Tag: Book review (page 1 of 2)

Why You Should Read The Wanderer’s Daughter – Review

The Wanderer’s Daughter is the first book in the Georgie Tanner Series by Justyn Walker. It’s hilarious and you really should read it.

The book is middle-grade and is full of quirkiness, humour, and bit of grossness and comic violence. The stuff kids are supposed to enjoy. I first read it quite a few years back. I know it was in the last ten years, it might have been in the last seven. I still love it today. It was one of the first fantasy books I read outside of Narnia and the second book is one of my favourite allegories ever.

The characters are brilliant. Georgie Tanner is an orphan and a misfit. Her best friend (and only, but who’s counting) Thomas Finnigan isn’t an orphan (though he might as well be for the attention his parents give him), but he is also a misfit and not very brave. And when I say misfit I mean Georgie has been expelled from many schools (she’s currently at St. Mary’s School for Very Difficult Children), and trouble just is drawn to her. She can’t help it. And Thomas gets his lunch stolen everyday. And then they meet and quickly fall through a puddle into the magical land of Allegoria.

Not everything about Allegoria is nice though. They still have to go to school and as neither Georgie nor Thomas know anything about acting like the princess and knight they’re supposed to be, that does not go well. There’s also people being killed in the forest, impending doom, and suspicious characters.

There are certain aspects in common between all books in the series. They always attend school (it’s peasant school where they learn to rake dung in Book 2). There is always a game of Combat Croquet which is a lethal sport with golden armadillos for balls. And there are always monsters and at least on nasty member of the Royal family (and sometimes they’re one and the same).

There’s also a contrary magical book that only opens to riddles, has a time limit and tries to bite off Thomas’s hand more than once. It can however be quite useful. A bat named Max Mousewing or Agent MM is a recurring character as is Smokey the Terrible (a dragon) and Lydian, the great Magician or Wanderer (the book was originally titled The Magician’s Daughter and I have no idea why it was changed for Kindle). Lydian is also Georgie’s father by adoption.

Other characters include a nutty wizard who makes cockroaches into stools and sandwiches, changes people’s hair colour and usually pretends to be a ghost. He found it inconvenient to be around after giving the Duke of Osterik ostrich legs. He also has secrets.  For example he’s the one person who knows where to find the wizard stone that can defeat the dark lord Morlock. Unfortunately he’s forgotten the riddles that explain where to find the keys to unlock the wizard stone.

Despite the presence of a wizard, a magician and a dark lord, the book doesn’t have a lot of magic. It’s mostly silly fairytale type stuff. Or monsters. Anything kids might think of as monsters appears. Bogie men, pirates, ogres, vampires, trolls, and giants. They’re all very much just monsters though and are mostly scary by ugliness or size. They’re not creepy.

The whole Georgie Tanner series is unapologetically allegorical, but I don’t think it’s preachy or overdone. But then, I’m not sure I’m good at telling when a book is preachy and when it’s subtle. However I’m not sure a book with this amount of silliness could be preachy. It’s just too fun. There’s certainly things that can be learned from the story, but it comes naturally.

Now why do I love these books? I’m not sure I can explain it simply. But inside all the silliness is a tale of learning to become brave, and of accepting your identity. The series is also one of the few that my older brothers read and talked about. I had heard quite a bit, so when the third book was published and they got it from the library, I read it too. And then one of them got book two out to read again, so I read it. Finally I helpfully got the first book out for him and was able to read it. So I read them in reverse order. Twice actually.

The second book, The Ancient Machine is my favourite, so I’ll share its description. It’s rather cruel of me, because all but the first book are near impossible to get outside of Australia. I need to contact Justyn Walker and see if I can get him to put them on Kindle too.

The Ancient Machine

When an accident causes Georgie’s orphanage to be drowned in 10,000 gallons of gluggy, grey gruel, Georgie and Thomas sink through a bottomless puddle of gruel into Allegoria once more. There, Lydian the Great Magician charges them with a quest to find a machine that is ticking down to the end of the world – when an ancient curse will be unleashed upon mankind!

