‘kiera’ re-release blog tour: interview with author Kate Willis.

Today, I’m proud and excited to share my interview with Kate (Willis) Hoppman, the author of Kiera and one of my dear writer friends.

Hello, Kate! It’s great having you here on the blog, in celebration of Kiera’s re-release. What made you decide to re-release Kiera?

Great question, and one I think I’ll be getting a lot. 😉 There were a couple of factors—one, that I’d been dying to try my hand at publishing a hardcover edition, and two, that I was growing increasingly uncomfortable with some minor content in the story. Just some needlessly controversial topics and clumsy wording that could detract from the main message of the story.

What was the most fun part of getting Kiera ready for the re-release? The most difficult?

Honestly, the new cover! 😍😍 I had a clearer idea of my genre and the vibe I wanted this time, and I couldn’t be happier. 🤩

The most difficult was the edits. I fought with myself about how much to do and if I was gonna end up ruining the story, especially if I added a new typo. 😂 I really felt God’s calling to improve the book in this way though, and that helped me on tough days.

Who is your favorite character in Kiera?

I really love Jade, and Brennan is the sweetest man, IMHO. 😉 I’ve also always loved Aric, and I need to write something about him…

What books, movies, songs, etc. kept you inspired as you wrote Kiera?

Great question! There are two different stories that come to mind. The first one is when I needed to write the road trip scenes. I’ve always adored the road trip in October Baby, so I definitely think I took some “vibe inspiration” from there. ❤️

The other one is when I wrote my pivotal scene where Kiera talks with God. My alpha reader mom read it and said that it was too logical and devoid of emotion. I tried writing it again. No good. This was a time in my life when my spiritual leadership had a very cold, clinical view of the Gospel and while I believed in more, I struggled to express theology and emotions together. So I went to the master of these things. I read Janner’s scene in The Warden and the Wolf King (by Andrew Peterson) and listened to The Rain Keeps Falling (also by AP) until the tears came and I understood our struggles and our questions of God can be the most beautiful thing of all.

What are you hoping that readers will take away from this story?

Just how deeply and entirely loved they are, even when it doesn’t make sense. 💙

Any chance for a sequel?

For the first time in four years I can say, YES! Mercy’s story has a first chapter and concept, and I hope to begin writing it before the year is over.

Can you tell us anything about your next writing project?

There are two in the works right now, actually. The first is revisions for “Awake”, a fantasy novel about a queen, a guard, a dog, and a baby on the world’s worst “roadtrip”. And the other is drafting a contemporary novella for a very secret project. 😉

What’s some advice you would give to writers looking to self-publish?

Don’t be afraid to talk about your work! Your future readers, hopefully the current audience of your blog and social media, love hearing about what you’re writing, how much you love it, and when it’s coming out.

Don’t be afraid to share your work with people who can help you make it better. For me, that was taking the huge (rather painful!) leap to get beta-readers for the first time. For you that may be showing it to a trusted family member or friend, finding a copy editor, or sharing it with a teacher. Right now that might seem scary, but you won’t regret it later. 😉

Thank you for answering all my questions, Kate! This was a lot of fun.

Thanks so much for having me, Eva!

Kate (Willis) Hoppman is a follower of Jesus and lover of words. She enjoys quiet afternoons reading or watching movies with her nerdy husband, baking tall cakes, and hanging out with her family.

In her author time, she writes contemporary and fantasy, and sneaks in Doctor Who references and deep themes whenever possible.

Check out her other books Sincerely, Jem, The Treasure Hunt, and The Twin Arrows series.

Blog ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads

Here are more details about Kiera!


Kiera’s life is pretty simple—garden, hang out with her best friend, babysit little Jade, and finish up homeschool highschool. But a global war and mandatory draft turn her eighteenth birthday into a nightmare.

Brennan, Jade’s adoptive dad, offers his last name and exemption status, leaving Kiera to question everything she’s ever thought about love. Even worse, she might actually be starting to have feelings for him.

Life settles into a routine before shattering again, and Kiera is left with only one question… If God truly loves her, why is this happening?

Limited edition hardcover includes The Least of These and a new exclusive short story Operation Robin.

Buy the hardcover

Buy the ebook

Add Kiera on Goodreads

Until next time!


book review: MAMMOTH by Brian McBride.

After the death of his father, misfit and aspiring paleontologist, Tommy Rhodes, seeks refuge in the ramshackle lighthouse that stands guard over the city of Mammoth, Washington. Left in disarray by years of bad weather, it’s the perfect place for Tommy to hide from everything that’s gone wrong with his life – and to party with his band of friends, the Jailbirds – the only family he has left.

After a storm uncovers a secret hidden in the walls of the old lighthouse, Tommy unravels a mystery beyond his wildest dreams and the deadly conspiracy that surrounds it – and Tommy’s entire life seems tangled at the heart of it all.

