Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 9)

Exiles Release + Interview with Endathlorsam + Giveaway

So my friends all have books coming out this week. That’s what it feels like at least. I’d gott muddled on the time and though this post wasn’t till next week. So here I am late at night again finishing a post

Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Exiles, has been released! Exiles is the fourth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. Read about it below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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~About the Book~

Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to the emperor’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.

Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all.

Feeling trapped within the walls of Valcré, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir, but with other forces at work, it might not be that simple.

One small misstep could prove fatal for all.

 

Available now on Amazon!

goodreads

~Interview with Sam!

Jaye let people choose characters to interview and I picked Sam, a talcrin originally from the island of Arda, also known by his full name of Endathlorsam. I then proceeded to have a creative blank and couldn’t come up with questions. Erika Mathews came to my rescue with a whole list of things to ask him. Sam happens to be one of her favourites in the series. So thank you, Erika. And on with the interview.

“Welcome to Reality Reflected, Endathlorsam.”

“Thank you. It is my pleasure to be here.”

“How did you come to know Elom?”

“My parents. I grew up in a very devoted home in Arda. My parents are excellent examples of strong Elôm followers, and did well in teaching me and my siblings and cultivating growth in our faith. I owe much of who I am to them.”

“What’s something about Arda or Talcrins that people find surprising?”

“Arda is not like any coastal country in the mainland of Ilyon. Where Arcacia, for example, is known for the gold hued stone that was used to build Auréa Palace, in Arda we have white stone. The cities along the coast are brilliant white, though some buildings are painted in vivid colors such as blue or red. With the blue waters of the Sidian Ocean, it is quite beautiful, and I often miss it.”

“It sounds beautiful. What was the most interesting thing about teaching at Tarvin Hall?”

“Being a scholar at Tarvin Hall allowed me access to the greatest collections of information in Arcacia—libraries only rivaled by those in Arda. There is unlimited knowledge to be learned. Even talcrins who spend their entire lives studying could never learn it all.”

“think I would feel overwhelemed by so many books. Even with the small collection at my home, I’m inseveral theolgical tomes and can never read all the history I want. What is your favourite passage from the Scrolls?”

“I have many, but one of my favorites is, Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is in the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”

“I love that passage. It is so easy be anxious when things aren’t going as expected. I haven’t really noticed that aspect in our version of the Scrolls. It helps one face the future boldly. Do you have any big dreams and plans for the future?”

“It is my hope and dream that worship of Elôm will one day be accepted again in Arcacia, and I would love to invite more of my people back. There are not many of us left on the mainland anymore. If Elôm wills it, I would like to have a part in bringing the knowledge that is so important to talcrins to the people of Arcacia. And, on a more personal note, I would also like to have a family of my own one day.”

“Erika was was wondering about the personal side. Thanks for telling us that. And that great hope is the hope of all us readers, both for Arcacia and our own world. Thank you Sam and Jaye for the interview.”

Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? The first three Kindle books are on sale August 11th – 14th!
You can find them on Amazon.
3BookKindleSale


~About the Author~

Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.

GiveawayBanner

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)(Which means means I can’t enter. My copy is on its way already though.)

 

 

Poison Kiss Review and Interview with Edmund

Hey people, I’ve avoided a repeat of yesterday and not left this post until late at night. And I’ve got the titles straight as well. Not that there’s anything wrong now. If you did notice something off before, please just ignore it.

Today’s book is Poison Kiss by Kendra E. Ardnek. It’s a beautifully mixed up retelling with super fun characters.

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.

 

~My Review~

Poison Kiss is very fun and complex for its length. It’s overflowing with copious references to other fairytales. Puss in Boots is in it. (Not that he wears boots, they’re silly looking and hurt his feet)

The other characters are equally well done. Auralea spends less of the book asleep than some sleeping beauties, so she has a personalty. But the one who really shines is Edmund. He’s not your typical fairytale prince, partly because he’s not a prince at all, and also because there’s time for his character to develop. We also have an enchanter, Auralea’s nurse, and Katrina. The relationship between Katrina and the Enchanter is very fun. And before I forget him there’s also Edmund’s very odd cousin, Dan or Dandelion. He loves potatoes and calls Puss in Boots ‘Kitty’.

The plot is more complex than the basic Sleepy Beauty. At it’s core, the gifts are given, she pricks her finger on her sixteenth birthday, and falls into a sleep until a prince cuts through the briers and wakes her with a kiss. But when it’s the kiss that puts her to sleep, there’s not such a simple solution. The way Kendra lays the story out is masterful. I first read Poison Kiss at the end of last year before it was finished, and the cut off point was quite annoying. I wanted to know what happened next.

