The King’s Scrolls

Title: The King’s Scrolls (Ilyon Chronicles, Volume Two)

Author: Jaye L. Knight

Genre: Fantasy

Age: Marketed as NA (New Adult), but can be read by teens thirteen and up

Length: 397 pages

Publisher: Living Sword Publishing

Available at: Amazon and from the author


 

Summary:

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?


Positive Elements:

Characters face their fears; a character prays for those about to execute him; familial loyalty is shown as important; characters rely on their faith to give them courage.


Negative Elements:

One usage of “hell”.


Spiritual Elements:

Characters pray; Scripture is read; Elom (God)is acknowledged to be at work; a prayer is said for enemies.


Violence:

Characters are injured in various ways which include being stabbed, a mine collapse, torture, a knife, a dragon fight, whipping and being beaten; and falling from a dragon. A character is drugged, another is executed.


Other:

A character lies to save lives. a character betrays others.


Rating:

Five Stars


Summary:

The King’s Scrolls follows the intense beginning of an epic series started by Half Blood and Resistance. This book will warm your heart before ripping it to shreds, make you cry, and remind you why we in America are so fortunate to have easy access to the Bible and can live out our faith without persecution. The relationship between Kyrin and Kaden is touching as they look out for each other during particularly heart-wrenching difficulties, and I so enjoyed reading more about certain characters (*cough* the oldest Altair brothers *cough*). In short, if you want a book with marvelous characters, a strong faith message, and a plot that leaves you a fangirling, sobbing, and nail-biting mess, I encourage you to read The King’s Scrolls.

10 Christmas Gift Ideas for the Bookworm in Your Life

gifts for

Those who create Christmas wish lists are a blessing to those who shop. Others of us, bookworms, specifically, question why wish lists are even important.  Why scribble wishes down when we could be entrenched in a different world? This avoidant behavior aggravates, irritates, and exhausts the poor souls struggling to shop for the bookworm. So, this post is for you who live with a bookworm who won’t take a break long enough to give you some clue of what they want.


Gift Idea #1: Get your Bookworm a book.

Yes, this is the “no-brainer” of these ideas. But, really, get them a book.

While purchasing your Bookworm a book, don’t limit yourself to the latest releases. Look at books that were published a few years back. Or investigate the self-published section which features authors like Jaye L. Knight, Tricia Mingerink, and Bridgett Powers. Or buy them a classic. Books by Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne are sure to thrill almost every type of bookworm. Louisa May Alcott, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Jane Austen are also authors who have several often unthought-of books that will give you years’ worth of gifts for your Bookworm.

The Secret Admirer Romance Collection and The Underground Railroad Brides Collection are both wonderful books to buy for your romantic Bookworm, while Beast by Chawna Schroeder and Edge of Oblivion by Joshua A. Johnston are perfect for the more unusual Bookworm who prefers speculative fiction instead.

 


Gift Idea #2: Look into audio books for your Bookworm.

Cloak of the LightThere are few things more frustrating to a Bookworm than have to put down their book. How will they know the characters escaped unscathed? How can they focus on anything not knowing if the characters will admit their love for one another (that’s for the romance readers)?

You can ease your Bookworm’s fretting by surprising them with an audio book. Granted, not all books are on audio, but there is a fair collection of them that are. If your Bookworm is into fantasy, Jaye L. Knight’s Resistance, Tricia Mingerink’s Blades of Acktar series, and Chuck Black’s Wars of the Realm series are on audio. As a bonus, Black’s Kingdom series and Knights of Arrethtrae series (both written for younger readers but something the entire family can enjoy) are also on audio.


Gift Idea #3: Get your Bookworm a mug.

Even if your bookworm is not a coffee or tea person, it is likely they hot chocolate. So why not get them the perfect mug to drink from while immersing themselves in another world? While mugs with pretty designs are nice, tickle your Bookworm even more by finding them a mug that proclaims, well, their bookwormishness.

Amazon, CafePress, and Etsy are three places to look for such a mug. And, if you want to spice up the gift even more, throw in a packet of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate powder.


