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Samara’s Peril Blog Tour: Book Review and Author Interview

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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.

Samara's Peril

As a few of you blog readers may remember, over the last two years I’ve been following a series called The Ilyon Chronicles, reviewing here for you all of the books that have come out so far (Resistance, The King’s Scrolls, and the prequel novella Half-Blood). Now I have the pleasure of once again reviewing the newest book, Samara’s Peril, But first, the author herself has agreed to an interview! Folks, please welcome Jaye L. Knight!

 

  1. Do you do your writing with a story-inspired playlist? (If so, might we see a song from your Samara’s Peril playlist if we ask particularly nicely?)

Jaye L. Knight: Music is a huge inspiration for me. I do have a lot of character “theme songs” and a few songs for particular scenes. I don’t have a playlist dedicated to each book, but I do have an Ilyon Chronicles playlist here on YouTube. One song I do have specifically for Samara’s Peril is On My Own by Ashes Remain. It fits the book perfectly.

 

  1. What are three random facts about you that most people wouldn’t know?

Jaye L. Knight: Let’s see.

  1. I adore old trucks from the late 1960s to early 1970s. It’s my dream to someday own an aqua and white classic Chevy truck.
  2. Over the last few years, I’ve developed a lightning phobia. I’m not sure why. Sharp lightning strikes just freak me out.
  3. And, lastly, I’ve never broken a bone. Well, I don’t think. I did smash my finger really bad once and might have broken it, but I never went in for it, so I’m not sure.

 

  1. What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had while writing?

Jaye L. Knight: I’m not sure I can think of a specific time, but the most interesting experiences I always have while writing are when my characters completely act on their own and something happens in the story that I wasn’t planning. This happens a lot with characters falling in love. A lot of the time, I don’t see it coming. Most recently that happened while writing book five of Ilyon Chronicles. One of my guy characters started talking to this girl he sort of knew, and suddenly it was like, wait a minute. You like her, don’t you? That unexpected revelation led to a whole novella that takes place between books 5 and 6.

 

  1. If you could live anywhere in your storyworld, where would it be, and why?

Jaye L. Knight: I would live in Dorland, with the cretes. I love the crete culture. It’s really a mix of a lot of my favorite things. Native American culture, Elves, tree houses, dragons. Ever since I was little, I wanted to live in a tree house like on the old Swiss Family Robinson movie, so that was big inspiration for how the cretes live. Plus they wear a lot of leather, and I like leather. (This is coming from a historical reenactor.) And they have dragons!

 

  1. What is one question that you’ve always wished someone would ask you in an interview, and no one ever has? And what is your answer to it?

Jaye L. Knight: Good question. I’m not sure, but I’m surprised I haven’t been asked more what the L. stands for in my pen name. I know I mentioned it once on my blog, but I’m not sure how widely known it is. So, for anyone who doesn’t know, it stands for Lee. Jaye Lee Knight. Why? Well, the L sounded good in the name, so I stuck it in there. Then, after thinking about it for a while, I decided on Lee because I really like the name and it too sounded good. And hey, it’s like Jeremy Lee Renner. That’s cool. Bonus fact: I’m a Hawkeye fangirl. 😉

About the Author

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

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

 

Book Review

Characters – A good portion of the characters in this book were recurring characters from the last two books of the series. Those characters stayed consistent, though I did feel like we got to see less of them in this one than in previous books.

This books seemed to be more Jace’s book than the previous ones in the series, so he was the focus through most of it. That left the other characterseven the other main charactersfurther in the background, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing (except that Trask should have had more screen time. Why has Trask had so little screen time, Jaye?). Anne played a larger role in this novel, and I enjoyed seeing her have an active part in the resistance; she was just as amazing at it as anyone would have expected her to be. Holden was so remarkable, and I also found myself liking Leetra throughout this book. As in the previous books, I found Kyrin to be very relateable; perhaps slightly less so in this book, since Jace had more of the spotlight.

The newer characters were all well developed, and I’m looking forward to seeing the character arc of one in particular. There was only one point I felt like one of the characters did something out of character, but since most of the other people who have read the book disagreed with me there, perhaps it was just me.

Plot – The plot throughout this book felt slightly unconventional to me, especially the ending, but somehow it worked. I don’t know whether it was the story structure she used, but it felt somehow unfamiliar to me; in this case, it was a good thing. The author surprised me in how she ended it, but the ending also seemed to work particularly well.

I have only one complaint about the plot; one of the plot lines seemed slightly disconnected from the rest of the book to me, as though it didn’t quite belong there or didn’t affect any of the rest of the story, though it should have been a world-changer.

