Lacy Review

Ilyon and Acktar Blog Tour Header

Jaye L. Knight’s book Lacy has been released! It’s a companion novella to the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles.

Before we get into the review, here’s the official tour page.

Here’s my spotlight of this book and the two others in this tour. You can also find a giveaway for the whole Ilyon series at that link.

Lacy

Despite being certainly an adult story, Lacy was so sweet and I loved it. Even though I’m not necessarily a huge romance fan or a huge fantasy fan in general, I absolutely adored this story. There were so many sweet and touching moments, and so many times to sympathize with the characters.
First, I loved the redemption romance aspect – it was first of all a story of Lacy’s relationship with Elom, and second a story of her relationship with Aaron – which is exactly how it should be. I loved how the redemption wasn’t rushed or forced – it felt natural. She didn’t immediately drop her old lifestyle or her doubts and fears – she had to work through them, just as we do in real life. The redemption aspect wasn’t shoehorned in – instead, it was portrayed as a gradual work of Elom in her life.
Second, I loved all the extra time with Aaron and especially Timothy! Since The King’s Scrolls, Timothy hasn’t had a whole lot of dedicated “screen time,” and I’d nearly forgotten just how much I loved him! He is such an excellent character and has such a way with words . . .  he’s amazing. I also love the continued brotherly relationship between Aaron and Timothy – it’s so unique, so loyal, so devoted, so unquestioning and trusting.
Third, I loved the development of Aaron as a character. That depth to who he is hasn’t been shown to a large extent in the novels (much of his role has been as a protector to and supporter of Timothy), but in this story we get the depth of his growth. Might his natural tendency as protector get him in trouble when he takes it too far? Can he be the protector in every circumstance? What about his natural tendency to rush out and make everything better without listening to Elom, praying, and following Him? And of course, his emotional struggles make it much more complex. He makes mistakes, but he learns and grows.
Fourth, Lacy also has excellent character development – who she is and her motives, goals, and burdens are clear and written in a way I can sympathize with and understand. When she changes, it doesn’t change her personality or what her motives are – it’s the new life of the Son of God living in her and expressing Himself in a unique Lacy-way. I loved the little plot twist – how it was such a key theme and driving force through the story. I loved their determination; Lacy‘s struggle in her decisions was realistic as well.
Aaron’s climax and conflicts were realistically portrayed, and so was his selfless determination. I loved the purity of the romance plot line as well as the couple’s self-control in the relationship – a rare and precious thing in stories as well as in real life. I love how “clean” it was with the romance and its related adult elements in the story – what was going on was crystal clear and yet not overly or inappropriately described. I love that this story handles hard and sensitive topics in a way I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to others.
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Decree Review

Ilyon and Acktar Blog Tour Header

Tricia Mingerink’s newest novel Decree is releasing today! Decree is the fifth book in the Christian fantasy/kingdom adventure series The Blades of Acktar.

I first heard of The Blades of Acktar online long before I read them. I even attended a Facebook party in their honor where characters from the books showed up to chat, and though I enjoyed the party, I had no idea who the characters were or what their stories were.

When I finally got my hands on the first book, I was captivated by the rich, deep story and the truths in it. I quickly read the second book, then hunted for the Facebook party to read the backstory and character chats with my new understanding. When Book 4 was releasing, I splurged on Book 3 simply to read and review it before Book 4 came out – and when Book 5 was announced, I jumped at the chance.

Before we get into the review, here’s the official tour page.

Here’s my spotlight of this book and the two others in this tour. You can also find a giveaway for the whole Acktar series at that link.

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Decree: ten stories of varying lengths of our beloved Acktar characters. I appreciated the cohesion, even though they were at different times in Acktar’s history and followed different characters.

Meeting Martyn: Martyn was one of the characters I connected with earlier in the series, so reading his backstory and how he met Leith was adorable and heartstring-tugging. The author did an excellent job crafting his story to elicit sympathy, and the tentative meeting between him and Leith was everything it should be.

A Blizzard for Brandi: This was short and centered on Brandi’s musings – not as memorable as the other stories in this collection, but interesting as a support story.

