Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Kingdom For a Quest Cover Reveal

It's time for another cover reveal! My Kingdom For a Quest is the third book in Kendra E. Ardnek's fantasy series The Bookania Quests. I haven't read Kingdom yet, but I've read the first two books, Sew, It's a Quest and Do You Take This Quest and the author's amazing standalone The Ankulen, so if those are any indication, My Kingdom For a Quest will be pretty awesome. But before we get to the cover, I have a small interview with Kendra E. Ardnek about the Bookania series.

How did you get the idea for the Bookania series?
I've always loved retelling fairy tales, and one day my mother told me that I ought to write a new series where I "finish" various fairy tales. I decided to start with Sleeping Beauty, but when I tried to write it, it just wouldn't go anywhere. Then a month or so later, I was folding laundry, and Robin came to me, complete with her name, basic appearance, sword and backstory. Her brother showed up a few days later and they proceeded to take over the book and turn the series into the serial sort, rather than the loose collection it was supposed to.

If you don't mind answering (spoilers might apply, I suppose), what fairy tales are incorporated into My Kingdom for a Quest?

Aside from a vague reference to the Princess and the Pea, there actually aren't any new tales that show up in this volume. The book focuses on Arthurian Legend and the aftereffects of Sleeping Beauty, with cameo from Robin Hood and the lingering presence of Casperl and the Princess (It's a Real fairy tale!) and Toads and Diamonds. There may be more, but I'm not recalling any of them off the top of my head. Joan of Arc was supposed to be part of the plot, but then I decided to put her into a novelette that I will publish later.

What's your favorite part about writing the Bookania books?
Twisting all of the Fairy Tales together. I love forming the intricate connections that are the plots of these books. The characters come in for a close second, since my favorite character of all time belongs to this series, though she hasn't been officially introduced.

So now for the cover!
Back Cover Blurb:
Arthur is the rightful king of Briton, but his Uncle Mordreth refuses to give up the regency.   Arthur and Grandfather are now returning with allies to wrestle the kingdom from his uncle's grasp.  But not all is as it seems among his allies, and everyone has secrets.  New loves, old loves, lost loves, kingdoms conquered and kingdoms stolen.   Who is the real "rightful heir" and will the nearly forgotten sword in the stone finally answer this question?

You can add it to Goodreads here.

And here's where you can find the two previous books in the series:
Sew, It's a Quest
Do You Take This Quest

Picture Author Person:
Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairy tales and twisting them in new and exciting ways.  She's been practicing her skills on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years, "Finish your story, Kendra", is frequently heard at family gatherings.  Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children's tales that also glorify God and his Word. You can read more about her on her blog, knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Sale!

Raise your hand if you like saving money! Christmas is a time for giving, and it's also a time when many people spend an exorbitant amount of money on gifts. (Actually, I doubt anyone in my readership actually does, but things are incredibly expensive and getting more so all the time.) So to help with that, my books are going on sale until December 31st. Ebooks are only $0.99 for now! And paperbacks are $7.99 through Amazon and CreateSpace. But that isn't even the best part.

You may know that I sell signed copies now. Well, I'm making that even better. You like getting more for less? I set signed copies at $7.49 throughout the Christmas season. You can get a better book, well, it's the same book, just signed, for less than you would pay for an unsigned book. Is that cool or what? Don't say "what." I don't think it's "what." :)

And don't forget, the blog tour for Ashley Elliott's Becoming Nikki is still going on, and you can enter for a free signed copy.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Becoming Nikki Review

You can find the rest of the blog tour celebrating the release of Becoming Nikki here.

Enter to win a signed copy of Becoming Nikki!
Picture
What would you do if you were given the opportunity to rebuild a broken relationship?

Alec and Nikki Scott are the perfect ice dancing duo, executing flawless technique and brilliant performance abilities each time they compete. No one doubts their camaraderie, not even their friends.

But looks can be deceiving. Off the ice, their relationship is in shambles. Ice dancing is the only thing they have in common anymore… and Alec wants out.

Just as Nikki feels like their relationship can’t get any worse, an unexpected tragedy crashes into her life. She’s left struggling with a difficult choice as her opinion of her brother slowly starts to change.

Whatever she decides, she knows that her life will never be the same.


*********************************************************************

Disclaimer: I am a friend of the author, a beta reader, and the book formatter, but I love this book on its own merit. I would not have been so involved in the publishing of this book had I not truly believed everything I've said about it.

I first heard of this book from the author's sister and was interested, but unsure what to expect out of it. I must say, it exceeded my expectations. I don't read much contemporary fiction, generally preferring fantasy, sci-fi, and historical fiction, but Becoming Nikki is a book that easily joins my generally preferred genres. I love the ice dancing angle of the story, but Nikki's relationship with her brother Alec outshines even that. Ashley writes the ups and downs of their relationship well, and all the characters feel like real people.

I really do love the characters. Nikki is very relatable, and her friend Natalie is a fun and entertaining girl. I also really liked Dylan. He's a gentleman, which I appreciate. I don't know what to say about Alec without giving spoilers, but I both loved and hated him.

Becoming Nikki is well written, really making me feel like I was experiencing the story. I stayed up late several nights reading it, and not at all because I had agreed to beta read it. I really wanted to keep reading. I was anxious to know what happened. I also enjoyed the pop culture references, particularly the Doctor Who ones. Ashley and I are fellow Whovians. :)

There is also a faith element to the story. There is no doubt it is a Christian book. Nikki has some learning to do in the faith department. It is well executed, and not preachy.

I highly recommend Becoming Nikki to everyone. It is an excellent story, that has absolutely nothing to prevent children from reading it, with a great message and memorable characters.