Setting – The setting remained consistent with the other books in the series, though we get to go somewhere we’ve never gone before: Samara.

I thought that Samara fit in very well with the world; it was very similar to the country we’ve spent the other books in (as it ought to be, since it’s very near to it), and struck me as being as Arcacia should be now, and once was.

Content  There’s war–people are injured; characters kiss; in one character’s backstory, there’s assault that leads to pregnancy, and a young man of less than noble character is a jerk toward two women. But, Jaye respects her readers. Her writing is to tell a story, and she does that; it’s not to make people vomit or cringe. Her descriptions tell the story, and are tactfully handled, so even if you have a weak stomach, you shouldn’t mind this. (A note of advice to aspiring authors: part of being a writer is about respect. For your readers, your characters, your editors. Don’t bow to the every whim of your readers, but do respect them as people and treat them with honor in the way you tell your stories.)

Summary I enjoyed Samara’s Peril and read it in a few hours (for most of that time, seated awkwardly in the kitchen on a five-gallon bucket of flour because my tablet battery was dramatically flashing the symbol of impending death and I needed to stay plugged in at that outlet). Was it my favorite of the series? No, probably not. Would I still recommend it? Most definitely.

Samara’s Peril is available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks!

Add to Goodreads

Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? Find out more at the official Ilyon Chronicles website!

And, to add just a little bit of extra excitement, I present to you

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– A Samara’s Peril Themed Giveaway!

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.)

Just click here and you’ll be taken to the giveaway page straightaway!

If you’d like to take the afternoon to visit all these lovely other blogs participating in the blog tour, I also happen to have a handy tour schedule here for you.

Friday, May 13

Saturday, May 14

Sunday, May 15

Monday, May 16

Tuesday, May 17

Wednesday, May 18

Thursday, May 19

Friday, May 20

Saturday, May 21

Half-Blood Blog Tour: Review and GIVEAWAY

The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears–dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood–one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. Yet, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?

See where Jace’s story all began . . .

Half Blood Cover

About the Series

Ilyon Chronicles is a six book, non-magical Christian fantasy series geared toward new adults (ages 18-25+). Half-Blood is best read after the first book as backstory for the series’ main character.

Review:

Oh, Half-Blood, Half-Blood, Half-Blood.

I’m not even sure I’ve got a way to start explaining how this book affected me, so I suppose I’ll do it with a quote:

“I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob.”

Yes. Yes, I did–yes, it did.

Most of this story is that of pain, of suffering, of what happens when humans believe anything is lower than they are. For a bit of background: when I say I cried at a book, I don’t mean literally. Oh, sure, there’s a tear or two, but they never make it more than a centimeter past my eye. The same was not true for this book.

During that last half of it, I could not keep my face dry for more than ten minutes. I could not stop crying, though it blurred the words in front of me. I read until the book ended at around 12:40 at night—and then, after I had put it away, I simply lay on my bed and cried some more. It would be misleading to say that I exactly loved it, and I could not recommend it to everyone. At the same time, the book was fantastic.

It was hard. So very hard, to see the life that Jace went through. All he remembers is slavery, and through most of this book, this is all that he knows.

The characters were well done. Jace, the various other slaves he meets, the various masters who he served, the different people he met throughout the first seventeen years of his life. I was pleased to see that the characters overlapping through books stayed consistent.

The various characters evoked different emotions in me. Some were evil; some were moderately acceptable. Some I hated… some I just plain couldn’t find it in me to hate. There were so many characters who I pitied in this novel, even the ones who, on first glance, would at first just be cruel and worthy of your hate.

I would have liked to see a little more kindness in Jace’s life… It felt a tiny bit awkward to have no kindness and then extreme kindness. Perhaps some middle ground would have been appreciated.

The character development here was, in keeping with my Southern-ness, “Somethin’ else.” Jace stayed the same person all throughout the novel, but he went through changes as life, cruel as ever, shook him and battered him.

The setting remained consistent with the other books all the way through, though we got to see a… well, a different side. From the manor house to the gladiator fights, then all the way to a little farm where the book ends, the settings are various, not all unfriendly, but few welcoming. Yet even though the other books take place in different locations, the world is bound together so well that there is no doubt that they’re the same place.

The writing was smooth and even. One author once described your words as a window. With that in mind, Jaye’s window was clear, smear-free, and spotless. I noticed only one sentence in the book—the rest of the time, my gaze was firmly on the characters.

The research…ah, now we get to the exciting part. In the past, Jaye had heavily researched gladiators for the previous books in the novel. I could tell by the easy way she incorporated facts into her story that she knew the material well. I didn’t feel uninformed at any point, nor was there any info-dumping or bits of information that seemed unimportant. Though, I feel as though I must mention one sentence; indeed, the only sentence that I noticed while reading.