Tommy and the Jailbirds – Jude, Maya, Mars, and newcomer Lydia – are thrust into the middle of a deadly hunt for the truth that will challenge their bond, uncover the secrets that lurk beneath the surface of Mammoth, and test just how far they’ll go to set things right.

Mammoth is one of those stories that I didn’t even know I wanted until I read it—it’s also unlike any other novel I’ve ever read. The vibes of Mammoth remind of Indiana Jones, The Outsiders, all the Enid Blyton adventure books I read as a child, and Mystery Lights of Navajo Mesa (a Last Chance Detectives story). But Mammoth is also its own, unique story. Although there isn’t even a hint of magic in the story, the phrase that keeps popping into my mind when I think of Mammoth is ‘urban fantasy.’ There is a heightened sense of reality about this novel, one that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. Storms rage, the sea churns, and adventure awaits.

At the heart of Mammoth is its cast of characters. Tommy, grappling with the sudden death of his father. Maya, growing up well-to-do, but at odds with her life and her mom. Jude, doing everything he can to protect his little brother and break the generational cycle of violence and hatred. Mars, a sometimes unwilling—yet always loyal—participant in his friends’ adventures. And Lydia, whose heart breaks for the injustices committed by her brother Reid. These characters grabbed me and I was surprised to find myself tearing up over some of them—mainly Tommy and Jude. (Surprised, because I didn’t expect an adventure/treasure hunt novel to evoke such emotion. XD)

There were a couple things I didn’t love about Mammoth: the villains’ motivations and plans didn’t always make total sense to me (and neither did the events that happened a hundred years in the past, specifically why a certain horrific slaughter took place). Part of my confusion was probably because I read Mammoth so quickly, but I do think certain things could have been explained with more clarity. And then, I had a certain expectation for the last few chapters of the book that didn’t come true. (Basically, there was an antagonistic character that I expected/hoped would turn out to be an ally after all—and it didn’t happen.) That’s a purely personal thing, of course, and most of you guys probably won’t even think of that character the way I did. 😉

Mammoth sucks you into a world of treasure hunts, class divides, salt seas, brave characters, and secrets—so many secrets. Highly recommended to those looking for a gripping, high-stakes adventure novel.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.


interview with author Emily Hayse.

Today, I’m very excited to join in the book release tour for In the Glorious Fields by bringing you an interview with Emily Hayse herself. Read on for behind-the-scenes details of how Emily brought the world and beloved characters of the Western Territory to life!

Congratulations on the release of In the Glorious Fields! How are you feeling now that all three books have been published?

Relieved? Lost? Nervous? A little bit in awe? This was such an undertaking and to have it be over definitely feels strange.

Did you plot the whole trilogy before you wrote the first book, or did you only have a rough idea of how it would all end when you started writing These War-Torn Hands?

I had a rough idea of how it would go. Lots of little things in place and general directions. I knew what the overarching storyline was going to look like, roughly, and I knew the smaller things would fall into place as I started fleshing out the world and the characters.

What was the most difficult aspect of writing In the Glorious Fields? What was the most fun/enjoyable?

Definitely the emotional aspect. I actually gave myself writer’s block simply from dreading a couple of the plot points that I knew had to happen but I didn’t want them to happen. It was probably one of the hardest books I’ve ever written, emotionally speaking. I think what I enjoyed the most was just getting one more book with these characters. Not everything goes right for them, but at least they live well.

What books, movies, TV shows, and/or music did you turn to for inspiration while writing In the Glorious Fields?

I read bits of favorite Louis L’Amour novels, particularly Sackett ones, I watched some Bonanza and Rawhide, and I watched The Magnificent Seven, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Conagher, Gettysburg, and various films with members of my cast in it. Music was all over the place, but I do have a playlist I’ve posted on my website you can check out. It’s a mix of soundtrack, folk, pop, country, and sacred.

Who are your top three favorite characters from the whole trilogy?

Oh man, don’t ask this! Raymond Lacey, Alan Swift, and then Kate Carnegie.

Which Knights of Tin and Lead character do you relate to the most?

Kate. She’s maybe a little bolder than me, but she speaks my language. I love being in her head because she sees the beauty in the land the way I do, and she has hopes and dreams that make her almost giddy with happiness sometimes.

Any hints about your next project?

It’s a shorter standalone novel, and it’s sort of Roaring 20s style mixed with The Illusionist or The Prestige. You can look forward to that releasing at the end of the year, probably.

The Prestige is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I’m even more excited for your next novel now. Thanks so much for this interview!

EMILY HAYSE is a lover of log cabins, strong coffee, NASCAR, and the smell of old books. Her writing is fueled by good characters and a lifelong passion for storytelling. When she is not busy turning words into worlds, she can often be found baking, singing, or caring for one of the many dogs and horses in her life. She lives with her family in Michigan.

Website ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads

Today is the last day you can receive awesome, free merch for ordering In the Glorious Fields! Check out Emily’s Instagram post for more details.