Gift Idea #4: Get your Bookworm a shirt.

can buy books

This goes along the same line as the mug idea. Your Bookworm can wear their shirt (one specifically for bookworms) everywhere. Amazon, Etsy, Redbubble, and Spreadshirt sell some absolutely hilarious t-shirts for book lovers, that will for sure draw a laugh from your Bookworm – if they can tear their eyes away from their latest reading project, that is.

 

 


Gift Idea #5: Get your Bookworm a magnetic bookmark.

Every Bookworm knows there is nothing worse than feeling around for their bookmark, whether it be a scrap of paper, gum wrapper, or whatever else is used to mark the reading spot.  Help your Bookworm in their moment of panic, by surprising them with a magnetic bookmark.

These handy little bookmarks are colorful, cheery, cute, and the thing that can save your Bookworm from resorting to desperate, barbaric measures (such as dogearing) to mark their spot. Magnetic bookmarks can be found at your local bookstore.  Amazon, Christian Artgifts, and CBD also carry adorable magnetic bookmarks.


Gift Idea #6: Get your Bookworm something from their favorite fandom.

books are staircasesThis is primarily for those who enjoy speculative fiction. Most Speculative Fiction authors have pens, shirts, bookmarks, bags, and more. This will thrill your Bookworm, because there is nothing like proclaiming to the world which fandom they belong to, or which characters they ship. Plus, it’s just too cool for a Bookworm to wear a shirt saying something along the lines of, “I belong to _____ fandom“. To find fandom pieces for your Bookworm, go to the author’s website.


Gift Idea #7: Get your Bookworm an autographed copy.

You can make your Bookworm’s day – or year – by surprising them with an autographed copy of their favorite book. First, contact the author. You can send them your Bookworm’s copy (but be ready to console the heartbroken Bookworm when they discover it missing), and have the author sign it. Be prepared to provide postage for it to be mailed back. Or, you can take the least expensive way, and purchase a new copy for your Bookworm directly from the author (don’t forget to ask for their autograph). Your Bookworm’s old copy can be donated to the local library.


Gift Idea #8: Get your Bookworm a gift card.

Dr. SeussThis is another “no-brainer”, but really is the answer to all your problems concerning your Bookworm. With a gift card, you don’t have to worry about gifting your Bookworm with a book they already have (or worse, one they don’t like).

As a side note, when considering a gift card for your bookworm, don’t forget about your local bookstores (if the Bookworm resides in the same town/area as you).

 


Gift Idea #9: Get your Bookworm a pair of socks.

Let me warn you that this is a gift not every Bookworm would appreciate (yours-truly included). But for those who would, this is a great gift. Surprise your Bookworm with a pair of soft, fuzzy socks that they can wear while reading. Your Bookworm will be comfy and warm. It also helps if said Bookworm appreciates “fashionable” clothing, as most fuzzy socks come bearing stripes, polka-dots, geometrical patterns, or prints of little animals.


Gift Idea #10: Get your Bookworm a notebook and/or pen

The second best thing to reading is smelling the pages of a crisp, new notebook or writing the first word with that new, ink-filled pen. Your bookworm will experience a unique thrill when they behold the gift, and will immediately plan what to put in the notebook with the new pen. Whether or not they will actually write in the notebook is a different topic. Just know that, whatever your Bookworm chooses to do with the gift, they will be immensely excited.


See? Shopping for your Bookworm really isn’t as hard and impossible as first believed. Whichever gift you choose for your Bookworm, whether it be a mug and tea, audio book, or something related to a particular fandom, they are sure to enjoy it.

So, go forth and shop without fear for your Bookworm!

When Motivation Goes on Strike

when motivation

Whether attempting to write an essay, blog, or a novel, we’ve all faced that moment when our minds go blank and we stare at the screen in confusion and bewilderment. It’s something every writer has experienced.

When motivation goes on strike, it sets off a chain reaction. It can initiate writer’s block, which erases any ideas we ever had, our mental energy drains, our eyes cross from staring at the screen, and we lose half our hair from pulling it out in frustration.

