Tag: Favourites (page 2 of 3)

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.  

Lady Dragon, Tela Du Launch: Interview with Kendra

It’s here! The book I started reading half a year ago and have mentioned many times on my blog. I present to you, Kendra E. Ardnek’s latest book Lady Dragon, Tela Du!
I’m not going to fangirl much right now as I have a review coming next week, but this book surprised me a lot. Since I knew the inspiration, I thought I knew where it would go. But it didn’t, Kendra went far above and beyond my expectations. This book doesn’t exactly sound like Narnia does it?
Two girls with one face
Two girls with twisted fate
One in purple, one in red
One shall speak the other’s death
Who shall win their final war?
Lady Dragon or Tela Du?

Amber, the Lady Dragon, has been promised a fifty-year reign over Rizkaland and nothing can stop her from claiming it. But when you’ve lived six thousand years, fifty is such a pitiful number. Only one person can keep her from making this reign permanent – the Tela Du, a girl who shall share Amber’s face.

The last thing Petra wants is a magical world interrupting her plans for a normal life, let alone an ultimate battle against the Lady Dragon with only one prophesied survivor. She has her childhood best friend, Reuben, at her side, but she’s not sure if he’s more of a help or a hindrance right now. Though she’d much prefer to just return home and forget about this whole crazy affair, things change when she discovers that the world has surprising connections to her own family – including her sister who disappeared without a trace two years before. Still, Rizkaland can’t possibly expect her to risk her very life, can it?

Well maybe it is a bit like Narnia, but it delves more into character interactions. The depth of emotion is stunning. But I’m getting sidetracked, this isn’t supposed to be a review, I’m actually interviewing Kendra. Since I know her reasonably well I tried to ask deeper questions. Mostly.
So questions:

Me: What is your name, what is your quest and what is your favourite colour? (Umm, I’d been listening binge listening to Lasers, Dragons and Keyboards. That is their intro question.) But what is your quest?

Kendra: My Quest is to find interesting ideas, turn them into stories, and get them into the hands of people who will enjoy the story.

My name is Kendra E. Ardnek and my favorite color is purple.

What is your favourite place to write?

I will write just about anywhere, and I don’t really have a favorite. Most of my writing is done at my desk in my writing cave, though. (I call it a cave because it’s under my loft bed. Which is awesome.)

What is your definition of success in writing?

Writing stories that connect with people. I write for myself, first and foremost, but if the story I write doesn’t connect with people, I feel like I failed. And if my story brings people together, that’s even better.

If you didn’t write what would you do?

Go crazy? Flip hamburgers at McDonalds? Make more hats? I really don’t know.

If you were offered an expenses paid trip to one place in the world, where would you go?

Germany. I do not know why, but I’m a bit obsessed with the country, and they have some cool castles over there that I’d like to explore.

Castles are cool. Personally I want to visit South America for story research.
Kendra, you’ve written a lot of drafts of Lady Dragon, Tela Du. Was there anything big that surprised you about this one?

Laura’s Voice did rather come out of nowhere, as did some of the final details. I also wasn’t aware how connected she was to Amber and Granite’s immortality until I wrote this final draft. And while previous drafts had focused more on Petra’s sisterly relationship with Ashna, Petra’s romantic relationship with Reuben played far more of a role. Also, Noraeto surprised me by already knowing a plot twist ahead of time.

Fascinating. I’ve always wondered what came up in what draft. I love those details that seem to come out of nowhere.
Did you do any interesting or odd research for this book?

I do not remember all of the research I did for the book, for it was done over the course of nearly eleven years. There was the six months of “Read as many non-Narnia fantasy books as I can while avoiding Narnia like the plague,” though. I read some interesting books during that time. 
And during the last draft, I did look up Cherokee marriage proposals.

Ah, yes. *grins*
Is any part of the book inspired directly by personal experience? Or any of your other books?

While I can’t say that it’s a direct inspiration, this book is the story where I poured a lot of my pain after losing my Grammy seven years ago. Also, Reuben’s reaction to arriving in Rizkaland is what I’m pretty sure my reaction would be if I were to actually end up in another world.
As for other books? Well, there is a pie scene in Do You Take This Quest? inspired by an actual argument between two of my cousins a few Thanksgivings ago.

That scene is fun. I never would have guessed.
What is something you want people to take away from Lady Dragon, Tela Du?