My review of These War-Torn Hands ~ Buy it on Amazon

My review of The Beautiful Ones ~ Buy it on Amazon

My review of In the Glorious Fields ~ Buy it on Amazon

That’s all, folks!

If you’ve read and enjoyed any of the books in this trilogy, who is your favorite character? Let me know in the comments! (My favorite is Archer Scott. <3)


my favorite book series.

source: Chris Lawton.

Just like the title says, today I’ll be listing my favorite book series and talking a bit about why I love each one. So here goes! (This list is in no particular order. I love alllll the books.)

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

All hail the queen of fairytale retellings. XD This series features excellent, engaging, and clever retellings of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. My favorite characters are Winter, Cress, Jacin, and Kai.

Knights of Tin and Lead by Emily Hayse

Still not over this trilogy. The writing is beautiful and the characters in particular have stolen my heart. (Plus, I love books that make me cry…as one does.) And in other news, I have an interview with Emily Hayse coming on Monday—pretty excited about that!

Once Upon a Western by Rachel Kovaciny

I love these comforting, thoughtful western fairytale retellings! Once Upon a Western is the only on-going series on this list. It’s also probably the most ‘unconnected’ series, as each book is a standalone. However, there are little connections between the books, especially when you read the short stories that Rachel releases semi-regularly. (Check out the Goodreads series list for a full run-down.)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I used to reread this series every year. While I don’t do that anymore, that doesn’t mean my love for The Hunger Games has gone anywhere. Suzanne Collins really knows how to create a gripping plot and fascinating characters. And that extends to her prequel novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins

Honestly, I think I love this series even more than The Hunger Games. It’s not so dark, and there are so many truly likable characters. Middle grade fiction for the win!

Songs in the Night by Jack Cavanaugh

This series, spanning the 1930’s to the 1980’s, is special to me for many reasons. I have reread it so many times and the characters truly feel like family. If you’re a fan of well-written historical fiction, I highly recommend Songs in the Night!

Little Women by Lousia May Alcott

Still super annoyed by Jo’s Boys, but other than that…what a wonderful series. Heartwarming and uplifting.

Out of Time by Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes created something truly special with this trilogy that chronicles Parvin’s journey to live a life that glorifies God, a life that actually means something. As someone who wastes far too much time, Out of Time will always be a needful series for me personally.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I doubt that Lucy Maud Montgomery knew that Anne’s story would span from childhood to motherhood when she first started writing Anne of Green Gables. But I’m so glad we got eight wonderful books about Anne and her family. (Technically nine if you count The Blythes Are Quoted—which I don’t, not really.)

Enola Holmes by Nancy Springer

Still have yet to see the film, but I adore the books. Enola is a fun heroine, the mysteries hold up well during rereads, and Springer’s portrayal of Sherlock himself is just lovely.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Did I save the best for last? Possibly. Narnia is my happy place, my homeland. Each individual book may not rate five out five stars from me, but the series and mythos as a whole are pretty close to perfect. For Narnia and for Aslan!

Did you spot any favorite series on this list? Any new ones that intrigued you? Do let me know in the comments!


five reasons you should read the Knights of Tin and Lead trilogy (+ ‘In the Glorious Fields’ review!)

Today’s the day! In the Glorious Fields, the third and final book in the Knights of Tin and Lead trilogy, is now out in the world. I was privileged to receive an e-ARC a few days ago, and I’ll be reviewing it a little later on in today’s blog post. But since the review probably won’t mean as much if you haven’t read the first two books, I thought I’d start out by convincing you to read the whole Knights of Tin and Lead trilogy. I hope I can! ❤

Reason #1—The KOTAL trilogy retells King Arthur legends in an Old West setting.

How cool is that? My limited knowledge of King Arthur’s story stems from the Great Illustrated Classics abridgement of Howard Pyle’s take on the legends, so I caught very little of the retelling aspect of the KOTAL trilogy. (You can definitely enjoy it with no knowledge of the original legends!) But the vibes, people. Chivalry, courage, and the tiniest bits of magic—all wrapped up in a vivid Old West setting. I’d gladly read a dozen books written in this story world.

Reason #2—The characters are lovable, and there’s someone for everyone.

The Knights of Tin and Lead trilogy has a large cast that only expands as the series progresses. The final book has something like ten different POV characters (with several more that don’t get POV chapters). If that thought is intimidating, don’t worry—it’s actually quite easy to keep everyone straight, once you get into the story. (There are also helpful character lists at the beginning of each book.)

And like I said above, there is a character for everyone: upright heroes, antiheroes, complex villains, three sets of awesome siblings, married couples, younger kids, a wise, old mentor…and more! I love them all. (Or nearly all.)

Reason #3—The writing itself is beautiful.