The other things that makes me love this book is the theme. I’m not going to tell you what it is, because that’s not how themes work, but it’s got one of my favourite quotes, and is something about true love.

You can add Poison Kiss on Goodreads and preorder on Kindle.

 

~Interview with Edmund~

I’ve interviewed Kendra a couple of times, so when she offered her characters to interview I jumped at that. Then I proceeded to be uninspired and took forever to come up with my questions. But here they are.

Please welcome Edmund, the hero of Poison Kiss.

What’s your favorite type of weather?

Edmund: I like any sort of weather as long as there’s not too much of it. 

What’s the worst fight you’ve ever been in?

I have some pretty … rough cousins, and I was always smaller and weaker than all of them, so I early learned how to stay out of that sort of trouble, and how to use my head when I couldn’t avoid it. None of them are the smartest of people, so I could usually outwit them.

What names or nicknames have you been called throughout your life?

I’m called “Mundy” by the cousins who like me, “Mousy” by those who don’t. My mother used to call me her little mouse or little sparrow, but it’s different when it’s coming from your mother.

What are you great at?

I … really don’t know if there’s anything that I’d strictly say that I’m great at. I’m apprentice to the court physician, though, so I must be doing something right there.

List 3 things that would make you lose your temper.

When I was younger, I’d fly off at the slightest thing, but I’ve worked hard to get my temper into check. At this point, there isn’t much that would get a rise out of me. 

What is your weapon of choice?

I’m a healer, not a fighter. I prefer to outwit the situation and be there to patch people up when it’s done. 

Same here. Fighting is not my thing. Aydel on the other hand is quite different. She’ll fight, then afterwards she’ll patch up the people she likes enough. And she’s better at that than I am.
Are you organized or messy?

I’m organized. Drives my mother nuts, which is one reason that I don’t live with her anymore. 

I’m messy. My mother is tidier. I still live with her.

~About Kendra~

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.

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

~Giveaway~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There’s also an extra giveaway. The person who leaves the most comments during the blog tour will get an early read of The Seven Drawers, Kendra’s retelling of Snow White for the Rooglewood contest, and Cindy Ellen, which is Rosette Thornbriar’s sequel.

So get commenting. Below are the other tour stops of today.

Knitted By God’s Plan – Favorite SB Retellings

Interviews:

Bookish Orchestrations – Rachel

Georgia Politics – Morgan

Books, Braids, and Born Again – Matthew (TD Character)

Reviews:

Shire Reviews – Rosette Thornbriar

A Girl of Rumours snippet

Hey people,

I’m still working my way towards my Camp NaNoWriMo goal. 6 hours to go. I’ll make it. Somehow. Just have to not get distracted by everyone’s pictures from Realm Makers. Or by next months sewing project.

Anyway, I haven’t got a normal blog post. I’ve got ideas simmering, but not time to write them. Some deep stuff. Possibly a super short story I started writing last night. So instead I have a little snippet from what I’m editing at the moment. It needs a lot more work, especially on Joane’s appearance, but I still like it. Enjoy.

 

After a very long minute there was a noise of footsteps from the left. A dark, lithe girl stepped out of the shadows and strode over to them. She looked Aydel up and down with cold, piercing, green eyes.
She turned to Nylf. “So, this is the famed girl of the rumours. She looks like nothing more than a careless rich girl.” He tone was scornful and Aydel took a step backwards.
“She’s more than she looks, Joane,” Nylf said, “She put a knife to my throat and fought her way free of some thugs at the fair. And if you give her a bit of training we’ll have someone worthwhile on our hands.”
Joane’s lip curled. “I’ve heard about that and the rest of your activities that day. You were sloppy and were lucky not to be caught. And it’s Lady Joane to you.” She swiveled round and faced Aydel, hands on her hips. “So Adlayda, welcome to Nowhere. I am Lady Joane. I’m sure ya’ve heard of me.”
Aydel hadn’t, and she didn’t care for the girl’s manner of speaking. “If you want me to answer you, call me Lady Aydel. And what made you a lady? You don’t even look like one. Ladies don’t wear pants.”
“They do when I say so. I’m in charge here. You’ll find your skirts a nuisance, Adlayda and wish you hadn’t said that.”
She turned abruptly and stomped off.

Beautifully Messy Writing Process

This month the Beautiful People is author oriented. Which means you get to read about me instead of my characters.

 

Or more accurately you’ll read about my writing process. And my writing progress really isn’t beautiful. It’s much more of a mess.

 

How do you decide which project to work on?

