen).

– Thomas dies in the end. This one isn’t so much a thought through theory as it is a very real, rational fear since Nadine Brandes has no qualms about killing off nearly all the characters we know and love (case in point: the Out of Time Series). And also, I find the cracks in the mask on the cover quite concerning (and so should you).

– Whoever actually started the Stone Plague steps in and kills all the characters we come to know and love over the course of the book (remember, no one is safe). And then King James finds a cure for the Stone Plague, and the world cruelly keeps turning.

Now, I haven’t had long to ruminate on the Blurb and the Cover, but I’m sure even more theories will develop. And, of course, they’ll all be as wildly outrageous (but are they?) well-thought out as these I’ve shared today. Think about it. We haven’t even gone into the king’s call for death, why the Igniters and Keepers started fighting in the first place, or the color palette used in the cover. My frantic brain keeps churning theories out (like, what if no one’s responsible for the Stone Plague? What if it just came about and there’s no explanation and no cure and no bad dude to pin it on? Hmmmm? What then???).

Other stuff you need to know to be In The Know.

nadine-brandes-HR-6.jpegBe sure to check out Nadine Brandes’ original post about the cover reveal to get in on all the fun there and see if she has any exclusive content WE MUST KNOW about Fawkes.

Fawkes will release July 10, 2018. (Breathe, people, breathe. July 10 is only 239 days away. We will find a way to survive. I hope.).

Be sure to follow Nadine Brandes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the ARC.

And last, but not by any means least, the all important pre-order link.


Well, that’s all I’ve got for today, kids.

I am. so. jazzed. for Fawkes and shall pre-ordering myself a copy (or two or three).

What about you? What are your thoughts on the Cover? And what do you think of the premise? Which of my fan theories do you think is most viable (correct answer: ALL OF THEM)? What theories of your own do you have?

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – don’t forget: enter the giveaway but also pre-order just in case.

My ReRead Stack (Fiction Edition)

Guess what! It’s Monday. I’m here with another Penprints post to brighten your day (theoretically it’ll brighten your day… but I may just come across as obsessive and annoying, but brightening is the general idea… emphasis on general).

Today’s post is about books, and more specifically, my favorite fiction books. These are the books that I have read and will reread and reread and reread and keep reading them again and again until I die. They’re my absolute favorite fiction books, and so let’s start building this book stack.

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The entire Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes.

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Now, did any of us think that all three of these books wouldn’t be in this stack? I mean, really? For those of you who may not know that I’m obsessed with this series who haven’t heard of the Out of Time series, let me give you the premise: a world where everyone knows the day they will die. Parvin Blackwater is seventeen years old, and she has one year left to live. She realizes that she has wasted her life. So, she decides to do something that will leave a mark on the world, something that she’ll be remembered for. Intense things happen as a result.

I will read this series again and again and again because of the powerful spiritual punch each book packs. The story is exciting and the characters are endearing, but it’s the themes that will keep me reaching for these books when I need to see what it means to grow as a Christian and live like I’ve got nothing to lose.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

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This was one of the first fairytale retellings I ever read, and it is still one of my favorites. It’s about a girl named Ella who was cursed at birth with obedience. Whatever someone tells her to do, she has to do it. Anything she’s commanded to do. “Ella, fetch me some flour from the cupboard.” “Ella, stop eating and give me your food.” “Ella, chop your own hand off.” These are commands Ella could be forced by magic to obey. We follow her through her adolescence as her mother dies and she is forced to be her stepmother’s servant because of this curse.

As you may have guessed, it is a retelling of Cinderella. It’s set in a medieval world with fairies and ogres and elves, and I’ve been enchanted (hehe) with it for nearly as long as I can remember. I adore the setting, and the characters, especially Ella, are so dear to my heart. This take on the Cinderella story is my favorite because Ella is so entirely human, and she isn’t always very nice. But those she loves she loves with everything. I’ve read this book at least eight times; I typically try to read it every year. I also own three copies.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

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This. Book. Okay, it is comprised of a couple dozen letters from a senior demon (Screwtape) to his nephew (Wormwood) who is currently trying to learn the ropes of being a Tempter. I read this for the first time in December of last year, and my mind is still blown by this little book. Since it’s written from the perspective of a demon, everything is flipped on its head. The “Enemy” refers to God, “Our Father Below” refers to Satan, and so forth. Screwtape gives Wormwood advice and insight into the human heart and mind, how easily we allow ourselves to be tossed to and fro in life, getting distracted from the reality of God, being caught up in ourselves, the way we are often so awfully blind to our own sin, how our hearts and minds are constantly trying to return to the flesh, to the old man. It is an incredibly humbling book to read, not only because it is so deep, but because an embarrassingly huge portion of it applies to me. There’s such profound help in this petite book for Christians as we toil along this climbing way. It has helped me better understand myself, the nature of sin, and the holiness of God (if I were to pick only three things). I will be reading it again this year.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw.