Emily Hayse has a gift for writing beautiful, evocative prose that lands you squarely in the world of the Western Territory. (Or any other story world she happens to write about.) I may or may not have felt a bit of writer’s envy while reading the trilogy. 😉

I’m inches from death, and yet all I see is the poetry of it: the dust from the spent bullets rising in the golden light of morning; the smoke from the guns hanging on the air over the rocks like mist; the green, beautiful land cut down the center with a golden stream.

The Beautiful Ones

Reason #4—The stories are truly epic in scope.

With each book, the scope of the world and the series itself expands. The characters travel hundreds of miles, going all over the Western Territory in their attempts to stop the curse on the land from taking them all. Months, then years pass. Relationships that will last until death (and beyond) are forged. Friendships are shattered, then built back up (or not). Our heroes deal with the curse on the land, the monsters within it (human and otherwise), and their own flaws and failings and fears—all against the backdrop of towering mountains, soaring blue skies, and dusty trails.

Reason #5—The entire trilogy is out now.

It was torture waiting for In the Glorious Fields, I tell you. I don’t think I’ve ever anticipated a book more eagerly—and I’m not just saying that! (The fact that I read my e-ARC in four hours flat kinda speaks for itself.) But now, you can have the entire series on your Kindle in seconds. No more waiting—just binge-reading. 😉

And with all that said, here is my review of In the Glorious Fields!

Series finales can be tricky to pull off in a stakes-raising, reader-satisfying way. But Emily Hayse has done just that with In the Glorious Fields, the final volume of the Knights of Tin and Lead trilogy. Even with the large cast of characters, so many different POVs to juggle, and a dense plot that covers much ground and many months, In the Glorious Fields moves along at a brisk pace (the short, snappy chapters really help). Every beloved character gets a chance to shine and show what they’re made of—reminding us why we fell in love with them in the first place.

Because this trilogy is a retelling of the King Arthur legends, In the Glorious Fields does contain much tragedy, death, and darkness. At one point in the story, I began thinking “If this [specific, spoilery situation] isn’t resolved, the previous two books will be ruined for me as well.” But I shouldn’t have feared. In the Glorious Fields ends well—with hope, goodness triumphing over evil, and new beginnings. I truly couldn’t have asked for more.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Have you read any of the books in the Knights of Tin and Lead trilogy? If you have, I’d love to fangirl about the stories and characters with you. If you haven’t, you can find the entire series for sale on Amazon—and add it to your shelves on Goodreads.


mini book review: in search of a prince by Toni Shiloh.

Brielle Adebayo is fully content teaching at a New York City public school and taking annual summer vacations with her mother to Martha’s Vineyard. But everything changes when her mom drops the mother of all bombshells–Brielle is a princess in the kingdom of Ọlọrọ Ilé, Africa, and she must immediately assume her royal position, since the health of her grandfather, King Tiwa Jimoh Adebayo, is failing.

Distraught by her mother’s betrayal, Brielle is further left spinning when the Ọlọrọ Ilé Royal Council brings up an old edict that states she must marry before assuming the throne or the crown will be passed to another. Uncertain who to choose from the council’s list of bachelors, she struggles with the decision along with the weight of her new role in a new country. With her world totally shaken, she must take a chance on love and brave the perils a wrong decision may bring.

I love The Princess Diaries, so when I read the synopsis for In Search of a Prince, I was excited to read it. (Plus, the cover is beautiful!) Sadly, In Search of a Prince did not live up to its potential. The main character Brielle is twenty-five, but she acted much younger (I think Prince might have worked better as a YA novel, truth be told). I didn’t root for the main couple, especially since Brielle thought about Tomori almost obsessively–not fun to read! The romance was awkwardly handled and, in my opinion, somewhat inappropriate (near the end of the book).

In general, the writing style was not my favorite either. The political aspects of the novel were interesting at times, but it also felt a bit surface-level. I would have much preferred an in-depth look at what learning to lead a country is like, with a tasteful, mature romance on the side. But that’s not what I got. Overall, I can’t, in good conscience, recommend In Search of a Prince–though I truly wish I could!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.


book review: Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin.

As the Nazis march toward Paris in 1940, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the Jewish owners to escape. Lucie struggles to run Green Leaf Books due to oppressive German laws and harsh conditions, but she finds a way to aid the resistance by passing secret messages between the pages of her books.

Widower Paul Aubrey wants nothing more than to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running and obtain military information from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul offers his own resistance by sabotaging his product and hiding British airmen in his factory. After they meet in the bookstore, Paul and Lucie are drawn to each other, but she rejects him when she discovers he sells to the Germans. And for Paul to win her trust would mean betraying his mission.

Well, I binge-read this in two days flat. Started it one night and then was so excited to get home from work the next day so I could finish reading it. Which says a lot, right?