Picture
Ashley Elliott is a writer, reader, musician, photographer, tree-climber, and Leaguette. She speaks fluently in movie quotes and spends most of her time fangirling over her latest obsession. In her free time, she enjoys laughing with her friends, laughing over Christian indie films (but secretly loving them), and laughing with her five crazy siblings. Ashley is a homeschool graduate and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Humanities through CollegePlus. She lives in Georgia with her parents and siblings, and doesn't have any pets.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Blogging Break

Or I Don't Really Feel Like Posting Much, So I'm Giving Forewarning So I Don't Have to Feel Guilty

Yep, that pretty much says it all. I had been planning anyway not to post much from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, but I decided since I didn't really want to think up even new character posts for awhile, I would go ahead and start early. I'll still be posting important stuff, like Ashley Elliott's blog tour for Becoming Nikki (which is available for preorder on kindle!!!) and if I decide to do some sort of Christmas sale or coupon or something, but for the most part I'm just not going to worry about blogging until the new year. I want to be able to enjoy the Christmas season with my family and friends without blogging hanging over me. You should too. Your family is more important than the internet. And anyway, maybe I'll be able to devote more time to working on Time Captives so I can publish Creighton Hill fairly early next year. I'll be telling you a lot more about my Time Captives in the new year. So, ta ta for now, and I'll see you at the blog tour!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The King's Scrolls Cover Reveal

There are lots of cool covers being revealed lately, and I get to show you another one of them today. Ilyon Chronicles book 2: The King's Scrolls. Remember how much I raved about Resistance earlier this year? How incredibly awesome it is? Well, The King's Scrolls is even better. Way better. Seriously, with every new installment in Ilyon Chronicles, Jaye blows me away even more. Next year, I'll be telling you how much more awesome book 3 is. If this trend continues, and I see no signs of it stopping, I can't imagine how spectacular book 6 will be. But you want to see the cover, don't you? Here it is. Isn't it cool?
Picture
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?

Excited yet? There isn't an official release date yet, but it should be out sometime early next year. You won't want to miss it. Really. I'm serious. It's an amazing book. I know I say that about a lot of my friends' books, but I wouldn't get so fully behind them if I didn't believe what I'm saying. You can find all the other blogs participating in the reveal here, and see how they agree. Here, add it on Goodreads so you can show that you trust my judgement and Jaye's amazing writing. :)
Picture
Picture
About the Author

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+, and Twitter.


Giveaway

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 here's an excerpt from the book to get you even more interested, and super jealous of all the beta readers who have gotten to read the whole thing already. :D
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.”
Look out for The King's Scrolls by Jaye L. Knight in early 2015!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Firmament: Machiavellian Review

Picture Recommended for: All ages

Rating: PG (violence and medical)

On their way back to Earth from the newly discovered world of Kainus Ge, the Surveyor rescues the personnel of a malfunctioning science station. Young medical assistant Andi quickly befriends the newcomers, particularly the charming captain, but things get complicated when the scientists offer the impossible--a way to improve the barren planet and the lives of all its inhabitants.

There's only one problem: their solution requires the
Surveyor to enter the one area of the galaxy which is off-limits to travel.

As the Captain struggles with his decisions, Andi and her father become suspicious of the “accidents” that keep happening on the ship. Could it be coincidence, or is someone trying to sabotage their mission? Can they uncover the truth in time to stop the Captain from wrecking his career and losing his ship forever?


I admit, ever since accidentally stumbling on Radialloy following "customers who bought this also bought" rabbit trails on my kindle, I have been a huge fan of the Firmament Series. I love science fiction, I have since I was a child whose knowledge of sci-fi came only from A Wrinkle in Time and E.T., the Extraterrestrial, but there's such a shortage of good, well-written, Christian science fiction. The Firmament Series works to fill in that gap, and I believe it is succeeding in an incredible way. Book 3, Machiavellian, is no exception. Of course, I do recommend reading the first two books, Radialloy and In His Image first, but don't worry about sequel failure. It won't happen. I also recommend reading the online prologues and epilogues. They aren't necessary to the story, but they add an extra layer of depth to it that makes it even better...despite the freak out some bits of it gave me where it hints at what eventually happens to some of the characters. But I'm here to talk about Machiavellian specifically.

Writing: 5/5

Grace's books are always well-written. Machiavellian is up to par with the other Firmament books, really pulling the reader into the story and Andi's thoughts and emotions. The narrative is tightly written, never wandering off into unnecessary plot lines. I'll get into it more in the plot section, but the way she writes really brings out the mystery. I don't guess endings as well as my sister, but I can still predict them some, and Machiavellian had me guessing almost until the end. She doesn't give out hints readily.

Setting: 5/5

Machiavellian takes place back on the Surveyor. After spending Radialloy there, it felt like coming home again. Spaceships and space travel fascinate me, so I love reading about the Surveyor. Naturally, such space travel is fiction only, so it's really only speculation how it would all work, but I felt like it's all very believable. Much more believable than my beloved Doctor Who. Firmament really feels like it could take place in a real future version of our universe. I love the setting.

Plot: 5/5

I'd give it 6 or 7 out of 5, but I'm not sure my sisters would like me to thus bend our rating system. Because this plot was so twisty and turny and gasping out loud and ranting about my confusion over what's really going on that it deserves extra points. Rabbit trails and red herrings make it so difficult to figure out who's behind the sabotage, and it's even harder to figure out what the saboteurs are trying to accomplish and why. And the message throughout. Helping Elasson and the other inhabitants of Kainus Ge is a worthy cause. Andi wants to help them. But helping them would require doing something that is illegal, though it's not technically against God's law. The Bible doesn't say "Thou shalt not enter the galactic center." Is it really wrong if it's for a good cause? These are the questions Andi struggles with, and in a realistic and relatable fashion. And her conclusion...spoilers.

Characters: 5/5

I love the Firmament cast of characters.They feel like old friends by now. I could really feel Andi's struggles, and I definitely sympathized with her missing Elasson. I miss Elasson too. Grace said we'll see him again, but seeing him again right now wouldn't be soon enough. He's mentioned quite often throughout Machiavellian, and I hope there's a good reason why Andi is so worried about the possibility of losing him. (Hint, hint. Andi and Elasson. It would be perfect. :) ) The Doctor is himself, and I loved seeing more of him. There's more of August than in previous books, which I liked (but no, I'm still not a crazy August fangirl), and Guilders's character emerges more. We get to see more of what Captain Trent is like, and new character Napoleon is another one of those who is difficult to figure out, definitely interesting. Crash is absent from this book, but the loss of his cocky personality didn't make too much of a difference. Firmament can survive without him.