So, when our motivation decides to pack its bags and hightail it out of here, what can we do?

#1: Get Away

This might seem like an odd thing to do, but the one time you aren’t near the computer or laptop, inspiration will hit. Do chores. Do the dishes. Go to Walmart. Or mow the lawn or shovel snow. Your mind will go into creative overload, and you’ll likely lose what’s left of your sanity due to your inability to write it down at that precise moment. But what’s a little insanity when you can get that word count in, or get that scene written?

#2: Reread the Last Five Chapters

Sometimes, all you need is to go back and reread the last five chapters. Not only will this “refresh” your memory of what’s happening, but it also gets you back into the characters, and can stir your creative juices. Whatever situation your characters are in will be fresh in your mind, which makes it easier to cook up a solution – or even more problems for your characters.

jack london

#3: Watch a Movie

Watching a movie that is the same genre as your book will often spark ideas for your work-in-progress. Writing fantasy? Watch Lord of the Rings. Science Fiction? Rogue One. Just be sure that you don’t copy directly from whatever you watch. It’s fine to be inspired, but not to create the same scenario that can easily be identified as taken from a movie.

#4: Listen to Music

I have a theme song for each of my main characters, and other songs that apply to the book in general. Listening to “All of Me” by Ashes Remain helps me feel for and get in the mood to write my character who has a hard time believing God actually cares. Why? Because this song echoes what my character feels and experiences. “Stronger” by Mandisa and “I Can Wait” by Mikeschair are also songs critical in helping me write upcoming main characters.

Listening to music can also put you in the mood to write a particular scene. While “Lonely Are The Brave” by Two Steps From Hell inspires me for a particular, it reminds me of the series’ general feel: troubled and turbulent to triumphal.

So, find that song that inspires you for your character or a particular scene, listen to it, and be ready for inspiration to strike once again.

#5: Step Away

While this might seem like #1 reworded, there’s a big difference between getting away from a project for a few hours, and actually stepping away from a project for a few days, weeks, or even months.

I worked on one  WIP for seven month before my motivation appeared to take a permanent leave. As in, I had nothing. Nothing. Right when I was crafting my proposal, too. Talk about timing. When none of the aforementioned solutions helped me regain my motivation, I put the manuscript aside for the entire month of January. It was tough, but necessary. When I finally returned, I was slowly able to integrate myself back into my characters’ lives, their problems, and their world, and resume perfecting the proposal and manuscript.

Writing is difficult. But don’t let lack of motivation hold you back.

#6: Create

I’ve discovered that taking a few minutes to work on my potential author website designs, even though getting published is nowhere in my immediate future, really stirs the creative juices. While not everyone may know or be learning how to create websites, there are other ways to get creative as well. Draw a scene from your manuscript. Get out in nature and take pictures of places that would make good settings. Go on Pinterest and create a board for your book ideas. I have several, some of which are “Weapons”, “Situations Characters Find Themselves In”, and “Settings for Books”. These always give me some sort of inspiration or prod to go back to writing.

Writing is difficult. But don’t let lack of motivation hold you back. Find what works best for you for inspiration, and write!

Midnight’s Curse: A Cinderella Retelling

Title: Midnight’s Curse: A Cinderella Retelling (Beyond the Tales, Book 2)

Author: Tricia Mingerink

Publisher: Sword and Cross Publishing

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 342

Available: Wherever books are sold


Summary:

Midnight's Curse: A Cinderella Retelling (Beyond the Tales Book 2) by [Mingerink, Tricia]The glass slippers might be her dreams come true…or her worst nightmare.

High King Alexander rules the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia—a divided nation on the brink of yet another war. When an invitation arrives from the king of Pohatomie, Alex knows it must be a trap, but could it also be his opportunity to unite the kingdoms?

Daemyn Rand has lived a hundred years, served an arrogant prince, fallen in love with a princess, and lost himself somewhere along the way. He has already died for his loyalty. Will standing at the high king’s side cost him his last chance to truly live?