Strengthened by this determination, Jace spun the sword around and drove the hilt into the side of the gladiator’s head—not hard enough to be lethal, but enough to knock him momentarily senseless.

This is not necessarily a problem, especially since the story is set in a medieval-type era. However, as you may remember from this post, a blow to the head can frequently be (if not severely damaging for the rest of a man’s life) immediately deadly. However, Jace may not know this, so I will accept it as part of the story.

In a way, I loved this book for the honesty of it. It gave us a good idea of what was going on before we first met Jace in Resistance. On the other hand, if this had been the first book of the series that I read, I may not have made it all the way through the novella. It’s hard, it’s dark, it’s almost depressing. If you know you can’t handle that, I cannot recommend it for you.

And yet I can recommend it for you if you’ve read Resistance and The King’s Scrolls, because you know that things will get better. Things get better even at the end of Half-Blood, but I still don’t think the story would be beneficial unless you’ve read at least Resistance first.

Now, at the end of this crazy-long review, I got to interview Jaye L. Knight herself! Furthermore, at the end of that, we’ve got a fancy giveaway that you should be sure to enter.

First, about the author:

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

Website | Blog | Facebook | Google+ | Twitter | Etsy

  1. Do you remember what book first made you fall in love with stories?

Jaye: I’m not sure what the very first book was, but my all-time favorite books when I was young were the Pony Pal books by Jeanne Betancourt. I adored those books, and the first story I ever finished writing was based off one of them.

  1. What people or events in your life most influence your writing?

Jaye: My mom has been the biggest influence in my writing. I don’t think I ever would have started if not for her, since she’s a writer too. Then, of course, there is J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s because of him that I started writing fantasy. As far as events, I guess a lot of the trials I’ve faced over the last few years have really influenced me, especially in writing Ilyon Chronicles.

  1. What is the necessary environment for your writing and editing?

Jaye: I can usually write anywhere, unless there’s a lot of commotion. I write most often in the living room or outside in the summertime. Writing outside is my favorite. For editing, I’m usually on my computer in my bedroom. I either like it quiet, or with some epic background music. And I almost always have a candle lit. 🙂

The Giveaway

Enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Half-Blood, a blue feather bookmark hand crafted by Jaye, a bronze sword pendant, and a $5 Amazon gift card! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

Since WordPress isn’t friendly to Rafflecopter Giveaways, you can just click the picture above and it will take you to Jaye’s blog post. There, you can enter the giveaway, and find a list of other participating blogs!

See the Ilyon Chronicles on Amazon!

New Fairy Tale Contest from Rooglewood Press!

Be thrilled, O readers, for a great day has come to us. A day when Rooglewood Press reveals what we have all been waiting for: the cover of the third fairy tale contest.

Are you ready for this?

Five Magic Spindles

No… No, you probably weren’t ready for that sort of epic-ness. I certainly wasn’t.

Rooglewood Press is delighted to introduce their third fairy tale novella contest—

Five Magic Spindles

a collection of “Sleeping Beauty” stories

The challenge is to write a retelling of the beloved fairy tale in any genre or setting you like. Make certain your story is recognizably “Sleeping Beauty,” but have fun with it as well. Make it yours!

Rooglewood Press will be selecting five winners to be published in the Five Magic Spindles collection, which will be packaged up with the phenomenal cover you see here. Maybe your name will be one of the five listed?

All the contest rules and information (how to enter, story details, deadline etc.) may be found on the Rooglewood Press website. Just click HERE and you will go right to the page.

Rooglewood Press’s first collection, Five Glass Slippers is available for purchase, and our second collection, Five Enchanted Roses is scheduled to launch on July 27, and is currently available for pre-order. Be certain to get a copy of each and see what previous winners did with their wonderful retellings.

Cover Illustration Credit: This cover illustration was rendered by Julia Popova, “ForestGirl.” You can find out more about this gifted artist on her website: http://www.forestgirl.ru

Well? I, for one, am most excited. I haven’t had a chance to enter the past two contests for various reasons (though I do have one completed 50k word novel to show for my attempts, and an idea for a short story or novella), but the third time’s the charm, right?

Go, reader. Look at the official rules and details at Rooglewoodpress.com. That’s Rooglewood Press, dot com. Call now.

Half Blood Cover Reveal (and GIVEAWAY)

In but a few months, Jaye L. Knight, author of the Ilyon Chronicles (Resistance and The King’s Scrolls), will be releasing her prequel novella, Half Blood.