So. Why did I like Until Leaves Fall in Paris as much as I did? One of the main things that got me invested was the fact that Paul—our hero—is forced to let everyone believe he’s collaborating with the Germans so that he can continue to collect information important to the Allied cause. I love that sort of drama and angst. Just love it. And it provided an excellent reason for Paul and Lucie not to be together, despite their mutual attraction. Lucie would never date or marry a collaborator, after all. The conflict between them didn’t feel contrived or shallow (contrived conflict is one reason I really dislike romance novels).

Another thing I appreciated about Until Leaves Fall in Paris is that God is not just an afterthought in Paul and Lucie’s lives. Random example, but Paul has wait in a church for a bit (resistance work!) and he thinks to himself that he should take that opportunity to pray. And then he does! Which is just…I love that. He’s on a dangerous mission, but he decides to spend that time in the church in prayer. I found that realistic—and admirable too. Then, with Lucie, she talks to a friend about how she wants to love Paul, but she also knows she can’t because he’s a ‘collaborator’. Her friend tells her that she should listen to God, not her heart. And Lucie follows that advice. So good.

Now, of course Lucie is eventually going to learn the truth about Paul. And when she does…there is kissing involved. A lot of kissing. I didn’t appreciate that aspect so much, especially since Paul and Lucie are all “There’s no way we can be together!” as they’re kissing. 😛 Other than that, however, I don’t have much—if anything—bad to say about Until Leaves Fall in Paris.

This review is getting long, so I’ll just share a few other things: Paul designs cars and that was really cool to see. The foreman at his factory, a gruff Communist, is wonderful. Paul has a little daughter and she actually isn’t annoying (as some kids in fiction can be, especially when their main purpose in the story is to help the heroine fall in love with the hero). There is a lot of excitement and suspense in this book, not just mushy stuff. Some pretty intense moments, actually. The last third or so of the book was especially thrilling (in a heart-in-your-throat, edge-of-your-seat way). And the final chapters brought a lump to my throat—all the feels! ❤

All in all, Until Leaves Fall in Paris is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. If you enjoy WWII fiction or simply reading about admirable characters living (and triumphing) in extremely difficult circumstances, I highly recommend this book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Have you read any of Sarah Sundin’s books? Has my review convinced you to add Until Leaves Fall in Paris to your TBR? I hope so! 😉


my top ten favorite fictional detectives.

With the We Love Detectives Week going strong over at Hamlette’s Soliloquy, I’m pleased to contribute a second post to the event—a list of my top ten favorite fictional detectives. There was a bit of difficulty compiling this list, as I have a tendency to forget favorites AND I definitely have more than ten favorite detectives. But in the end, I’m quite pleased with how this list turned out. Enjoy!

(Oh, and just so you know, it’s not reeeeally in order of least- to most-liked, or vice versa—with the exception of the first detective on the list.)

Mark McPherson – Laura (1944)

Mark just might be my favorite fictional detective of all time. To begin with, he’s played by Dana Andrews—that’s about a dozen extra points in his favor right there. 😉 But the character himself is great as well. Mark is extremely good at his job, and remains unflappable in the face of great annoyances—and there are some pretty annoying suspects in Laura. Like Waldo Lydecker. Or Shelby Carpenter. Or Ann Treadwell. But Mark remains calm, polite, and (mostly) professional throughout.

Besides Mark’s skills as a detective, I also love how sweet he can be. (Sweet toward whom, I can’t say—spoilers! You’ll just have to watch the movie.) If you’ve seen Laura and you’d like to spend more time with Mark, I highly recommend Vera Caspary’s book (of the same title). Part of the story is told from Mark’s point of view, and you can just hear Dana Andrews’ voice reading the lines. ❤

John Anderton – Minority Report (2002)

What’s a detective to do when all murders are now solved before they’re even committed? Well, John Anderton (Tom Cruise) works instead on interpreting the the visions of those who ‘pre-witness’ the murders. It’s honest work—or so he thinks. When John himself is accused of future-murdering a man he doesn’t even know, he goes on the run to escape the authorities and possibly clear his name. John could have been just another action hero, but Tom Cruise brings a lot of depth to the character by highlighting John’s grief, protectiveness, and determination.

Sherlock Holmes – original stories/novels by Arthur Conan Doyle, BBC’s Sherlock, the Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer, and The Jeweled Peacock of Persia by Jake Theone and Luke Theone

I could NOT have a list like this without mentioning the world’s greatest fictional detective. I mean, when you’ve got the public mourning when you kill off said detective…you’re doing something very right. There has not been a version of Sherlock Holmes that I didn’t like (as you can see from all the sources listed above). What about Sherlock appeals to me so much? Well, he’s a genius. It’s very fun to read about well-written geniuses. And he has a heart—and empathy, despite his often biting remarks.

Also, Basil Rathbone played him. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Basil of Baker Street – The Great Mouse Detective (1986) and the Basil of Baker Street series by Eve Titus

“But wait!” you might cry. “Shouldn’t Basil simply be included in the section about Sherlock Holmes?”