Firmament: Machiavellian is a worthy continuation of the to be 18 book series that is an excellent, not to be missed Christian science fiction adventure. Firmament is awesome. Go read it. :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Becoming Nikki Cover Reveal

Today is a very special day. One of my good friends by the name of Ashley Elliott is going to be publishing her first book. It's called Becoming Nikki, and it's super good (yes, I've read it . . . I formatted it, too, so I know), and so I'm really excited about it. You can find out even more about it on Ashley's blog, www.inklingspress.wordpress.com. It will be released on December 8th. I know, that's about a month away, so why am I talking about it now? Well, I want to get you all hyped up about this amazing Christian Contemporary Fiction book . . . and you get to see something special today, too. The Cover! First, the book description.

What would you do if you were given the opportunity to rebuild a broken relationship?

Alec and Nikki Scott are the perfect ice dancing duo, executing flawless technique and brilliant performance abilities each time they compete. No one doubts their camaraderie, not even their friends.

But looks can be deceiving. Off the ice, their relationship is in shambles. Ice dancing is the only thing they have in common anymore… and Alec wants out.

Just as Nikki feels like their relationship can’t get any worse, an unexpected tragedy crashes into her life. She’s left struggling with a difficult choice as her opinion of her brother slowly starts to change.

Whatever she decides, she knows that her life will never be the same.

Doesn't it sound cool? Ashley is superb at writing the struggles of Alec and Nikki's relationship, and the difficulties surrounding the tragedy. And she tells me what she writes now is even better! But here's the real purpose of this post. The cover.
So, what do you think? Sound like a book you're interested in? Mark your calendars for December 8th. We're planning all sorts of fun blogging stuff to celebrate the release. You won't want to miss it.

Picture Ashley Elliott is a writer, reader, musician, photographer, tree-climber, and Leaguette. She speaks fluently in movie quotes and spends most of her time fangirling over her latest obsession. In her free time, she enjoys laughing with her friends, laughing over Christian indie films (but secretly loving them), and laughing with her five crazy siblings. Ashley is a homeschool graduate and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Humanities through CollegePlus. She lives in Georgia with her parents and siblings, and doesn't have any pets.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Anne Shirley--Anne of Green Gables

"Will you please call me Cordelia?"
Anne Shirley, one of the most well known characters in fiction. A fiery red head with an enormous imagination, a mouth that runs nonstop, and a penchant for getting herself into scrapes. I've loved Anne of Green Gables for I don't even know how long. I've read the entire series multiple times, and never seem to tire of it. Anne is just such an interesting character. It does help that I'm a lot like her...

Anne is an orphan. She wants a family, she wants raven black hair, and a bosom friend. When she finds out she is to be adopted, it seems too good to be true. And, in a way, it sort of is. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert intended to adopt a boy, but they got Anne instead. Though at first they didn't want to keep her, soon they can't imagine life without her.

Anne loves life. She loves beautiful things, like The Lake of Shining Waters and The White Way of Delight. She has a rich and fancy vocabulary that she uses frequently as it seems practically impossible for her to keep her tongue still for any length of time. Diana Barry is a kindred spirit. They become bosom friends immediately, though troubles come when Anne accidentally "sets Diana drunk" by giving her currant wine instead of raspberry cordial by mistake.

For Anne makes a lot of mistakes. Like the time she dyed her hair green, the liniment cake, the mouse in the pudding, the unfortunate lily maid. And there are times where her pride got her into trouble, like when Josie Pye dared her to walk the Barry's ridgepole and she fell off. Though I'm not sure even that compares to the time she broke her slate over Gilbert Blythe's head after he called her "carrots" and then refused to speak to him for five years...considering she eventually married him. Many of Anne's mistakes are due to her imagination taking over from reality. Some scrapes are due to her hot temper. I have had more than my share of mistakes and forgetfulness from distraction by imagination, and my temper certainly got me in lots of trouble when I was little.

Anne is smart, and her competitive nature makes her fight to best Gilbert Blythe when they are at Queen's together. And at Redmond. Because Anne's adventures don't end where Anne of Green Gables does. Even when she is older she gets herself into scrapes, like the time she sold the neighbor's cow. Eventually (it takes until book three) Anne realizes she loves Gilbert, and begins a new chapter of her life, one that is followed by the rest of this classic series.

L. M. Montgomery is an amazing author. She creates such memorable and well-rounded characters, living among realistic people with all manner of quirks and peculiarities. Anne is not a character one can forget. That bright, imaginative, and dramatic redhead will forever be an inhabitant of my imagination.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy For Deep People

I've always loved happy endings. Still do. So it has come as a surprise to me that I've started also really loving sad things. Oh, I still hate that they're sad, but somehow the sad things end up being among my favorites. Like "Doomsday." And Mockingjay. And the sad parts of Ilyon Chronicles. Time Captives ended up with some super sad stuff. At first, I tried to figure out a way to make these certain characters happy, but eventually I realized it was impossible.

This element of the story involves Eleanor, the Time Captive from 1940. The Time Captives are stuck at age twelve with the world moving on around them. This came out of Tuck Everlasting, but with Eleanor, Doctor Who made me take it in another direction from what Tuck did. I lay blame on some dialogue in the episode "School Reunion."

I don't know why I chose this topic, because it's super hard to write without spoilers. The thing is, I love writing about Eleanor. It makes me sad, but I love the sad it gives me. I love Grant Weathersby. The sad stuff involves him. I can't remember what I've said here about Grant and Eleanor, or if I said anything here or just on Facebook. Eleanor and Grant...They get to know each other when Grant helps her to stow away on his brother's ship. They become good friends. And then Grant starts to grow up as Eleanor remains a twelve year old.

Speculation, I'm sure, can figure out where this is going. I won't say any more. It's so sad, but I love it. I carried around a notepad in my pocket on Independence Day to write something for later about them as we went to various parades and events in our campaign T-shirts. (And my friend said I was obsessed with writing and tried to get me to stop. I just had the scene in my head and didn't want to lose it, I wasn't obsessed. I mean that, Brianna. :) )

I love happy stuff. I'm extremely partial to the typical very happy Disney movie ending. But I love sad stuff too. I suppose because it's just happy for deep people.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Signed Copies!

I finally set up PayPal to sell signed copies of my books. Yes, I had intended to do that when I turned 18, almost six months ago, but better late than never, right?