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I blame my burning fascination for ancient Egypt on this book. Seriously, forget the ancient Greeks and Romans, let’s talk about the Egyptians. Mara is a proud and beautiful slave girl who yearns for freedom in ancient Egypt, under the rule of Queen Hatshepsut. Mara is not like other slaves; she can read and write, as well as speak Babylonian. So, to barter for her freedom, she finds herself playing the dangerous role of double spy for two arch enemies—each of whom supports a contender for the throne of Egypt.

If you’re not geeking out already, you should be. There’s nail-biting intrigue, perilous espionage, swoon-worthy romance, noble hearts, and it’s all set against the backdrop of the Nile. I’ve read this one more times than I can count, and part of it’s because I just love Mara and the story (both are the definition of swanky). But what I love best is how this book calls the reader to think beyond themselves and their desires and agendas. It demands that some things are worth dying for and that the end of yourself is where true greatness lies. Now I have to read it again myself because it’s been a year and a half since I drank in those rich lines last, and I’m overcome with the urge to dramatically whisper: “For Egypt”.

Beauty and The Hero’s Crown by Robin McKinley.

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I put these two together because I read them for the first time back to back. Now, they are set in completely different storyworlds, but both had heavy influence on my childhood. Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and it is my favorite retelling of said fairytale to date. It’s much the same as the original tale in many ways, but I love the new depth to Beauty’s character. She’s endearing with a dry wit and deep love for her family (and also she has a giant horse that she raised since she was like thirteen, and so that’s also really cool, just saying). She and the Beast are now old friends of mine, examples of learning to look beyond the surface.

The Hero’s Crown is quite different (except it also has a horse, so there’s that; basically, throw a horse at it, and it’s amazing). It’s about a king’s daughter whose country dislikes her because they thought that her mother was a witch. She grew up being disdained by many, and they gave her no reason to love them. But then she starts killing dragons for them, and things start to change. To me, this story is about refusing to wallow in self-pity, about moving on regardless of what people think or say about you, pursuing something diligently, and serving when it’s not appreciated. And also she slew dragons.

Chalice by Robin McKinley.

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So, another by Robin McKinley because I’ve read all of her books and own most of them now, and there’s only a couple that I don’t love. This book has a very… understated feel in my opinion. It’s a gentle, rolling story about Marisol, a girl who is pulled from her ordinary life to serve as her people’s Chalice, the right hand the Master. It’s a high honor and also an incredible amount of responsibility, especially since the last Master and his Chalice recently died in a fire and the whole countryside is in upheaval. And it doesn’t help that the new Master happens to accidentally burn people when he touches them (yep, you read that right).

This story taught me a lot about change. Change happens, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. However, you can do your best to grow and adapt to new responsibilities, old (dear) relationships fading away, new (unwanted) relationships beginning, and so many other things that come when life changes. And it’s also simply a lovely story. And there are honey bees.

This Present Darkness and Piercing This Darkness by Frank Peretti.

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These books = spiritual warfare. Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful, hardworking pastor begin to investigate mysterious events, they suddenly find themselves caught up in a New Age plot to enslave the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. The physical world meets the spiritual realm as the battle rages between forces of good and evil.

These books have incredible insights into spiritual warfare and the roles of angels and demons. It’s especially interesting because it’s told from four main perspectives: the pastor’s, the reporter’s, the commanding demon, and the commanding angel. So, the reader gets to see both sides of the fight. It has greatly impacted my understanding and view on prayer, angels, demons, and our unstoppable God.

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope.

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Agh, this book is so enjoyable (and also kind of weird). Here’s a bit of the premise: newly orphaned Peggy Grahame is caught off-guard when she first arrives at her family’s ancestral estate. Her eccentric uncle Enos drives away her only new acquaintance, Pat, a handsome British scholar, then leaves Peggy to fend for herself. The house is full of mysteries (and ghosts), and soon she is told of the unfolding of a centuries-old, Colonial romance against a backdrop of spies and intrigue and of battles plotted and foiled.

