Tag: Favourites (page 1 of 3)

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

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-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.

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.

Blades of Acktar Characters Part 1

Hello friends,

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

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

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

Lady Rennelda Faythe

Renna Faythe

Renna

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

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

Leith Torren

Leith

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

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

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

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

Brandi Faythe

Leith’s horse Blizzard. Brandi named him.

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

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

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

King Respen Felix

This guy needs no words of my own.

 

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

See you then.

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

 

Deliver by Tricia Mingerink Review!!!!!

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

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

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

Can something broken ever heal?

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

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

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

They face their hardest battle yet.
Peace.

The Review

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Spoiler* 

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

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

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

*End spoiler*

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

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

About Tricia

About the Author

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

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

Release Party

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

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

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

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

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

Review and Interview by Bethany R.

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

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

Deliver: The Blades of Acktar Book 4 – Review

Shadows of the Hersweald Release and Review!

My friend Hope Ann is releasing her book Shadow of the Hersweald tomorrow. It’s the third book in her fantasy retelling novella series and my favorite so far.

The fact that I enjoyed this one so much shows that I rather like anti-heroes. Because our main character Haydn is certainly an anti-hero. He’s got good intentions and he’s got boundaries, he’s not exactly a bad person, but as he says, “There are some who don’t deserve a pardon.” He’s determined to make sure they don’t get it.

The other characters are equally fascinating and very well developed for the length of the book. In fact the whole story felt much longer than a novella. The plot was very rounded and I got a great sense of this new part of the world.

The Hansel and Gretal aspect of the story became apparent pretty quickly, but it went places I didn’t expect it. I probably should have, but I don’t tend to doubt perfectly nice characters. Anyway siblings are one of my favourite character pairings and this didn’t disappoint.

If you like fairytale re-tellings or Christian fantasy, I highly recommend this. I’m looking forward to see what aspect of this diverse world Hope will bring out next.

About the Book

They would have to come that afternoon. Haydn glared at the rutted road twisted away from the gate beneath him, slithering into the shadows of the Hersweald. And what was the flaming idea behind leaving him in charge? Tregaron in the hands of a criminal… that would put them all in the good graces of the province governor, no questions asked.

A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows there is only one end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor. Except he hasn’t counted on the Prince himself. Or the pardon which his recent foe has declared to acquit all those who fought against him.

A pardon Haydn detests.

A pardon that refuses to punish the rebels now threatening his own village. And threatening his sister.

Guilt-ridden from his own actions during the war, Haydn knows there are others who have no conscience at all. Others who are using the freedom of the pardon to forward their own desperate schemes.

With enemies closing in on all sides, a pardon that refuses punishment, and nightmares of murder and fire haunting his every thought, will Haydn recognize the truth or will his fear condemn everything he loves to destruction?
Although the history of Aslaria and the conflict between the Prince and the rebel, Tauscher, flow chronologically through the series, each novella in the Legends of Light series is a stand-alone story. Each novella focuses on one of the nine aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit while twisting fairy tales in a clean, exciting, and inspiring manner.

Buy now on Kindle, iTunes, and Smashwords
Add on Goodreads
Sneak Peek

“Open the gates, Dyfed,” Haydn called down. His voice jolted the men to their feet.
They sprang into action under the terse orders of a short figure with muscular arms. The heavy planked gates swung open with protesting groans. The great doors quivered against the earthen walls as the horsemen approached.
Mathias was in the lead. The man’s hair was grayer than last time. Thinner too, perhaps, but his grizzled face, set jaw, and sharp nose belied any change in either strength or personality. His blue eyes never glanced upward as Haydn saluted. But another pair did.
Haydn stared, his arm frozen in mid-motion. Traveon… Where had he come from? Of course, it was expected the governor would bring his son. Some said they’d reconciled during the war. Or maybe it had more to do with the death of Mathias’s wife.
Traveon’s lean face flashed a quick smile and his hand brushed his brown hair in a sharp salute. Haydn’s throat tightened, his breath hissing between compressed lips. He’d braced himself against arrest or judgment before his mother and Gorawen. But Traveon… He bit back an oath. Now they’d be one happy circle of family and old friends.
Haydn blinked and swallowed hard as the last horseman passed through the gates. He gave a quick nod to the men below and the doors squealed shut. Haydn pivoted. His boots clomped down the steps, each thud echoing like a heavy drumbeat.
“Keep watch until Eurof returns,” Haydn ordered over the heavy crash of the bar falling back into place.


About the Author
Hope Ann is a Christian authoress who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She was homeschooled and now helps teach several of her eight younger siblings.
She has been writing for over five years and has so many story ideas that she doubts she will ever stop. Her favorite genre to write is high fantasy with a touch of the allegorical. A close second is futuristic suspense. Her goal is to not only entertain with her stories but to provide inspirational fiction for young adults.
Predictably, she loves reading fantasy, fairy tales, mythology, and futuristic suspense. Her favorite authors include J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, Frank Peretti, Mark Twain, and Serena Chase.
Her hobbies include photography, movie making, knitting, tree climbing, writing e-mails to friends, listening to Celtic music, and collecting shiny trinkets for story inspiration.