Anyway, it's in plenty of time for the Christmas season, so if you want to give someone a signed copy of Across the Stars or The Experiment, you can do that now. Here is the page with the PayPal buttons. Not that my signature is really worth anything at this point in time, but I still like having my friends' books signed. Since those are the only signed books I have.

That's all I have to say today, "and there isn't any more." :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meg Murry--A Wrinkle in Time

"Like and equal are not the same thing at all!"
Meg Murry is one of the characters I've known for the longest time. She is the protagonist of one of my top childhood favorite books, and is another one of the few characters whose story I have acted out. I love Meg Murry, not because she's perfect, but because she's so relatably flawed.

Meg has a hard time with life. She's different from everyone else, and so few people like her. She's brilliant when it comes to math and science, but when it comes to English and geography, forget it. On top of that, her dear little brother Charles Wallace (oh, how I wanted a brother like him) is super brilliant and can know what she's thinking, but doesn't talk outside the family, and so people think he's stupid. Meg isn't pretty. She has very plain mousy brown hair, braces and glasses. I remember my glasses and braces phase. It's certainly an awkward one. But that's not even all. While doing government work, her father disappeared. Without a trace. No one knows anything. Or at least, no one is telling Meg's family. Because what he did was Top Secret.

And then strange things begin to happen. With the arrival of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe, a boy from school, set out to rescue Meg's father. But to rescue him, they have to travel to other planets by way of the tesseract and encounter IT on the planet Camazotz. And in doing so, they become fighters against evil, doing their part to defeat the Black Thing, the powers of darkness, as we all must do.

Meg is fearful. Who wouldn't be? But she is also impatient and stubborn. And when IT, via the Man With Red Eyes, takes control of Charles Wallace, Meg has to be braver than ever before. But it is through this that she begins to realize that it is good to be different. That like and equal are not the same thing.

Her struggles are not yet over. Finding her father doesn't make things immediately better, as she thought it would. If anything, they're worse. Charles Wallace is gone. The Black Thing almost takes her as they tesser through it. And she blames her father for not making it all better. When the Mrs. W's return and bring the news that Meg is the only one who can rescue Charles Wallace, she doesn't take the news willingly. Slowly she realizes her mistakes. And she understands that she really is the only one who can save Charles Wallace, with the thing she has that IT hasn't got. What does IT not have? Meg discovers it to be love. Love. Love for her baby brother. Love for all the people she cares about. Loving her baby brother is the only thing that can save him. And that love brings them home.

Meg Murry learns some hard lessons. She learns what a good vs. evil fight really is. She learns that it's not wrong to be different and that everyone shouldn't be exactly alike. She gains friends, Calvin in particular. She gets her father back. She has Charles Wallace still with her. The fight isn't over. Meg still has her impatience and stubbornness to deal with. But she will be able to fight evil in every way she can.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be directed.

I finished writing Espionage last week! Most of it was pretty easy, but I hit a snag at the climax, which caused a single chapter to take a whole month to write. With my mom's help, I figured out how to solve the problem I had and took care of the bad guy. But then something happened that I didn't expect.

I want to write good stories. I want my books to be well written, the characters well developed, the plot well constructed. But I want my books to be more than just good, well written stories. I want my stories to mean something. More specifically, I want my books to point people to God and the Bible, to help to further God's kingdom. I quite often pray that God would use my writing for His glory, and that He would help me to write the stories He wants me to tell. Because stories without meaning are nothing but entertainment.

For a long time, it seemed that Espionage was just a story. It was exciting, Vannie was an interesting point of view character, the other characters were super easy to develop, and the story was unfolding wonderfully. But there didn't seem to be a message in it. I never want to force a message into a book. That sounds preachy, and I've never heard of anyone liking a preachy book. All my favorite books are non-preachy books with a strong message skillfully woven into the story. But Espionage didn't seem to have that.

Then I hit chapter 9. And I began to realize that it had been working toward a message the whole time. Vannie's attitude along the way gave her a lesson to learn. I don't want to give too much away, though it will be awhile before it comes time for the release of Espionage, since it comes between books 2 & 3 of Time Captives, but it ended with a Gospel message. God already knew what the point of Espionage was. When I give things over to Him, He always works it out.

I continue to learn that. It's hard to let things go. I want things my way, but my way is not always God's way. There are still things I need to give over to God. There always will be. But I am always encouraged to see how when I surrender things to God, they always work out way better than I could have expected.

"
Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be directed." --Proverbs 16:3

"Commit thy way unto the Lord, and trust in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."  --Psalms 37:5

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kyrin Altair--Ilyon Chronicles

Yes, I'm back to Resistance again. It's a great book with some really great characters. My favorite character is Kyrin Altair. She's the main girl in Ilyon Chronicles, and the one I relate to the best. She is one of the handful of characters whose story I have acted out in my bedroom. I like to do that, but the characters who have made it to that are few. Resistance spoilers follow.

Kyrin has an unusual ability that places her in service to Emperor Daican: She remembers everything. Ever since she was four, she has remembered everything that happened. She and her twin brother Kaden are both very smart, and so they were taken from their home at a young age and brought to Tarvin Hall, the emperor's school for exceptional children. All Kyrin and Kaden had was each other, so they were very close. I want a Kaden. He's a great brother. Kyrin depends on him a great deal.

Though young, Kyrin is chosen to be in direct service to Emperor Daican. She is required to "read" people, to tell Daican if people lie to him, or if he is in danger. It may not seem like a bad job, but when one considers that Daican is an idol worshiper who will kill people for faith in the one true God, you realize what Kyrin is really being asked to do.

Kyrin in the palace. She is insecure, hates the fancy dresses and make-up they insist she wears, is trying to figure out if Daican really is who they thought he is or if he is the kind personable man he acts like, hiding her faith, and bearing with the guilt of seeing people in dire circumstances and doing nothing to help them. One incident in this section of the book really resonated with me. Prince Daniel vented his frustration about his father to Kyrin, even going so far as to voice doubt about Aertus and Villai, the false gods Daican makes everyone worship. She was presented with the perfect opportunity to tell Daniel about Elom, the true God, but she was scared, and she missed it. She feels terrible about it. It always makes me remember the time I had an opportunity to share the Gospel with my cousin and didn't because I was too scared.