In this funny and daring pursuit, Georgie and Thomas team up with a troupe of traveling daredevils, discover a hidden fortress of forest animals, meet some colorful underground grunks, and have several near-painful encounters with a well-meaning torture master.

 

Giveaway

My editing launch giveaway is still running and The Wanderer’s Daughter is one of the prizes.
The deadline is getting close so make sure you share it around.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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

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.

White Dawn: Review and Giveaway

Continue reading

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.

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

11 Things I love about Lady Dragon, Tela Du : Book Review

I’m back again with a review of Lady Dragon, Tela Du. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, head over to this post. Otherwise keep reading.

You may wonder why I have eleven thing in my list. There’s no particular reason, I could easily group into more or less. In fact I did have nine.

It’s as good as the first book

Or better. It doesn’t suffer from any common second book problems. But then it’s not exactly a second book, since Kendra has been working on it much longer. 
It touched on many of the same things, but in a fresh way. The relationships were handled differently, the pace was different and many locations were different. The world building wasn’t repetitive of the first book. In fact it worked better because Kendra wasn’t trying to explain everything. Anything necessary just came up naturally.
I certainly wasn’t disappointed by the different characters. I may have liked a few in book one better than their counterparts, but overall they were better.
The Plot Twists

This book had at least 6 plot twist of significance and numerous smaller ones. I saw less than half of them coming. And I like that. I felt smart for what I did figure out, but the ones I didn’t is what made it really brilliant. Because they are telegraphed way back, in very subtle ways. Kendra is brilliant at this.

I also made the mistake of trying to make guesses based of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Yes, this book was inspired by that. But I knew there had been many major changes. Yet still I tried to use it as a pattern. Take my advice, don’t bother making too many predictions. You will never figure it out.

The Emotional Depth

You know how some books seem to change how you feel and you get so full of emotions that you almost burst. The books that you must talk about in some form. This is one of those books. I felt the situations almost as if I was there. It got me pondering deep things. What would it be like if someone else knew what I was thinking, what I have locked away in my heart? What would it be like to have great things asked of me? Things I almost certainly couldn’t do, but felt I couldn’t avoid. What if my life spun completely out of control? Would I still be able to trust God to help me through each day? Am I really trusting him to help me through life now?

Reuben

This is actually a kind of odd one, because though I can’t help liking him, the intensity of his feelings for Petra makes me a bit uncomfortable. an enthusiastic, irrepressible optimist. This often annoys Petra which makes me either annoyed or amused. He can be ridiculous at times, but under it he has his serious moments. I love those serious moments. They’re usually when Petra is worked up and needs sense talked into her.

Petra

She’s an uncommon protagonist. Not at all interested in risking her life to kill Amber. Well not until she has a personal reason to hate her. But people who are willing to risk their lives to make things better for others probably aren’t as common as books would make you think.

She’s also very smart and logical, has a very matter of fact way of speaking and won’t put up with nonsense.

The World

Different colours of water; crazily coloured everything; telepathic, teleporting unicorns; doormats that also teleport you; three different castles; what more could you want? Well there is more, Ambers magical items for example. She has pocket sized stars that do everything from invisibility to changing winds and lots in between: a table that makes its own food; touch activated lights and doors, and much more. And we get a little peek into another world.

Ashna

Every book needs a sweet elf girl doesn’t it? Well maybe not, but we have one here. Ashna goes through a lot of hard things, and though she gets scared she’s not weepy. She’s very quiet and would never intentionally hurt anyone. She’s a contrast to other female characters who easily explode or and least get annoyed. But I think gentleness is common in Kendra’s elves since they are weaker. Her gift is colour change and though it might seem a bit trivial she finds both valuable and caring uses for it.


Family

This isn’t quite a book about family, but it’s got a good bit in it. Parents appear a few times, and are referred to at others. There’s lots of siblings and though they are actually not together for most of the book (instead we get pairs, one from each family), there is a certain closeness and loyalty shown. And in the end of the book, when they are together. It’s very good. I can’t say more than that.

