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This blog is managed by us two sisters, known to some as Ants and Epic. We're a pair of up-and-coming authors and avid readers. This blog is mainly full of honest, Christian book-reviews and an occasional update about our writing. We love hearing from you all so feel free to drop a comment anywhere to just say hi!
Also, got any book suggestions? Something you'd like to see reviewed? Leave the title in the comments and we'll try to get to it!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Half-Blood Blog Tour: Author Interview and Book Review + Giveaway!

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  A little while back we had the honor of helping out with the cover reveal for Jaye L. Knight's newest book in the Ilyon Chronicles, Half-Blood. We are pleased to be able now to share with you the officially released book!

Summary: 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 . . .

Thoughts: Well, not too much of this story was unknown to previous readers of Resistance and the King's Scrolls...but that didn't make it hurt any less. This is a story of tragedy, brutality, and the breaking of a gentle heart. Jace's story is a tough one to face but that probably makes the end, and the knowledge of where he is now, all the more uplifting. While she didn't enter into this book, reading Jace's past life simply made me love Kyrin's scenes with him all the more! This is a novella and would be a quick read if it wasn't so tear jerking but the beautiful end assures us that there is always hope in God's world!

Content: This is definitely the most violent of Jaye's stories, but she keeps it from being offensive and focuses more on the point, the why and how it affects the characters. There is also mention of 'volatile acts' against women, but this is handled tactfully to, again, make a point without being offensive or inappropriate. So aside from nearly illegal amounts of heartbreak and suffering induced almost as much on the reader and the characters, this is a safe and clean read!

Available on Amazon!

Discover Ilyon in Resistance and The King’s Scrolls.

And now for the interview:

Displaying JayeAuthor2015.jpg  Hi Jaye! First off, what was your inspiration for Half-Blood? Why did you decide to tell Jace's past?

Once I discovered during the writing and planning process that Jace had been a gladiator, I had a lot of ideas in my mind for his back story. Originally, I wanted to write his meeting with Rayad from his point of view as a short story. That sat around for a long while until this last winter when I was discussing it with my mom. We both thought it would be a good idea for me to write the story and offer it as a freebie. Well, as my stories have a tendency to do, it grew . . . and grew . . . and grew. Every time I’d start writing, I had ideas for scenes earlier in his life. Next thing I knew, I was starting out when he was six years old and I wrote it all from there. Since Jace’s days as a slave and gladiator completely shape who he is in the main series, I wanted for readers to be able to see that time in his life so they could understand him even better and see just how much he grows and changes by the end of it all.
Why gladiators? What inspired your idea of using gladiators as part of your story?

Jace didn’t start out as a former gladiator, just a slave. About halfway into writing Resistance, I happened to watch a show on the History Channel about gladiators. It was so fascinating that it really got my imagination flowing. The next thing I knew, all these ideas for Jace started pouring in. Now I can’t imagine Jace as anything else. It’s just one of the ways God has shaped this story as I’ve gone along.
        And last but not least, do you have any plans for future novellas?

As I mentioned, my stories have a tendency to grow beyond what I originally planned. (Just look at Ilyon Chronicles. It started out as a trilogy.) But I do have a series of three stories I’ve been planning for a while that may be novellas. I won’t know until I actually write them. I also have a Cinderella story I’d love to write that would probably be novella length.

 Oh! That sounds so great! I can't wait to see those!

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, Etsy, and on her new fiction forum where you can interact with other readers of the series!

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Share in the excitement of the release and 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.)

And be sure to check out the rest of the blogs on the tour!

Tuesday, July 14

Wednesday, July 15

Thursday, July 16

Friday, July 17

Saturday, July 18

Sunday, July 19

Monday, July 20

Tuesday, July 21

Wednesday, July 22

     Tour Conclusion at Jaye L. Knight 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book Review: Five Enchanted Roses

Summary: Rediscover the Enchantment!
   A ship bearing the souls of sinful sailors drifts upon a ghostly sea. An abbey looms as the final defense between mortals and ghouls of the underworld. In the stillness of a throne room, statues stand forever frozen in a moment of terror. Monsters and men stalk their prey deep in the jungle’s shadows. A rose blooms in the dead of winter, sheltered in the ruins of an ancient Scottish castle.
And only true love can free the Beast from his prison.