Mainly, I love this one because of its ingenuity. See, Peggy is told of this old romance by the ghosts of her Colonial ancestors as they try to help her cope with her father’s recent death by teaching her about their lives (and mistakes). The message is about growing through and past difficult times, and it’s wrapped in a funny, romantic, clever package that I am compelled to read again and again.

Heartless and Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

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It’s hard not to have the entire Tales of Goldstone Wood series in this stack, but if I had to pick favorites, it would be these two. I’m going to skip telling you the premise on these two just because this post is getting long and they’re complicated books (that’s Anne Elisabeth Stengl for you, kids. My words cannot suffice.). So I’ll just say a little of why I will reread them so many times.

There isn’t much I can say about Heartless (besides dragons and faeries) without giving too much away, but I will say this: Heartless is one of the most beautiful portrayals of Christ’s love for us that I have ever read. I will read it again because I often need to be shown another picture of Christ’s work on that cross, and I will read it again because I often need to be reminded that there was nothing good about me or any of us to warrant His sacrifice.

Starflower is about being called to serve, at whatever cost, the only King who is worth living and dying for. It’s about the irresistible calling of God, and how He makes ugly things beautiful. It’s about seeing the image of God in every person you meet and loving them because God loves them. So go look up the Tales of Goldstone Wood series because these books are exquisite.

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.

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This is the closest thing to a classic on my favorites stack. For those of you haven’t heard of it or read it, it’s about a rich Englishman named Phileas Fogg. Now, Fogg’s rich friends bet that it is impossible to travel around the world in only 80 days, but Fogg is convinced that it can be done, and he believes it so much that he stakes a fortune on it. If he can’t travel all the way around the world in 80 days, he forfeits a fortune. He sets off with his French valet, and the adventure that ensues is thoroughly enjoyable.

The first thing that I must say is that Phileas Fogg is the most unflappable, unperturbed, unexcitable character that I have ever read about. Visibly, he always keeps his cool. Oh, let’s go around the world in 80 days. No biggie. Oh, look, there are some natives dragging some people off to be slaves. That’s nothing. We’ll just rescue them. Ah, I might lose this bet. Nothing to sweat about. I just love how chill this dude is! This one is a little like The Sherwood Ring in that there isn’t a particular message that strikes me, but the story as a whole is simply entertaining and enjoyable.

And those, kids, are my absolute favorite fiction books. What about you? Have you read any of these books? Do you think you’ll read any of these books because I say I love them (the correct answer is yes)? What are your favorite fiction books? Why?

P.S. – these pictures were made possible by my wonderful sister-in-law, Janie, who I dragged outside in the cold (because it’s finally cold again) to hold my books so I could take these pictures. And it was cold, and she’s from the south, and so she was very cold, and her hands were blocks of ice by the time we got inside, and so a huge thank you to her for humoring me. :)

P.P.S. – to those of you who made it to the end of this super long post, congrats. You’re probably one of few.

A Time to Rise Review

This review contains spoilers from A Time to Die and A Time to Speak but only mild spoilers from A Time to Rise. You’ve been warned.

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The world thinks that Parvin Blackwater is dead.

Well, she’s not. Sure, she was mostly dead for a bit there, but not anymore. After the Council had her killed, they buried her in a hasty, shallow grave and set about covering up how she died and the little detail that the Clock they matched to her reads OVERIDDEN (seeing as they are trying to convince themselves and the public that these Clocks are still a good idea, the whole Parvin dying before her Time was up makes things a little awkward for them). But Parvin isn’t going to let them get away with everything they’ve done—murdering radicals, murdering Reid and Jude, sending radicals to Antarctica to name a few of their deplorable deeds. She takes up the call of Christ and rises to bring down the Council and the Wall and set her people free. But will she find her friends again? Can she rescue Willow? How will she unlock the secrets of the Clocks and the Wall?


Where to even begin with this review. As stated at the end of my Rise Tour post, one cannot simply write a review for A Time to Rise. I had great, great expectations for this book. This single book had to somehow bring Parvin back to life (literally), finish off the character arcs of the major characters, bring a satisfying ending after everything that has happened, heal relationships in a way that didn’t seem contrived, and pack a spiritual punch to rival if not surpass the first two books (not to mention all the actual plot stuff that had to happen to).

Well, let me tell you that Nadine Brandes delivered.