Amber

The villain is always a valid reason for liking a book. I’d met Amber in the previous book, but now I get to see her side of the story. She’s not just some crazy lady who can turn into a dragon. She’s obsessed with the idea of ruling Rizkaland and won’t see what stands in her way. She thinks she knows exactly what she’s doing, but she can’t avoid her destiny. And under her callousness, there’s a slight sense of humour. Characters need a sense of humour.

I hated Amber in the first book, was glad she was going to die and didn’t care how. But somehow Kendra twisted be around so that I actually pitied her. I wished for her to change. Doing that with a villain is masterful

Granite

Amber’s husband. I feel so sorry for him. How could a good man still love his wife when she had been evil for so long? Yet he does. He tries to make her see what she is doing wrong.

He’s also at times quite a fun character. He and Reuben would make quite a pair.

The Themes

Trusting in God to make everything turn out all right. God has a plan even in the things that don’t make the least sense. Sometimes we wonder why he let things happen how they have. Wouldn’t it be so much better if Amber had never come to Rizkaland? Or sometimes we worry about the consequences of our choices. What if the thing we thought was right messed everything up?

But we need not worry. God is in control. If he puts us in a position he will guide us in filling it. I’ll share a couple of favourite lines that express this.

“If that is what You ask of us, then we shall take it one day at a time, as You guide us,” answered Reuben. “Stringing those days together, we’ll end up at the end eventually.”

It also deals with the balance between free will and predestination.

“But if the result is already determined, is it a choice?”

“Yes, it’s still a choice,” Laura answered. “Day after day, I choose to do the tasks set before me. Yes, even I have a choice.”


And once again, the important of commitment in relationships. I like to see love shown in it’s best for rather than the selfish love we often see.


What I didn’t like so much

The structure just didn’t quite feel right. The point of highest tension was at the three quarter mark. After that it slowly dropped, getting down to almost nothing before jumping up pretty high just before the end. It’s not a big problem and my love of the character and a knowledge that something had to happen kept me reading, but it was a little slow.

There wasn’t enough room in the book for all of the characters to be fully developed. There was one couple in particular I would have like to see a little more of. But since that would have had to happen in the end part of the book it would have made the previous problem worse.

Summer disappointed me by being a better person that I’d expected. Which is an odd thing to complain about, but true. 

Content warning

This book was about at the edge of what I can stand as far as romance goes. That was partly because I was reading it aloud to my brothers and have a lower tolerance with them. There’s young married couples doing about what you would expect, kissing, falling asleep together, nothing more than that. And the description tends more towards the character’s emotions than physical sensations.

There’s a bit of violence, with people getting stabbed or turned into ice. I’d say it’s got less than Water Princess, Fire Prince. There’s a bit of blood, but no gore.
So overall, I highly recommend this book for anyone with a taste for fantasy, tales of adventure and high callings, of sacrifice and love.

You can buy Lady Dragon, Tela Du as Kindle or paperback and Goodreads and find Kendra on her blog.  

The Old River Road, review, interview and giveway



Today I have, debut author, Ivy Rose, and her novel The Old River Road on my blog. This book is the first in a series of a yet-to-be-determined number of books based on the lives of Ivy’s ancestors. 

About Ivy and an Interview

Ivy Rose is an 18 year old history lover and literary enthusiast. Aside from writing, she enjoys being outdoors, chocolate, travelling, reading, and ATVing (preferably if there is mud involved). She resides with her family of 9 on the banks of the Long Lake in eastern Washington. 

Me: Welcome Ivy, It’s nice to have you here. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way growing up?

Ivy: I really enjoyed the Elsie Dinsmore books (all 28 of them!) as a child. Even through there is a lot of controversy about those books, they were instrumental in forming my vocabulary and love of old(ish) English.

