Thursday, December 15, 2016

Jeffrey A. Davis - Revenge of the Ninja

Revenge of the Ninja
The Adventure Chronicles #1

By Jeffrey A. Davis

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)

Jamie and Yoshi are late twentieth century members of the Funakoshi ninja clan who were trained by Yoshi’s uncle, Tanemura Funakoshi. When the Waruiyatsu, a sinister clan with an ancient grudge, attack Jamie’s high school and hold his classmates hostage in an effort to bring Tanemura and his two students into the open, Jamie and his clan sister are forced to attempt a rescue. 

Going along are a close group of friends, each with his own interest in the fighting arts. From Dave, whose muscle-bound frame and love of a good scuffle are overshadowed by his cheerful personality and kind heart, to Buster, whose Bible is his greatest weapon, each of their friends has a loyalty to them and each other that is stronger than the Waruiyatsu can ever fathom.

This is a story of courage, friendship, and faith ....

About the Author (from Amazon)

Jeffrey Allen Davis was born on March 2, 1975, in St. Charles, MO.The youngest of three boys, he was sheltered by his loving mother. Instead of going out to parties when he was in high school, he stayed at home and watched 80s ninja movies or played RPGs with his fellow geeks (a term that he uses affectionately). These experiences have found their way into his writing. His first book, "Invasion of the Togakura", was released in 2003 by Publish America. It's sequel, "Klandestine Maneuvers", was published by the same company in 2005. After a five-year hiatus from publishing, Davis founded a new press for his third book, "Lily's Redemption." A rewrite of his first book, retitled "Invasion of the Ninja," was released in 2013.

Davis is a licensed Baptist preacher and lives in the St. Louis area with his wife, daughter and two stepchildren.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

A few years back, Jeffery Davis contacted me, asking if I would review his book, and I agreed, since the premise of a Christain Ninja novel appealed to me, not so much because I enjoy ninjas, but because I have cousins who do, and I wanted to see if it was a book that I could give to them.

I started the book right away, and finally finished it a few months ago, feelings very mixed. It wasn't entirely the book's fault that it took me so long to read it - I switched kindles in the middle of it, and since it was a review file, it wasn't easy for me to skip ahead through the book to where I'd left off. It wasn't until late last year that I was given my old kindle back and was able to finish the book. Still, since I wasn't interested in burrowing through the book to find my place, it meant that I wasn't invested - and I was halfway through the book. I should have been invested by that point.

Honestly, I think that the premise still holds a lot of promise. A ninja tribe converted to Christianity, but decide to retain their traditions and skills (the ones that don't involve mysticism, that is). I've been toying with a people group who did the exact same thing in one of my own books. The further premise that they're being attacked by one of their old rivals, I loved that, too. 

The problem with this book is a problem I see in many Christian books. It tries to do too much. Address all of the issues. As a result, the characters are molded to bring issues, rather than the issues brought up in response to the characters. There was a huge cast, but the only one whose name I can remember is Yoshi, and there are only a few distinct personalities that I can pick out from the rest of the crowd. I have a good memory when it comes to books. I don't forget people. But I was so meh about all of these characters that only the main character and the preacher kid, and the preacher kid's love interest stand out in my mind. Oh, and Yoshi's ... uncle, I believe it was.

The main character, Jamie (just referred to the book's description to get his name...), is an American kid who was honorarily adopted by Christian Ninja tribe after a run-in with thugs a few years back where he showed fighting promise. Now he keeps quiet about his ninja skills at school ... until a bully pushes him over the edge. Oh, and then the rival tribe shows up and besieges them in school.

After that, the book alternates between action scenes and conversations about Sensitive Topics.

Topics like swearing, salvation, domestic violence, saving yourself for marriage...

Granted, these are important topics that need to be addressed, but this wasn't necessarily the best book for them. It felt as though the characters were built for the sole reason of talking about these issues. In short, it came out preachy. Even for a book with a preacher kid in it. There was even an awkward jab at abortion at the end that just ... fell flat.