The knowledge that God is in control and has a plan, no matter how impossible things might seem, and the power of forgiveness, even when it’s difficult.

What is an overarching theme for the series?

It seems to be the fact that God is in control, though that’s a theme that is common with almost all of my writing. Sacrificial love and commitment is another theme.

And that’s just what I thought. Sometimes I wonder if I’m understanding books the way the author intends. It’s so easy to jump at one thing and decided that’s the theme. It was great to have you, Kendra.

Thank you Anna


And just in case you don’t already know everything about Kendra, I have the official bio.

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 find her on her blog and website. Add the book on Goodreads, and if I’ve managed to convince you to buy it you can get it on Kindle and as a paperback. A wonderfully thick paperback.
Also Water Princess, Fire Prince,  Book 1 of the Rizkaland Legends, will be free until the 23rd.
To finish Kendra is letting me share a delightful little snippet.

Ashley didn’t hesitate. She ran back out of the house and then walked across the street to Queen Michelle’s house. Summer answered the door when she knocked. 
“Did Petra change her mind and chase you off?” Summer asked, narrowing her eyes as she leaned against the doorframe. 
Ashley took a step backward and hastily shook her head. “I – I need to talk to your mother.” 
“Why?” 
“Because…” It was sometimes so difficult to not mention Rizkaland to people who didn’t know about it. “Because Mum wants to talk to her.” 
Summer rolled her eyes. “You do know that you really don’t have to call her that just because Petra does. In fact, it annoys Petra when you do. Unless you enjoy annoying Petra, and last time I checked, you didn’t.” 
“Mum suits her,” Ashley quickly answered, glancing down. “It sounds more respectful than ‘mom,’ and I can’t call her ‘Mother.’” 
Summer raised an eyebrow, but instead of questioning Ashley’s statement, she straightened with a toss of her hair. “Well, why are we standing in the doorway wasting cold air? If you want to talk to my mom, come in and find her. Last time I checked, she was home.”

There will be more fun stuff about the book in these places today.

Lady Dragon, Tela Du Cover Reveal

Yes, we’ve finally come to the end of Bookania. There will not be any more until the next time. And I don’t know when the next time will be. Instead I’m showing you the other thing Kendra had been working on: the cover for Lady Dragon, Tela Du, Book 2 of The Rizkaland Legends. The book I’ve been beta reading, the twisty book. I believe I’ve mentioned it before. It’s good. Well what I’ve read so far has been and I’m pretty certain it will continue.



~About the book~


~~~
Two girls with one face


Two girls with twisted fate

One in purple, one in red

One shall speak the other’s death

Who shall win their final war?
Lady Dragon or Tela Du?


Amber, the Lady Dragon, has been promised a fifty-year reign over Rizkaland and nothing can stop her from claiming it. But when you’ve lived six thousand years, fifty is such a pitiful number. Only one person can keep her from making this reign permanent – the Tela Du, a girl who shall share Amber’s face.

The last thing Petra wants is a magical world interrupting her plans for a normal life, let alone an ultimate battle against the Lady Dragon with only one prophesied survivor. She has her childhood best friend, Reuben, at her side, but she’s not sure if he’s more of a help or a hindrance right now. Though she’d much prefer to just return home and forget about this whole crazy affair, things change when she discovers that the world has surprising connections to her own family – including her sister who disappeared without a trace two years before. Still, Rizkaland can’t possibly expect her to risk her very life, can it?
~~~

Well it seems that Rizkaland does ask it. And that matters are even more twisted than hinted at there. At three fifths through the book I have no idea how it’s going to play out. But I’m sure she couldn’t do it without Reuben. She needs his optimism to balance her and his love to calm her down. Even when he’s the cause of the annoyance. Besides it would have been awkward if he hadn’t been there. How could she explain that she went to a fantasy world without him, when he’s the one who reads books about them?

And now we have another picture Kendra has a huge collection of pictures for the series. 
Let’s see what she has to say about this one.

~~~
One of my blogging friends has a link-up known as “Quote Queste” where you write a bit of flash fiction based on a quote of her choice. I had already pinned this particular quote when she chose it one month, so I knew I had to write one with Laura and Petra. The scene did get into the book, though it played out a little bit differently.