After three years and three books, Parvin is like an old friend. Her character is consistent throughout the book while still growing and learning and being made new. I cannot begin to tell you how much I adore Parvin. I liked Parvin in A Time to Die, I really liked her in A Time to Speak, and I can’t say how much I love her in A Time to Rise. Ugh, it’s so hard to write a spoiler free review without going into why, so I guess you just need to go read the book. Here’s a quote to sum up why I love Parvin:

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Hint: the “Him” is God.

Um, Solomon Hawke. Where did Nadine Brandes come up with this character? Like, sorry, Parvin, step aside. I would like to marry him. ‘Nuf said.

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Me about Solomon Hawke.

Things were pretty intense in A Time to Speak (translation: the tension probably gave me an ulcer), but the reader is given a bit of a breather at the beginning of A Time to Rise while the characters regroup and figure out their next step for bringing down the Council (and the Wall and the Clocks and all that jazz). The pacing was perfect; it didn’t feel rushed or lagging.

The plot was…. comfortable but also nail-biting but also twisting and unpredictable. It was like being on a rollercoaster in the dark—I never really knew when someone was going to get shot or killed or rescued or left behind.

Now onto the really meaty stuff. A Time to Rise doesn’t skim over the not so normal parts of Christianity, of Christ, that run against the grain of our nature, like healing, forgiveness, and loving your enemies. Those were the themes of A Time to Rise. The healing theme touched every character arc in a beautiful way, whether it be a fractured relationship, a stony heart, or a lost love. It never felt forced or contrived or preachy; people just… intentionally healed.

When it comes to loving your enemies, I have never read a more powerful story where this was played out, particularly between Parvin and a certain other character who I cannot name. It never seemed easy for Parvin to love this character. It never seemed like I was getting at preached at when she rose above her hurt and anger to love and forgive, but I was.

Loving your enemies is hard. Forgiveness is hard. Healing is hard.

hello-godThese aren’t things that just happen because I want them to. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit and intentional resolve, and A Time to Rise showed that. It showed the struggle between the flesh and the spirit. It showed how everything inside can cry out in hate and anger and how hard it is to choose the path of Christ. It shows how that path is a daily battle in words and thoughts and heart. It shows the daily choice between the world’s way–man’s way, the easy way that doesn’t require much effort–and Christ’s way. And it showed how Christ makes the impossible possible.

fear-not-2The ending was hopeful and satisfying. Like any worthwhile story, it was bittersweet. I had all my big questions answered, and there’s a promise of short stories to follow to satisfy the rest of my curiosity. I cannot recommend this series enough. I know a lot of people won’t read it because it’s dystopian and that genre is “weird”, but I think a lot of people would be made better by reading it.

It’s easy to see that God was heavily involved in the writing of this series. It isn’t just a good story, it’s a great story. It doesn’t just entertain, it teaches. Therefore, I give A Time to Rise five out of five wonderstruck stars and a PG-13 rating.

P.S. – I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

P.P.S. – Seriously, go buy this series.

P.P.P.S. – Why are you still reading this?? I told you to go buy the series!!!

44 Signs You’re Obsessed with The Out of Time Series

If you’ve followed Penprints for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me mention The Out of Time Series by Nadine Brandes. If you haven’t, I’m not sure what Penprints you’ve been reading, but it’s not this one. Well, I have compiled a list of signs that you might be obsessed with The Out of Time Series (please, of course none of this was drawn from personal experience; I am not obsessed with the Out of Time series. I’m not.).

If you have not read The Out of Time Series, you just won’t understand this post because you haven’t been baptized into the fandom, and therefore you must read the books immediately.

Note: For the purposes of this post, The Out of Time Series shall be referred to simply as “The Series”.

Let’s dive in.

SONY DSC

1. You own hardcopies of all three books (true, A Time to Rise doesn’t release for another 31 days, but you broke into Nadine Brandes house, hacked her computer, and printed yourself a copy, so there you go).

im-gonna-steal-it

That moment when you decided you needed to read A Time to Rise NOW

2. Your copies of The Series are all autographed by the one and only Nadine Brandes (even the copy you printed at her house).

3. You have joined the Readers of Nadine Brandes Facebook group and share your fan theories hourly.

4. Your family says that you’re obsessed, but they just don’t understand… yet.

5. You’ve made it your mission to force all of your family members to read and love The Series as much as you do.

6. You spend hours making memes based on The Series.

me-when-i-think-about-the-hawk-bros

^^^ a meme made by an obsessed fan ^^^

7. You are the founder of the Radical Hotline for new readers of The Series who aren’t coping well with the end of A Time to Speak.