I might have forgiven it, if it hadn't ignored the glaring issues that the book was MADE to address. Violence and the dangers of mysticism. There was a LOT of fighting. Sure, the characters would express remorse for outright killing, but they had no problems with knocking characters unconscious, which, contrary to popular belief, can potentially kill someone. If a knock to the head is hard enough to render you unconscious, it's enough to kill you.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-fighting, and I knew what I was getting into. Giving that the enemies were trying to kill our characters, I don't blame them for fighting back. I just wanted there to be more than just a few moment's remorse, and an acknowledgement that they'd not come out of the incident the same when it was over.

Mysticism was addressed even less. A bit at the front of "oh, we don't follow those ways," and then at the end when a prophecy popped out of nowhere and uncle claimed that it might actually have weight.

And then the villains were ... faceless. They were there for no reason but to be fought. Oh, and they're trying to kill the main cast, and traumatized Yoshi when she was younger, but they had no individual personalities.

My other issue was the flashbacks. They're clearly marked, but I failed to notice and was seriously confused on the first one. Normally, I'd forgive them, since they're marked, but almost of the information you learn in the flashbacks is either pointless or it could have been just as easily conveyed in a three minute conversation elsewhere. I'm not a huge fan of flashbacks, though - I've rarely found a book with them that I felt handled it well - so this may be a me-issue.

I don't hate this book, and I don't feel that the time reading it was wasted. I'm just very meh about it. And I don't want to feel meh about a book.

Genre/Theme: Action/Adventure, Christian, Contemporary

Reading Level: TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language, as far as I can remember, though glancing through the other reviews, it is stated that a character does swear, but his words aren't given. 
Sexuality: SUBTLE - hinted, but not explicit. Two of the characters have a discussion about waiting until marriage to have sex. 
There is a LOT of fighting. I forget how graphic it was, though, because I tend to skim action scenes.  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Jennifer Freitag - Plenilune


By Jennifer Freitag

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)
The fate of Plenilune hangs on the election of the Overlord, for which Rupert de la Mare and his brother are the only contenders, but when Rupert’s unwilling bride-to-be uncovers his plot to murder his brother, the conflict explodes into civil war.

To assure the minds of the lord-electors of Plenilune that he has some capacity for humanity, Rupert de la Mare has been asked to woo and win a lady before he can become the Overlord, and he will do it—even if he has to kidnap her.

En route to Naples to catch a suitor, Margaret Coventry was not expecting a suitor to catch her.

About the Author (from Amazon)
JENNIFER FREITAG (1990 - ) is the author of Christian historical fiction (THE SHADOW THINGS), and planetary fantasy (PLENILUNE). She was born and raised in the piedmont of South Carolina, and lives there with her husband and daughter. Her literature opens up brave new worlds to her readers, and she continues to dedicate her time to the pursuit of writing.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

Having read Jenny's historical fiction The Shadow Things, and since her blog is one of my favorites to read, I knew I was going to love her newest book. I bought pre-order and plunged in as soon as it appeared on my Kindle.

It's a big book, and thus it took me a good few months to read properly. Jenny's writing isn't to be read in great gulps, and I had to ration myself properly. This isn't a story for the faint of heart.

I had known from The Shadow Things that Jenny doesn't shy away from the stark ugliness of human depravity, and this book was no exception. It's not a story for young readers, and there are a number of shocking incidents, some of which I'd have rather she'd left out.

The plot, at face value, seems to be that a Beauty and the Beast formula. Margaret is kidnapped and held captive by a less than kind fellow, who expects her to marry her. But then the fox shows up.

I can't say much about the fox, but he's one of my favorite characters. I might have been biased, because he shares many similarities with a fox character that I have in my own writing, but I agree with many of the other readers - this book is worth a read just for the fox.

The book takes place on the moon - though apparently not the moon that the Apollo astronauts visited, for, senery-wise, the place is little different than earth. There are plants, forests, animals - indeed, it seemed to be the same plants, forests, and animals that we have on our own sphere - and there are houses and people and wars. Really, the only difference between the world of Plenilune and our own is that Plenilune has magic.

So I was a bit disappointed in the world building, though you really won't notice with the thickness of the writing.