~~~


~Interview~

I got to do a mini interview with Kendra, Petra and Amber. This was the question I put to them: If you could change one thing in your past what would it be?

Kendra: I’m not really sure. While there are a lot of things in my life that I regret, I’m not sure what elements I could change that wouldn’t take away the things I don’t regret. Maybe my dad not losing his job so many times… or no. I made a small business mistake in the early days of my publication that has cost me very dearly financially, and I wish very much that I could go back and fix it. 

Petra: Not have my sisters disappear and everyone else forget about them. And Reuben’s brother, while I’m at it.

Amber: When you live six thousand years, you gain many regrets. There is no one thing that I wish I could change … but in six thousand years, you also learn that it’s pointless to worry over those changes. Instead you must learn to make the best of them for a better tomorrow.

             Or a worse tomorrow. Amber’s view of better isn’t the same as mine. What’s better for her isn’t always good for other people. She is an extremely interesting nuanced villain. And slightly insane. Also very dangerous. Among many other things, she has the ability to turn people into statues of ice. And it’s summer time so they melt. But if that isn’t quick enough she can always turn into a dragon and use fire. Yes, the Lady Dragon.


~The Cover~





Isn’t it lovely? All purple and red and amber. Or is the background gold? I’m not completely certain myself. I think amber is a slightly darker, richer colour. On the other hand Amber’s colour is red. And Petra’s is purple as you can see below.



Actually that’s Kendra and it’s more of a blue. But Petra and Amber both look a bit like that, so it will work well enough. Except in my mind Petra looks like this pin. But she should have glasses. Reuben has glasses too. And so do I, despite the lack of them in my picture.

And just in case you were still unaware of exactly who Kendra is, we have this lovely bit of writing:

~~~
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. 
~~~

From what I understand the giraffes are in general, no bigger than the nutcrackers.

You can find Kendra at her blog and she also has an official website.

Lady Dragon, Tela Du will be coming in out in October I believe. That’s two months. Which might sound like a while to wait but it will go very quickly. 

Meanwhile you can add it on Goodreads, preorder it on Amazon and if you haven’t read Water Princess, Fire Prince yet, check it out. The ebook is free today. 

Also read the snippet below and the first chapter here.

The cover design was done by Kendra’s cousin Benjamin Ingalls 
https://www.behance.net/BenjaminIngalls



~Snippet~

“We shall see if your words are true,” said Laura, taking a step backward. The Hall rumbled, and from the floor where the Doorkeeper had stood rose a red table. Its top opened to reveal two knives, one with a blade of jade, the other of jasper.

“These are the only weapons that can pierce the immortality that shields your parents,” Laura explained. “Step forth and take them up.”

Amber let go of Granite’s hand as they both instinctively stepped to opposite sides of the table, and did as Laura bid. Amber took the jade knife, Granite, the jasper.

“But before they can claim your parents lives, they must taste your blood, that your bond may be formed,” Laura continued.

Amber gave a small gasp and glanced at Laura in a slight panic. “Blood magic? But you forbid my experimentation with this foul art!”

“Experimentation, yes, but this is no experiment,” Laura answered, her voice suddenly heavy.


This is a very interesting snippet. It’s actually from back thousands of years before when Amber was once good. Now she is immortal and is going to be killed. There’s a connection there. I’m looking forward to finding out exactly how it ties together.

Mid-year Book Freak Out 2016

I grabbed the Mid-year Book Freak Out tag from Shantelle H. The first half of the year has gone so quickly. The heading for finished handwritten first draft of Girl of the Rumours had turned into 30,000 words at about halfway. The other loose idea I had has become bigger and has the beginning of a draft. But this post is supposed to be about reading, not writing. So here it is.

Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2016:

I can’t answer this question. There;s so many good books. But Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin was a very deep thought provoking book. There’s a lot about reality and escapism in there. And an unexpected allegory. It was certainly quite out of the ordinary. And the cover is beautiful.

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far In 2016:

Deny by Tricia Mingerink. Despite the fact I didn’t listen to it almost in one go like with the first book, I was not at all disappointed. It continued in the same high stakes, high faith, encouraging story.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To:

Defy by Tricia Mingerink. I’m waiting for it to come out in audio though. and then I’ll probably wait some more, because I don’t tend to buy books. But I do want to hear the next part of the story.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year:

Lady Dragon, Tela Du, by Kendra E. Ardnek. Though I ought not care about the release so much since I’m a beta reader. What I’ really waiting for is Kendra having the next part for us. And the cover reveal.