Me: I liked them too.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

Ivy: It depends on the book. Generally speaking, I will have a very, very skeletal outline that has the main events/scenes I want to cover. As I’m writing, I add a lot of other little events in between the main stuff. So I’m kind of a mix of a plotter and panster, leaning more toward panster. 🙂

It’s a bit like that for me.
What is your least favourite part of the publishing / writing process?


Ivy: Least favorite would be first stages of editing. That’s when I do big plot changes, fix big problems—basically all the BIG stuff.

That’s what I’m in the middle of right now.
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?


Ivy: High-tension scenes are not my strength. I need to work on them. 🙂

I think I’m probably worst at high action. It comes out all jerky.
What fictional character is most like you?

Ivy: I think I’m the most similar to Belinda in Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series, and somewhat like Clara in Kendra E. Ardnek’s Water Princess, Fire Prince.

I’m afraid I don’t know Belinda, but Clara is a very familiar character.
If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

Ivy: Oooh, that’s a tough one. I absolutely love Irish and Australian accents. I don’t think I could pick between those two, though. 🙂

Choose Irish. Australian isn’t really that awesome. There are those people who’s voices are particularly distinctive, but they’re actually slightly annoying. If you want an Australian accent, choose a subtle one. I listen to those all day long without noticing.


You can connect with Ivy via her blog, Goodreads, and Pinterest.


About the Book

1885

When seventeen-year- old Clara Boutwell married her dashing coworker, William McDonald, she was convinced her life was near perfect. The journey before them as newlyweds in the great city of Chicago was promising and exciting. But a frightening disease soon takes William in its grip, forcing them to the clean air of the western frontier in a desperate attempt to save his life.
But pioneering doesn’t prove to be easy, with miles between neighbors instead of fences. On the eastern Washington prairies, the McDonalds face hardships and trials in a new world where everything is tested, from physical endurance to emotional strength—down to their relationship and faith in the Lord.

This novel tells the incredible true story of Clara and William, the great-great grandparents of the author, in a sweet narrative full of laughter, tears, and the struggles of an early pioneering family. Prepare yourself to share in their experience as you read this account of a pioneer family in Washington state, and see their lasting legacy that has endured into the fifth generation.

Available now in paperback and ebook on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

My Review

I don’t read a lot of historicals these days, my taste tends more towards fantasy generally, But as soon as I read that this book was a true story I was interested. I adore true stories, and particularly enjoy, one’s from the pioneer period.

The Old River Road (my mind keeps trying to type Rose, instead of Road) is a sweet story. Not the most engaging or exciting book, but a relaxing book for those day you just want something quiet.

The story paints a clear picture of a life in Chicago and later out on the frontier. Life is not always easy but it is generally happy.

Clara and William were a lovely couple, and I loved their families. So many books leave out anyone who isn’t necessary to the plot, or make sure characters bring more conflict or tension. This was a loving, peaceful family, a great example.

On the writing quality side, there is some room for improvement, which is to be expected from a debut book. Ivy leans a bit much towards telling and summarization on a few occasions and the writing doesn’t have the sparkling wittiness or immediacy that draws me to some personal accounts. This might just be personal style though. The characters feel real, but for the most part are not distinctive.

Summing it up, this is a lovely book, much better than anything I have produced myself so far, and I look forward to Ivy continuing the series.

(I was given a e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.)

A Pair of Giveaways


Ivy has been very kind and is doing both a US and an international giveaway. Make sure you enter the right one.


The Old River Road Prize Pack
International Prize


~Blog Tour Schedule~

Friday, July 8th (release day!)

Emily — Review, Spotlight

Jesseca Wheaton — Review, Interview

Saturday, July 9th

Olivia K. Fisher — Interview, Spotlight

Faith Blum — Review, Interview, Spotlight

Hannah E. — Review, Interview

Monday, July 11th

Faith Potts – Review

Rebecca Morgan — Review, Interview

Tuesday, July 12th

Abigayle Ellison — Review, Spotlight

Kenzi Knapp – Review, Interview

Hosanna Emily — Review, Interview

Wednesday, July 13th

Blessing Counter — Interview

Victoria Minks — Review, Spotlight

Thursday, July 14th

Deborah C. — Review, Spotlight

Anna S. Brie — Review

Leona G. — Review, Interview

Friday, July 15th

Hope Ann — Review, Interview

Amanda Tero — Review, Interview

Anika Joy – Review, Interview

MYSR: The Five Unnecessaries

Hi everyone, I have another book recommendation.