I recommend this to older readers who are willing to slough through thick writing and have a stomach for some pretty nasty situations. 

Genre/Theme: Planetary Fantasy, Romance, Christian

Reading Level:  Mature TEEN - high school to college to
ADULT - self-explanatory 
Profanity: MODERATE - It get worse as the book goes through
Sexuality: MILD - Rupert kisses Margaret several times, once biting her in the process. There is a strong reference to the actual act, and towards the end a man is condemned for a pretty nasty sex crime (basically, the girl was dead). 
It ... gets gory, especially the further the story goes. There are wars all through the final third, at which point I began skimming, so I'm not entirely sure exactly HOW bad it was - though I distinctly remember a guy getting his face sliced off - but I do know it didn't shy away from the ugliness of war. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Morgan Huneke - Crannig Castle

Crannig Castle
Time Captives Trilogy

By Morgan Elizabeth Huneke

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)

God, please look after Adriel. Keep him safe and keep him from acting foolish. And please help him to be able to find me.

Rae knew she could trust God to look after both of them. It was all she had now.

The Time Captives have been reunited. The rightful king has been freed. Now all that remains is to defeat the strytes who still hold a tyrannical rule over the people of Calhortz. But with their lack of soldiers, it’s a task that is easier said than done. They need allies, but are they worth it when it requires facing ghosts from their pasts?

Returning to his home country only brings the loss of Adriel’s family to the forefront of his mind. His determination to find Rae has never ceased, but now that determination could potentially destroy all that he and the Time Captives have been working towards. And his new-found faith may not be able to withstand the challenge.

Will they be able to set aside their personal struggles for the sake of the freedom of all or will they allow their pasts to consume them? Will they manage to win back Crannig Castle from the rule of the strytes? The fate of Calhortz hangs in the balance.

Crannig Castle is the final book of the Time Captives trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom

About the Author (from Amazon)

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars and The Experiment. To learn more about Morgan and her work, visit: or

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

Well, here it is, at last, the final volume of the Time Captives trilogy. Please pay no mind to the shattered pieces of my heart that are scattered over the floor.

The Time Captives is one of the most unique portal fantasies that I've ever read. So much so that I have harped on the author for the "next book" since I read the first one, and she has obligingly sent me beta copies in exchange for my feedback. This book was no exception, and then she also sent me an ARC to review. (Which I then ignored and just preordered the book and read it again as soon as it appeared on my kindle.)

It's hard to believe that this series has come to an end already, and while I'm thrilled to finally know how it ends, there's a large part of my that's in denial that it's over. And I might be plotting a fanfic.

The story begins directly after the events of the previous book, and it's time to do what the Time Captives were sent to Calhortz to do - free the people from the strytes' oppresive rule and instate the true king. Of course, there is the fact that the strytes have a large army and that will be an issue.

The first half of the book deals with gathering allies. Some are easy to convince, but are small in number, such as the elves, merfolk, and kalicans. The events of the companion novel, Espionage, come into play as they seek the aid of the neighboring country of Briznom. Then there are the true people of Briznom - who have been made slaves.

The second half of the book deals with what happens when things go terribly wrong while seeking the aid of the slaves.

There were some intense moments in the previous books, but this final volume took it to a whole new level. Since the Time Captives are all together now, it is no longer necessary for them to be held in place in time, so now they can change, age, be injured, and ... unfortunately ... die. If you're an emotional reader, bring tissues.

There are a LOT of characters in this trilogy, but most of them are well develloped and have their moments to shine. Most of them go through excellent character devellopment. Some will annoy you, others are endearing, a few will break your heart.

The message was excellent, though I think that the worldbuilding surrouding how Christianity fits into the world could and should have been stronger. It wasn't bad, and fine for younger readers, but it was never really explained - you were given the general notion that it's simular to how it is in our world, but it was never explained why. My take is that the people came from our world originally and the customs carried over, but it was never discussed.

However, while the history of the world could have been much better (you learn practically nothing past when the strytes came in and conqured Calhortz), all other aspects of the worldbuilding were much better. Diverse cultures and rich landscapes and geography abound. It's well worth a visit.

