Category: Books (page 1 of 3)

Rosette Thornbriar review + Interview with Rachel Roden

Last day of my blog streak. Nothing more until next week if only to not overload people.

Today we have this sweet little story.

Once upon a time, way out west…

Back when they were young’uns, Fleur Guardstone proposed to Rosette Thornbriar with a cigar band ring. However, not long after, she disappeared back into the forest and hadn’t been heard from since. However, when Fleur hears reports of smoke coming from that woods, he’s determined to find out if it is, indeed, his dear Rosette. If he can get past all of the briars.

~Review~

I don’t tend to read children’s stories much, but I like this one.

Rosette Thornbriar is not overly simple and fits very well in its setting. I have read stories in which something is skewed or just sounds plain odd in a different setting. This isn’t one of those. Granted westerns, especially bedtime story western aren’t my area of expertise, but it feels right.

There’s a cute little town and a devoted hero. He doesn’t just ride out, hack through a few briars and rescue the girl. It’s much more complex than that. We’ve also got Cindy who I look forward to seeing the next story.

As a children’s story, Rosette Thornbriar is very short. I think I’ve just begun, then realizes I’m half way though. It’s well paced though. The ending ties up almost too neatly, but that’s common to both fairytales and childrens stories.

If you have children, or simply like fairytales, this is a great book.

~Interview~

I got to interview Rachel and found she likes nice long answers.

What is your favourite color? Least favorite?

Yellow … but not lemon yellow, a nice rich golden yellow that is tending toward orange.
I also really like purples all the way into the indigo range, but not the maroon range.

I don’t like dark colors. Especially like dark blues and blacks. But maybe the color that appeals to me the least is that dusty blue – cornflower blue ….

I like my colors bright and full of life.

What is a book that changed your life?

Other than the Bible …. probably the Hobbit. When I was about 7, we went to a play in the park where we watched “the Hobbit”. The story intrigued me, but I could never remember the name of it later. I already liked reading, but mostly read biography’s and picture books at that time. By the time I was 9, I had begun an all out search for the book from the play, and soon realized that it was only going to found in a longer book. I spent the next 5-7 years searching for that book. Along the way, I tripped on fairy tales, science fiction, fantasy, and hundreds of authors and series of books.

Finally, in my mid teen years, I was telling someone about the play, and they recognized the story and soon I held my first copy of “The Hobbit”. I read a lot of books over the years while searching for that book, fell in love with the genre, and never looked back. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings remain one of the few books that I have read a second time – on purpose.

I love your story. It’s amazing that it took you years to rediscover the book. I admit to being a frequent re-reader.

What do you love most about fairytales?

How much variety there is … yet the different cultures all have a cores set of stories that are the same. Every culture has a Cinderella tale. They all have a trickster tale and a fools tale as well, and overall, there is a lot of similarity between those. And yet, each culture and it’s values can be glimpsed within each story set.

It makes me wonder about the origin of the Cinderella tale. Some stories might all tie back to a single event no one remembers well, but I highly doubt it’s one of them.

Which fairytale might you tell after Cindy Ellen?

I have a Frogdrick Pierce about half written. And once I think of a name, I have a Snow White partially fleshed out. I’m also considering points for Rumpelstiltskin and Rapunzel. I even have a Hansel and Gretel tale bouncing around on the edges of my brain.

There are so many tales out there that could be told. I love the name Frodrick Pierce.

What do you think has had the biggest impact on your writing?

My huge imagination combined with the vast number of books and stories that I’ve read. I also have a gift for taking any situation and randomly coming up with a story to fit it. The biggest negative impact though, is that I can’t spell half of the words that I want to use, so I end up putting in synonyms for them. Spell check has improved my ability to churn out material though.

Random odd fact: I once won a spelling bee and once received the only 100 on a spelling test in my 5th grade classroom. Both time my teacher was speechless.

Rachel Roden is a natural story teller, capable of weaving the most hilarious of fairy tales. She fell in love with the Lone Ranger in her teens, but ended up with a basketball referee instead. Together, she and the Ref homeschool their four children in the Piney Woods of East Texas, as well as any other odd kid who ends up in their house. She might also be the sole human who still uses math after college.

You can connect with Rachel on her blog, twitter, and Pinterest.

 

~Giveaway~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other blog stops today:

Knitted By God’s Plan – Twisted Dreams Feature

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke – Rosette Thornbriar Feature

Interviews:

The Destiny of One – Kendra

Reviews:

Reflections of the Heart – Twisted Dreams

The Flowering Vales – Twisted Dreams

Twisted Dreams Mini Review + Interview with Morgan Huneke

Free piece of advice: Write posts for blog tours at least three days in advance. Especially  when you have multiple post or the last possible day you can write it is a Monday.  It’s probably only the beginning of Monday for most you, but it’s quite late here and I’m only just starting this post.

So hello everyone! This is the beginning of the three Sleeping Beauties blog tour. I have posts the next two days as well, so be prepared. There will be much mentioning of fairytales and possibly more late night posts.