I say “no”, for the simple reason that Sherlock Holmes is actually his own character in the Basil books (and The Great Mouse Detective). Therefore, Basil does not equal Sherlock—not totally, at least. Anyway, I love Basil. Probably more than Sherlock, to be completely and perfectly honest. Again with the brilliance! Again with the compassion! Barrie Ingham is delightful as the voice of Basil. Also, The Great Mouse Detective is nostalgic for me in a way no other Sherlock Holmes property is.

Jedediah Jones – Dancing & Doughnuts by Rachel Kovaciny

There is no movie of Dancing & Doughnuts, but I have it on good authority that Bobby Darin would have been perfect casting for Jedediah…

Jedediah Jones is the first amateur detective on this list—his tenure as detective actually only lasts a couple of weeks (if I recall correctly), before he takes up a different career (which I won’t name, for the sake of spoilers). But I’m still such a huge fan of Jedediah-as-detective. When faced with an increasingly puzzling problem, he doesn’t get mad and he doesn’t quit, just keeps searching for a solution. And he’s honest and kind and funny to boot—just an all-around wonderful guy.

Trixie Belden – Trixie Belden series by Julie Campbell/various authors

I just love this cover, that’s all. (source)

I grew up reading both Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books, and Trixie’s adventures were always the most fun and interesting. While Nancy is perfect in every way, Trixie is a tween who definitely doesn’t have everything figured out yet. But that’s okay, because her sympathetic nature and quick thinking never lead her in the wrong direction—at least, not for long. In addition, Trixie has the most splendid, supportive group of friends. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Honey, Brian, Mart, Di, and Jim (especially Jim, lol)?

Lady Grace Cavendish – The Lady Grace Mysteries by various authors

Another book series I read as a kid! Grace is a Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I, and ends up solving several different mysteries for the queen (almost always involving a grisly murder). Now, Grace is only thirteen, so the books are *cough* a tad unrealistic. XD But Grace is such a sharp, witty, brave heroine that I don’t really mind.

Bastian Dennel – The Midnight Show by Sarah Pennington

Funny thing: this is the second detective on this list who comes from a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling (the first being Jedediah Jones). I just read The Midnight Show for the first time this year, and fell in love with Bastian Dennel—without warning. Bastian is hired to shadow popular singer Dayo Temitrope to figure out why she wakes up with sore feet and vague memories of horrible nightmares. His gentlemanly demeanor won both Dayo’s heart and mine.

Iris Henderson – The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Dear, courageous Iris. Despite being gaslit by almost everyone on the train, she persists in searching for Miss Froy. Iris is one of my favorite heroines ever!

Shawn Spencer – Psych

Shawn is an immature goofball but, man, do I still love him. And I believe that’s because Shawn’s heart is in the right place. He fiercely loves his family and friends. He makes me laugh. He makes me cry. And he’s brilliant at crime-solving. We love to see it.

Although the mystery genre is not my favorite, I do love detectives. Their job is really that of restoring order to a disordered world—and, as you can see, my favorites do so with a compassionate heart and brave resolve.

Do you spot any favorite characters on this list? Who are some of your favorite fictional detectives? Let me know in the comments! ❤


the ‘We Love Detectives Week’ tag.

Hamlette is once again hosting her ‘We love…’ week over at Hamlette’s Soliloquy, and this year’s theme is ‘Detectives’. You can check out the link-up post here! Along with all the other festivities, Hamlette has also created a fun tag for blog party participants to fill out. I have at least one other blog post that I’m planning to contribute to the party, but for now, here are my answers to the tag!

What’s your favorite mystery with…

…a historical setting?

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) is a breathtakingly beautiful murder mystery set in the 1930’s. Although I already knew the solution, having seen the 70’s adaption, I was still gripped by the cast, The Aesthetic, and Kenneth Branagh’s marvelous direction. Definitely on my rewatch list!

…a modern setting?

Knives Out (2019) is one of my favorite modern mysteries. So twisty (and twisted), with a great cast (Daniel Craig!!!) and a hugely sympathetic heroine.

…a lone detective?

In The Big Heat (1953), Detective Dave Bannion is forced to go it alone as he investigates the corruption in his city. There are actually a few different mysteries I know where the hero or heroine has to strike out on their own to discover the truth and see that justice is done. I love that type of story!

…a pair of sleuths?

Without a doubt, The Lady Vanishes (1938). Iris and Gilbert are the perfect amateur detective duo as they hunt for the missing Miss Froy.

…a professional/police detective?

Laura (1944) starts off as a murder mystery and, while it continues to be a murder mystery throughout, the identity of the victim ‘changes’. Sounds intriguing, yes? And at the center of all the craziness is Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews). I’ll be talking a bit more about Mark later on this week, but I’ll just that he’s one of my very favorite fictional detectives.

…an amateur detective?

The Cherry Ames series contains several good mysteries. And Cherry herself is a brick. ❤

…a young sleuth?

