Book Review: The Green Ember

Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.

Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.

Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?

 

 


 

Overall Impression: 

Okay, guys, from reading several of my Goodreads friends reviews I knew this book was gonna be great. I have wanted to read it for quite a while now, so I was uber excited when I purchased it on kindle this last Friday night. I read a lot over the weekend and finished today. 

The Green Ember is a story that pulls you in and won’t let go until you have finished it, and even then, you are want, need, the next book! The story was incredible, the characters deep and involving, and the plot superb!

Another thing I greatly appreciated about this book was the fact that it was one hundred percent acceptable for children AND one hundred percent a legit story! So many books written for children are either dumbed down, as if the authors think that kids can’t understand anything that isn’t simple, or they hold waaaay to many grown up ideals/aspects. To find a series that is a rollicking adventure full of deep story that is as clean as a baby’s behind is awesome! 

I recommend this story to all readers! Families, kids, teens, and adults will all enjoy this fun adventure! It has great depth, story, and characters! I hope that this book becomes as famed as it deserves to be! It is an epic story worth the read!

 

Characters:

Heather was such a great, strong character! I can’t wait to see what becomes of her in Ember Falls. What made Heather so amazing was that she wasn’t trying to be awesome! She wasn’t one of those I-can-kick-rear, I-am-strong-and-independent, don’t-touch-me-I’m-tough, types. Her character was one of was warmth, love, and self-sacrifice. She was brave, kind-hearted, and a warrior when it came to her family. Her moments of absolute epicness came from her just doing the right thing! She wasn’t showing off, she wasn’t out to prove something, she was protecting those she cared about and doing a dang good job!

Picket was a bit more difficult in some parts than Heather. He was out to prove something. His character motivations were written very well. And while sometimes he could be a pain in the neck it didn’t stop his true self from shining through to the reader. He is a fighter! A fighter who is overcoming his fears and will do anything to protect those he cares about! His absolute awesomeness in the end was great! I loved the redemption he brought to his family name! 

Uncle Wilfred and Smalls were great characters! Their interaction was written so well! It speaks of a deep love and history beyond what we have seen! I loved these characters, Mr. S. D. Smith did a wonderful job!

Helmer was an absolute jerk! But I loved the parts of the story with him in it! I foresee great things and redemption for his character! He has far to go but has also come far!

Emma, Kyle, Gort, Lord Rake, Maggie, and all the other background/secondary characters were done profoundly well too! I really enjoyed the development and history of these characters and this story!

 

Plot:

The Green Ember starts off showing the soft pace of life which Heather and Picket live in. It’s beautiful, simple, and happy. It brings to mind several scenes from the Shire in Lord of the Rings. But, quickly, the plot takes off with unexpected events. Heather and Picket are tossed into a world of violence, intrigue, and secrets! 

Themes of hope, despair, and treachery are all mixed into this fun adventure. The Green Ember has the history and feeling of a fantasy epic. The stories of the great King Jupiter, Captain Blackstar, and Whitson Mariner all develop the world and give it a feeling of reality. 

The setting of most of the book is very unique and exciting.  I won’t spoil it by telling you all about it, but it’s pretty epic.

Some of the plot ideas are at first appearance akin to Redwall. However, I find The Green Ember much more enjoyable than Redwall. It’s characters are far more relatable, the story much deeper, and the world of Natalia so much more real! 

 

Wrap Up:

To reiterate all I’ve already said, the characters were superb and plot amazing! I loved this story and greatly hope that someday when I have this thing called money, (:D) I will be able to buy all the books, both paperback and audio, as well as fan apparel! I love this story and cannot wait to go and read Ember Falls. Well done, Mr. S. D. Smith! I applaud you! 

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: Some mild descriptions of injuries. A lot of fighting, family of MC’s are taken by evil characters, torture alluded to, death talked about, rabbits die, some scary scenes where MC’s are pursued by bad characters. Would recommend for ages 4+.

Sex/Nudity: None

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Blog Tour! Interview and Review-Exiles

Greetings y’all! Today, I am so blessed to get to be a part of Jaye L. Knight’s blog tour for her epic new book, Exiles. So join me for an interview with the author, a review of for the book, and possibly best of all…a giveaway! Let’s begin!

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Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Exiles, has been released! Exiles is the fourth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. Read about it below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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Okay, can I just say, this cover is amazing!!! Like, seriously, my favorite cover of all the books she has EVER written! It’s epic! 😛


About the Book

Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to the emperor’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.

Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all.