The Five Unnecessaries is book one of the 27th Protector series, by Laura Campbell. I found it simply amazing. It’s a book that deseveres to be better known.

This book would appeal to those who like dystopian. It’s not a traditional dystopian though. The main character doesn’t live in that bad a place, and those that do… haven’t realized it. But it is bad, scarily bad in that I can see our society slipping into this place. This is its blurb.

I am Aislyn. These are the sad facts of my world. Any child born in the Republic who is unscheduled, imperfect, or inconvenient is labeled an Unnecessary. Any pregnant woman, or Vessel, is targeted as an enemy of the state for harboring an Unnecessary. Their only hope is to be rescued by a Protector, one of 26 girls trained to infiltrate the Republic and get them safely back to the Territory. These girls are chosen because they are strong, smart, and heroic. They train for years in medicine, technology, physical agility, and espionage. They never choose girls like me. Except…they did. I am a threat and a risk because I don’t comply with the rules and expectations. I am a target because the Republic is more determined than ever to destroy anyone who crosses the border. I think my trainer has a secret. I am the 27th Protector of the 188th generation, and I’m terrified I will fail.

So Aislyn trains, Eventually she passes her exams and it is time to go. Into the Republic, risking her life. She finds an Unnecessary to take back with her. She is caught. But the guard lets her go. And she doesn’t know why.

This is not one of those books with a blatant Christian message, in fact there’s not a single bible verse that I can remember. However what it does have is a powerful message about the sanctity of life, and about what we can do. Even if we feel powerless, God can use anyone to show his love. We just have to be alive enough to make a difference. To show the world that there are no unnecessaries.

It is a truly beautiful story, One that almost made me cry. (And that’s not easy to do.) There are so many profound statements in it. And just the way things are described, it pulled me in and made me feel like I was really there. (Except for the occasionally editing mistake that distracted me.) The first line is one of those beautiful memorable ones. “Grey shouldn’t be a color. It’s a void.”

It’s realistic. Even gritty on occasion. The Republic is a decadent society and that does come into the story, but not too much. Just enough to show what it is like, but not enough that it would bother squeamish people. Though some of the medical stuff might, There’s blood and people dying, Emergency c-sections and stuff like that.

Aislyn is a character I can relate to well. She isn’t anyone special, despite having to do a very difficult job. And she has just as much trouble coping as anyone would. And the other characters, they vary a lot and there is great development. We don’t get to know all 27 protectors, but the ones that do appear are wonderful.(Or not as is suitable) Brie is highly committed and caring with a tragic backstory, Tessa wants to be the best protector ever, Megan is the only person her father has left and Eva is so young and scatter brained. Then there is Eldrige, Commander Patterson, Collin and other trainers and the tech guys. And people in the republic.

A few of my favourite lines, just to give you an idea of  some of the characters and the writing.

Eva: “So ‘yay’ for incomprehensible circumstances that point out the incompetence of underdeveloped legislature. Candy?”

Patterson: “Never apologize for seeing beauty. In fact, you will need to, or you will likely go mad from everything else you have to deal with.”

Eldridge: “My dear, I am slightly important or so I have been told. I’m technically running a county and an undercover operation to steal forsaken children, however unnecessary they are deemed to be. This does come with some competition for my time. But when you can track me down, Please do. Being in charge also gives one some clout to do things like choose 27th Protectors and talk to them when I want.”

Cassidy: “I knew you were gonna be fun”

Brie: “Do you remember when I said that nothing could ever make me hate them more?” “I was wrong.”

And I think that’s enough. There’s a sequel, The First Traitor. It’s on my wishlist. Let me know what you think if you decide to check it out.

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