The Blades as They Should’ve Been: This story was perfect. In a sense, it brought Leith’s story of involvement with the Blades full circle. Furthermore, the Keevan storyline is something the series needed. Previous books may not have presented Keevan as a convincing “good king” type, and seeing his struggles with accepting Leith was excellent. I loved how the baby factored into this, and I love how he had to choose to act on what’s right regardless of his feelings.

The First Mission: I loved this! It brought Martyn’s story full circle as well. His struggles, his choices, his realizations, his awkwardness with children . . . so perfect. Of course, Kayleigh was the perfect sidekick.

Honeymoon Holdup: Short and cute, this story was excellent. It was fun to read how Leith and Renna worked together so well!

The Wedding: This was a fun story, even though I don’t connect with Shad and Jolene as much as with other characters.

To the Far Great Mountains: Leith and Martyn are adventuring across Acktar together! What could go wrong . . . what couldn’t go wrong? I enjoyed this tale of their adventures together and this glimpse into what life as a Blade Marshal looked like. I loved the balance and the tension between their love for adventure and heroism and their desire for home and family – it perfectly set the scene for this story. Of course, Leith’s creativity strikes again!

The Healer and the Clerk: I loved this tale! So simple and so awkward . . . so much character growth and mistakes and failing and love and learning. I’m so glad Ranson starred in a story – he’s a great character, and his plot was excellent to read.

The Perfect Plan: This short story was set long before the other stories of Acktar, but it was interesting to read about Renna’s parents.

The Treaty: I loved this little tale of one of Leith and Martyn’s missions! Leith is so creative and resourceful, and watching him go after a law-breaker in a lawful manner is so refreshing and fun. I could read little tales like this one all day long.

All in all, I enjoyed this collection greatly! I look forward to future books in the series – this collection seems to bridge the way quite nicely.

Twelve Days of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . 

Merry Christmas! This year I’m partying over at my other blog, Resting Life, every day for twelve days leading up to Christmas! If you haven’t followed me at Resting Life yet, hop over to subscribe and follow so you don’t miss the fun. There will also be a giveaway . . .

Hop over there now to see a sneak peek of what’s coming December 14-25!

A blessed season of Christmas preparation – and rejoicing in the good news of Jesus Christ! – to you and yours!

Black Friday Book Sale 2018!

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Book-lovers, listen up! A HUGE sale is happening this weekend! Over 150 titles are available for either $0.99 or FREE! A long list of paperbacks are also on sale at incredibly discounted prices. And the good news is they are all clean reads. Be sure to go check out this amazing sale here.

You can find all my books on sale at that link as well – Promise’s Prayer in the paperback and fantasy sections (it’s not actually fantasy, since it has no magic, but that was the category the organizers chose to put it under), Gather ‘Round the Fables under Fantasy, Overrun By Your Love under Paperbacks and Non-Fiction, and Happiness Below under Historical/Western.

There is also a gigantic giveaway going on! The Grand Prize winner receives twenty paperbacks and the second place winner gets twenty e-book titles from the sale for free.

You can sign up for the giveaway here.

Giveaway runs from November 22 to November 26 @ 12 AM ET. Grand prize open to US winners only. Second place prize is open Internationally.

Second Place Winner Receives Twenty E-books
Gather Round the Fables by Erika Mathews
The Case of the Tabloid Tattler by Perry Kirkpatrick AudioBook
The Twelve Cats of Christmas by Perry Kirkpatrick Audiobook
Coffee Shop Christmas Ebook by Ryana Lynn Miller
The Land of Cotton ebook by Ryana Lynn Miller
Entertaining Angels – Entertaining Angels Book 1 by Emerald Barnes
Secrets Kept by Jennette Mbewe
The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue
Beyond Broken Pencils by Julie C. Gilbert
Ashlynn’s Dreams by Julie C. Gilbert
Soldier On by Vanessa Rasanen
Burning Rose by Hope Ann
Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels
Imani Earns Her Cape by Bokerah Brumley
October by J. Grace Pennington
Disowned by Sarah Addison Fox
My Compass Home by Michaela Bush
Summer Shadows and Necessary Evil by Killarney Traynor