Feeling trapped within the walls of Valcré, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir, but with other forces at work, it might not be that simple.

One small misstep could prove fatal for all.

 

Available now on Amazon!

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Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? The first three Kindle books are on sale August 11th – 14th!
You can find them on Amazon.
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About the Author

JayeAuthor2015Jaye 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, Twitter, and Etsy.
Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

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Time for the author interview! Let’s get to the questions! 

ME:  So, I am a big fan of pretty much all your books, and throughout different series I have noticed some consistencies. For example, in the Makilien Trilogy the king of Eldor is named Darand and the prince is Darian. In the Ilyon Chronicles the king is Daican and the prince Daniel. In the Makilien Trilogy there is a character named Laena, in the Ilyon Chronicles there is Lenae. In the Makilien Trilogy God is represented by Elohim and in Ilyon He is represented by Elom. So, I have to ask, what’s the deal all the ‘D’ names in royalty and the “L” names for motherly women and the “E” names for God? Did you even realize you were doing it? 😀

Jaye: Haha! Actually, I didn’t realize I was doing it except for the names for God. Elohim is a name for God in the Bible, so I chose to use it in Makilien. Then, in Ilyon, I wanted something similar, so that’s why I chose Elôm. I like using real names for God or creatively tweaked versions. Otherwise, yeah, I didn’t realize the similarity in the others.

 

ME: Who are you LEAST like of all your main cast of characters?

Jaye: Probably Trask or Talas. They are very outgoing and extroverted. That is definitely not me. I’m a quiet introvert. I’m quite happy in the background. 🙂

 

ME: Where did the idea of the ryriks kinship with animals come from, and if you could choose any of the giant animals from Dorland to own, what would it be?

Jaye: After working on this series for six years now, I honestly can’t remember, sadly. I think it was probably because of Tyra. Jace cared about her so much, that it then grew toward other animals and eventually became part of the ryrik race. As for Dorland animals, I’d probably want a giant Dorland horse. 😀 I’m actually kind of scared of big horses, but it would still be cool.

 

ME: Did you ever anticipate what a success this series would become?

Jaye: I’m sure I dreamed of it (all authors do), but I don’t think I ever quite anticipated it.

 

ME: What is your favorite book of the entire series? 

Jaye: That’s hard to say definitively since it depends on my mood. At the moment, I lean toward Exiles. There were so many story lines, such as Daniel’s, that I finally got to explore.

 

ME: Who do you think inspired Kyrin Altair the most?

Jaye: I’m not sure. Kyrin was actually a difficult character to write at first. It took a couple of rewrites of the first chapters of Resistance before I finally felt that I had her figured out. Actually, that didn’t happen until after Kaden became part of the story. He didn’t come into existence until I was quite a ways into the book (shocking, I know). I guess, before that, she was just missing her brother and I had no idea. 🙂 As for her abilities, well, those were inspired by Patrick Jane on The Mentalist and a commercial I saw for a show called Unforgettable where the main character remembers everything.

 

ME: What is your favorite culture in Ilyon?

Jaye: Probably the cretes. Their culture is made up of a lot of things I love. I have a thing for Native American culture, so that was a big influence. And then I have ALWAYS wanted to live in a treehouse like on Swiss Family Robinson, so that’s how they ended up living in the trees.

 

ME: If you had to choose one of time periods/worlds from all of your books to live in, which one would it be? 

Jaye: Oh, probably Ilyon. I would like to live with the cretes. 😀

 

ME:  What is your favorite name in Ilyon? (I like Ilvaran quite a lot!)

Jaye: I like Ilvaran too. 😀 It’s really kind of hard to pick. I think I have to say Jace. I just really like that name. (I think most Ilyon fan girls can probably agree on that one!) 

 

ME: If you could get a Crete tattoo, what would it be of? 

Jaye: A blue jay. 😀


That wraps up our author interview, I loved getting to hear Jaye’s thoughts on my questions! So fun!

And, last but not least, book review time! 

(Some spoilers, enter at your risk!)

 

Overall Impression

Anyone who knows me even a little bit is aware that Ilyon is my favorite modern (as in written recently) fantasy series. I love the world, the characters, and the story! It’s an amazing adventure that I would recommend to almost all readers.

That said, Exiles, though very good, fell a bit short for me. I don’t know that this was really Jaye’s fault, more of my own personal preferences and the fact that the story had to be divided over so many POV’s. (Although there were some things that I think could have used adjustment. Those, I will explain in Plot and Characters.)