But when her faith was tested, Kyrin stood up for it. Though she faced death, she held firm. I can only hope I would be as brave. It was not the end for her. Though she faced execution, Elom provided a way out. She became a refugee, but going to Trask's refugee camp presented her with a new mission: Jace.

Kyrin always wanted to help those less fortunate. Her care of little Meredith at Tarvin Hall was a part of that, something else to which I can relate. I'm always wanting to help take care of children, and there are many people with whom I wish I could share my life because theirs is miserable. Jace evoked that sympathy in Kyrin. He was different from everyone, being half ryrik, and despised. He hated himself for it. He was mourning the deaths of two people very dear to him, and struggling with an immense amount of doubt as to whether he even had a soul. Kyrin saw him struggling and was moved to help him. He needed her, he really did, and she needed him.

And that isn't quite the end of Resistance, and certainly not the end of her story, since there are five more books to come.

I think I like Kyrin so much because I see so much of myself in her. She is a well rounded character. She isn't perfect, but she's kind and compassionate, brave and faithful, and a character whose full story I can't wait to read.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Giver Movie Review

Reposted from Shire Reviews.
Yes, I'm being a lazy blogger again. My sister had her wisdom teeth out and then I got a cold, so I didn't really feel like writing a new post. I know, it's not a good reason, but it's a reason. But, if you don't follow Shire Reviews, you're in luck because you won't miss my review of The Giver movie after all. And if you do, well, hopefully I'll have a new post next week.
Picture
The Giver

Recommended for: Ages 10 to Adult

Rating: PG-13
    I'm not sure why it was PG-13. There wasn't any adult content,  just a few short kisses, even the brief mention of "the Stirrings" was way less detailed than in the book, and the war memory wasn't even that graphic...my friend speculated that it's because they think kids can't think deeply enough to understand it, and cited Common Core math as proof of the attempt to dumb down Americans. :)

In a seemingly perfect Community, 18-year-old Jonas is selected to be the next Receiver of Memory. But as he receives memories of how things used to be, Jonas begins to realize that all he has ever known may not be as perfect as he once believed.


Pay no attention to the trailer for The Giver. I still think the trailer for The Giver makes it look like all the other dystopians out there. So did my friend. That was what made me not want to see it. It made it look like a completely different story. But my friends at church made me curious about it, and when another friend expressed interest in going to see it, we did. Fortunately, not only was the trailer a misrepresentation of the story from the book, it misrepresented the movie. Yes, they changed a lot. No, even as a book purist it didn't ruin it at all. I liked the movie quite a bit, and am hoping the DVD comes out in time for Christmas because I want it. Ignore the trailer. Watch the movie. Don't expect it to be just like the book, because it can't be. Do read the book first, of course. The book is better, duh, but the movie is really good.

Technical: 5/5

The technical aspects of the film were extremely well done. The memories were pretty neat. For the longer ones they actually put Jonas in them, and for shorter ones, there were clips and pictures that just sort of made you think. The biggest cool part of the technical aspect I will put in a spoiler, because, well, it's not as big of a spoiler in the movie, it can't be, but it is big for the book.

SPOILER Color. We don't appreciate color like we should. The way they handled color was brilliant. I expected no less, after the conversation I had about it after church, and I wasn't disappointed. It starts off fully in black and white, and gradually brings in bits of color as Jonas discovers it. The reds are first, of course, and come in muted. It really was pretty amazing how the community ever so gradually gained its color until it was fully vibrant. And then the later scenes without Jonas being in black and white made such a stark contrast. Driving home at sunset, I was really struck by how colorful everything was, and how much I take it for granted. END SPOILER

Setting: 5/5

The Community. A place where everything is perfectly organized, no one ever has to make choices, or worry about where their next meal is coming from, or worry if you'll lose your job because it has been assigned to you by the Council of Elders and they rarely if ever make mistakes, everyone's personal space is respected, you have a safe dwelling to go home to each night...all you have to do is follow the rules and nothing bad will ever happen to you. Or will it? Is it really the paradise it seems? Very little about the setting was changed from Lois Lowry's book, and it was brilliantly done. The Community is portrayed just as it should be. Everything seems clean and perfect, but is it really? Can utopia really exist?

Plot: 4.5/5

Jonas is nervous about Graduation. He has no idea what Assignment he will be given. So when he is chosen as the next Receiver of Memory, it is quite unexpected. There is only one, and being the Receiver of Memory is nothing like anything he could ever dream of.

The plot followed the book fairly well. They made the ending more exciting, but the basics were all there. To be honest, the plot isn't really all that complicated, and they didn't add complication to a simple but very powerful storyline. I didn't see any plot holes, and the slight inconsistencies in the book were either resolved or made irrelevant. It's a tale of discovery, but if I say too much about what that discovery is, it would be a spoiler, and I mustn't give spoilers about this story. I'm very adamant about that, strangely enough. Though that makes it difficult to say much. It was excellently done, and the running time was perfect for it. It didn't seem rushed, nor did it seem dragged out. The changes didn't bother me too much either, but I wasn't entirely without mental, "It didn't happen like that in the book." After watching it a few more times, I may be able to drop any quibbles and give it a full rating for plot.

Character Development: 4.5/5

I thought Jonas was perfect. Aside from making him older and giving him some sort of birthmark on his wrist instead of light eyes, he was almost exactly like the Jonas I know from the book. He was just a great character, a flawed human, but still a good person. I really liked Fiona too, despite them giving her a larger, more prominent role. Actually, I kind of liked her role in the movie. It wasn't so different that it made me cringe, so it was good. And yes, there were a couple of kisses between Jonas and Fiona, but it made an opportunity for a funny but at the same time horrible line, an elder saying "What are they doing?" The Giver was awesome, you could really tell he was weighed down with the memories, and he was just a great character. My biggest quibble is with Asher. He was a great character in the movie, and he fulfilled the role given him, but he just wasn't as funny. He wasn't as clumsy with words. Still, he was a well developed character, so it's only a book fan quibble that makes me have a slight problem with him. Only slight, because I strangely didn't mind the changes that much. I have to also mention the baby Gabriel. He's a baby, so there's not much character development involved, but he was so super cute. And I loved the part when Jonas was trying to make him laugh.