Thoughts: This was an amazingly talented collection of stories so very different from any other possible retelling of Beauty and the Beast! While definitely darker than it's predecessor, Five Glass Slippers,  Five Enchanted Roses is well worth the read!
 The first story, Espirit De La Rose, is about, wonder of wonders, a ghost ship! While this at first threw me off it became easy to see how Beauty and the Beast fit so well into this story and made me wonder why no on had thought of it before. This one has, personally, the best ending and (possible spoiler) a child who made my day!
 The second story, Wither, has an intriguing cast in one of the most terrifying worlds I'd ever read about! It was wonderful...just maybe not my favorite story. I was a little disappointed with the end but still enjoyed it and it's characters very much!
 The third, Stone Curse, was an interesting story that starts after the curse, with our Heroine already familiar with our Beast. She ends up leaving him in search of the vaguest notion as to why on earth the curse exists! A fun tale with a shocking climax and well planned setting.
 The fourth, Rosara and the Jungle King, was probably my favorite. With such an other worldly setting, it felt like I was listening to an old African or Indian tale rather than a brand new retelling! The characters were interesting and drew me into their story with ease! Plus it has a breathtaking ending!
 The fifth, The Wulver's Rose, was the more gentle of all the stories. Soft and sweet with it's own dark thread, it weaves a story more similar to the one we're all familiar with. What I really loved about this one was the tightly knit families mentioned, a rare theme in stories nowadays and, while present in most of these tales, was most prominent here.
  Over all this is a collection you don't want to miss!

Content: All the stories are a little dark, at least two stories include ghosts and ghouls and most talk of witches or dark magic. There is kissing, which is to be expected. The worst was that in most of the stories there was either mention, fear of, or even near rape. While handled well and never actually happening it is still there so readers be aware that a certain level of maturity might be required to read these. Really though, it wasn't much and could easily go over younger reader's heads. These are, for the most part, clean reads with much more pronounced Christian themes than the last series!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Review: Five Glass Slippers

Summary: One Beloved Story - Five Exciting Writers - A Collection to Cherish!
 What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball? Or when the slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined to oust an imposter prince from her rightful throne? Or when she is a cendrillon miner working from a space station orbiting a cthonian planet? What happens when Cinderella, a humble housemaid, is sent with a message for a prisoner trapped in a frightening fairy circus? Here is Cinderella as you have never met her before, wearing glass slippers and off on unforgettable adventures!

Thoughts: doesn't get any more different than this! If you thought you had seen every single possible retelling of this age old and therefore worn out tale...think again! These authors managed to actually create new and exciting tales that, while somehow magically holding true to their base, create absolutely new and previously un-thought of stories!
  The first is a calm little tale full of romance and an interesting twist even had us (the most unromantic girls!) enjoying the conclusion!
  The second is full of snappy humor and wit that you don't often see now a days but that its wonderful to read. I found myself snickering quite often.
  The third has a very determined girl who already knows what many would have thought to be a big reveal, leaving you doubting her claims until a surprising and chaotic conclusion!
 The fourth is my personal favorite! The world building that was managed in such a short space blew me away, not to mention a fairly large cast of tightly knit characters and little focus on actual romance. Plus, I loved the sci-fi setting!
  The last has the best opening, eerie and full of spooks, enough to give me chills when I started reading it alone. I admit the ending was a little predictable but I really enjoyed the mystically enchanting way it started out (mysterious circuses and fairs have always been fascinating to me!).
Overall a great and interesting read for those who thought Cinderella was too worn out to be retold and those fans of the classic story who can never get enough!

Content: Aside from the occasional spook and a teensy bit of violence (mostly in the last story) there's little to mention. Being a romantically based story, there's plenty of kissing and a bit of a scandal mentioned in past context, handled tactfully, but involving an illegitimate child. This is only a small part and briefly dwelt upon, leaving the series almost entirely clean!