I would recommend this book to mid to older teens, adults, and some families. Parent discretion advised for younger children due to several bits of mature/suggestive content. (see content guide at bottom) I didn’t feel that any of this was merely for the sensationalism and was handled well, but I would suggest parents skimming through certain parts before handing to any kid under 13, especially those who haven’t had the facts of life presented to them yet. 

 

Characters

So, to be honest, it was a bit hard to judge character progression in this book for the very fact that Exiles was laid out way different from the previous three. The rise and fall of this book wasn’t my favorite and the large amount of time spent with Anne’s POV was really annoying to me. 

I don’t hate Anne, I just don’t like her. In my opinion she is pretty much the flattest character of the whole series. She never really changes. In Exiles a lot of things change around her, but not a whole lot in her. And really, this has been how it is the entire series. Anne never changes. Mostly,  Anne enters the scene, says something about how Goler is annoying but dangerous, flirts with Trask, and then steps out of the scene. I have never enjoyed Anne  so to have such great amounts of the book focused on her when I felt that much of her screen-time would have been put to better use with Jace, Kyrin, or Daniel was pretty frustrating. It really bogged the book down for me. (Note, to achieve the plot goals there were some necessary times to focus on Anne, so those parts aren’t what I’m talking about.)

Daniel was a delight! I was so excited to read his POV. I have been anxiously awaiting hearing more about him since Resistance, so to finally get his part of the story was awesome! I think having him already established in his faith was a good move. Had Jaye taken the time to show us his journey to accepting Elom and Elon it would have elongated the timeline of the story. So to have him a firm believer was a good place to start with. I really enjoyed all the parts with Daniel except for one thing. How in the world did he not see Davira’s plot?!?!?!?! I mean, come on! Dude, get your head out of the clouds. I don’t think it was completely in sync with Daniel’s character to have him just expect that no one was going to resist his plans, he’s waaaay to smart for that. But, other than that, Daniel’s arc was done well in this book. I really enjoyed his character and hope to see more of him. 

Jace’s POV was, well, Jace. It was pretty consistent throughout the book, a few places in his heart had grown by the end of the book but there wasn’t the emotional struggle that we have been used to. That was good, but at the same time his POV felt a little off to me, perhaps it was just because the layout of the plot was so different, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as usual. Still, well written. 

Kyrin, was pretty much the same as Jace. Except I think that there was even less changing in her. She didn’t evolve or change much through the book. Which is understandable considering how many other directions this book was going. There was a lot that needed to happen, (will talk more about in Plot) and unfortunately, in my opinion, some of our main characters didn’t get the screen-time/POV ratios that I would have like. I would have preferred to have 2/3’s of Anne’s time spent on Jace and Kyrin, because they are really who I care about most.

Also, two thumbs up on Leetra’s development! I was so glad to see a softer side of her! 

So, the character development in this book wasn’t my favorite. There was a lot I liked, but some I didn’t like as well. Over all well-written, though.

 

Plot

I anticipate the numerous cultures in, Exiles, being something that fans adore. I know that I loved getting to so the crete’s home, it was so magical. It sounded like a much more impressive Lothlorien. SO gorgeous! The giants were interesting, (Although their sizing and the sizing of things around them was hard to picture, it felt rather inconsistent.) but a bit frustrating to me in their stubbornness! 🙂 One of the most unexpected things for me was seeing the ryriks culture. It was awesome! 

The flow of Exiles was far different from any of the other books. It began and ended with a wedding, (who’s I won’t say! ;P) and it was more of a ‘travelling’ book. As in, it jumped from place to place. There wasn’t as much of a single, focused goal, which wasn’t bad for what was happening in the story, but it wasn’t as enjoyable of a story for me. I prefer more focused story-lines to travelling ones. 

Here’s the thing though, while I don’t personally prefer the flow Exiles, I don’t think it was wrong or bad. In fact, it was good, because it was necessary. Exiles is a turning point. This is the book that moves us from skirmishes and resistance to all out warfare. I am very, VERY excited to see what the next two books will bring. Exiles rose the stakes in unexpected ways. 

The climax of the book was very good. Way different from anything in the previous books and very exciting! No matter how many times I read stories with underdog resistances, I love them! 

And, y’all, I could not believe some of what happened in the end of this book. I predicted a few things, but overall, I was very surprised. (which is a good thing for me) Readers will be squealing in surprise, horror, and delight at some of the plot twists in this one! Well done, Miss Knight!

One last thing I would say is that I wished there would have been an extra chapter or two at the end. It felt rather abbreviated to me. 

