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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this is bad 1

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^ me trying to make everything okay with fire ^

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goldblum 1

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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).

 

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!!!

Rise to Forgiveness

One of the themes of A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes is forgiveness, and as part of The Rise Tour, I decided to write about it.


When I was little, I fought with Bro #2 (Luke–the sibling that’s closest to my age) a lot. We would get into actual fights replete with kicking, yelling, tackling, and all that jazz (I even bit him once—no, I’m not proud of it). We would get caught by Mom and one of us (sometimes both of us) got spanked, and if it was really bad, we got spanked again when Daddy got home. And then Mom would make us hug and make up.

Usually, it went thusly:

Me: *still sniffing from the spanking* “I-I-I’m sorry for [whatever it was I did], Luke. W-will you please forgive me?”

Luke: *still sniffing also* “I-t’s okay, Rosie. I forgive you. S-sorry for [whatever it was he did]. Will you please f-forgive me?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Mom: “Hug.”

Luke and me: *hug*

(Side note: Parents, please make your children do this. It taught us the importance of asking for forgiveness and accepting forgiveness. To this day, as adults, we do this when we fight, and it’s largely because we were taught that it’s important when we were young.)

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Forgiveness. Honestly, it’s a simple concept: someone wrongs you, but you don’t hold it against them. However, in practice, it can be a struggle.

I’ve found that it’s still fairly easy to forgive when someone asks me to (though, honestly, I’m the one who has to ask for forgiveness most of the time). If Arielle (my sister) asks me to forgive her for being a little crabby or if Luke asks me to forgive him for being harsh, I can do it in a heartbeat. I can say “I forgive you”, and it’s over and done with. Even with the bigger fights we’ve had as adults, I can put it behind me almost instantly. But that’s when forgiveness is easy. That’s when my deep love for my siblings overrides my anger. That’s when the hurts heal faster.

I had a friendship slowly dissolve last year, and that was not easy to forgive. That hurt did not heal for a long time. I didn’t have many friends my age, and so when this girl came along and befriended me, I hung a lot (too much) on that relationship. I put a lot of heart into that friendship, and we were such good friends for a while. She’s the type of person who is so easy to trust and get comfortable with, and so I trusted her. It happened kind of slowly, but then I started to notice that she was forgetting me, making new friendships, better friendships. And then in six months, we weren’t communicating at all. Our friendship came and went within the space of two years. There was no big fight, there was no malicious intent or hurtful words. There was just… a loss of interest.

I spent the next six months letting hurt grow and fester into bitterness. I was angry at her for forgetting me. I would see pictures of her and her friends online and be filled with resentment. I spent more than one night crying and wondering what I could have done to keep her as my friend. I was so wrapped up in myself, in how hurt I was, in how angry I was, how much I wanted her to know how she wounded me.

I clung to my bitterness with both hands, but then the Holy Spirit started to convict me. “Forgive as I have forgiven you. I am your friend. I am your comforter. I am your God. I have forgiven you. Now, you forgive her.”

My grip began to falter, but I didn’t want to let it go. “But I want her to know that I’m angry. I want her to know about the pain she caused me.”

“Is it not enough that I know?”

And so it went for a few weeks. He would call me to rise to forgiveness, like He did on that cross, and I would give Him all the reasons why I wasn’t going to. He kept bringing up Matthew 6:14-15 and the parable of the unforgiving servant. And then I had the privilege of beta reading A Time to Rise at the beginning of the year. I learn best if I am shown something, not just told about it, and one of the things Nadine Brandes does best is show forgiveness at its worst and finest.

And the Holy Spirit kept at it. “Forgive as I have forgiven you.”

It took more time, but an essential step was actually saying out loud to God that I forgave her. I still battled the bitterness that ran deep for a few more months, but the Holy Spirit graciously drew it out of me when I asked Him to. The hurt is still there sometimes, and I get sad when I remember the 3:00 am talks I had with this girl, but it’s a pure sadness. It isn’t tainted with anger anymore. It isn’t shot through with hostility anymore.

I couldn’t heal until I forgave. I didn’t have “closure” until I forgave. I didn’t have complete joy until I forgave.

Forgiveness isn’t a feeling or a notion or something that just happens. Forgiveness is an action. You have to be intentional every time bitterness starts to bubble up again. You have to obey the command of Christ, rise up, and forgive.

My friendship with that girl and how it ended was the big, hard thing for me, but maybe you’re dealing with a messy break up or a spouse who doesn’t love you the way they should or a friend who’s betrayed your trust or a child who has wounded you. Maybe it’s something that happened yesterday. Maybe it’s something that you’ve been carrying around for months or decades.

You have to forgive them. You may not feel like it. It’s especially hard to forgive when they don’t know or recognize that they’ve wronged you, but you still are called by Christ forgive. If you forgive, your joy will be deeper, your walk with God will be stronger, and you will have a greater appreciation for what Christ did on the cross.

So, friends. Rise to forgiveness.


All the fun tour stuff:

nadine-headshot-1The lovely author:

(I personally recommend the newsletter because it’s so much fun as well as checking out her Instagram because it’s mainly of books and so lovely to look at.)

Also, she can speak HTML, and so that’s just another amazing thing about her.

The books.

Guys. Do we even need to go here? Like, seriously, if you’ve followed Penprints for more than a week, you should have already read this series by now. In the event that you haven’t read the series (shame, shame), here are the beautiful covers to stare at and the buy links below to GO BUY THE SERIES.

all three covers

A Time to Die

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A Time to Speak

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A Time to Rise

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A Time to Party

And also you (yeah, you) should come to this awesome Facebook party because you can chat with Nadine and enter to win soooooooo many cool things.

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And thus ends my post as part of The Rise Tour.

~ Rosalie

P.S. – you can expect a review of A Time to Rise sometime next week, but it’s taking a while to write because one does not simply write a review of the final installment of The Out of Time 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.

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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).

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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.

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^^^ 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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^^^ 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?

A Time to Rise Cover Reveal

Today I have the privilege of helping reveal the cover for the stunning conclusion to the Out of Time Series by Nadine Brandes: A Time to Rise.

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If you’ve followed Penprints for a little while, you know by now that I am obsessed with think that this series is pretty amazing.

If you need a refresher, you can check out this review or this one (definitely this one) or this post or this one also because this series is incredible.

There are few (very few) books–fiction and non-fiction–that have had such a massive impact on me spiritually.

I gush over this series so much that it disturbs my family (they are disturbed only because they do not understand).


The first two books.

first two covers

A Time to Die

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A Time to Speak

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The Cover.

A Time to Rise Cover

Isn’t it beautiful!?!?!?

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A Time to Rise releases October 14, 2016.


The Blurb.

What more can you sacrifice than your life?

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?


 The Author.

Nadine-1024x713Carol Award-Winning Author & 2-time Christy-Award Finalist, Nadine Brandes, is committed to fusing authentic faith and bold imagination. She id a dorky writer who gets way too goofy-excited about books. Her debut novel — A Time to Die — released through Enclave Publishing in 2014.

 

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her website.


Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win a set of magnetic bookmarks fashioned after characters from the Out of Time series! Guys, these bookmarks are so fun!! I have Parvin herself, and she sits in my books all the time!

Happy Hello bookmarks


And now all three covers together because they’re so pretty.

all three covers


So!

Are you excited about A Time to Rise? Have you read the other books? What do you think of this cover???