Biggest Disappointment This Year:

I really have nothing here. There have been books I haven’t really liked, but they’ve been random books I picked up with no particular expectations.

Biggest Surprise:

Captive of Raven Castle by Jessica Greyson. I had hardly read the blurb.  So the beginning was very unexpected. The whole story had little bits I wasn’t expecting. But it certainly was good. Quite thought provoking. It made me reconsider some things in my own story.

Favourite New Author of 2016:

Probably Tricia Mingerink. I didn’t really read many books by new authors this year. At least not ones that stood out to me. But I did finally get to read a book by Nicole Sager. She was the first home-schooled author I heard about and probably the reason I’m writing now. But I hadn’t actually read any of her book till recently. It wasn’t as good some, but It was her first book and I was expecting that.

Newest Favourite Character:

Lady Rachel from Samara’s Peril. And Elanor and King Balen. Also a lot of characters in Lady Dragon, Tela Du. And Shad and Jamie in Dare and Deny.

Book That Made You Cry This Year: 

I don’t tend to cry while reading. I expect I have this year, but I don’t remember what book caused it. I think Lady Dragon, Tela Du may have. It’s an amazingly complex, emotional, unpredictable book. From what I’ve read so far I recommend it when it come out.

This really seems to fit that book. Not that it’s got nonsense in it.

Book That Made You Happy:

Safety Assured Leaving East of Medicetti by Trish Mercer. Yes that is really the name. It’s the fifth book in a series, that though I enjoy I’m not going to wholeheartedly recommend. I need to write a post about that. Anyway characters get a lot of the good and bad they deserve. And some of it is really fun. It almost overcomes the annoyance of the previous book leaving the characters in mortal danger.

Favourite Book To Film Adaption You Saw This Year:

Well, Risen is a very loose adaptation of a small portion of the Bible. Other than that I haven’t seen anything.

Favourite Post You Have Done So Far This Year:

13 Things I’ve Learnt in a Year of Writing

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought So Far This Year:

Samara’s Peril. The emotion and character trait thesaurus I got at the same time are extreme useful, but though they are somewhat pretty, I could not call them beautiful.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of This Year:

Well I need to read Song of the Sword by Hope Ann so I can review it. Other than that fiction isn’t necessary. I want to finish The Conservative Revolution by Cori Bernardi. That will involve starting over because I’ve forgotten the little bit I have read. But it’s only got seven chapters. Also I’d like to get as far as I can through The Institutes of Biblical Law by R. J. Rushdoony. It is thick and much denser than most of what I’ve read. But it’s worthwhile.

Overall this year I’ve not read as much non-fiction as I intended. But I just grabbed a couple of history books from LibriVox.

And that is that. I’m not going to tag anyone in particular, but if you want to grab this feel free. Let me know in the comments.

Beautiful People: Wil

It’s time for the Beautiful People link up again. This time I’m going to interview Wil. He’s made an appearance  before, here, for Kendra’s Character encounters. That was quite a while ago though, and there’s more to Wil than you can get out of one appearance. In fact you’ll have to read the book when it’s finished. So without further ado, here’s the interview.


“Okay Wil, it’s your turn to be interviewed for my readers.”

He sighs, “Do I have to do this, mi’lady? I know I’m not the main character and I’d rather not tell everyone my secrets.

“Yes, we’re doing this. Despite the fact you’re not the focus of the story, you are one of my favourite characters. Anyway I won’t tell Aydel, and I really doubt that the questions are about the stuff you don’t want her to know”

“Who said Aydel was the one I’m keeping secrets from. It’s Mim, you know that.”


“Alright, Mim then, if you insist. I won’t be telling anyone else in the book your answers. Now ont to the questions. Do you want to get married and/or have children? Why or why not?”
“Must I answer that?”

“Yes.”
“Well then I really don’t know. I’m not sure that I’d be any good. Women are hard to understand and easy to hurt. I don’t wish someone like me on them.”


“What is your weapon of choice?”
“I prefer the staff and the lasso. Blades can be too deadly, and are messy either way.”

“What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone else, and why did you do it?”
“Not saying.”

“Well, I will then. It’s taking care of Elind and Mim. You tell them why.”
“They needed me and no one else did.”