The Giver was a very good movie that translated the source material into a movie as effectively as was possible. I do highly recommend it, just read the book first.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Doctor--Doctor Who

The primary reason I like a story is generally the characters. Doctor Who is no exception. Actually, I liked the characters before I started liking the show itself . . . strange, because the show revolves around the changing of characters. But the one character that is the same, though he changes his face and, to some degree, his personality, is the Doctor. Doctor Who? No, just the Doctor. And he's quite an interesting character at that. Note: I haven't seen much Classic, and I can't yet watch Twelve, so I'll be focusing on the ones I do know, Nine, Ten, and Eleven.

Ninth Doctor.

"I give you air from my lungs."

"I'm really glad that worked. Those would have been terrible last words."

"Rose Tyler, you were fantastic. And you know what? So was I."


Nine was the first Doctor I knew. He was the Doctor. Having regenerated out of the Time War, he had a lot of pain to deal with. He was funny and quirky and alien, saving people all throughout time and space, but underneath, there was something darker, a time he deeply regretted. He tried to bury it, but meeting a Dalek brought the Doctor's ghost to the forefront. He destroyed his people to end the Time War. Rose, and the viewer (unless you have spoilers or I just missed something) didn't really know much about the Doctor's past before this. He doesn't like to talk about it, why would he? but having it out in the open makes it easier for him to heal. And Rose Tyler was there to help him. And she could, because he loved her. In the end, it was love that caused him to regenerate. When Rose absorbed all the energy of the Time Vortex by looking into the Heart of the TARDIS, Nine sacrificed himself to save her. It was because of love he regenerated, and that love defined the man he became.

Tenth Doctor.

"Allons-y!
"

"[Time is] more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey . . . stuff."

"I don't want to go."


I have to admit, Ten is my favorite. I love all the Doctors I know, but Ten is still my favorite.
He is more sympathetic than Nine, he is funnier, and so much happier. He has Rose. He still deeply regrets his actions during the Time War and mourns his people, but he is able to be happy with Rose, having adventures and saving countless lives . . . until Canary Wharf. "Doomsday:" one of the saddest episodes ever. The Doctor, Rose, Mickey, parallel Pete, and even Jackie a little tiny bit, successfully stop an invasion of Earth by the cybermen and Daleks. Unfortunately, events transpire so that Rose and her family are trapped in a parallel world and the Doctor is not.

Throughout the next series especially, the Doctor mourns Rose. It's hard for him to go on. He lost the girl he loves. He has Martha with him because he is lonely, but she can't replace Rose, nor should she. He still manages to be quirky and hilarious, while mourning Rose, but there are times when it really gets to him. He is better with Donna, they get along well, are just friends, and can really be funny together. They're especially funny when they meet Agatha Christie. But he has not forgotten Rose, or the terrible things he has done in the past. As the parallel worlds collide and the Daleks attempt to destroy all of reality with a reality bomb, all of the Doctor's companions (the ones who appear in the new show up to this point) come back to help him, even Rose. He is so happy to see Rose again, but she can't stay forever. A half human version of the Doctor is created by a human/Time Lord biological meta-crisis with Donna and the Doctor's hand, full of regeneration energy. Born in battle, as Nine was, the human Doctor kills all the Daleks, though the Doctor would have preferred to fix things without bloodshed. The human Doctor has to stay with Rose in the parallel universe, because he needs her, as Nine did. The real Doctor is then forced to be alone . . . Martha, Mickey, Sarah Jane, and Jack all have lives of their own to go live, and the meta-crisis caused Donna's memories of the Doctor to have to be erased so her brain wouldn't burn up. The Doctor doesn't do well alone, which meant he started to go crazy, which developed into the Eleventh Doctor.

Eleventh Doctor.

"Beans are evil!"

"This is a fez. I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool."

"I will always remember when the Doctor was me."

I've seen many things saying Nine is a tiger, Ten is Tigger, and Eleven is an uncoordinated cat who falls off the sofa and then claims he meant to do that. He really is that way. Eleven is crazy and goofy. But that's his way of burying the past, as he confesses in "The Day of the Doctor." He has a fresh start at life with Amy Pond, then brings her fiance Rory along to keep from breaking up their relationship. Which works, since they get married. He gets more careless, it sometimes seems that Amy and Rory have to look out for him instead of the other way around. And he runs. All the Doctors run, it's one of their favorite things to say, but Eleven even runs from his own death. And, though a fixed point in time, he manages to fake it anyway, and get married to River Song, Amy and Rory's daughter.

He has another bout of depression after he loses Amy, Rory, and River, which Clara, the Impossible Girl, helps to pull him out of. Then he goes back to the Time War, with the Tenth Doctor and the War Doctor.
And he doesn't destroy Gallifrey, but instead sends it out of our universe. After that, though, he ends up living for hundreds of years in one town, protecting its people. Finally, he regenerates again. I can't wait to find out what Twelve is like, coming after living hundreds of years to protect one town, and thus the universe.


So,
why do I like the Doctor? He's funny and quirky, he has a soft heart (well, two of them, actually), and he's a hero, though trouble follows him wherever he goes. He's lonely, and so I feel sorry for him, but he helps people and makes people love him. Except the mums. They tend to slap him. "All the mums!" (Though Jackie Tyler did like him later.) And . . . he's the Doctor.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"You have a little shop. I love a little shop!"

I have an announcement to make. From the title you might guess: I have a little shop. To be more clear, I now have an Etsy shop. It is called Shire Stitches and I have baby and little girl clothes listed on it. And I have a website for it that has a little more info on it than my Etsy page does. Here's what my website looks like, and those are the items I currently have listed. More will be on the way.
The biggest dress in the middle is one that my five year old cousin really liked. When she saw a picture she said, "It's beautiful! It's my dress." This dress was too small for her, but I made a special trip to Hobby Lobby to pick up more fabric to make her one, that she loves. When she put it on, she kept looking at herself in the mirror.