Just looking at the cover, my heart is preparing to be shattered into a million tiny fragments. We’ll all be crying at this one…

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About the Book

The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?

See where Jace’s story all began . . .

Coming This Summer
Are you aware of just how awesome this is going to be? If you haven’t read Resistance and The King’s Scrolls, I suggest that you do so. IMMEDIATELY. In fact, if you wish to read my reviews for them, you can read them here: Resistance and The King’s Scrolls.
For those of you who have read them, you should add Half Blood to your Goodreads so we can all appreciate how awesome it’s going to be, together.

goodreads

About the Author

JayeAuthorPhotoJaye 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+, and Twitter.

 

Giveaway

As part of a month long celebration for the one year publication anniversary of Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles – Book 1), Jaye is giving away several fun prizes! Enter for a chance to win using the form below! U.S. entries only please.

(You can also visit the other awesome sites hosting the cover reveal)
A Writer’s Faith
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
A Writer’s Heart
Thoughts and Rants
Written Rest
To Be A Person
Tialla’s Tellings
The American Anglophile
Knitted By God’s Plan
Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writings
Pencils Can Change The World
Crafty Booksheeps
Zerina Blossom’s Books
Ryebrynn’s Random Ramblings
Through the Realm of Dreams
Red Lettering
Leah’s Bookshelf
The Official Website of Brent King
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections
Shattered Fractals
Flights from the Aerie
E. Rawls
The Pen of a Ready Writer
Scattered Journal Pages
Sutori no Hana
The Art of Storytelling
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The King’s Scrolls Blog Tour: Author Interview and Review

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About the Book

Following the harrowing events that brought them to Landale Forest, Jace and Kyrin have settled comfortably into their new lives and the mission of protecting those under the emperor’s persecution. The fast approach of winter brings with it the anticipation of a quiet few months ahead. That is until the arrival of four mysterious, dragon-riding cretes who seek aid in a mission of great importance—not only to their own people, but to all followers of Elôm.

Hidden in the vast mining valley north of Valcré, a faithful crete has spent years sharing his knowledge with the destitute miners and their families and is known to possess what may be Arcacia’s last surviving copies of the King’s Scrolls—the Word of Elôm. Joining the cretes, those in Landale must find the crete teacher and bring him to safety, but it is a race against time. Should Daican’s men find him first, execution and the destruction of the Scrolls is certain.

When disaster strikes, all seems lost. Could Elôm have a plan even in the enemy’s triumph?

Some of you probably remember when I reviewed the novel Resistance by Jaye L. Knight back in July. It was an excellent book, and left me eager to read the second book. Of course, therefore, I am thrilled to be able to participate in the blog tour of book two of the Ilyon Chronicles, The King’s Scrolls. 

Haven’t begun the adventure into Ilyon? From February 17th – 23rd, get Resistance , the award-winning first book of Ilyon Chronicles for your Kindle on sale for only 99 cents! Check it out on Amazon!

Not only did I get to read and review The King’s Scrolls (the review is at the bottom) I had the pleasure of interviewing the author, herself. Folks, please welcome the author of the Ilyon Chronicles, Jaye L. Knight! 

What was the first story you ever wrote?

Jaye L. Knight: My very, very first story I wrote when I was eight years old was about a girl named April. I don’t remember much. Each chapter of it was its only little story of simple things like April getting a cat or playing with one of her friends. The first story I ever finished that was truly a story was called Twilight (definitely not anything like the vampire Twilight :P). It was a horse story and my own retelling of a book from my favorite series at the time, Pony Pals by Jeanne Betancourt. I was about ten or eleven at the time.

Do you have a Bible verse that summarizes your reason for writing?

Jaye L. Knight: Probably Ephesians 2:10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. God created me with the passion and ability for writing. If I didn’t pursue it, I don’t think I’d be accomplishing the work He has prepared for me to do.

What was one major source of inspiration while you were writing The King’s Scrolls? 

Jaye L. Knight I listened to a lot of music, probably more than I have with other books, especially for the emotional scenes. Hurt by Thomas Bergersen is one song I listened to quite frequently. It’s very sad, but it helped me get in the right mood to tackle some of the more difficult scenes in the book.

What is some little-heard writing advice you would give to novelists?

Jaye L. Knight: I’m not sure how little-heard it is, but some of the best writing advice I can give is not to try to write the perfect novel with your first draft. Unless you’re very unique, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get it right the first time, so don’t beat yourself up trying. One of my favorite quotes is by Shannon Hale that says, “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” No matter how unreadable it might be at first, just get the story written. You can always turn it into a masterpiece later.

Have you ever had an interesting experience while researching?