You can visit Hope’s blog at authorhopeann.com, or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.

Ashen City by Sara Baysinger – Cover Reveal

 Why another post so soon after the last one? Well I’m glad you asked. This is an even more special announcement. There’s a book coming out soon and it’s going to have a cover.
Well that didn’t sound that exciting. Let’s try again. 
Ashen City, the sequel to Sara Baysinger’s fabulous book, Black Tiger, will be released on April 6th! But you don’t have to wait until then for everything. Today, you will see the cover of the book in all its glory.
But first I’m going to tell you about Black Tiger.
It’s dystopian, set in a future where disease has eliminated most of the world’s population. There is just one large city.
Ember Carter is a farmer’s daughter and wants to be a farmer herself. That seems impossible as all farming careers are given to boys and for several years everyone has been recruited to the Line of Defenders, even though there isn’t a hint of war around. 
Amazingly, she is assigned the career of farmer, but that hope quickly disappears when she tries to save her best friend from the Defenders.
She is sent off to the city, charged with murdering a defender and being a rebel. The sentence is death. A horrible death at the Rebels circle. Only petty criminals get a quick death by a Black Tiger.
But we all know she can’t die. Not in this part of the story. She gets out, she’s only an ‘guest’ now. A guest with a lot of power. But she’s also suspected by the chief and she can’t leave.

This is where things get fun. There’s two young men in the city. And they’re both rather contradictory. One is a nice person, the kind of person it’s easy to trust. Yet, he’s the chief’s best friend and thinks they can work with him to fix the problems in Ky.

The other is a thoroughly despicable person, then a somewhat nice, and almost too friendly person. He keeps Ember entertained and even talks about the religion that is long gone from the city. I start to think he’s a Christian of sorts ,but then he’s urging her to rebel. One minute he’s a hero, the next despicable again. I love having my emotions jerked around like that.
Any way I love this books. It has some amazing dilemmas, terrifying moments, great themes and an answer to why God gives us free will. Also there’s the exploration of a society where religion is gone. It’s  not entirely gone though, some traces will always remain and people will always have a heart to look for purpose and something bigger than them. Always. And there is also mind control. 
Now onto Ashen City.

Make your choice, Ember Carter. And make it count.
Ember Carter has escaped the flames of death. But will she ever be free from Chief Titus? When the orchard goes up in smoke and her family turns up missing, Ember returns to Frankfort hoping to find her brother and father, and to get Titus to drop the death wish he has against her.
But Titus is always one step ahead. When Ember faces him head-on, she’s captured, only to receive another death sentence. But on her way to her execution, plans go a little askew, and Ember finds herself traveling to the one place no one dares travel: Louisville. If the outskirts of Ky were a ghost town, the ashen city is the borderline of hell itself, but it’s the one place Ember can find refuge from the people who want her dead. 
In the ashen city, Ember must learn that being a hero is more than doing what is right because she can, but doing it for the good of the people. And when plans take a turn for the worst, she must decide if it’s worth risking her life to save her country.


It sounds good to me. More avoidance of death.
And now the cover!!!
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Isn’t that lovely. In a rather haunting way.
And Black Tiger as well.
And if I convinced you to read Black tiger it’s on Amazon.
And if you want to be part of the book launch blog tour in April, there’s a sign up form here. I heard there will be prizes.
And be sure to check out Sara’s website.
I just found out a cool fact about Sara today. She grew up in the Andes Mountains in Equador. How cool is that?

Smashing & Dashing Characters of 2016 Awards #BookTag


So Cait @ Paper Fury has a character award book tag and I thought I’d try to do it despite being bad at remembering half of what I’ve read.

1. Most Relatable Character

Renna Faythe in Dare and Deny by Tricia Mingerink. In fact most quiet caring characters who get stuck in dangerous situations. The ones that start falling for ‘the guy who thinks he isn’t worthy’ without realizing it. Kyrin Altair also fits this.


2. Most Pure and Precious Animal Companion

I wouldn’t call her pure and precious, but I’m going with Punzel from Song of the Sword by Hope Ann. She’s a fen-hopper, which is a winged cat that lives in the Shadowfen. She’s a bit feisty and prefers the name of Shadow-wing. Anyway she does a good job of keeping Roinette company.

In the same book, the hero Evrard has a Messenger Falcon for a side kick. So two animal companions for the price of one.


3. Fiercest Fighter

Trap Merodach from The Light of Eidon by Karen Hancock. He might not be the fiercest, but he’s certainly skilled.

4. Most Amazing Sidekick

Solomon Hawke in A Time to Speak by Nadine Brades. Or Shad Alistaar in Deny. Or the other person I’ll remember tomorrow.