Today I have the pleasure of Interviewing Morgan Elizabeth Huneke and reviewing her book Twisted Dreams. Which is a great book. If you like your sci-fi and fantasy mixed, you should read it. If you like funny characters or surprises you should read it. If you like fantasy adventures with political elements you should read all her books.

“I, Calandra, of the Wingans, do bestow upon you, the Princess of Hanover, a gift. You have been given long life. I cannot interfere with that, but when you are sixteen years of age, you will prick your finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into an everlasting sleep.” She stepped closer so that she could be heard only by Liesel and her parents. “Then you will at last see the truth. Be wary. Be wise. Your fate rests upon yourself.”

On her sixteenth birthday, Princess Liesel Rosanna falls victim to a sleeping curse—but wakens in another world, a prisoner of war. As the bait in a trap for her fiancé, the crown prince of Hanover, Liesel longs to escape back to the fairy tale world. The world where she is only wanting a true love’s kiss to set everything to rights.

As situations quickly grow dire, Liesel must choose which story to live, which life is real. The fate of her country rests on her decision.

See I told you it was interesting. Now onto the interview. I asked Morgan a series questions about her favourite things. It’s turned out quite fun.

Welcome to my blog, Morgan. Let’s start this off with a question that fits the tour. What’s your favourite fairytale?

Morgan: I’ve always had this strange fascination for Rumpelstiltskin. I’m really not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with my obsession with spinning and weaving. There’s so much that’s intriguing about Rumpelstiltskin, so much that’s unexplained. Like, why did the miller insist his daughter could spin straw into gold? Why did Rumpelstiltskin want the baby? Why was guessing his name the way she could get out of giving up her child? I feel like you could do so much with that story.

It is fascinating. you just made me wonder why I hadn’t tried mixing Rumpelstiltskin with Rapunzel since Spinning and weaving once were significant in what has become Girl of the Rumours.

Of all your published books, which is your favourite?

Can a parent have a favorite child? Every book is special to me in a different way. I try to choose, and, well, I can’t. I love all seven of them.

I would probably have to say the same. Except I don’t have seven books and none are published.

Favourite food?

That’s a tough one, but I think I’ll go with baked potato soup. Potatoes + milk + cheese + bacon = awesome. I’m a bit of a dairy addict, and I love potatoes. When I cook, potatoes and cheese are almost always involved.

I can never answer that one one either. But that sounds delicious.

Favourite board game?

I’m going with Balderdash, even though these days we usually play with too many people to use the board and just keep score on a sheet of paper instead. It’s a lot of fun, good for a laugh, you find out about some really strange laws and weird movies, and you learn a lot about people and how they think. I always have a good time when we play.

I’ve played that game out of the box only a couple of times. At home we just do it with a dictionary. It is fun.

Favourite book you’ve read in the last few months?

Exiles by Jaye L. Knight. It’s such a good book. Quite an emotional roller coaster, but so good. Every storyline was gripping, there were some twists I didn’t expect, moments that made me sad, moments that made me mad, moments that made me tense, moments that made me extremely happy. Everybody should read Ilyon Chronicles.

Yes, yes, yes! I haven’t read Exiles yet, but I am so looking forward to it. Emotional roller coaster and all.

Favourite character in Twisted Dreams?

Matthew. He’s the crazy one, and he’s just so much fun to write. He’s cast as Matt Smith and inspired by the Eleventh Doctor. He’s also the only one of the main trio who isn’t twitterpated. He’s a great character.

I’m not surprised my that answer. I think Matthew is my favourite as well.

And because I really do want to know, What was the first inspiration for Twisted Dreams?


Well, Rooglewood Press announced that their fairy tale retelling contest was to be Sleeping Beauty and I wanted to enter. I started brainstorming ideas for a twist, one of which was “what if the enchanted sleep is actually a good thing?” From there, it merged with the Doctor Who episode “Amy’s Choice” where the characters keep flipping back and forth between two places and have to figure out what’s real and what’s a dream. I took that concept and ran with it, throwing in BBC Merlin, Star Wars, and Michael Vey for good measure. It’s certainly been quite interesting.

That’s a great premise and I really like where you’ve taken it.

Morgan: Thanks for having me!

It was a pleasure.

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Books have always been a big part of her life, never more so than when working at the local library. Her other interests include reading, playing and teaching piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars and The Experiment as well as the Time Captives fantasy trilogy.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. And do. I’ve got to know Morgan over the last few years, and I’m really glad to have her as a friend.

~Mini Review~

I have a confession to make. I have a tendency to rush through books and skim them a bit. I catch what I missed on the second pass. However, I’ve not done my second read of Twisted Dreams. So this will be short and a bit spotty.

 

It’s a sound story with fun characters and strong themes.

I love the beginning. It’s told from Leisel’s point of view when she’s a baby. The confusion when she falls asleep only to awaken in another world is very realistic.

The theme of trusting God, not in a prince to rescue is beautiful.