Jaye L. Knight: I didn’t set out trying to research what different feelings of grief were like, but it so happened that at almost the same time I was about to write some of the hardest scenes in The King’s Scrolls, we got news that our dog had cancer. I was absolutely heartbroken because I’m the type that gets super attached to my animals. Those first couple of days were just awful, but I ended up writing down exactly how I felt physically and emotionally so that I could refer to it later. Well, thank God, we ended up finding out that it wasn’t cancer, just an aggressive infection and our wonderful yellow lab is still with us, perfectly recovered. But that experience and the notes I took on it turned out to be very valuable once I returned to writing TKS.

And – definitely the most important question – do you have a favorite drink or snack that you keep nearby while writing?

Jaye L. Knight: TEA!! 😀 English Breakfast Tea with plenty of sugar and French Vanilla creamer to be exact. I have a mug pretty much every day. Sometimes two. I used to absolutely love eating cheddar Combos too while I was writing, but then I had to go gluten free and couldn’t have them anymore. 😦 I haven’t yet discovered a good substitute.

About Jaye L. Knight

Jaye L. Knight is a homeschool graduated indie author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean new adult fiction. 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.

Giveaway!

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed Epic Winter giveaway! Prize pack includes an autographed copy of The King’s Scrolls, a CD by Future World Music (some of Jaye’s favorite writing music), a dragon bookmark, a stone hawk pendant (much like the ones mentioned in the book), and a few packages of Twining’s Winter Spice tea to sip while you read! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

Click here to go to the giveaway.

Book Review

Characters

Just as last time, I loved the characters. They were well-developed, endearing (or in the case of some, not-so-endearing) people. Kyrin may be one of my favorite female protagonists of all time.

The characters, as in the last one, were fantastic – especially the recurring characters. I loved getting to know Kyrin’s brothers, despised the villain (not the emperor; a different one) just a little more with every word he said, and excitedly followed along with their adventures simply because I loved them.

One thing that I did dislike here was the sheer amount of characters. The author was excellent in keeping each person a separate, unique character (something very rarely seen in books with many characters!), but frequently we found characters fading into the background. It was hard to remember who was present at all times – while reading at one point, I was startled to remember that Trev had been present the whole time. In the last book, we were able to keep track of all the characters and see who they were; in this one, I feel like there was just a few too many characters to know quite as well as we did last time. However, it didn’t bother me most of the time; the characters we did focus on were worth it. I only wish Trask had more screen time. I missed his snarky manner mixed in with his excellent leadership.

Plot

The plot was a good mix of past-paced action and endearing quiet scenes. The continuity was good throughout the novel, and I eagerly kept reading (I actually ended up carrying the Kindle around while helping my little sisters clean their room. And sniffling the whole time). It was one of the books that you honestly don’t want to put down; so you carry it around as you walk around the house, even if you’re not reading, so you can come back to it as fast as possible.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was right about what a particular character needed, and it happened. It was fantastic (and tragic). The plot kept me rooting for the characters through my teeth when I should have been asleep; if my sisters heard me muttering, “Come on, Marcus!” from beneath my comforter—no, I wasn’t sleep-talking.

I was also pleasantly surprised (in a tragic sort of way) that the grieving shown here was realistic; far better than that of most books.

Setting

As in the last book, the author knew her land well. This one went from a mining town, to a forest, to a capital, and we got glimpses of an entirely different culture through visitors to the country. Each place possessed a distinctive feel, but was still bound tightly in the same world. The world is a well-developed one; the type you could almost expect to find across the ocean, or just around the next bend on an unfamiliar road.

Writing

Can I start by mentioning how deeply in-character the story took us? A character with a fear of heights made me, a girl who has always loved heights, understand perfectly how it must be to feel fear racing through your limbs at the thought of heights. Even though I was prepared for a death in the story, the grief of the characters left me with a tight feeling in my stomach. Jaye L. Knight is a master of going into the heads of the characters with her writing.

The style of the writing was the same as in the last book, and made me think of a quote I recently saw: “The prose is a window, beyond which all these wonderful things are happening.” — Brandon Sanderson

In Summary

The King’s Scrolls is an excellent, uplifting book. The characters are good, upstanding people, but with flaws to make them relatable. The continuity between the two books was great; I saw no typos or grammatical errors.

This book was one that captured my imagination, skillfully told a story from the hand of a master. A beautiful book that brings glory to God, I would definitely recommend this to Christian Fantasy lovers. I am eagerly awaiting the next book. Well done, Jaye L. Knight.

Visit the other stops on the tour!