5. One You’re Surprised You Loved (Book or Character???)

A Star Curiously Singing
by Kerry Neitz. I don’t read Sci-Fi. But I liked this. The main character Sandfly and the world were so far removed from what I know, that it was a little hard to get into, but once I did, it was fascinating. A~A2


6. Best Sassmaster
Knife, from Knife by R. J Andersen.

7. Best Anti-Hero
I’m not sure if he’s technically an anti-hero but Rain Walker from Black Tiger by Sara Baysinger. I’m not quite sure what I think of him. At first he appears a total jerk and then he starts acting nicer, and just as I start o think he might be a good person he does something dreadful again. I like characters that jerk my emotions around like that.


8. Best Worst Villain to Hate
Pathetic villains usually mean pathetic heroes, which means forgettable books. That said there’s a villain who isn’t even worth hating in Safety Assured Leaving East of Medicetti by Trish Mercer. At one point I hoped he’d be redeemed, but he just got worse. He’s miserable and has a terribly skewed worldview.


9. Truly Astounding Worst Ya Parents


I don’t really read much YA and can’t think of any.

10. Truly Astounding Best Ya Parents

Parvin’s parents in a Time to Speak.

11. Toot Toot Best Ship of Them All

Best? There is no single best. But Amber and Granite in Lady Dragon, Tela Du by Kendra E. Ardnek. This is a very sad ship, because Amber has been the evil Lady Dragon for 3,000 years while Granite stayed good. He loves her, but hates what she does, and she pushed him away and won’t listen to his advice. And they were so happy for the first 3,000 years. #Amberite (I almost choose the other main couple of this book #Reutra)

12. The Most in Need of Protection

Temperance, or Marie from the Virtues and Valor Series by Hallee Bridgeman. She gets tortured by Nazi’s and almost dies of pneumonia. Also the series is fascinating. Eight overlapping novellas, each telling the story of a different person. And since they all go by code names and don’t give personal details out, there’s a lot to guess at through the books.

13. Most Boring As a Barnacle

Can’t remember. I’ve come across a number of boring character, but they don’t stick in my head. Why should they?

14. Best Little Royal

Not sure what this is supposed to mean, but Princess Lily in The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue. A wonderful princess who does take her responsibilities seriously. And with 11 younger sisters there’s a lot going on.


15. Very Surprised You’re Still Alive

Aislyn from the 27th Protector series by Laura Campbell. This girl has many narrow escapes. Not that I actually thought she would die, but it’s a miracle she hasn’t. A very dangerous miracle in fact. A traitor. That’s why she one of the few 27th protectors who’s beaten the odds and lived.



16. Best at Horrible Decision Making (makes bad decisions)

Vrell in From Darkness Won by Jill Williamson. And Achan.

17. Cutest Dork 

Reuben Eaglechaser of Lady Dragon, Tela Du. He’s the guy who alway checked in his wardrobe for Narnia, thinks he knows exactly what’s going on when he ends up in a fantasy world, and rarely takes anything seriously. And the way he loves Petra is kind of dorky. 


18. Cleverest Little Hellion
Eva from The 27th Protector series. And  several other characters. They need to be clever. But Eva is younger, so ‘little’ fits her.
19. Most in Need of A Nap

I’m too tired to think of an answer.

20. Want to Read More About You


Most of the people I’ve just mentioned. Lady Firebird in Firebird by Kathy Tyers.


And that is that. I hope you all have a merry Christmas. God bless you.

Five books I’m thankful for: Black Friday Book Sale!

Smiley

So it’s the time of the year that people talk about giving thanks, we don’t celebrate thanksgiving Day in Australia, it’s not part of our history, but there is something to be thankful for everyday.
Among those things, great books make their way onto my list of blessings every year. It’s hard to choose favorites and sometimes I have trouble remembering what I read when, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2016 or the end of 2015 and am thankful for.

  1. The Bible: Yes, not a knew book, and it’s an easy answer. But it’s true. This is the book I am forever thankful for. Without God’s guidance in my my life I would be so lost. It’s hard to even think about what I could be like if not for God’s grace.
  2. Finding the Core of Your Story, by Jordan Smith: Non fiction, but as an author I’m really grateful for this little book.
  3. Captive of Raven Castle, by Jessica Greyson: This book help me understand what it would be like to discover you’d been lied to all your life.
  4. Deny (also Dare), by Tricia Mingerink: A wonderful faith affirming book. Made me rethink my priorities and reminded me that the death of believers, isn’t a tragedy for them.
  5. Lady Dragon Tela Du, by Kendra E. Ardnek: I’m thankful for the friends ships I made while beta reading it. Especially my friendship wiht Kendra. Shes’s a great, encouraging author friend.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to another great year of reading!

Speaking of more reading, here’s one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 25-28. There’s literally something for everyone. Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you. Don’t know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!

What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks. Also, some of the authors this year chose to not sell their paperbacks directly through the site. Those books are also marked “Sold Out” but if you click them open, you’ll find a link to the site where they are on sale and a discount code for you to use at check out.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.
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