The Mysterious Visitor, a Trixie Belden book. Really, I’m a fan of the whole series (the first several books, anyway), but this particular book—all about the sudden appearance of Di’s long-lost uncle—is one of my favorites. Trixie is such a great character, and she really shines in The Mysterious Visitor.

…an aging detective?

Mr. Holmes (2015) is well worth watching. I mean, how could it not be, when you’ve got an actor as great as Ian McKellen portraying a detective as iconic as Sherlock Holmes?

…a cozy feel?

Gotta mention Murder, She Wrote! A writer who solves mysteries on the side? How cool is that??? Murder, She Wrote is a series that I watched with my grandparents, growing up. The theme music alone gives me such nostalgic vibes.

…a shocking reveal?

Well, I just watched Witness for the Prosecution (1957) last night, and that had a shocking reveal…or two…or three, at the end. ‘Twas great.

Are you familiar with any of the movies or books that I’ve mentioned here? What are some of your favorite mysteries stories?


jane eyre: my dream cast.

It has been roughly a decade since we last had a TV or film adaption of Jane Eyre. This is not to be borne! Jane Eyre is one of those stories (like Little Women or Pride & Prejudice) that simply cannot be adapted too many times, in my opinion. With that in mind, I’ve compiled my own dream cast for a new adaption of Jane Eyre. You won’t find every single character from the book on this list (that would take too long!), and neither will you find casting for any of the children (like young Jane or Adèle), because kids grow up very quickly and I don’t know very many child actors anyway. However, I have tried to be reasonably thorough in my casting.

So here is the list! (Tried to start with minor characters and gradually work my way up to Jane and Rochester.)

Colonel Dent: Sean Bean

“Colonel Dent is a fine soldierly man.”

Starting off with a very obscure character indeed. 😉 I will not be casting all of Rochester’s house guests, by any means, but when I started thinking about this dream cast I immediately knew that Sean Bean would be an excellent choice for the role of Colonel Dent. ‘Twould be a fun little cameo!

Mr. Brocklehurst: Ricky Gervais

“Passing through and curtseying low, I looked up at—a black pillar!—such, at least, appeared to me, at first sight, the straight, narrow, sable-clad shape standing erect on the rug.”

Hehe. I can see Ricky Gervais turning in an absolutely hilarious, satirical performance as one of the most base and hypocritical of schoolmasters. Grinning just thinking about it.

Mrs. Reed: Kate Winslet

“Illness never came near her; she was an exact, clever manager; her household and tenantry were thoroughly under her control.”

After seeing Kate Winslet in Divergent more times than I can count, I have no doubt that she could portray the cold, proud, selfish Mrs. Reed. And her acting skills in general are so good that I just know she would do a fantastic job with the deathbed scenes. *shivers*

Miss Temple: Carey Mulligan

“Miss Temple is full of goodness; it pains her to be severe to any one, even the worst in the school.”

Not going to lie, Carey Mulligan is one of my favorite actresses—and she is no stranger to period dramas, having appeared in everything from Pride & Prejudice to Bleak House to Far From the Madding Crowd. Miss Temple is sweet and kind, but she also has a hidden strength and backbone of steel (not unlike Jane, actually—which makes sense). Carey Mulligan would give a lovely, well-rounded performance, even if Miss Temple is something of a minor character.

Mrs. Fairfax: Brenda Blethyn

“She was occupied in knitting; a large cat sat demurely at her feet; nothing in short was wanting to complete the beau-ideal of domestic comfort.”

Oh, I love this bit of casting! Granted, I have only seen Brenda Blethyn in Pride & Prejudice (as Mrs. Bennet) BUT I believe she would be simply perfect for the role of Mrs. Fairfax. Fussy and gossipy, but also warmhearted and welcoming. (I also think Julie Walters would be great in the role.)

Grace Poole: Anna Maxwell Martin

“…any apparition less romantic or less ghostly could scarcely be conceived.”

To be frank, I don’t reeeeally care who is cast as Grace Poole, but I felt that she was an important enough character that I needed to find someone to play her. Even though Grace doesn’t have too much time on-screen, hers is an essential role. And I think Anna Maxwell Martin would do an excellent job with Grace’s character! Martin has an almost stern presence in at least one of the roles in which I’ve seen her, a presence that could easily turn forbidding and mysterious if she portrayed Grace Poole.

Bertha Mason: Emilia Clarke

“Just at my bedside, the figure stopped: the fiery eye glared upon me—she thrust up her candle close to my face, and extinguished it under my eyes.”

I struggled with casting Bertha, because she is a complicated character to handle—especially, I believe, were an adaption of Jane Eyre to be made these days (and you know it’s only a matter of time before that happens). After all, Jane Eyre has come under quite a bit of scrutiny with regards to the treatment of Bertha’s character.