Tuesday, February 17

Wednesday, February 18

 

Thursday, February 19

 

Friday, February 20

Saturday, February 21

Sunday, February 22

 

Monday, February 23

Tuesday, February 24

 

Wednesday, February 25

Cover Reveal: Draven’s Light, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Alas, this post is going up later than I had planned for it to—I forgot to schedule it yesterday—and so most of you have probably already seen the beautiful cover of Draven’s Light. Even if you have, though, I get to have it and the teaser up on my blog, and that makes me happy.

In the Darkness of the Pit 

The Light Shines Brightest

Drums summon the chieftain’s powerful son to slay a man in cold blood and thereby earn his place among the warriors. But instead of glory, he earns the name Draven, “Coward.” When the men of his tribe march off to war, Draven remains behind with the women and his shame. Only fearless but crippled Ita values her brother’s honor.

The warriors return from battle victorious yet trailing a curse in their wake. One by one the strong and the weak of the tribe fall prey to an illness of supernatural power. The secret source of this evil can be found and destroyed by only the bravest heart.

But when the curse attacks the one Draven loves most, can this coward find the courage he needs to face the darkness?

Coming May 25, 2015

 Draven's Light Cover

 

Isn’t it beautiful? Click on it. Zoom in. Zoom in again. The details are lovely, down to the wax dripping onto his gloved hand, or the texture in the vines. He looks almost breathless, but very determined.

Excerpt from

DRAVEN’S LIGHT

By Anne Elisabeth Stengl

 

He heard the drums in his dreams, distant but drawing ever nearer. He had heard them before and wondered if the time of his manhood had come. But with the approach of dawn, the drums always faded away and he woke to the world still a child. Still a boy.

But this night, the distant drums were louder, stronger. Somehow he knew they were not concocted of his sleeping fancy. No, even as he slept he knew these were real drums, and he recognized the beat: The beat of death. The beat of blood.

The beat of a man’s heart.

He woke with a start, his leg throbbing where it had just been kicked. It was not the sort of awakening he had longed for these last two years and more. He glared from his bed up into the face of his sister, who stood above him, balancing her weight on a stout forked branch tucked under her left shoulder.

“Ita,” the boy growled, “what are you doing here? Go back to the women’s hut!”

His sister made a face at him, but he saw, even by the moonlight streaming through cracks in the thatch above, that her eyes were very round and solemn. Only then did he notice that the drumbeats of his dream were indeed still booming deep in the woods beyond the village fires. He sat up then, his heart thudding its own thunderous pace.

“A prisoner,” Ita said, shifting her branch so that she might turn toward the door. “The drums speak of a prisoner. They’re bringing him even now.” She flashed a smile down at him, though it was so tense with anxiety it could hardly be counted a smile at all. “Gaho, your name!”

The boy was up and out of his bed in a moment, reaching for a tunic and belt. His sister hobbled back along the wall but did not leave, though he wished she would. He wished she would allow him these few moments before the drums arrived in the village. The drums that beat of one man’s death . . . and one man’s birth.

His name was Gaho. But by the coming of dawn, if the drums’ promise was true, he would be born again in blood and bear a new name.

Hands shaking with what he desperately hoped wasn’t fear, he tightened his belt and searched the room for his sickle blade. He saw the bone handle, white in the moonlight, protruding from beneath his bed pile, and swiftly took it up. The bronze gleamed dully, like the carnivorous tooth of an ancient beast.

A shudder ran through his sister’s body. Gaho, sensing her distress, turned to her. She grasped her supporting branch hard, and the smile was gone from her face. “Gaho,” she said, “will you do it?”

“I will,” said Gaho, his voice strong with mounting excitement.

But Ita reached out to him suddenly, catching his weapon hand just above the wrist. “I will lose you,” she said. “My brother . . . I will lose you!”

“You will not. You will lose only Gaho,” said the boy, shaking her off, gently, for she was not strong. Without another word, he ducked through the door of his small hut—one he had built for himself but a year before in anticipation of his coming manhood—and stood in the darkness of Rannul Village, eyes instinctively turning to the few campfires burning. The drums were very near now, and he could see the shadows of waking villagers moving about the fires, building up the flames in preparation for what must surely follow. He felt eyes he could not see turning to his hut, turning to him. He felt the question each pair of eyes asked in silent curiosity: Will it be tonight?

Tonight or no night.

Grasping the hilt of his weapon with both hands, Gaho strode to the dusty village center, which was beaten down into hard, packed earth from years of meetings and matches of strength held in this same spot. Tall pillars of aged wood ringed this circle, and women hastened to these, bearing torches which they fit into hollowed-out slots in each pillar. Soon the village center was bright as noonday, but with harsh red light appropriate for coming events.