If you love Christain Fantasy or Portal fantasy, this is a book you don't want to miss.

Genre/Theme: Fantasy, Portal Fantasy, Christian

Reading Level: CHILD - children's literature to
TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: NONE - not even hinted at 
There's quite a bit of fighting in this book. Nothing is really described, but injuries, and even deaths, happen. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Kirsten Fitcher - The Rose and the Balloon

The Rose and the Balloon
Once Upon a Twist #1

By Kirsten Fitcher

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)

In a kingdom where fauna and flora are held in higher esteem than breakfast, Dmitri is a prince who yearns for change and plans it in a single daring act that will alter his life forever. However, when his demented mother accidentally causes the destruction of a prized garden of roses, Dmitri is horrified when she proposes his hand in marriage to make up for it. Not only will a wife hamper his glorious plans, he doesn't even want one.

Janelle has spent her whole life on her father's rose farm, tending the roses and staying simple. But she really yearns for something greater than the flower beds. But now there's a wrench thrown in the works – the crazy Queen Maeva wants her to marry the prince, and all for ruining her father's beloved roses.

This is Beauty and the Beast with a twist like you've never seen it before.

About the Author (from Amazon)

No author description available

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

Have you ever watched Disney's Beauty and the Beast and thought to yourself, "This could use a bit less magic."? If so, then this is the book for you.

Anyone who has known me for any amount of time knows that I love fairy tales. However, Beauty and the Beast is that one fairy tale that's very hit and miss for me, and I've so far only found a handful of retellings of if that I actually liked, and one was a Hidden Object Adventure game.

However, having read a good deal of the author's unpublished work and absolutely loved it, when she told me that she wanted to publish her Beauty and the Beast story, I was willing to give it a try and encouraged her to publish it, and then signed up for the review.

Well, I didn't dislike it. And, perhaps, I would have liked it more had I not then followed it up by reading an absolutely amazing retelling of Rapunzel that very day. In fact, I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys the story of Beauty and the Beast.

If this hadn't been labeled with Beauty and the Beast, I probably would have loved it, despite a slightly awkward rushing of the conflict's resolution and a slight lack in backstory setup - this author was made to write long books, and I would have loved to have seen this story been given a bit more space.

There was one glaring problem that I had with the story: It's not a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It's a reimagining of the Disney movie.

I don't dislike the Disney movie.  It's not my favorite, but it's not bad, either. However, it does bother me when people forget that it IS ITSELF A RETELLING. It's not the original fairy tale, in fact, it's VERY different from the original tale.

However, there were really only one or two moments where the similarities were very glaring, and they were only made obvious by the inclusion of "Beauty and the Beast" on the cover, so as I said, I don't dislike the story, and I do recommend it. If nothing else, read it for the antics of the prince's mother who's a bit ... touched in the head, and his twin younger siblings, Nicolas and Nicolette. Those younger two made the story, and I'd love to read a book all about them.

Genre/Theme: Fairy Tale Retelling, Steampunk

Reading Level: CHILD - children's literature 
TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: NONE - not even hinted at 
Violence and adult themes noted as necessary 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hope Ann - Song of the Sword

Song of the Sword
Legends of Light

By Hope Ann

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)
A glittering sword.
An ancient oath.
A blackened rose.
And a melody which ties it all together.

Evrard and Roinette, twins separated at birth, are caught in a battle beyond their own limited powers. With their ability to walk in the melody realm, catching glimpses of the light and darkness underlying Aslaria, comes even more danger.

Deadly mistbenders. Writhing walls of blankness. Hateful drumbeats. As a warrior in the Melody, Evrard has seen it all. But his own ability in the melody realm pales in comparison to the Prince’s melody, the legendary prowess of past Wingmasters, and even the depth of his sister’s song.

To rescue Roinette and evade the trap almost certainly set for him by those who want his power, Evrard knows he’ll have to be careful. Even if he can find the Wingmaster’s sword, there’s no assurance he’ll be able to defeat a mistbender on his own. In the end, will his and Roinette’s efforts matter if the Prince brings an ancient oath to fulfillment, shaking the very foundation of Aslaria?