Personally, I still believe that Rochester did the best that he could for Bertha (besides, y’know, planning to marry another woman). See here and here. Neither am I an advocate for Wide Sargasso Sea-esque readings of the text. But I do think it would be interesting if a new adaption gave some more depth and life to Bertha (perhaps even through a brief flashback or two as Rochester tells Jane his story). With all that said, Emilia Clarke could, I believe, be depended upon to portray Bertha with talent, sensitivity, and accuracy.

Richard Mason: Patrick Kennedy

“On closer examination, you detected something in his face that displeased; or rather, that failed to please.”

Okay. I admit that Richard did a good thing in putting a stop to Jane and Rochester’s marriage. A VERY good thing. But…he’s also kind of annoying? And an idiot? What I’m getting at is that, as with Grace Poole, I don’t much care who plays him. However, I think Patrick Kennedy would do a good job with the role. Maybe he’s a liiiitle too old. But whatever. I don’t feel like wracking my brain to find someone else.

Diana (or Mary) Rivers: Saoirse Ronan

“I had nowhere seen such faces as theirs: and yet, as I gazed on them, I seemed intimate with every lineament.”

I’m fine with both Rivers sisters being included in a new adaption of Jane Eyre, but I also think the role could be condensed to just one sister. And, if so, I want Saoirse Ronan to play her. Why? Um…because it’s Saoirse Ronan. Duh. XD I also think she matches my casting for St. John quite well, in terms of them seeming like an actual brother/sister pair.

Rosamund Oliver: Lily James

“I wondered, as I looked at this fair creature: I admired her with my whole heart.”

Just about now you might be thinking “Rosamund Oliver? Who’s that?” Or maybe you actually know Jane Eyre very well, and I’m the only one who sometimes forgets about Rosamund. 😉 Anyway! Rosamund is a well-to-do young woman who is in love with St. John Rivers. She ends up marrying someone else (dodged a bullet there, I say, lol) and I suppose she’s not essential to the story. But she does give some more depth to St. John’s character, and Lily James would be lovely perfection in the role!

Blanche Ingram: Emily Blunt

“If he liked the majestic, she was the very type of majesty: then she was accomplished, sprightly. Most gentlemen would admire her.”


(I mean Emily Blunt, not Blanche. XD)

Honestly though. I’m having so much fun imagining Emily Blunt as Miss Ingram. I have a feeling she would steal the show. Just a little bit. And it would be glorious.

St. John Rivers: Domhnall Gleeson

“Mr St. John—sitting as still as one of the dusky pictures on the wall; keeping his eyes fixed on the page he perused, and his lips mutely sealed—was easy enough to examine.”

Perhaps my favorite bit of casting in this whole list. I’m such a Domhnall Gleeson fan, and I know that he has the acting skills necessary to portray St. John the way he should be portrayed. St. John is a complex character. Legalistic, narcissistic, all around awful—but complex. Even a little sympathetic at times. All of that can be difficult to convey, especially as it would be much easier to make St. John a one-note jerk. But Domhnall Gleeson? He could portray St. John so, so well. I would love to see it.

Mr. Rochester: Christian Bale

“…his grim mouth, chin, and jaw—yes, all three were very grim, and no mistake.”

This was the very first casting idea I had for this dream cast. Besides the fact that I just want to see Christian Bale in more films, I wholeheartedly believe that he could bring Rochester to life in an incredibly vivid way. One aspect of Rochester’s character that is sometimes ignored is just how charismatic and captivating Rochester actually is (when he chooses to be). He has a magnetic personality that attracts not just Jane, but so many others as well. In the book, we read “if he was absent from the room an hour, a perceptible dullness seemed to steal over the spirits of his guests; and his re-entrance was sure to give a fresh impulse to the vivacity of the conversation.”

In my opinion, Christian Bale has that same magnetism in every single one of his roles (that I’ve seen). You don’t want to take your eyes off him, even (especially?) when he’s playing an awful character. There’s a sardonic, cynical quality to so many of his performances, as well as an undercurrent of unpredictability whenever he’s on-screen—you’re never quite sure what he’s going to do or say next. How very like a certain Byronic hero!

Jane Eyre: Alicia Vikander

“I have as much soul as you—and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you.”

My dearest Jane Eyre. Jane is one of the greatest fictional heroines of all time (if not the greatest—truly!), and she needs a good, wonderful actress to portray her. And Alicia Vikander? She is good and wonderful and more. I have seen her in Testament of Youth, The Light Between Oceans, and Tomb Raider, and she was incredible in all three films (particularly Oceans).

Jane is quiet, but impassioned. Physically small, but possessing an incredible strength of will. Plain, yet beautiful in spirit. Serious and studious, yet full of wit. And Alicia Vikander could portray her with such clarity, complexity, and compassion. I truly hope she gets the chance.

And there you have it! My dream cast for a brand-new adaption of Jane Eyre. *happy sigh* What are your thoughts? Do you disagree with any of my casting choices? Who would you cast to portray these beloved characters? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!


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