So, to sum up all I have said thus far in the review, there were many, MANY things I loved in Exiles. But, at the same time, in my opinion it under-delivered. This will be the first of all the Ilyon books that I rate at 4 stars. Very good, but not my favorite. Exiles is sure to enthrall many Ilyon fans, and will doubtless do well! Good story! 

 

Warnings: 

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: There is an arena scene-not overly gory but clearly violent and horrible, MC’s threatened by ryriks multiple times, character is attacked by wolves, a bone is broken, multiple injuries described-not too bad, a bad character tries to drown a main character, multiple battle scenes, a man forcefully kisses a woman. 

Sex/Nudity: There is a clear knowledge that an evil character is having bedroom rendezvous with various men, this is not explored deeply nor is it just sensationalism, it is for the purpose of honestly portraying evil. An evil ryrik wishes to rape a woman, she is saved and it doesn’t happen. Several comments and places are suggestive of sexual interaction. 

I wouldn’t recommend this book for readers under 13. Past that it really depends on maturity and personal convictions of readers. For those 13 or under I would run past a parent before reading. The mature elements do not feel purely sensational, they have purpose.

“I received this book free from the author for promotional purposes. No reviews, positive or otherwise, were required. All opinions expressed are purely my own.”

 

 

 

                                                                                                           

Book Review: Gift from the Storm

25236143 One cold, dark evening a young stranger appears outside the Morgan home with two small children. Injured and on the verge of complete exhaustion, she will only say that her name is “Amy.”

Where did she come from? Who is she? And what has she been through? Dr. Justin Morgan and his family look for answers as they struggle to minister life and health to the needy ones in their midst.

Overall Impression
Deciding how many Goodreads stars to put on this was difficult. There are many aspects in this book that haven’t been done well-more on this in Plot and Characters. But, at the same time, there was an overall sweetness, a warmth to the story that made me happy. Since I enjoyed it, I decide on 4 stars. I would recommend this to single readers who don’t mind a bit of a slower pace, and to families that have younger children. 
Characters
Unfortunately, for me, the characters ended up being rather two-dimensional. There wasn’t anything “wrong” with them, but I didn’t think they were executed to their fullest potential. Yet again, the emotions were told instead of shown. This makes a big difference in the connect-ability of characters.
Justin was okay, but definitely not my favorite of male leads. I would have preferred that Rebekah not call him Dr. Morgan all the time. It distanced you from him, especially when it was his POV. I wouldn’t walk around calling myself Miss Gidman, so to me it made it weird.
Sara was hard for me to decide on. Half the time I liked her, half the time she felt a bit overdone.
Adam was sweet, I liked his calm, ‘sturdy-ness’ you might say!
Amy was my favorite. She was sweet and approachable. And I was able to sympathize with her. How horribly upsetting her situation would have been!
Mr. and Mrs. Morgan were sweet. I liked how kind they were to Amy and how they ‘became’ her parents.
Plot
To be honest, the beginning is slow. It’s hard to get into, which is never good for a book. To me personally, Gift From the Storm wasn’t a page-turner. While reading it I liked it, but when I stepped away from it I didn’t have much initiative to go back. But, I kept on, and found a lovely story. 
Many aspects of this story, especially legal aspects did not make any sense at all! That was, until I read another readers review that said Miss Morris had told her that the story was set in the 50’s. Then I understood. However, it would have been wise to put some of that information out there. I thought this was a modern story, and thus found some things in it pretty unbelievable. I would have liked to have a mention of the time period. 
The story had a lot of telling instead of showing, emotions, events, and the like were flat sometimes. Instead of jumping off the page, they sat there and waved hello. I would have preferred more showing. 
I really enjoyed Christmas at the Morgan’s. It was sweet, homey, and warm. Again, some background on the time period would have helped because without the knowledge of the time it came across as a little overtly old-fashioned. But I enjoyed it nonetheless.
One of my favorite parts in the book was when during the bad winter storm Amy freaked out. This scene, unexpectedly, made me tear up. I think it was because of the intense love they showed her in her vulnerability. Just this last 4th of July, I dislocated my knee at a friend’s house. All at once everyone was helping me and showing me amazing love. The scene during the storm brought back all those memories. That is an amazing quality to a book, the ability to touch on someones past memories or emotions. It’s powerful. It probably won’t affect most people as strongly as it did me, but still, an amazing show of love. 
Also, I liked getting to see the characters lives later on. It was nice to see how they ended up. 
So while the story-line/plot had some downfalls, I found this a sweet story.  

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: None

Sex/Nudity: None

 
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review