“Have you ever been physically violent with someone, and what instigated it?”
“I have. I probably shouldn’t have, but he was being foolish and had hurt someone.”

“I’m not going to bother asking you to tell them who ‘he’ is. Are you a rule-follower or a rebel?”
“Neither. I don’t conform societally, but neither do I try to change the rules. Laws exist for a good reason. Armed rebellion is wrong.”

“Are you organized or messy?”
“Usually organized.”

“What makes you feel loved, and who was the last person to make you feel that way?”
“Come on, you can’t really expect me to answer that question.”

“But I do.”
“Well if you substitute valued for loved it would be easier. I like it when people actually listen, when they’re interested in what I say. Most people just don’t get the point and I wonder why I bother.”
“What do you eat for breakfast?”
“About the same as everyone else.”
“Have you ever lost someone close to you? What happened?”
Will grins.

“Therin decided to go exploring on his own. It took me a couple of hours to find him. He’d fallen in a stream and gotten all wet.”
“You know that wasn’t what I meant.”
“Well it’s the only answer you’re getting.”
“What’s your treat of choice?”
“Silence. people talk too much.”

“We both know that’s not entirely true. But that’s the end of the questions so I’ll leave you alone now.”

Just so you know Wil has a fairly low opinion of himself, and he wasn’t in the best spirits at the time of this interview. In fact he probably never will be in an interview. I know too much and questions can be awkward. Someday I’ll have to post a snippet with him being his cheerful, courteous self.

So what do you all think of the gallant knight of my story? (Not that Wil is an actual knight, in fact he is quite insistent on that fact.) But that’s a part he plays in my mind. 

10 Book Series I Read as a Child

Hello readers,

I though I’d tell you about the book series that influenced me growing up. I did tend to read in series a lot. Also I would read the same authors over and over again. I was always hesitant to read something knew nothing about.

  1. Little House on the Prairie
  2. I believe my mother first read these to us. I’ve always like any kind of pioneer story and this may have contributed to that. Later on I read the Rose years, and whichever of the Caroline years I was able to get from the library or borrow from friends.

  3. Sugar Creek Gang
  4. These would probably be called ‘ boys books’. There are very few girls who appear. It’s all boys having adventures and getting into trouble. But the first one or two were required reading for school work. After that I didn’t stop. I suspect some of my scenery and action is unintentionally inspired by these books. And in theory it would be a good resource for writing male characters. And they’re good Christian books.

  5. Swallows and Amazons

  6. These books were written by Arthur Ransome. They have lots of sailing and children having imaginative adventures. And of course real adventures. I still like them. The children are resourceful, and mostly responsible. They respect their parents even though they’re not around a lot.

  7. The Famous Five
  8. You’re probably starting to see that I read a lot of adventure books. I like the simplicity of older books and the way children make their own fun. I realized pretty quickly that it was unrealistic for the same kids to all be having adventures, but I still liked them. I would like to imagine that if I found myself in a similar situation, I would know what to do.

  9. Sisters in Time
  10. Historical fiction about different girls through time. In the past a lot of my knowledge of American history came from these. The series is written by a lot of different authors and each book covers a year. I especially like how in most of the books the girl have a brother or a male cousin who was a main character. In a couple of books I think it was more his book than hers. Many of the characters are great role models, and many of them are more mature than kids these day. Even though I’m older than the 12 or 13 of the main characters I can still relate to their situations.

  11. The Secret Seven

  12. Yes, more Enid Blyton. I read a lot of her books back in the day. I have fond memories of some of the silly passwords of the Seven, the trouble they kept bumping into and the word ‘delumptious’. And I liked how this series fitted in with their ever day lives. It wasn’t just about things that happened in the school holidays. Or like some other series of hers, a boarding school story. I actually like her boarding school storied though.

  13. The Chronicles of Narnia
  14. We read these as a family. Then we listen to the audio dramas as a family and watched the movies as a family. It’s a series we all know and love and can reference. Narnia was the only fantasy I read when I was younger.

  15. The Borrowers

  16. This series is about the little people who live secretly in parts of old country houses. They are why you always loose small items, such as bobby pins paper clips. Those items have been borrowed. I think my imagination was stimulated by these books. For a time I was even friend with a few imaginary borrowers. And just think of the possibilities. If you were only a few inches tall how would you cook, what would you eat, what would you wear, how would you protect yourself? The questions are endless and one you have to ask in constructing any imaginary world.