I recommend it.

Add on  Goodreads. Preorder on Kindle so you can get it when it releases in a couple of days.

 

 

Now I must go get my beauty sleep.

A-Z Bookish Tag

I borrowed this tag from Kendra E. Ardnek who stole it from Rachel Rossano.

1. Author You’ve Read the Most Books from:

Definitely Martha Finley. There’s 28 Elsie books and another 7 Mildred books which I own. There’s also a handful of obscure standalones that I can still highly recommend. Wanted: A Pedigree, Signing the Contract and What it Cost, and The Thorn in the Nest are the best of them. The last of those has a male lead and a complex secret. None of them have a perfect child for the MC.

(After writing this I realized, that the correct answer is Enid Blyton. I read 60 – 80 books by here back in the day. It’s almost scary.)

2. Best Sequel Ever:
I’ve got to say the same as Kendra. The King’s Scrolls by Jaye L. Knight.  It’s my favourite book of one of my favourite series. I’ll add in a second of The First Traitor by Laura Campbell. It did everything I hoped for, and both of these sequels almost broke my heart.
3. Currently Reading:
Our Intrepid Heroine by Ness Kingsley. I need to finish it, but I was getting my brothers to read it aloud in the car and I haven’t taken them anywhere for a few weeks.4. Drink of Choice While Reading:
I don’t really drink while reading. But water is my primary drink.

5. E-reader or Physical Book:

Physical book. Though I don’t actually have an e-reader, so I use my phone instead. Price means I read a lot more e-books.

6. Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School:
I didn’t go to highschool and I didn’t date. (Attention from boys made me avoid them) But I would have like to be friends with Reuben from Kendra’s Lady Dragon Tela Du. (or maybe not). Also Hank Coolidge from the Starlight Animal Rescue series by Dandi Daley Mackall. Her books were my favourite for a time.

7. Glad You Gave This Book a Chance:

I could list so many books here. Yet, I rarely read a book I really doubt I’ll enjoy. But I almost never got around to reading Ellie Burton and the Reflective Portals which I won in a giveaway, and found it a decent book. It was aimed at a slightly younger audience, so it’s not my favourite, but that wasn’t why I almost didn’t read it.
8. Hidden Gem Book:
The Magician’s Daughter by Justyn Walker. It’s portal fantasy, very quirky, very good allegory.  Unfortunately, being self published in Australia, it’s really had to come by physical copies in the rest of the world. It’s available on Kindle, (as The Wanderer’s Daughter) but the sequels aren’t. If they were I’d try to promote them more, but as it is, it’s kind of pointless.
9. Important Moment in Your Reading Life:
I was somewhere between 7 and 9 when I first started reading a chapter book on my own. It was The Prodigal Cat by Janette Oke. I started reading it aloud to Mum. Next morning I was reading it before breakfast. I haven’t been able to stop since.10. Just Finished:
Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn. It’s Indian inspired steampunk and I’m writing steampunk that might have a little element of Indian culture. I like it, but probably not enough the buy the other books. (It was free)

11. Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
Erotica or anything heading that way. Anything with romance as the sole plot. Terribly written books. Anything that glorifies evil.

12. Longest Book You’ve Read:
I’m not at all sure, but Queechy by Susan Warner is near the top of the list. It’s over 25 hours in audio. If I can count nonfiction, I’ve got a lot of possible options.  Macauley’s History of England winning at 100+ hours of audio. It’s five books though.

13. Major Book Hangover Because Of:
I don’t really get book hangovers. But I walked around smiling for a week after reading Samara’s Peril by Jaye L. Knight.14. Number of Bookcases You Own:
Two. Though one’s only partly full and I have a bunch of books on another shelf in the house.  I borrow the libararies shelves and money too.

15. One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

One book?!? What is this one book? I used to often read a book twice in a row because I would miss things the first time. I still do frequently. But I’ll pick Water Princess, Fire Prince. I read that again straight after beta reading and gave Kendra more feedback. And then read it again just before she sent me an updated version to read before the release.
16. Preferred Place to Read:
Anywhere is fine. Bedroom is common. Outdoors is great given sutable weather.17. Quote that Inspires You/Gives You the Feels from a Book You’ve Read:

“We will stand for what is right, and good, and true. We will protect and aid each other and all those Elôm brings into our path. We will remain faithful to Him, even when it may cost us our lives, and we will stand firm against the evil that will soon surround us. We will not back down. Each of us, right here, right now—we are the resistance.”
Last paragraph from Resistance by Jaye L. Knight.

18. Reading Regret:

I once read a sequel to The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnet. It was unfortunately not a childrens book at all. And The Secret Garden doesn’t even need a sequel. I don’t remember the name, but don’t ever read it. It’s the book that makes me wish books had clearer ratings. I didn’t realize because it was filed as ‘Large Print’, not adult. Not that I didn’t read any books that were aimed more at adults at that age, but I might have been wary. ( clarification: this book was by another author)

19. Series You’ve Started and Need to Finish (All books are out in the series):

I’d like to finish the Follower of the Word Series by Morgan Busse someday. And the Dark Trench Saga by Kerry Neitz.

20. Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books:

Lady Dragon, Tela Du by Kendra E. Ardnek, The Ryn by Serena Chase, Deliver by Trica Mingerink.

21. Unapologetic Fangirl For:
The Ilyon Chronicles, The Rizkaland Legends, The  27th Protector Series, and various other books as the occasion arises.22. Very Excited for This Release More than All the Others:
Exiles by Jaye L. Knight.  I’m making myself wait to get a physical copy though.

23. Worst Bookish Habit:

Getting all the free books. Also skimming to get though books faster.
24. X Marks the Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Trouble in a Fur Coat by Janette Oke. It’s also the last book on the top shelf. Next shelf has writing books.
25. Your Latest Book Purchase:
I just preordered Spellsmith and Carver 2 by H. L. Burke26. ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

 I stayed up pretty late the last two night writing. So I’ll say Girl of the Rumours.
And that’s that. Feel free to take this tag. After all, I did.

White Dawn: Review and Giveaway

Continue reading

Sleeping Beauty Tales Thrice Revealed

 

After missing a weeks post, here I am again with a second post this week and a third may be coming. I have it pretty much written, but had to put it off to tell you about other people’s books. This time It’s a cover reveal. For three books. Three Sleeping Beauty retellings, all by people I know. They’re all coming out on August 7th. You can look out for more updates here.

And now on with the covers. After that, I’m sharing a few of my favourite Sleeping Beauty retellings.

 

~Poison Kiss~

 

Everyone knows that Sleeping Beauty’s curse is triggered when she pricks her finger on a spindle and that she is awakened by true love’s kiss … but what happens when the wicked fairy decides to switch things up?

Edmund didn’t mean to put Auralea to sleep, but now it’s up to him and the famous Puss in Boots to figure out how, exactly, a spinning wheel is supposed to awaken her.

~

I’ve was privileged to read some of Poison Kiss even before the story was finished and wished I had the whole things. Later when Kendra had the whole book done, I read the whole thing and loved it. It’s fun, quirky and surprisingly deep.

You can add Poison Kiss on Goodreads and preorder it on Amazon.

 

Kendra E. Ardnek is a homeschool graduate who picked up a pen at an early age and never put it down. The eldest of four, she makes her home in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her parents, younger siblings, giant herd of giraffes, and honor guard of nutcrackers.  She’s also a generally fun person to know.

You can and should connect with Kendra on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. She has a lot of pictures pinned for future books and I always enjoy trying to puzzle them out. But she makes it tricky.

~Twisted Dreams~

 

“I, Calandra, of the Wingans, do bestow upon you, the Princess of Hanover, a gift. You have been given long life. I cannot interfere with that, but when you are sixteen years of age, you will prick your finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into an everlasting sleep.” She stepped closer so that she could be heard only by Liesel and her parents. “Then you will at last see the truth. Be wary. Be wise. Your fate rests upon yourself.”

On her sixteenth birthday, Princess Liesel Rosanna falls victim to a sleeping curse—but wakens in another world, a prisoner of war. As the bait in a trap for her fiancé, the crown prince of Hanover, Liesel longs to escape back to the fairy tale world. The world where she is only wanting a true love’s kiss to set everything to rights.

As situations quickly grow dire, Liesel must choose which story to live, which life is real. The fate of her country rests on her decision.

~

I don’t know much about this story, but it’s enough that I’m very intrigued. I think it’s going to become my favourite of Morgan’s books.

Add Twisted Dreams on Goodreads. Preorder it on Amazon.

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Books have always been a big part of her life, never more so than when working at the local library. Her other interests include reading, playing and teaching piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars and The Experiment as well as the Time Captives fantasy trilogy.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

 

~Rosetta Thornbriar~

Once upon a time, way out west…

Back when they were young’uns, Fleur Guardstone proposed to Rosette Thornbriar with a cigar band ring. However, not long after, she disappeared back into the forest and hadn’t been heard from since. However, when Fleur hears reports of smoke coming from that woods, he’s determined to find out if it is, indeed, his dear Rosette. If he can get past all of the briars.

~

This is a western. As I read westerns on odd occasions, and fairytale retellings reasonably often. I think I’ll check this out. Or at least stick it on my list.

You can add Rosette Thornbriar on Goodreads and preorder it on Amazon.

 

Rachel Roden is a natural story teller, capable of weaving the most hilarious of fairy tales. She fell in love with the Lone Ranger in her teens, but ended up with a basketball referee instead. Together, she and the Ref homeschool their four children in the Piney Woods of East Texas, as well as any other odd kid who ends up in their house. She might also be the sole human who still uses math after college. She also happens to be Kendra’s mom.

You can connect with Rachel on her blog, twitter, and Pinterest.