If you are interested in any of the above outfits, head over to Shire Stitches on Etsy. Feel free to share this post wherever! I won't mind. :)

Yes, I know I've named two things "Shire" lately, but the street we live on is --shire Drive (I can be like the classic authors too), and so when we watched and read Lord of the Rings, it became our joke that we live in the Shire. And the post title is a quote from the Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who, Series 3, Episode 1, "Smith and Jones." It keeps running through my head whenever I think of a little shop, so I couldn't help using it. So many words and phrases have joined "precious" as tainted by stories, like "precision of language."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Jonas--The Giver Quartet

I was wavering between The Doctor and Flynn Ryder for my next character post, but, Lord willing, my sisters, and friend, and I are going to see the movie of The Giver tomorrow, so I decided Jonas would go next. However, if you have not read The Giver, PLEASE do not read this post. I love spoilers, but the full effect of The Giver is dependent on it being unspoiled. Go read the book...really, do...and then come back. Due to that, I will give ample warning of spoilers from the sequels.

Jonas is just like any other boy in the Community. He goes to school, volunteers around the Community, and looks forward to the Ceremony of Twelve where he will be assigned a role in the Community. But yet, Jonas is not like everyone else. He has the ability to See Beyond, first manifesting itself as an ability to see color in a colorless world. And this ability to See Beyond is what enables him to become the next Receiver of Memory.

As he receives memories of Elsewhere and before the Sameness, and knowledge of true emotions, Jonas begins to see that the "perfect" Community he grew up in, is really far from perfect. But at first it's the joy. The true joy and love that everyone is missing. Jonas wants to share it with his friends. He wants Asher to see color. He wants his sister Lily to know that there really were animals once. And he wants to be able to make choices.

At this point, Jonas still believed in what he had been taught. That it's dangerous to let people make their own choices. But still, he has inner conflict over it all. He knows the joys that are missing. He wants to be loved by his family. And he realizes that without true pain and sadness, one cannot truly have happiness and love. He tries to justify the Community, but it's just that: justifying. And I know that if a thing has to be justified, it's probably not a good thing.

And then he learned what Release really is. Death of the undesirable. The Old, who have lived their lives. The repeat rule-breakers. The newchildren who fail to thrive properly. It was the Release of the twin newchild that really woke Jonas up to how bad the Community really was. But he didn't want to stand passively by and see it continue to happen. Jonas cared. He and the Giver were the only ones who could care. And he does do something. He rescued Gabriel from Release and let the Memories he held escape.

I'm not sure why Jonas stands out. Some books fade from memory soon after being read. Some books I still remember the story, but the characters fade away. Jonas hasn't done that. Maybe it's because you really experience everything with him. Funny how an author can create that in 3rd person past tense. (Just so you know, I hate present tense narrative.) The Giver is a powerful story. Jonas is the perfect character to experience it through. Because despite believing the lies, he is good. He knows right from wrong, and wrongs really affect him. The horror of war affects him so that he cannot allow the other Twelves to play war, meaningless though it is to them. And he wants love returned to the world. You feel that yearning with him, that horror when you realize his parents don't even know the meaning of the word "love."

Messenger and Son SPOILERS
Jonas's story doesn't end with The Giver. He finds a new home, with people who have love and freedom. Jonas has become the Leader of his new home, because he has the qualities necessary to be a true leader. Not a dictator, but a Leader. And he even gets married and has at least two kids. (I hope he has more, but it doesn't say.) Things aren't always perfect. Matty gives his life to heal the forest. Gabriel has to defeat the Trademaster. And of course, Jonas still suffers the consequences of having lived in the Community as a child. It's impossible for it not to have affected him. But still, Jonas gets a happy ending.
END Messenger and Son SPOILERS
The last three books aren't as good as the first, naturally, and they somewhat spoil the effect of the ending of The Giver, but I got attached to Jonas and wanted to know what else happened to him. Because when you have experienced the disillusionment of this "perfect world" with Jonas, you cannot help feeling that he is a part of your life now.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Resistance Review

Picture
Recommended for: Ages 12 to Adult

Rating: PG-13 (for violence, torture and threats of torture, and dangerous situations dealing with persecution)

“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.


I have been a fan of Molly Evangeline/Jaye L. Knight's books since I first read The Pirate Daughter's Promise. I absolutely loved that book, and was pleased to see how her writing improved in later books. In fact, when I first started reading Resistance, I was blown away by how much better her writing is. I mean, Pirates & Faith and Makilien are awesome, loved, and highly recommended, but Ilyon Chronicles is above and beyond those two series put together. So excuse me if I rave a bit. Resistance is amazing. And, if you follow my blog, especially earlier this year, you probably already know that I think that. You should get used to it. I'll probably be saying it again.

When I first received it, I was riveted to my kindle, even reading it in the car in the middle of door to door campaigning. Backing up, I probably made my sisters sick of hearing how excited I was to read it when I finally got the timetable on getting it. As a disclaimer, I did beta read the book, but I loved it tremendously then, and love it even more now that I've read the final version. I'm no more biased toward it than I am towards C. S. Lewis, or Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.

Writing: 5/5

Pretty obviously, I think the writing in Resistance is fantastic. The character point of view is well done and adds a whole new dimension to the storytelling, the settings are well described, it made me feel the emotions...The writing really pulled me into the story and kept me there, making Ilyon and it's inhabitants a permanent part of my imagination. The book was also extremely well formatted, which pleased me much.

Setting: 5/5

Even before I read Resistance, I got the impression from Jaye's Pinterest boards that the Ilyon worldbuilding was intricate and well developed. It really is. Ilyon is a magic-free fantasy world, but it takes more from Ancient Rome than from medieval times and has a somewhat dystopian feel to it. It is a harsh world, where people are in danger for believing in the one true God rather than in idols. And, I don't know, it just feels very real. You can tell Jaye put a lot of effort into developing the different races and cultures, and it definitely paid off.

Plot: 5/5

The plot of Resistance isn't exactly what one would expect from a fantasy story. It's not a quest, nor is it a battle to free a land from an evil king. It really deals more with things one would expect from historical fiction and futuristic stories: Christians trying to survive in a pagan world, and what happens when they can no longer stay undercover. It really follows two stories which come together towards the end. It has many ups and downs and dangerous situations and a few moments to relax before things just get worse. Resistance has a lot of action. It is clean, but it can get pretty intense at times, which is why I probably wouldn't recommend it for anyone under twelve.