Grand Prize Winner Receives 20 Paperbacks
Mythical Doorways by Jenelle Schmidt
Faith is the Victory by Faith Blum
Kiera by Kate Willis
Because Anonymous Diana L. Sharples
After: Book One in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski
Specter: Book Two in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski
Leandra’s Enchanted Flute by Katy Huth Jones
Eagle Eyes by Tammy Lash
London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn
When Beauty Blooms by Victoria Lynn
Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset by Sarah Ashwood
Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels
There Was Always Laughter in Our House by Sarah Holman
Bridgers: A Parable (paperback) by Angie Thompson
Love Blind (paperback) by Angie Thompson
Code by Angie Thompson
Christmas Eve at the Backdoor by Rebekah Morris
The Seven Drawers by Kendra E. Ardnek
He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen’s Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness by Sara Willoughby

Participating Authors
Kate Willis
Hope
C.B. Cook
Vincent Trigili
Malachi Cyr
E. J. Willis
Diana L. Sharples
Sarah Addison-Fox
Annie Douglass Lima
Marc Secchia
Katy Huth Jones
Savannah Jezowski
Kandi J Wyatt
Joan Lightning
Angela Watts
Ava Mallory
Sara Bourgeois
Jaye L. Knight
Sarah Ashwood
Killarney Traynor
Zanna Mackenzie
Valerie Howard
Bokerah Brumley
Kat Bellemore
Faith Blum
RJ Conte
Abigayle Claire
Tayla Alexandra
Kristen Iten
Emily Selby
Stephanie Damore
Erika Mathews
Frances Hoelsema
J. Grace Pennington
Rebekah A. Morris
Frankie Bow
Martha Fuller
Lena Karynn Tesla
Allison Tebo
Sarah Monzon
Victoria Lynn
Sonia Parin
T.I. Lowe
Lia London
Tammy Lash
maria grazia swan
Deany Ray
Paige Sleuth
Jenny Berlin
Annie Louise Twitchell
Jordaina Sydney Robinson
Kelsey Gietl
Kendra E. Ardnek
Frances Hoelsema
Stacy Juba
Laura Guenot
Michaela Bush
Tricia Mingerink
Hailey Rose
Ryana Lynn Miller
Angie Thompson
Nadine C. Keels
Kellyn Roth
Angie Thompson
Vanessa Rasanen
Julie C. Gilbert
Jennette Mbewe
C. S. Johnson
Amy Williams
April Lynn Newell
Lauren Lynch
Lea Doue
Kelsey Bryant
Avery Daniels
Sarah Holman
R.M. Archer
Emerald Barnes
Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
Cathy Perkins
Laura Jackson
P.D. Workman
Emily Hinkle
Hannah Loviisa
Claire Banschbach
Rebekah Jones
Faith Potts
Sara Willoughby

The Seven Drawers: Character Spotlight – Gwen

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Kendra E. Ardnek’s The Seven Drawers releases today, and I’m spotlighting Gwen, the main character.

I had the privilege of reading an early version of this book, and it was quite interesting and followed a unique and fascinating premise to a satisfying conclusion. I have the final book waiting for a free moment to reread it and from all I’ve heard, it’s even better.

Giveaway for five paperbacks here, as well as the full tour schedule.

Here’s Kendra, talking about Gwen:

Some characters I plan out in detail before sitting down to the paper to write them… 

Others, I have a situation, so I just throw a random blank slate into the mix and see what emerges. Such is what happened with Gwen in the Seven Drawers. Except that she wasn’t Gwen I first threw her in. Originally, I was going to call her “Blanche,” but I quickly changed it. To Jennifer, which it stayed through the first draft. However, when I plunged into the second draft after the Rooglewood winners were announced, I shifted the book to first person, and, since my only other book in first person was about a Jenifer, I knew I needed to change a name. Gwen also meant White, so I went with that.
Gwen proved to be a very different person than Jennifer had been. While both were recovering from losing everything, and both felt very lost in life, Gwen was taking charge of her situation almost as soon I dropped her into the story, where Jennifer had taken a couple chapters.
And maybe it was because I gave Gwen the tools to retake her life sooner than I gave them to Jennifer, but, honestly, Gwen had a backbone almost immediately. Yet, at the same time, she still fell apart multiple times through the book. Because grief isn’t something you conquer all at once. You take baby steps, and even take what seem like steps backward.
Now … wasn’t this supposed to be a spotlight … not a guest post about grief? Ah, well. Here we are!

Kendra E. Ardnek