~My Favourites~

It’s been a while since I’ve read Waking Beauty, but it’s beautifully written, thought provoking, and a bit terrifying (maybe an oxymoron, but it fits). Recommended if you can handle reading about nightmares and the less nice types of fairytale magic.

The Healer’s Apprentice is historical romance and doesn’t have the iconic elements of Sleeping Beauty stories, but it’s a sweet story.

 

This book of Kendra’s is more tha a Sleeping Beauty story, but that what it started as. Since it’s the first book of a series, Kendra has it free many times. But it is now permamatly free on Smashwords. Check it out here.

And that’s that. Don’t forget that there’s three new books coming out on August 7th.

Rose of the Oath is here!

Some of my readers will remember my review of Shadows of the Hersweald by Hope Ann. Back before then I reviewed Song of the Sword, the second book of the same series. Now I have for you a review of Rose of the Oath, the first book of the series.

Yes, you read that right. This is chronologically the first book. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling and it’s delightful.

War clouds the horizon and rebels gather under a mysterious leader. Alone, with her two younger sisters, Elissa watches the mountain road desperately for her brother’s return. Instead, she receives news of his capture by a strange figure covered in scars and cloaked in wolf skins.

With rebels drawing nearer, she sets off to find her brother. To save him. There is no one else who can.

Yet she soon finds the rose that granted her warning now holds her captive in safety. Outside the valley, war threatens those she loves most. Though her strange host claims the ancient promises of the Prince’s return and victory over the rebels, Elissa knows the blood-drenched truth. She is on her own. Elissa will do anything to keep her family safe, but more than one kind of wolf stalks the Blackwood and danger lurks closer than she could ever imagine.

My Review:

I always enjoy stories of sibling relationships and this is a great one. In fact I’ve noticed all of The Legends of Light so far have sibling relationships at their core. Elissa would never have ended up a captive of the ‘beast’ if it were not for her love for her brother and sisters. yet it is the same love that makes her captivity so bad.

Hope’s take on the Beast is one of my favourites. He’s not an animal, but a beast of a man; both in look and in brusqueness. He has deep secrets, and he never speaks of them. But then, he doesn’t talk at all. But he does write and can be quite humourous from time to time. It’s an interesting dynamic. The beast also cooks. There’s none of those enchanted servants common to B&B stories.

Elissa can be a bit feisty. She won’t put up with the Beast’s worse behaviour, won’t let him leave wounds untended, and his clothes all shabby. She frequently questions his need to have a prisoner and keeps the one friend who is able to visit her a complete secret.

Wolves are a big part of this story. They’ve been roaming about for generations and are greatly feared. The Beast pays quite a lot of attention to the wolves and there are various rumours about him and them. But even more significant than the wolves are the roses. Surprise! There’s roses everywhere. They’re quite important. So is an oath.

There’s also a villain. Tauscher, the leader of the rebels.  And maybe someone else. I had suspcions, but they weren’t quite right. The book certainly didn’t end up where i expected it to.

The plot was good with stong themes and characters. The book is a novella, and the story felt just the right size. It wasn’t crowded, rushed or thin. It was good.

 

Download Rose of Prophecy for FREE at:

Amazon 

Smashwords

iTunes

Add it to your shelf on Goodreads

Also, a bonus! For those of you who may not have seen it, Hope is also giving away the prequel to this Beauty and the Beast retelling, Rose of the Night – an account of how the ‘Beast’ became the Beast.

 

Click here to claim your free copy!

Add to your shelf on Goodreads

Finally, in honor of the official release of Rose of the Oath, Hope’s other novellas are $0.99 for this

week only!

Buy Song of the Sword: A Rapunzel Novella

Buy Shadows of the Hersweald: A Hansel and Gretel Novella

About Hope
Hope Ann is a speculative fiction writer who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She has self-published three Legends of Light novellas and writes regular articles for Kingdom Pen as the Writing Team Captain. Reading since the age of five, and introducing herself to writing at age eight, she never had a question that the author’s life was the life for her. Her goal is to write thrilling Christian fantasy and futuristic fiction — stories she longed for while growing up. After graduating from homeschool, Hope now teaches writing to several of her eight younger siblings. She loves climbing trees, archery, photography, Lord of the Rings, chocolate, and collecting shiny things she claims are useful for story inspiration.
You can visit Hope’s blog at authorhopeann.com, or follow her on FacebookPinterest,Instagram, or Twitter.

Random Things I Learnt in May 2017

χαιρετε

That’s a new Koine word I learnt. It’s translated rejoice and is also used to say hello. Transliteration is ‘chairete’. Which makes me think of ‘charity’. However the word translated ‘charity’ in the Bible is αγάπη (agape) which is selfless love. And in the middle of researching that I discovered the greek word for cookies, μπισκότα (biskóta).

But enough of the greeting. I didn’t mean to get into the subject quite so soon as that.