Elara Ashen is a lowly, miserable servant. All she wants is to spend even one night in a fancy dress dancing with the high king. When she is offered a pair of glass slippers, it seems that all her dreams have come true.

But dreams have a price, and gifts can be curses in disguise. What will it cost to stop this curse from tearing Tallahatchia apart yet again?

Fairy tales meet the Appalachian Mountains in this adventurous fantasy retelling of the classic Cinderella story.


Positive Elements:

A character strives to change himself for the better; forgiveness is shown; the importance of forgiveness, contentment, and friendship are realized.


Negative Elements:

None.


Violence:

A character recounts a confrontation with a bear; characters are injured by a pair of shoes; a character is beat up; a character is injured during a panic attack; guards are neutralized for the sake of escaping; a character is injured during a one-on-one fight.


Spiritual Content:

A character mentions how the High King (God) gives gifts as He sees fit; characters pray; a character is tricked by a Fallen Fae; the Highest Prince (Jesus) is mentioned and met, rescuing a character even though He is injured in doing so.


Other:

Characters kiss.


Rating:

4.5 Stars


Conclusion:

There are several fairy tale retellings, but few possess the creativity of Midnight’s Curse. Mingerink puts a creative, unique spin on a well-known, well-loved fairy tale to create an intriguing read filled with lovable characters. My favorite MC is Alex. He tries so hard, yet fails so often. I love the way his character is grown and stretched, and though his genuine attempts to right past wrongs often go awry, he continues pushing forward and doing his best. Midnight’s Curse is not a tale for those wanting cliche stories. Instead, you will fine real, relatable, and imperfect characters who will hold you captive during an unique read.

*I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Guardian of Ajalon

Book title: Guardian of Ajalon (The Poison Tree Path Chronicles, Book Three)

Author: Joan Campbell

Publisher: Enclave Publishing

Pages: 320

Genre: Fantasy


Summary:

 

The poison tree path is Shara’s road home . . . if she and her companions can survive the journey. In the danger and darkness of the forest, her only respite is in the story unlocked in the Old Tongue book. In this vivid world, Shara finally discovers what she has longed for all her life: the key to the secrets of her past. Yet time is running out for Shara–and all of Tirragyl–as Lord Lucian, King Alexor, and the royal army attack the Guardian Grotto to claim the powerful Guardian Rock.

Unwilling to sit idly by as her kingdom is destroyed, Queen Nyla leaves her hiding place to recruit a most unlikely army–the Charab. But how can she win over the infamous assassins who have been oppressed by her family for generations?


Positive Elements:

Characters are determined to save their land whatever the cost; mercy is shown; characters protect each other.


Negative Elements:

An inappropriate comment is made when a character is drunk.


Violence:

A character’s past deeds are discussed; characters are wounded by arrows; men are injured and die in war; a character is beaten, injured, and then murdered.


Spiritual Element:

Old Magic is mentioned and discussed; several objects are magical; wars are mentioned; God is referred to as Ancient of Kings and Great King; a character believes the High King has forgotten about them; Satan’s known by two different names, and his rebellion and subsequent actions are told; dark magic is mentioned; characters praise the Ancient One; characters pray; an allegory of Christ’s death is told.


Other:

There is one usage of “shut up”; characters drink beer; a character gets drunk.


Rating:

5 Stars


Conclusion:

Where to begin… Guardian of Ajalon is one of those rare books that deeply stirs your emotions. You will find yourself wanting to cry, shout, and laugh. You will find yourself holding your breath as dangers grow. You will find yourself rooting for and encouraging the characters. Not only does Campbell create fallible and real characters, she weaves together incredible scenery, and an intense plot line. Guardian of Ajalon is not a book you want to miss out on.

*I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley, with no requirements for a positive review.

 

Midnight’s Curse: A Cinderella Retelling

Title: Midnight’s Curse: A Cinderella Retelling (Beyond the Tales, Book 2)

Author: Tricia Mingerink

Publisher: Sword and Cross Publishing

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 342

Available: Wherever books are sold


Summary:

Midnight's Curse: A Cinderella Retelling (Beyond the Tales Book 2) by [Mingerink, Tricia]The glass slippers might be her dreams come true…or her worst nightmare.