  17. The complete Elsie Dinsmore Classics
  18. I used to love these books and the accompanying Mildred Keith books. They were a huge part of my life. I read them so many times and made a very detailed and complex family tree. (I could give a link to anyone who is interested.) Though I could still tell you exactly what the family connection between Lulu Raymond and Percy Landreth is, I’m rather tired of them now. I see some of the faults in the series that I didn’t see when I was younger. And I’ve realized that her view of history isn’t the only one out there. I still love a couple of Martha Finley’s other little known books though.

  19. The Silver Brumby Books

  20. These are Australian classics about brumbies,wild horses. There are very few humans in these books, so it gives a picture of a completely different society, Families work differently with horses. Instead of the term father and mother, you have sire and dam. I made a bit of a family tree for this too. These books along with some others by Elyne Mitchell that do have humans, were one of the main things that made me consider writing Australian historical fiction instead of fantasy. The terrain is so amazing. There is lots of hiding from other horses and from the brumby hunters going on. And that would fit well with Girl of the Rumours.

So that’s what I read. I also read a lot of standalone books, and probably a few other series that I’ve forgotten to mention. Is there anything here other people have loved? Or something you’re surprised that I didn’t read? Tell me.

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.

Samara’s Peril Blog Tour: Review and Interview

Hey people,
Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Samara’s Peril, has been released! I got a chance to read the book for review and to interview Jaye. And she’s doing a lovely giveaway. Don’t forget to check that out below.
About the Book
Samara’s Peril is the third book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles
When news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen.
Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.
Available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks!
My review


Samara’s Peril is excellently written as all Jaye’s books are. She continues to tell a story of amazing faith through trials. But the struggles that are faced are not ignored either.
This book surprised me a lot. It went places I didn’t expect it to go yet. This is the turning point of the series and certainly in Jace’s life. The way Jaye went about bringing him to a place of stable faith is amazing, and there was great development of the other main characters. And even minor characters weren’t dropped, but instead came up naturally. I didn’t have any trouble with following what was going on.
Also there are some amazing new characters introduced. Some lovely, and others perfectly despicable. I am looking forward to seeing more of them. The King of Samara is such a contrast to Emperor Daican. A humble servant king.

There were some great interaction between Kyrin and her brothers. This book has family as a big part of it. It’s lovely.
I don’t think it’s my favourite so far in the series, but I did have a great big smile on my face for several days after. Though it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, the first part of the book especially was amazing. Not that the second part wasn’t good, it was, but sometimes I like my ideas of what could have happened better than the author’s.
Samara’s Peril does have some mature themes, perhaps more than the previous books, but they are dealt with very gently. There is violence, but never without a reason for it to appear. It just shows how bad evil is and the reality of war. I think that there is actually somewhat less than the previous books, despite there being more fighting. Those people who hating kissing in books, might be annoyed. There is one kiss, rather impulsive and not in detail, but a source of surprising controversy. Also there are a few non descriptive sexual references.
If you love Resistance and the King’s Scrolls you should read this continuation. I wish I could say you’ll love it, but there have been mixed opinions.  If you haven’t read them I would recommend them for about 16 up and you certainty need to begin with Resistance.
(I find it hard to write an interesting, sensible, and spoiler free review. It’s hard to talk about it without going into specifics and that would give things away. Especially in this book.)
My Interview with Jaye

Me: Who was your favourite author as a child?

Jaye: My all-time favorite would have to be Jeanne Betancourt, author of the Pony Pals series. I was your typical horse crazy girl and most of the books I read were horse stories. Hers were always my favorite. Even now, I’m working on completing my collection of them because they were such a big part of my childhood.

Me: What was your favourite school subject?

Jaye: History. It was always the most enjoyable for me. I probably retained more of what I learned during our history lessons than I did from any other subject.

Me: I love history too. Learning about the past is the best way to understand the present.
What was the hardest part about writing Samara’s Peril?

Jaye: Probably the intense emotion in it. It’s a very emotional and heavy book at times, and as a writer, you really try to put yourself in your characters’ heads. About the time I started the second half of the book, I went through a period of about a week and a half where I was having bad anxiety attacks and felt like Satan was really trying to sabotage the story. That was definitely the hardest part.