Character Development: 5/5

I'll take the main characters in turn. First, Kyrin. Kyrin Altair is the main girl. She has a perfect memory and a lot of insecurities. She really leans a lot on her twin brother Kaden, and it's hard for her to be without him. It was interesting to see how having a perfect memory might affect someone. I related to her best of all the characters. While my memory is really rather opposite of hers, in almost every other way, I'm like her. Her personality, her shyness around strangers, her timidity about sharing her faith, even her headaches! Seriously, when it described her headaches, I would think, "I know exactly how that feels!"

Kaden. Kaden really really made me wish I had a brother. He has always been there for Kyrin. He wants to protect her and take care of her, and she really needs him, just as he needs her. He's really close to his twin sister, and, to be honest, made me jealous of the close sibling relationship they have. I know, they're fictional characters, but there's a good reason why my favorite character I made up based on me has two triplet brothers.

Jace. The general consensus seems to be that Jace needs a hug, and I agree. Thankfully, he eventually gets a few. He grew up as a slave where people constantly told him that since he was half ryrik he was a soulless animal. It's terrible to see how much this hurts him. He's tortured with doubts, and has a really difficult time not condemning himself as a dangerous animal. He's not, not by a long shot. He's a really great guy, if only he would see it. I only wish I didn't have to wait until book 3 for Jace and Kyrin to fall in love. Yes, that will be book 3. No, I never miss a series Facebook post.

Other honorable mentions. Emperor Daican was a very well done villain. He really was made to be human rather than evil incarnate. That being said, he's still the villain of the story. His son Daniel was a particularly interesting character, and my sister's favorite. I was glad to interview him during the blog tour. Rayad was great as a mentor, Holden made an interesting minor antagonist, and I loved what we get to see of Kyrin and Kaden's family.

Wow, this is probably the longest book review I've ever written. Resistance deserves it, after all, the book is about 500 pages long. If you haven't picked up on it already, which I'm sure you have, I highly recommend Resistance, Ilyon Chronicles book 1. It's exciting to know there are still 5 more books in the series, all bound to be better than the last.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Edmund Pevensie--The Chronicles of Narnia

"Even a traitor may mend. I have known one that did."

Edmund is my favorite Pevensie. I like the others, but there's something about Edmund that makes me like him best.

When The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe begins, Edmund is a jerk and a bully, particularly towards Lucy. When she finds Narnia, he has to torment her about it, and when he discovers it is real, he is worse, lying about the fact that he had been there too. Yet he gets worse. Once all the Pevensies are in Narnia, he goes to the White Witch and tells her where his siblings are, betraying them to the very person who wants to kill them.

Why, you may ask, is this Edmund one of my favorite characters? Because the story doesn't end there. As Edmund travels with the Witch, he begins to see her for who she really is, and repents of his traitorous deeds. He wants to get back to his family, but being rescued and brought to Aslan's camp still isn't enough. Aslan had a talk with Edmund which no one else heard, which truly changed him. But to complete it all, because of Edmund's treachery, the Deep Magic from the dawn of time required blood as atonement. Aslan sacrificed himself for Edmund, and came back to life due to the Deeper Magic from before the dawn of time. Edmund was truly changed after this whole experience, so much so that when he was a king of Narnia, after he helped to stop Rabadash's attack at Anvard and they were discussing what to do with him, he said, "But even a traitor may mend. I have known one that did." Even though Rabadash's grand scheme was to kidnap his sister, Susan, and force her to become his wife, Edmund was still willing to show him mercy, for the mercy showed him by Aslan.

Edmund obviously felt bad for the way he treated Lucy. In Prince Caspian, when the children disputed whether to go where Lucy had seen Aslan, or follow their own path, Edmund sided with Lucy. He even says it is because of what had happened the last time, and that Lucy had been right then. Later, he's the second one of the party to see Aslan, before Peter, even.

The movies leave much to be desired, but one thing they get right is Edmund. (Prince Caspian gets Peter all wrong, and it's aggravating, but he's not the subject of this post.)
He is a repentant traitor, who mends his relationship with his sister so well that they become very close. Indeed, the relationship between Anne and Edmund Rubin was influenced by Edmund and Lucy. He isn't perfect, he sometimes gets cranky and he isn't as patient as Lucy, but once his positive character arc is complete, he doesn't reset. He never goes back to being a traitor. He isn't free from temptation, Deathwater Island shows that, but he can overcome it.

I think I like Edmund because he's easy to identify with. I never was a traitor, but I was a brat. People who have only known me as a teenager have a hard time believing that, but it's true. I was bad, and I did have to reform. I'm not perfect now, but I'm working at it. Edmund shows that a traitor may indeed mend, with Aslan's help, and that's something we all can benefit from.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

eBooks and Future Blog Plans

I was excited the other day to search my name on Barnes & Noble and find my books. They are there as eBooks only, but that means that if you have a Nook rather than a Kindle, you can buy them now. They can also be purchased for Sony eReaders. I don't know yet whether this is more worth it than Kindle Select, but, for the time being, you can buy both Across the Stars and The Experiment for whatever eReader you have. Here are the links.
Picture

Across the Stars

eBook-$2.99
Kindle
Nook
Kobo
Smashwords

Picture

The Experiment

eBook-$2.99
Kindle
Nook
Kobo
Smashwords

For future blog plans . . . I have a hard time thinking of things to blog about. A seriously hard time. So I decided last night to write up posts on my favorite fictional characters to post when I can't think of anything better to write about. It won't just be raving on and on about my favorites. I'll try to keep it writing oriented and talk about the character development and try to learn from it.

Be forewarned, I won't shy away from spoilers. (Ugh, I can't think about that word without River Song coming to mind. It has joined "precious" and all the other words tainted by stories.) I'm not writing reviews, I'm analyzing the development of my favorite characters, sort of, anyway, and I can't do that without talking about the character's storyline. I'll try to give proper warning for major spoilers, but I can't promise you'll come away unspoiled. (Given that I actually follow through on any of this. I have yet to write a single post, though I did write a list of some of my favorite characters.)

And maybe sometimes I'll interrupt with something more spectacular to say.