Perfect for those who love fantasy, but don’t have the time to sit down for a full-length novel, this second novella in the Legends of Light series presents the story of Rapunzel as you have never read it before. A fantasy saturated story, with mist covered Shadowfens, ancient oaths, and a legendary sword, this is more than a mere retelling of a favorite fairy tale.

Each novella focuses on one of the nine aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit while also following the conflict between the Prince and Tauscher and retelling popular fairy tales in a clean, exciting, and inspiring manner.

About the Author (from Amazon)
Hope Ann is a Christian wordsmith, avid reader, and dedicated authoress. With the help of her resident realm leapers, Kirin and Elena, she loves to research published legends, like Lord of the Rings, as well as recount her own tales of undiscovered lands.

Her time is taken up with writing, reading, archery, knife throwing, playing with inspirational photos, helping care for the house and eight younger siblings, and generally enjoying the adventures of life on a small farm at the crossroads of America.

You can follow Hope, find out more about her realm leapers and join their Legend Seekers Guild at

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

I love fantasy, but there are two facets of fantasy that, done well, rise above all the others in my humble little opinion. Fairy tale retellings and Christian Fantasy. So when the two genres are combined, of course I want to read them.

The Legends of Light is a series of fairy tale retellings based on the Fruits of the Spirit. I haven't read the first book yet even though it's sitting on my kindle. (It's Beauty and the Beast and ... I don't know why, but that's the one fairy tale that I don't enjoy having retold) However, when the author revealed that the second book was a retelling of Rapunzel and focused on joy, I volunteered to review it at once.

I read it in one afternoon. Sure, it's a short book, but I've also been in a reading slump.

It's a very loose retelling of Rapunzel, choosing to take the core themes of the tale - singing, the tower, long hair - and weave it into a beautiful allegory infused with the central theme of joy. This story isn't a romance, instead it's the story of twins separated at birth.

Evrard is a wingmaster, a hereditary position of great power - he's the one man who can enter the Melody, a realm of spiritual warfare, and communicate with the Messenger Falcons. Which are sentient birds who fully exist in both the tangible world and Melody at the same time. However, he lacks the power of the wingmasters before him. Andrinian, the head of the Messenger Falcons, thinks it's because he has a twin.

Which he does. Roinette has been hidden away in a swamp since her childhood. Not necessarily in a tower, she can come and go as she wishes, but there is one nearby that she can retreat to for safety. When she enters Melody one day to find the battle raging between the Prince and Tauscher, she rescues and heals Andrinian, thus alerting them to her presence - for such is a power only possessed by the wingmaster family.

Though Evard has been skeptical of the twin theory up until this point, now that it has been confirmed, he resolves to do everything he can to reunite with her.

What follows is a fast-passed, twisting adventure imbued with rich truths. There were more than a few plot twists, though none were wild enough to blow my mind. The characters were engaging. My favorite was Punzel, Roinette's ... well, pet isn't the right word ... companion fen-hopper, which is a sort of winged cat. Which also talks.

This is an allegory, which I didn't know going into the book, but I quite liked that aspect of the story. It wasn't the most powerful I've ever read, but the book's focus was more on joy rather than salvation, so I can forgive that.

The worldbuilding was intriguing, though due to the condensed size of the book, I did feel lost at times. Perhaps I would have had a better idea if I had read the prequel, but I do feel that this story should have been a bit longer - though that's my only complaint.

This was an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

Genre/Theme: Fairy Tale Retelling, Christian Fantasy, 

Reading Level: 
CHILD - children's literature 
TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
NONE - no offensive language 
NONE - not even hinted at 
There is fighting on physical and spiritual levels, but there aren't any details that would leave you with nightmares. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Kendra E. Ardnek - Water Princess, Fire Prince

Water Princess, Fire Prince
The Rizkaland Legends

By Kendra E. Ardnek

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)

When the Lady Dragon does come,
Hold fast, do not fear, do not run.
Your Water Princess will fight
Fire Prince will set all to right
Each shall come from a fall
Their Union will save you all.