I’ve found since my post on my study intentions that I lose interest if I set my research subject up beforehand and don’t have any motivation than presenting a report on it. So, instead I’m going to sum up what I’ve learn at the end of each month. I don’t have a lot for May because I didn’t think of recording at the time and my mind is a bit of a muddle today (a week ago when I wrote this) But I still learnt things.

In Greek:

Upsilon is hard to pronounce. Both the name of the letter and the letter itself.

Saint and sanctify have the same root in Greek. (I suspected that was the case, but didn’t know.)

There is only one kind of article. In English we have two. The definite (the) and the indefinite(a). Koine Greek only has a definite article, but it has multiple forms because like most languages it’s more complex than English. (English has it’s one complexities, but they’re mostly from inconsistencies of pronunciation and spelling as opposed to grammar. But them as a native speaker, I have it easy.)

Music:

Concertos always have three movements.

Some people don’t appreciate flutes as much as they should.

Clarinets come in different sizes

Writing:

Procrastination is really easy.

My secret project, SubM, is prone to theological discourses.

Copywriting is really hard. Even when it’s just explaining my editing services.

If I, living in Australia, do an editing job for someone in another country that is classified as an export.

Reading:

The first few books of The City of God aren’t as complex as I expected. Also Augustine is very thorough. He demolishes the arguments the pagan Romans had against the Christians, them he turns to history and shows how the Roman’s gods didn’t help them. Them he turns to another bit of history and shows how the gods didn’t help them their either. Repeat that several more times also showing the depravity of the gods and how they didn’t help other people groups either. I’ve learnt some history. I’m ready for something new.

Also Patrick Carr has a definite style to his stories. There’s always someone evil who has gotten some unknown and prohibited power. And they’re hunting the hero down, while he tries to figure out  what’s going on. They usually move in before they’re seen. But I don’t mean that in a bad way. Just because I’ve noticed his style, doesn’t mean  his books are unimpressive. They’re wonderfully deep.

I’m hoping to get back to my regular posting next week. I’ve just been feeling a little overwhelmed by life lately.

 

Blades of Acktar Characters Part 2

I’m continuing my discussion of my favourite characters of the Blades of Acktar series by Tricia Mingerink. I cannot promise this to be entirely spoiler free, but I won’t tell more than necessary. And anyway, if you care about getting spoilers, just go read the books.

Part one is here, in case you missed it.

Martyn Hamish

Loyalty. That’s the first word I associate with Martyn.  Duty is the second. This guy follows orders. Martyn  was Leith’s best friend in the Blades. He’s kind of a nice guy. At least as far as assassins go. But unlikely Leith he’s not going to walk away from his duty just because some girls were strangely kind to him. He’ll follow orders. Even that includes doing terrible things.

One interesting aspect of Martyn’s character is that he doesn’t do so well without someone to follow. He’s the main character in Deliver and *spoiler* in Deliver the Blades have been disbanded. King Respin is gone. Martyn is feeling slightly lost and betrayed, and confuses and uncomfortable. And he’s more lost than he realizes. He needs someone who will give him orders. And someone who will challenge his stubbornness. And once that happens and he realizes that he’s been an idiot, he slowly comes round.

Shadrach Alistair

Shad is the son of Lord Henry Alistair and Leith’s new best friend. He’s not got some tragic childhood, or (so) many people trying to kill him. He’s just a nice guy. And a lord’s son.  Which is somehwat of a recurring joke. As a lord’s son he had a rather different upbringing to Leith. But he’s still pretty good at tracking and fighting. Maybe not quite as good as he thinks, but he can handle most things. He’s more of a leader and is quite involved in the resistance against King Respen. 

While Shad doesn’t make it into my top characters, he
does get some of the best lines. Or is around when some of the best lines are said. In real life he’s probably the guy you’d want around. A good man, not overly complicated, with no enormous scars in his past. He’s dependable.

More Blades

Jamie Cavendish is a Blade trainee. He’s kind of awesome. Very brave. He deserves a lot more space than I’m giving him right here. But I haven’t got the time. So just read the books.

 

Blane Altin. One of the youngest Blades. Someone Leith wishes he’d gotten out. One of the resons I despise King Respin. Turning boys into killers.

Ranson Harding. The Blade one above Blane. They’re friends. Almost like brothers. He also could be a nice guy if given the chance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s one more character I’d really like to to talk about, specifically from Deliver, but i haven’t got a picture for he and I’m not sure what to say. So I’ll just squeal. Kayleigh!!! Really she’s an awesome character. One of the reasons to read Deliver.

Pictures grabbed from these Pinterest boards: https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/martyn-hamish/  https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/shadrach-alistair/  https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/deny/  https://au.pinterest.com/tmingerink/ya-novel-defy-the-blades-of-acktar-3/

Blades of Acktar Characters Part 1

Hello friends,

I’m interrupting my posting schedule again to bring you pictures and thoughts on the character of the Baldes of Acktar series. Yes, my posting schedule. Things might appear somewhat random over here but I’ve got subject picked out for future posts and they will come someday.

Anyway, today, Acktar. My favourite and least favourite characters.