8. You say that your footy pajamas are one of Wilbur Sherrod’s suits.

9. You plan to name your firstborn Parvin.

10. You plan to make your siblings name their firstborns after other characters from The Series.

11. You refer to your enemies as “Empty Numbers”.

12. You experience all the stages of grief whenever you flash back to the end of A Time to Die.

13. You experience visceral hate whenever you smell lemons.

14. You own all of the Happy Hello bookmarks based off the characters in The Series.

15. You are currently writing the companion guide for The Series.

16. You designed and launched The Series’ clothing and accessory line.

17. You philosophically quote The Series to people whether they like it or not (e.g. – Person: I’m just so sick and tired of your attitude! You: Well, impulse is my oxygen. OR Person: Do you want some coffee? You: *wistful sigh* Tomorrow was never promised to us. OR Person: I’m hungry. You: They will be angry. You must be calm. They will have questions. You must be honest. They will watch you. You must be confident. OR Person: Have you seen the remote? You: *thoughtful expression* God doesn’t make empty numbers.)

18. Your go-to gift is A Time to Die (e.g. – Oh, Sally is graduating! I’ll get her A Time to Die! OR Wow, Grandma’s turning 95 this year; I’ll get her A Time to Die! OR Judy’s having a baby shower. I’ll get her A Time to Die. OR I can’t believe Hunter is turning 3 already! He’ll love A Time to Die!) whether it fits the occasion or not.

19. You take pictures of A Time to Die and A Time to Speak, eagerly awaiting the day when you may add A Time to Rise to your #bookstagram.

out-of-time-collage

Yes, that is a puppy.

20. You mention The Series at least once a blog post.

21. You’ve read The Series four times and are starting on your fifth.

22. You go to extreme lengths to make sure that your local library has at least one copy of A Time to Die.

23. You threaten to make people who don’t like Parvin atone (wait, what?).

24. You have a five year plan to single-handedly get The Series on the NYT Bestselling list where it belongs.

25. You carry A Time to Die in your purse.

26. You’re still shell-shocked about the ending of A Time to Speak.

27. You have your dream cast picked out for when The Series is made into movies.

28. You both dread and eagerly anticipate the movie adaptions of The Series because there’s no way they’ll do it justice….

29. … So you’re currently writing the 16.15 hour screenplay yourself.

30. You send Nadine Brandes fanmail weekly.

31. You follow Nadine Brandes on all of her social media accounts. All of them. (All. Of. Them.)

32. You are one of Nadine’s Ninjas.

nadine's ninjas button

33. You complete every ninja mission from the Ninja Leader (aka: Nadine Brandes) with way too much enthusiasm.

34. You spend hours gazing at the beautiful covers and admiring Kirk DouPonce’s incredible skill.

all three covers

35. Your friends will probably fall over dead if they have to hear you talk about The Series anymore.

i-just-want-it-to-stop

Your friends every time you start in on The Series.

36. In case of a fire, you keep a few copies of The Series in an indestructible, heat-proof vault.

37. You believe that the government is trying to clock-match you.

38. You don’t call them weddings; you call them graftings.

39. You have pre-ordered A Time to Rise because you really really really want that awesome swag that Nadine Brandes has promised all those who pre-order A Time to Rise.

40. Your Twitter followers can’t escape your weekly (sometimes daily, sometimes hourly) tweets about The Series.

twitter-thread-out-of-time-series

^^^ actual tweets from fans ^^^

41. When talking about The Series, you typically use phrases such as: “changed my life”, “was a spiritual frying pan to my head in the best way”, “I believe in this series”.

42. You judge other readers who aren’t as committed to The Series as you so obviously are.

43. You boycott bookstores that don’t carry The Series.

44. It’s hard for you to think about how A Time to Rise is the last book in The Series.

And there you have it.

Are you obsessed with The Out of Time Series? Obviously, I am not.

Have you read The Out of Time Series yet? No? Give me your name and address and I’ll add you to my five-year plan.

Are you going to name your firstborn Parvin? No? You’re going to name him Solomon?! Perfect! Then our children can marry!


I hope you enjoyed this goofy post.

If you haven’t read The Out of Time Series, I highly recommend it (in case you couldn’t guess by this post).

If you’ve read The Series, are there any signs I missed?

What are some of your favorite books? Why do you like them?