Despite the fact that she's on track for competing in the Olympics, and he's practically raised his younger brothers since they lost their mom in a car accident, Clara Mandras and Andrew Stevenson are pretty much normal teens. They have normal hopes, normal dreams, and they live in a normal world.

All this is torn away from them when they are thrust into another world and declared Water Princess and Fire Prince. With no experience ruling a country, meeting each other for the first time, and being expected to fight the Lady Dragon – an evil sorceress plaguing the world of Rizkaland – Clara and Andrew are underprepared and inexperienced. Unless they learn to work together despite their standing opposition, Rizkaland's hope will be lost.

What is to come will change their lives forever.

About the Author (from Amazon)

Kendra E. Ardnek has been writing her own stories since she was a toddler. She fell in love with books, drama, and fairy tales at a very young age - and has been filling notebooks with her stories for years. Joining NaNoWriMo gave her an opportunity to be a published author at 16.

She writes her own blog (, homeschools, cooks, knits, and crafts when she isn't writing stories and acting them out with her younger cousins and siblings.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Tenya

This is a well-crafted story by a maturing author about young people who are snatched from reality and thrust through a portal into a fantasy world which is dependent upon them for its very survival.  The book is full of spiritual allegory and symbolism which gives the tale another facet of meaning that goes deeper than the mere plot.  Miss Ardnek has created a truly unique and fantastical realm from the topography of the land and many colors of water to the somewhat frightening and fantastic wildlife and varied people groups which inhabit this place called Klarand, an island in Rizkaland.  This world is populated by magical creatures, elves, awesome flying and talking equines, and some particularly fascinating bug children, along with one curiously illusive time traveler.

The description of the land, animals, and people unfolds piece-by-piece throughout the story which prevents one from becoming bogged down with too much descriptive narrative all at once, a fault which makes some fantasy books difficult to wade through as a reader.  The main characters are also revealed layer-upon-layer by the author which is a good writing ploy to slowly introduce the reader to the strengths and weaknesses of each while naturally peeling back the surface to demonstrate the metamorphoses necessary for the main characters to become the Legends (what histories are called in Rizkaland) for which all the inhabitants of Rizka have been anxiously awaiting.  Experiencing the changes of each character, not just the main characters, but supporting cast as well, is one of the most enjoyable parts of the story because it gives a tangible human element to the book to which a reader can intimately relate.

Clara, the Water Princess, is a confident, sporty, and athletically talented young woman who is presented as no-nonsense and even arrogant at the beginning of the book.  The Fire Prince, Andrew, on the other hand, lacks a bit of confidence particularly in physical pursuits and with girls, but he has other talents, particularly on the practical and scientific side of things.  Together, Clara and Andrew must save Klarand from the evil Lady Dragon who has ravaged the land for years.  Therein lays the problem, this togetherness matter.  The Legends speak of it taking BOTH the Water Princess and Fire Prince to defeat the dragon, and Andrew and Clara must learn to work together as one to accomplish the daunting task and win the battle which lies ahead of them.

The romance between the main characters is handled beautifully by the author with just the right push and pull to keep drawing the reader into the mix.  The deep understanding of marriage and relationship is approached maturely by this young author.  There is nothing about the romance which could be embarrassing or inappropriate for any reader, but this reviewer would only recommend the book for middle school age through adult because some of the relationship issues are a bit complicated and may need a more mature understanding.  This differs from Kendra Ardnek’s Bookania series, which I would highly recommend as family reading.

It is true that by the fourth or fifth chapter of this book, I had difficulty putting it down.  There is a lot to be said for that as I have been known to give up on books because they ‘bore’ me.   If you like fantasy and symbolism, Water Princess, Fire Prince is a going to thrill you!

And, this is only Book 1 of the Rizkaland Legends!

Genre/Theme: Portal Fantasy, Christian

Reading Level: TEEN - upper elementary to middle school to
Mature TEEN - high school to college 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: MILD - descriptions of affection/desire - Handholding, hugging, kissing, discussion of holding off on more serious stuff.
There is some fighting, characters do get injured. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jaye L. Knight - Samara's Peril

Samara's Peril
The Ilyon Chronicles 

By Jaye L. Knight

Available on Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)

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.