Me: That does sound very hard.
Do you ever cry while writing?

Not easily, but yes, sometimes. I actually cried several time while working on the death scene of a particular character in The King’s Scrolls.

Me: I can complete understand that. I’d almost be worried if you hadn’t. It’s the probably the saddest thing I’ve read of yours. (Almost because I didn’t quite cry myself. Conflict is more likely to make me cry.)
Do you have any plans for books after the Ilyon Chronicles are finished?

Jaye: Too many. 😛 Yeah, I have quite a few projects floating around in my mind. The biggest question is always which one will be next. I think I’ve narrowed it down to one smaller project that seems to be demanding to be written. It’s a fairy tale retelling, which is something I never thought I’d get into, but the story just showed up and won’t leave me alone. After that, I have an assassin trilogy that has been on hold for several years now. Maybe it finally be time to get back at it.

Me: I love fairytale retellings.
How does the reality of being an author compare with your dreams?

Jaye: Well, it’s a lot more work than you dream it will be! A lot of the time, I’m so busy doing the work part of it that I feel like I don’t even have time to write. That can be frustrating. But, on the flip side, it is also pretty amazing. I’m still shocked when I find out about an award or get a message from a reader about how much they loved my book.

Me: I’m beginning to see how much work it is myself. Just basic life sometimes takes up a lot of time. Just writing this post took me a while. I really appreciate the time you have put into this blog tour.

About Jaye
Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Etsy.
She is also one of the writers I look up to the most. She started this when she was younger than I am and has shown me how hard work and dedication can bring great improvement in one’s writing.
Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour at: http://jayelknight.blogspot.com/p/samaras-peril- blog-tour.html
Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Samara’s Peril, a John 3:16 necklace by FaithWearDesigns, and a green wire dragon bookmark by Wirelings! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

What I love in books

(Also known as how to make me happy, if I’m reading your book)

Hello everyone, I decided to borrow an idea from Christine Smith and Tracey Dyck and tell you about what I love in books.

Worldbuilding

A unique world is a certain draw. I love interesting political structures and societies. But historical elements are also good. I don’t like anything too weird. At least not a lot of weird things.

I also love well done portrayals of God and the church. Especially names for God. The Eye’s of Everia books by Serena Chase are great in that way. So many names for God. The First, Loeftryn de Rynloeft (Highest Reigning from the Reign Most High), Embral e’ Veria.
I also love the general system of naming in that. I wish I’d thought of it myself.

Characters

I love clever, witty characters. But also strong and honourable. People who are a little out of the ordinary, but not because there’s something inherently special about them. And in leaders I like confidence.
And I really love it when when there’s a sense of mystery about a character. If I can’t be certain that they’re trustworthy. I love it when the author makes me like them, but keeps planting little bits of doubt. Or if someone suddenly turns out to be a traitor. It must make sense though.

Plot

I love layers. When a book is very different when read the second time. (usually when there’s a traitor or someone else with a big secret)

I like my plots tightly knit. When it’s following more than two people who don’t seem connected, I don’t like it quite as well, even when I can see how they might meet eventually. Yet I do like it when seeming unrelated people have their lives converge. They don’t always have to know each other, but there has to be a clear interaction between their stories.

I was going to say that high stakes and particularly action are important, but that’s not always the case. Something important going on is a must though. Some of the things I wanted to say are actually contradictions, so I think I had better leave it unsaid, maybe try to untangle my thoughts in more detail another time. But a romance centred story is one I probably won’t read. As for other things, it depends on my state of mind.

Relationships

I like sibling and friend relationships. People truly working together or the pain of being opposed. The struggle between  loyalty to your side and loyalty to your family.

As far as romance goes, I prefer the emphasis to be on sacrifice or commitment, than warm fuzzy feeling. We need more stories that show true love, putting others needs first, doing what is best, not what is most comfortable.

If characters are forced (more or less) into marrying (or promising to marry), and then have to learn to love each other, you’re probably made me happy. As long as it is actually turning out well. In fact I love any situation where people are forced to work together.

But friendship slowly developing into love can be beautiful as well. When it’s about really caring for the other person, instead of just selfish attraction. Not that having a little attraction show is is bad. It’s realistic. But don’t take it to far. I hate relationships without commitment

Themes

If a story has no depth to it, no message, I feel that I’ve wasted my time. It can be subtle, not clearly stated, even hard to articulate. But it must at least illustrate something good.