Gaho stood in the center of that light, his heart ramming in his throat though his face was a stoic mask. All the waking village was gathered now, men, women, and children, standing just beyond the circle, watching him.

The drums came up from the river, pounding in time to the tramp of warriors’ feet. Then the warriors themselves were illuminated by the ringing torches, their faces anointed in blood, their heads helmed with bone and bronze, their shoulders covered in hides of bear, wolf, and boar. Ten men carried tight skin drums, beating them with their fists. They entered the center first, standing each beneath one of the ringing pillars. Other warriors followed them, filling in the gaps between.

Then the chieftain, mighty Gaher, appeared. He carried his heavy crescent ax in one hand, and Gaho saw that blood stained its edge—indeed, blood spattered the blade from tip to hilt and covered the whole of the chieftain’s fist. Gaher strode into the circle, and the boy saw more blood in his beard. But he also saw the bright, wolfish smile and knew for certain that his sister had been correct. The night of naming had come.

“My son,” said the chief, saluting Gaho with upraised weapon.

“My father,” said Gaho, raising his sickle blade in return.

“Are you ready this night to die and live again?” asked the chief. His voice carried through the shadows, and every one of the tribe heard it, and any and all listening beasts of forests and fields surrounding. “Are you ready this night for the spilling of blood that must flow before life may begin?”

Gaho drew a deep breath, putting all the strength of his spirit into his answer. “I am ready, Father.”

Gaher’s smile grew, the torchlight flashing red upon his sharpened canines. He turned then and motioned to the darkness beyond the torchlight.

The sacrifice was brought forward.

 

Personally, I cannot wait to read it… And there will be three people who won’t have to wait as long as most of us. Anne Elisabeth Stengl is offering a giveaway of three advanced reader copies of Draven’s Light.  Visit Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s blog to enter the giveaway!

AUTHOR BIO:

7721_133549311830_623396830_3040333_1407935_n (1)ANNE ELISABETH STENGL makes her home in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed Tales of Goldstone Wood. Her novel Starflower was awarded the 2013 Clive Staples Award, and her novels Heartless, Veiled Rose, and Dragonwitch have each been honored with a Christy Award.

To learn more about Anne Elisabeth Stengl and her books visit: www.AnneElisabethStengl.blogspot.com

Battle of the Castle Nebula Release

It’s my pleasure today to announce to you all the release of a prequel to a novella that I enjoyed very much. This is the day that Stephanie Ricker will release The Battle of the Castle Nebula. 

Final cover

If you enjoyed the world of A Cinder’s Tale in the Five Glass Slippers anthology, explore that universe further in The Cendrillon Cycle, a series of novellas recounting the past and future adventures of Elsa, Karl, Bruno, and the rest of the cinder crew.

Volume I, The Battle of Castle Nebula, makes worldfall on the first day of winter: December 21, 2014.

She has nothing left, not even her dreams. But Elsa Vogel still has her duty, and she will do it, no matter the peril, no matter the anguish in her heart as she leaves her ravaged home planet, perhaps never to return.

And the same tragedy that tore Elsa’s life to pieces also transformed the lives of others. Others who may need a reason to go on living, after the cataclysmic Battle of Castle Nebula…

The Battle of Castle Nebula ebook is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Don’t have an e-reader? Not a problem. Amazon offers a free Kindle app for almost every device.

Find out more by following Stephanie Ricker at her blog, Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter.

Author Bio:

 Stephanie Ricker is a writer, editor, and tree-climber. She adores the cold and the snow but lives in North Carolina anyway, where she enjoys archery, hiking, and exploring with friends. 

Stephanie’s first novella set in the Cendrillon universe, A Cinder’s Tale, was published in Five Glass Slippers, an anthology of Cinderella-themed stories. Stephanie’s fiction has also been published in Bull-Spec, a magazine of speculative fiction, and in four consecutive editions of The Lyricist, Campbell University’s annual literary magazine. Her senior thesis on Tolkien was published in the 2009 issue of Explorations: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity for the State of North Carolina.

Giveaway:

WordPress isn’t friendly to giveaways, but click here for the giveaway! It should take you right to the spot.

 

The King’s Scrolls Cover Reveal

A couple of months ago, I reviewed the novel Resistance, by Jaye L. Knight. I enjoyed the book very much, so it’s with great pleasure that I have the opportunity to participate in the cover reveal for the second book in the The Ilyon Chronicles: The King’s Scrolls.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00026]

 

About the Book:

Following the harrowing events that brought them to Landale Forest, Jace and Kyrin have settled comfortably into their new lives and the mission of protecting those under the emperor’s persecution. The fast approach of winter brings with it the anticipation of a quiet few months ahead. That is until the arrival of four mysterious, dragon-riding cretes who seek aid in a mission of great importance—not only to their own people, but to all followers of Elôm.