About the Author (from Amazon)

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.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

Ilyon. Have I talked about my love of Ilyon before?

Jaye has just released the third volume of her exciting series, so of course I signed up to review. And let me say up front: If you're not reading this series, what are you doing with your life????

The book begins with a ceremony based on the Jewish holidays, the Day of Atonement and Passover ... and with a return of Jace's insecurity over his soul. It doesn't help that one of the newcomers to their settlement lost his wife in a ryrik attack, and sees Jace as the epitome of everything he hates.

If you haven't read the previous books - ryriks are an extremely cruel and violent race, rumored to have been the first to rebel against Elom, and to not have souls, hence Jace's uncertainty.

Of course, in a world of persecution and political warfare, one doesn't have much time to sit around wondering if they have a soul or not, because war is brewing, and if they could just get their hands on the letters that the emperor has been sending... which sends our party to the home of Dacian's chief strategist in hopes that Kyrin might be able to get a good look at them - if only for a moment. Kyrin has a perfect memory and even a moment would be enough to implant the contents in her mind forever.

Of course, things never go as expected when it's a book, and when a Highly Anticipated Big Reveal occurs, we end up spending half the book at the knight's home. 

The second half of the book is the trip to Samara, a meeting with New Character who is Very Important, and then a bunch of battle scenes.

I loved the first half of the book. As in, completely and utterly adored it. So much fangirlly squealling occurred, and I could NOT put it down. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the second part quite as much, as it frequently felt like I was just rereading Truth and Courage - the first two books of her Makilien Trilogy she wrote as Molly Evangeline.

I can't say much because most of what disappointed me were spoilers, but basically, there were a lot of action sequences ... and call me a strange reader, but I don't like action scenes. Setting up for the action - fun and glorious. Reading the action - tedious. Also, there was a huge element involving the New Character who is Very Important that I'd hoped would be handled differently. Not that it was handled badly, and it was powerful for what it was, but I was hoping to see something different.

Still, there was also a TON of character development, and relationship development, and tension packed conversations, and awesome new characters in the second half (King Balam!!!!!!!!!!!), so I still loved the book.

Jace grew so much in this book. Sure, at times I was utterly frustrated with the rut he'd allowed himself to fall into (especially when he'd been doing so well in the previous book!), and his refusal to admit to himself that he liked Kyrin (seriously, he would have spared himself so much trouble if he'd just admitted it to her). Yet though it all he remained so sweet, devoted, and protective of those he loved.

Kyrin didn't grow much in this book, but I loved seeing her interacting with her brothers. Seriously, you can tell that the author grew up as an only girl in a household of boys. It was awesome. Kaden did some growing up, though, when he was given command over Landale's fleet of dragon riders, and it was awesome. Marcus and Liam got some development too, and I think I may have swapped my fictional crush from Kaden to Marcus.

Also, Holden. I don't remember him much from the previous books, but he was awesome in this one. Seriously awesome.

As for new characters, there were many awesome ones. Like Samara's young king, who's a sort of a David/Aragorn character. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Jaye does with his character in future books. Lady Rachel had such a tragic backstory, but she emerged such a beautiful, graceful woman because of it. And there were many other characters that you're just going to love to meet ... and some characters you probably will regret meeting, such as our new villain. Let me just say, I'm willing to see almost every other Ilyon character repent and be redeemed, but this fellow has to die.

There were so many great lines and popping dialogue, some of which tore at my heart, other's had me fangirling so wildly.

Why are you still here reading this review? Go buy the book! Unless, of course, you haven't read the previous books yet, in which case, buy them first, read them, and then read this one. You won't regret it.

Note: As this series goes, it is getting more mature. Most older teens should be able to handle it, but it's not a children's story.

Genre/Theme: Christian, Fantasy, Persecution

Reading Level: Mature TEEN - high school to college 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: SUBTLE - hinted, but not explicit - There are a few minimally-described kisses, and a few references to rape,  
Other: There's a nice bit of battle at the end, some torture scenes, and execution, and some other odd fights. Also, the opening scene involves the sacrifice of a lamb and its blood.   

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