If it does have some profound statement in it, that can be even better. But only if it comes naturally.

Other Things

It must be clean or I will be very annoyed. And wrong better not be portrayed as right. And having families is a plus.

And that’s that. I hope you enjoyed this and find it as useful as I did. I think I’ll have to do a post about what I read when I was younger though. Might help clear up my contradictions. I’m reading different stuff, but I still have fond memories.

MYSR: Nobody, by Susan Warner

MYSR = Maybe You Should Read.
I’m starting a new series of posts. There are a lot of books out there that I think ought to be better known. So I’m going to give you recommendations and tell why I like them. I’m afraid I might not be able to completely avoid spoilers, but I’ll try.

One of my favourite 19th century authors is Susan Warner. I don’t like all of her books, but some of them are very good.

Nobody is the story of Lois Lothrop, a New England country girl, who catches the eye of a young man of good family, while visiting a cousin in New York. His family don’t think she’s good enough for him, that she has no style and beside she is religious. She, on the other hand doesn’t perceive value in the same way and is not quite willing to marry an non-christian.

Things I love:

Lois and her sisters are hard workers. They do everything themselves and never sit around. She also had a strong sense of Christian duty. But she doesn’t just blindly accept the beliefs of her community. She has a taste for higher things. She ponders the purpose of beauty.

There are other deep questions discussed in the book, but not too deeply. They just fit in nicely.

This book has one of my favourite heroes. A perfect gentleman who goes to great lengths to make it possible to marry the girl he admired even though he knew there was every chance she wouldn’t marry him.

And Lois is rather like me in a lot of ways. It’s true that I’m not as comfortable in social situations, nor as good a gardener, but we have similar traits and values.

Here’s a quote from it:

“But it is matter of astonishment to me, how you have so soon acquired such keen discernment. Is it that you do not enjoy these occasions yourself?” (said Mr Dillwyn)
“O, I enjoy them intensely,” said Lois, smiling. “Sometimes I think I am the only one of the company that does; but I enjoy them.”
“By the power of what secret talisman?”
“I don’t know;—being happy, I suppose,” said Lois shyly.
“You are speaking seriously; and therefore you are touching the greatest question of human life. Can you say of yourself that you are truly happy?
Lois met his eyes in a little wonderment at this questioning, and answered a plain “yes.”
“But, to be happy, with me, means, to be independent of circumstances. I do not call him happy, whose happiness is gone if the east wind blow, or a party miscarry, or a bank break; even though it were the bank in which his property is involved.”
“Nor do I,” said Lois gravely.
“And—pray forgive me for asking!—but, are you happy in this exclusive sense?”
“I have no property in a bank,” said Lois, smiling again; “I have not been tried that way; but I suppose it may do as well to have no property anywhere. Yes, Mr. Dillwyn.”

And another:

Lois stayed for no more, but ran in. The interior room of the house, which was very large for a bathing-house, was divided in two by a partition. In the inner, smaller room, Lois began busily to change her dress. On the walls hung a number of bathing suits of heavy flannel, one of which she appropriated. Charity came in after her.
“You ain’t a goin’ for clams, Lois? Well, I wouldn’t, if I was you.”
“Why not?”
“I wouldn’t make myself such a sight, for folks to see.”
“I don’t at all do it for folks to see, but that folks may eat. We have brought ’em here, and now we must give them something for supper.”
“Are you goin’ with bare feet?”
“Why not?” said Lois, laughing. “Do you think I am going to spoil my best pair of shoes for vanity’s sake?” And she threw off shoes and stockings as she spoke, and showed a pair of pretty little white feet, which glanced coquettishly under the blue flannel. 

There may be some longer discussion that tend toward theology, but the same happens with gardening and clam digging. It’s not too much.

As you may have seen, you can get the book as a free audio book from LibriVox. (it has me in it) Or you prefer text (the recording is a bit mixed in quality) it’s on Gutenberg.
If you read this book or any others by Susan Warner, let me know what you think.

Thank you everyone who voted on my poll. I now know that there’s at least 21 people (which may or may not include me and does include my mother) who read my blog. I think I’ll stay with Girl of the Rumours for now.

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