High King Alexander rules the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia—a divided nation on the brink of yet another war. When an invitation arrives from the king of Pohatomie, Alex knows it must be a trap, but could it also be his opportunity to unite the kingdoms?

Daemyn Rand has lived a hundred years, served an arrogant prince, fallen in love with a princess, and lost himself somewhere along the way. He has already died for his loyalty. Will standing at the high king’s side cost him his last chance to truly live?

Elara Ashen is a lowly, miserable servant. All she wants is to spend even one night in a fancy dress dancing with the high king. When she is offered a pair of glass slippers, it seems that all her dreams have come true.

But dreams have a price, and gifts can be curses in disguise. What will it cost to stop this curse from tearing Tallahatchia apart yet again?

Fairy tales meet the Appalachian Mountains in this adventurous fantasy retelling of the classic Cinderella story.


Positive Elements:

A character strives to change himself for the better; forgiveness is shown; the importance of forgiveness, contentment, and friendship are realized.


Negative Elements:

None.


Violence:

A character recounts a confrontation with a bear; characters are injured by a pair of shoes; a character is beat up; a character is injured during a panic attack; guards are neutralized for the sake of escaping; a character is injured during a one-on-one fight.


Spiritual Content:

A character mentions how the High King (God) gives gifts as He sees fit; characters pray; a character is tricked by a Fallen Fae; the Highest Prince (Jesus) is mentioned and met, rescuing a character even though He is injured in doing so.


Other:

Characters kiss.


Rating:

4.5 Stars


Conclusion:

There are several fairy tale retellings, but few possess the creativity of Midnight’s Curse. Mingerink puts a creative, unique spin on a well-known, well-loved fairy tale to create an intriguing read filled with lovable characters. My favorite MC is Alex. He tries so hard, yet fails so often. I love the way his character is grown and stretched, and though his genuine attempts to right past wrongs often go awry, he continues pushing forward and doing his best. Midnight’s Curse is not a tale for those wanting cliche stories. Instead, you will fine real, relatable, and imperfect characters who will hold you captive during an unique read.

*I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Launch

Title: Launch (Rise of the Annointed, Book One)

Author: Jason Joyner

Publisher: Little Lamb Books

Genre: Supernatural

Pages: 296

Available: Amazon, Barnes and Noble


Summary:

Sixteen-year-olds Demarcus Bartlett and Lily Beausoliel are among a select group of youth invited to an exclusive, all-expenses-paid conference at social media giant Alturas’ California headquarters. Led by charismatic founder Simon Mazor, the world’s youngest billionaire, this isn’t the typical honors society. It seems that everyone here has some secret, untapped potential, some power that may not be entirely of this world. An ancient prophecy suggests that if these teens combine their abilities, they could change the course of history. The only question is: Will it be for better or for worse?

 


Positive Elements:

Characters recognize when they are in the wrong; characters learn the importance of faith; characters learn the importance of handing difficulties over to God.


Negative Elements:

Harry Potter is referenced; one usage each of “sucked” and “hell”.

 


Violence:

A character mentions she was bullied; select memories of a character are erased; characters are put under mind influence; a character hurts himself (although to prove a point); characters harm and injure others; characters are caught in an explosion, resulting in various injuries.


Spiritual Elements:

Characters pray; a character reflects that God’s ways are not man’s; occurrences in the Bible are remembered\told; characters’ faith grows; gifts are said to be from God.


Other:

Characters call others names; rules are disobeyed (though later it is apparent it was for the best).


Rating:

Four Stars


Conclusion:

I’m not a big fan of current day supernatural stories, but Launch was a pleasant surprise. Not only does this YA, award-winning novel include a unique plot, but it is full of relatable characters and quirky humor, contains a strong faith element, and has one of the best villains I’ve read – a man who genuinely believes he’s doing the right thing. My favorite character was Demarcus. Joyner did wonderfully in crafting a strong personality and drive to do right. In short, Launch is the beginning of a unique series, and well deserves it’s four star rating.

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.