A mixture of what’s running through my head and what fits my goals. At the moment I’m not feeling hugely motivated on any project, but I’m determined to get Girl of the Rumours into a readable shape.

How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

Months. Not that I’ have finished, finished things. I’ve completed drafts, but they always took months.

Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

Not really, but I tend to listen to music. Instrumental orchestral stuff mostly. Lately I’ve been going for Celtic music.

What time of day do you write best?

Perhaps evening. That might just be because I’m running out of time in the day. Sometimes starting early is great.

Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?

Not really. I used the ‘I Write Like’ website and for Girl of the Rumours, it said I write like Agatha Christie. But that was only a few chapters. I haven’t found a consistent style yet.

Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

I started writing becuase I had a story to tell and realized it could be done. I keep going because I enjoy it, I don’t want to be a quitter and God doesn’t seem to be directing me away from it.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?

Hard means it’s a scene that drags. Or has difficult emotions. Conflict with parents is something I find both hard to write and hard to read. The scene is was working on yesterday fit’s into all of that. Probably a bunch more scenes do. It’s all a bit of a blur months later.

Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

I don’t feel all that ready for any of my projects. But honestly, I wan tot get more experienced before I get back to Lady of Courage (which has a new name coming along sometime). I felt when I was first wriitng it that the political intrigue was beyond me, and it’s got a lot of gaps. I also want to attempt a serial on the blog, but haven’t had the time to figure it out.

What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

I put this for my goal on the Holy Worlds forum.

I’m afraid to make to many big goals, because so many thing could happen in a year to derail them. Also I just started planning out a new project that’s going to slow things down.
That said, I want to get Girl of the Rumours into the hands of a few critiquers by August. If I really focus on my editing I could have it sooner, but I want tot get other things moving along too. The first draft of Lady of Courage should be finished end of next month at the latest.

I don’t know if I’ve really finished  Lady of Courage, but I’ve done as much as I’m going to. Girl of the Rumours won’t be ready for critiquers in August unless I only give them the first part. I still hope to have it mostly by mid September. And the new project is coming along.

Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif

Write. Sigh. Rewrite.

 

Check out the rest of the link up at paperfury.com or furtherupfurtherin.net.

 

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.

11 Reasons Why Fantasy Isn’t Better

This post is half tongue-in-cheek and half serious points. It could probably also be called 11 things that any fiction can do, but that didn’t sound so cool. And before anyone gets more annoyed at me, I’m am not trying to say fantasy isn’t equal to other genres. I’m just reminding people that other genres are also worthwhile.

Also though I only mention fantasy I’m really talking about spec-fic in general. Anything out of this world, or partially so.

Non-fantasy stories can spark imagination too

I hardly read any fantasy as a child, but was my imagination decreased by that? No. My bed being the covered wagon we we’re travelling to the frontier in was one of the most realistic games.  We had magic blankets that floated on lava and imaginary families inspired by a non-fiction kids book. Biographies of missionaries have sent me all over the world. I can imagine crossing a vine bridge in Papua-New Guinea though I’ve never even seen a photograph.

Other stories can have brave heroes

So think of a fantasy story. There’s a fair chance it will feature a brave hero completing amazing (or slightly less amazing) feats. But heroes exist out of fantasy. Just think of a  war story. Many have brave, inspiring heroes. Also heroism isn’t just about battles. A nurse just going about her duties is a hero, parents struggling, but still doing the best they can for their children. They are some of the best heroes.

Other stories can create deep emotion

Emotion comes from characters. Characters are common to stories. That was slightly too simple, so I had better elaborate. Emotions are created in stories by reminding you of real motions you’ve felt. (or something like that) All you need for this is realistic characters.

Other stories deal with social and philosophical issues

Fantasy is a good medium for focusing in on certain themes without bringing a long a lot of baggage, but other books can do very well. Dystopian is also spec-fic, but it is often great at this. Also stories that deal directly with the actual issues can be enormously powerful. Sometimes A story of a malnourished refugee in Africa, might be more powerful than that of a refugee from the land of Ulinent. We can’t help people in fantasy worlds, but we can in the real world.

Other books can awake a longing for great purpose

Some stories can bring an inspiring sense of awe and purpose, a reminder of how great the world is and that there’s much more to life than simple survival. Fantasy is a great vehicle for grandeur, but the simple thing of out world can also achieve this. It’s our world where we have purpose after all.

Other stories can be complex and twisty

I’ll admit that the most complex books I’ve read have been fantasy. But I’ve read some historical that comes close. Maybe the twists don’t come from outside the laws of nature, but that doesn’t been we’ll see them coming.