I might annoy a few fans by not putting Leith first, but here goes.

Lady Rennelda Faythe

Renna Faythe

Renna

Usually called Renna. She’s our leading lady. A shy girl and an afraid one. She’s not a ‘strong female character’ or an action girl. But she doesn’t need to be. Not all of us are. I think we sometimes overestimate how brave we would be in difficult life threatening circumstances. I like to think I would deal with them perfectly. But I’m afraid I would run and hide. I might lose faith.

Slowly Renna does develop some strength. She stops running. She become brave and bold eventually. I love to see that. And even in the beginning she has her strengths. She’s a healer. I would likely panic if faced with the wounds she fixes up.  Though I would try. I also would rather help than hurt.

Leith Torren

Leith

Leith is a Blade. One of the King’s special assassins. Or maybe not so special. Maybe more like a slave. He can’t get out. Not without being killed.

I always imagine Leith to be a little older than his eighteen years. Or I forget I’m as old as I am. No one should be an assassin at this age. (or at all, but that’s another matter)

But Leith isn’t just any assassin. He had a heart and a conscience inside somewhere. Something to be touched through the kindness he had never known. He begun to believe in God, though not in forgiveness for himself. But then his curiosity drove him to steal a Bible. He read it. He was offered forgiveness. He seized it. Finally.

But it’s hard to change from who you once were. Leith is an example of how people can change. And how sometimes it’s difficult. Also growing up as an assassin doesn’t give to the best knowledge of how to act around normal people. Amusement results. Especially when relating to Renna. I could go on forever, but I won’t. I love seeing Leith grow in faith and knowledge.

Brandi Faythe

Leith’s horse Blizzard. Brandi named him.

Or Brandilyn when she’s wearing a pink fancy dress. This is Renna’s little sister. She’s entirely different. Fearless. She’s the first one to get through to Leith. She’s funny, smart, and surprisingly insightful at times. Everyone is her friend. At least if they aren’t obviously dangerous.

She’s also entirely devoted to Renna. Enough to do slightly crazy things when needed. She balances Renna’s shyness perfectly. And Renna keeps her in line. Mostly at least.

Brandi is also most definitely not a healer. She’s not careful enough and doesn’t have the stomach. So she fights instead.

King Respen Felix

This guy needs no words of my own.

 

I’ll be back again in a day or two with a few more characters.

See you then.

Pictures grabbed from these Pinterest boards: https://au.pinterest.com/tmingerink/ya-novel-dare-the-blades-of-acktar-book-1/  https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/leith-torren/  https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/renna-faythe/  https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/king-respen-felix/ 

 

Deliver by Tricia Mingerink Review!!!!!

Once again I get to write  a review for a book I really love. Deliver is the fourth (and last) book of the Blades of Acktar series by Tricia Mingerink. I haven’t mentioned her books a lot on the blog, but lately they’ve been coming up whenever someone asks me about my favourite book. Which has happened because I’m making a few new friends.

The Blades of Acktar is non-magical fantasy with a medieval feel to the setting. But the geography is inspired by South Dakota so there’s prairies, mountain lions and rattlesnakes. There’d be more on those later, but I’m avoiding spoilers.

Now for you enjoyment I have the cover of Deliver here in its full glory and its blurb below it.

Can something broken ever heal?

Martyn is broken. After torturing his best friend, he doesn’t belong anywhere in Acktar. No matter how far he runs, he can’t lose his guilt.

Leith is broken. While healing from the torture he received at Nalgar Castle, he struggles to find his new role. But can a Blade ever outrun his past?

The country is broken. Bitterness divides town against town, neighbor against neighbor. What will it take to deliver Acktar from itself?

They face their hardest battle yet.
Peace.

The Review

This is actually a series review because context makes everything better. It’s pretty much spoiler free until I get to talking about Deliver and I’ve still managed to avoid most of them.

 

I first heard of the Blades of Acktar a while before I begun them.  I probably would have left them alone (and missed out on something lovely) if Tricia hadn’t been running a giveaway for an audio book of either Dare or Deny. I entered and I won.

I listened to Dare pretty much in one go. It was awesome. I loved the characters, the themes. I love how it challenged me to think about how I would love my enemies if my life was at risk. I knew then that I would love this series.Dare Cover

I don’t know what my favourite part is. Renna reminds me of myself somewhat, though she’s a little quieter. Brandi is amazing. Bouncy, enthusiastic, horse-crazy. She is bold enough to tell Bible stories to an assassin who would easily tell evil King Respin they were Christians. And then there’s Leith, the aforesaid assassin. I always have sympathy for someone who’s discovering the truth for the first time. Someone who thinks they’re irredeemable, not loved by God, yet still has enough faith to dare do what is right.  After that there’s so many more wonderful characters. They are all brilliantly written.

Shortly afterwards, I got Deny (also audio from a giveaway). I was a little bit more moderate with it and took about a week to listen to it. It was the perfect sequel. The characters got better. A few new ones were introduced. I especially loved the young Blade Trainee Jamie Cavendish. He’s awesome. Yet his story is sad. All the blades make me said. What kind of King takes teenage (or younger) boys and trains them to be assassins.