Hidden in the vast mining valley north of Valcré, a faithful crete has spent years sharing his knowledge with the destitute miners and their families and is known to possess what may be Arcacia’s last surviving copies of the King’s Scrolls—the Word of Elôm. Joining the cretes, those in Landale must find the crete teacher and bring him to safety, but it is a race against time. Should Daican’s men find him first, execution and the destruction of the Scrolls is certain.

When disaster strikes, all seems lost. Could Elôm have a plan even in the enemy’s triumph?

 goodreads

About the Author

JayeAuthorPhotoJaye L. Knight is a homeschool graduated indie author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean new adult fiction. 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+, and Twitter. 

You can also find the main page for the Cover Reveal here.

But don’t go away! (Pardon me as I practice my commercial announcer skills.) There’s more!

To celebrate her revealing of the cover, Jaye is giving away one of her handcrafted quill pen necklaces and a $5 Amazon gift card! Enter for a chance to win using the form below! U.S. entries only please.

And, while WordPress didn’t want to insert the giveaway into the post, you can go straight to the giveaway link here.

Excerpt

The other younger crete took a swig of his coffee and set his eyes past her. Kyrin peeked over her shoulder at Kaden who, of course, was staring at the dragon. The female creature stared back in mutual interest.

“Go ahead,” the crete said suddenly. “You can touch her. She loves attention, and she’ll only attack if I tell her to.” A sly glint sparkled in his spring-green eyes.

Besides Jace, Kyrin had never seen anyone with such bright and colorful eyes as these cretes.

Kaden looked at him, his brows rising. “You can do that?”

The crete nodded. “Dragons are highly intelligent. You can teach them almost any command. Storm here is young, but she learns fast.”

Kyrin smiled at the delight in her brother’s eyes as he stepped closer to the dragon and ran his hand over her bluish-gray neck scales. A grin split his face.

“She’s so smooth. Kyrin, come and feel it.”

Kyrin stepped to his side and laid her hand on the dragon. The scales were indeed very smooth, reminding her of the polished marble stair-railings in Auréa Palace, but they weren’t cold. Warmth radiated through them. The dragon, still watching them, let out a little rumble, almost like a giant cat’s purr.

“I told you she liked attention,” the crete said, grinning.

Kyrin chuckled and glanced at Jace to see if he wanted to touch the dragon, but he made no move to come closer. This certainly had more to do with the crete than the dragon. He was very fond of any type of animal. She faced the crete again.

“So they can breathe fire?”

“For short bursts, but that’s usually all it takes to deter any threat.”

“That’s incredible,” Kaden breathed.

While he continued admiring Storm, Kyrin observed the dragon’s rider. He appeared to be in his early to mid-twenties—about ten years younger than Captain Darq—though his exact age was impossible to guess. Cretes were said to mature faster than humans, so he could be anywhere from seventeen to twenty-five. He too wore a sleeveless jerkin. Brown tattoos, a little darker than his skin, marked both shoulders. Darq and the other cretes had them as well, but Kyrin hadn’t taken a good look at them until now. This man’s were a complicated pattern of spirals and dots, but the shape of a fox stood out in the center of his right shoulder.

Though she tried to be discreet, he must have caught her studying him and suddenly extended his hand to her. “I’m Talas, by the way. Talas Folkan of the Fox Clan.”

Cover Reveal: Five Enchanted Roses

Happy first day of June, readers! After waiting anxiously for this news , today I have immense pleasure in presenting to you…   EnchantedRosesCover   Rooglewood Press is delighted to introduce their second fairy tale novella contest—

Five Enchanted Roses

a collection of “Beauty and the Beast” stories

The challenge is to write a retelling of the beloved fairy tale in any genre or setting you like. Make certain your story is recognizably “Beauty and the Beast,” but have fun with it as well. Make it yours! Rooglewood Press will be selecting five winners to be published in the Five Enchanted Roses collection, which will be packaged up with the gorgeous cover you see displayed here. Perhaps your name will be one of the five displayed on this cover? All the contest rules and information (how to enter, story details, deadline etc.) may be found on the Rooglewood Press website. Just click HERE and you will go right to the page. Rooglewood Press’s first collection, Five Glass Slippers, is available for pre-order now and will be released on June 14. Do grab yourself a copy and see what these talented writers have done with the timeless “Cinderella” tale!

 

Cover Illustration Credit: This cover illustration was rendered by Julia Popova, “ForestGirl.” You can find out more about this gifted artist on her website: www.forestgirl.ru

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