Other stories can be fun and adventurous

This is really obvious and actually two points. Adventure exists in our world,  and it can be pretty exhilarating. A humour or even quirkyness isn’t out of this world either. Some of the most laugh out loud books I’ve read have been collections of letters sent by real people. Reality can be plain ridiculous at times.

Other stories can have beautiful settings

Our world is a beautiful place and it can be described magnificently. Grand scenery isn’t sole the property of fantasy books; it might just be a little more common in them. When you have to invent your whole world, it might make you a little more aware of what it looks like. Or maybe not. It probably comes down tot he author and their skills of visualization and observation. Personally I don’t pay enough attention to my surroundings and forget to describe the made up  world of my own stories far too often.

 
Other books can be relate-able

Well of course. If a cat who must kill a dragon is relateable, surely someone trying to catch an ordinary criminal ought to be relateable. Though honestly some people click better with some characters. It’s not a fixed thing.

Other  stories can be original

Fantasy doesn’t have the same limits as other books, but it still manages to have a huge number of tropes. Other genres have tropes too of course, but they also can overcome them. The characters can vary hugely. The thoughts and themes behind the books are limitless. And the minds behind the books are different. Sometimes not having to invent a whole world can yield more depth of character.

And in case you aren’t into fantasy: Other books can be unrealistic

Hugely unrealistic. For example where the whole conflict is caused by a simple misunderstanding that would be fixed in a conversation. (yes, I’m talking about romance novels here) That’s not very realistic. Or when everything turns out fine due to some coincidence.  Or when someone doesn’t act like a normal person would. Or when things just turn out to perfectly. If you’re trying to escape reality, fantasy (the genre)  isn’t the only way.

 

I wrote this because I grew up mostly reading historical fiction, and Enid Blyton books and did love them. I don’t want to leave all that behind for fantasy. Kids adventure stories are fun even though it’s ridiculous how adventures keep happening to the same kids.

Brie, out.

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

Character Encounters: In which I meet Cassia under a bridge

A short story written for Character Encounters.

Something really strange happened to me while i was travelling back from the Indie E-Con a few months ago.

I was waiting at the bus station for my coach back north. It was the bus stop right on the edge of the city where the river is. Since the bus wasn’t due for another half hour, I wandered down the path by the river. It amazes be how rivers seem the same the world over. The trees, smells and the position of the sun might all be different, but water is water.

When I got to the bridge I stopped and sat under it in the shade. There was another thing that didn’t change. Graffiti covered the bottom of the concrete bridge.  Nothing terribly original, just a few random words I’d rather not repeat.

A girl ran along the path in front of me. She looked my way. “Sorry,” she said, “I didn’t meant to interrupt you.”

“You didn’t interrupt anything.” I stood up feeling puzzled. Sure I’ve had stranger apoligize when I almost run into them in the story, but this was weird.

The young woman looked up at me and a strange expression crossed her face. “I don’t recognize you, but I have a strong feeling that we’ve meant before. You weren’t at that writers conference were you?”

I studied her. She looked very familiar, but I hadn’t seen her at the E-Con. “I was actually, but I don’t think that’s where we met. It was longer ago. at a conference or course.”

“No, I think I’d remember that. But I’ll get my glasses out just in case my sight is playing up.” She rummaged through a handbag and pulled out a pair of tortoise-shell glasses. when she looked up with them on, she shook her head. “Still don’t recognize you.”

But I did recognized her. Or though I did at least. “Vivien? What are you doing here? I thought you were writing your thesis for your honor’s year.”

She took a step back and gave me a puzzled look. “My name’s not Vivien and I don’t expect it ever will be. But this is a weird coincidence. Almost enough to make one think there’s something beyond this world.” She checked her watch. “I’ve got to catch a bus now. Maybe we’ll meet again someday. What is you name by the way? I’m Cassia.”

“Brie. Brie Donning. I write books.” I said stupidly.

Cassia nodded. “Me too. I write on fantasy theory. I’d love it if you could connect with me.” She shoved a card into my hand and ran toward the bus stop.

I dropped back into the seat under the bridge and scanned the card. All it held was her name, Cassia Rerdbin and an email hosted at the Tetra school website. I shoved it into my pocket. I wouldn’t need it. Either this was an elaborate hoax or she was an invention of my imagination and I needed no contact details. I might need to alter her appearance so she didn’t resemble Vivien so much.

 

I had intended to do this last month when we were to meet our character at a Indie E-con actually held in Dallas. Since I was late, I combined it it with this month. The story is actually set in the future. Cassia’s appearance is borrowed from a  real life acquaintance who I would recognize much quicker, glasses or no glasses. Her name is not Vivien.

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