I love how Deny show the tangled web that being a spy for good or evil creates. There’s people who are dead and believed to be alive and vise versa. And then the people who should be dead are discovered and you have to pretend to kill the person who’s already dead. Confusing as it sounds, I loved it.

And then there was the depth of the themes. This book makes me less afraid. I feel that I can face death with confidence. It’s a faith strengthener even when it makes my heart ache for what Tricia is putting her characters though.

After that I took a break before finally buying Defy. (Somehow I managed that despite the enormous cliff-hanger ending of Deny?) That was only the beginning of this month. I listened to it in two days when I should have been spitting out pages of words for CampNaNo. Defy is certainly the most tense of the books. It has twists I never would have seen coming. (and other I saw spoilers for) It continued along the previous themes of being firm to your faith and loving your enemies while adding the pain of separated sisters. and some difficult quandaries.

This book is Brandi’s story more than any other. I couldn’t help but feel sad for her. She was the cheerful character, now turned grimly determined and put in a difficult position for a 14 year old girl. Yet she still was Brandi and there was a trace of her fun.

Defy had it’s adorable moments. A mixture of love and pain and bravery. Not to mention adventure and humour. Sometime straight up funny moments, sometime situational humour. When one character is worrying about another character who is perfectly okay, I can’t help but find it amusing. But I admit it did get dark and was quite serious. I just was no where near a serious mood when I read it. I knew it would end happily so I could bear anything.

I was perfectly happy with how Defy ended. Everyone was in the right place, and those who had been injured were recovering, mostly I would have happily waited for the audiobook of Deliver to come out. But then Tricia sent me an ARC. I wouldn’t have asked for it, because I wanted to stick to my audiobook tradition, but I couldn’t resist a free copy.

I read Deliver in a day and it was everything I had hoped for. It’s not all that common that you follow the characters after the battle is over and I wasn’t sure how Tricia could top the high stakes of Deny. But she did it.  Once the characters have had their happy ending for a moment, the thought of it being lost is dreadful.

And then there is Martyn. Leith’s best friend from the Blades. The guy who should have died in his one heroic moment rather than survive. He hadn’t got his happy ending. I wanted hi to have it and even more to know the truth. Tricia did this in such a beautiful manner. Both in the story and in his point of view. He is a sarcastic, cynical character, but so fun to read. Partly because it’s so easy to see what he’s trying to keep from admitting. He’s so close to seeing, but he doesn’t. And now I’m feeling sad,

*Spoiler* 

Kayleigh is just so perfect for Martyn. The way he pretend he’s only sticking around for the food, while he actually likes her. That was adorable. And then there’s the soap fiasco. Blistering soapsuds! I love it.

And then we have a potential relationship between Ranson Harding a former Blade and Michelle Allen the sheriff’s daughter. That is cute and slightly ironic.

Also Jamie wanting to become a minister. And Shad rescuing Martyn. And the small interations between Renna and Martyn. And  Kayleigh!!!!!

*End spoiler*

There was also the simple pleasure of seeing how characters have changed throughout the books. Renna had become brave, but now she has become a leader. Not the Leader though, that’s only one person. (In joke). Her and Leith’s relationship has blossomed into something beautiful. It’s the right kind of love, the kind that cares for the other person more. It’s founded on deep trust, not  giddy feelings. (but still so adorable)

Deliver is a story of friendship, of rebuilding and of upholding what is right. It’s got it’s difficult and scary moments as do all Tricia’s books, but I highly recommend it to ages 15 up. Be warned, though the books are clean as far as language and immorality, there is violence. It’s not gratuitous, but it can get descriptive at time. Medieval war wounds and things of that sort.

About Tricia

About the Author

Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.

You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, and her blog.

Release Party

Tricia is having a release party on Facebook in just a couple of days. Come along and join the fun. There’s sure to be prizes (I’ll avoid winning any more audio books) and games and I’ve heard a rumour that some of her characters might turn up to chat with us. I’m not sure on that though.  You can find the party page here.

So check out all of Tricia’s books. The Kindle versions are all on sale this week, so don’t miss out. I’m going to grab the companion novella Destroy since I haven’t read it yet. It’s supposed to be read between Defy and Deliver, though missing it does not spoil the enjoyment at all.

You can find all the books on Amazon  here. You can also get signed paperback from Tricia’s website here.

I’ve collected a bunch of other posts in the blog tour for your enjoyment.

7 Things You Might Not Know About The Blades of Acktar on Tricia Mingerink’s blog.

Review and Interview by Bethany R.

Crazy Fangirling Post on Thriving Hope and proper review by the same. (Crazy fangirling because I never get past 5 exclamation marks!!!)

Bookish Analogies: Blades of Acktar – What Happens After ‘Broken’?

Deliver: The Blades of Acktar Book 4 – Review

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