Writing: Story Sprints #1

Story Sprint


Hey, y’all! I am trying something new this week. I am hopefully gonna be releasing short ‘story sprints’ either every week (HOPEFULLY! IF I UTTERLY FAIL I NEVER, EVER SAID THIS!) or every two weeks.

To start off my story sprints is a fun bit of fantasy entitled, Endure! Enjoy, guys!


ENDURE

Darkness settled over the East. Heavy, roiling clouds rolled westward. Menacing yellow lightning fingered it’s way across the black sky.

“They have come.” Markian’s voice came from over Nikaia’s shoulder. A shudder coursed along Nikaia’s spine both from the reality of  her brother’s words and the icy winds that blew from the East.

“So they have…” Nikaia’s voice was soft, ending in a trembling whisper.

There was no evading the Order now. They had found them. Two, warm tears dribbled down Nikaia’s face as  deep fear and defeat filled her heart. Their doom had come. Every moment the clouds moved closer so did the cruel deaths that awaited them. Markian must have perceived her thoughts for he placed a strong on her cold shoulder.

“Nikaia.” His voice kept Nikaia from drowning in the helplessness and fear that clawed at her heart. Nikaia turned but stared at the ground. She didn’t want to look her brother in the eyes, to see the certainty of death that she felt reflected in his face.

Markian placed his warm hands on Nikaia’s face and gently tilted her head upwards so that their eyes met. Markian’s eyes practically glowed with intensity and strength.   

“I will protect you. We will not die today, my sister.” Markian’s voice grew low and passionate. “We shall endure this day as we have endured the days and the Order before. Have hope, dear one!”

“How do we endure?” Nikaia practically screamed, a sob catching her voice at the end. “How do I have hope when there is none left inside me?”

Markian’s brows furrowed and his eyes pierced Nikaia to her very soul. “Because, my sister, there is else left for us! There is only hope.”

Nikaia’s lip trembled and she looked again to the ground.

Markian’s voice rose in intensity and volume. “Nikaia! They…” he pointed to the darkened East. “They have taken everything from us! Do you now let them take your hope as well? Will you let them steal the last vestige of value from your life?”

Nikaia swallowed and turned to look at the eastern sky. Menacing. Dark. Overshadowing. The Order had taken everything from her and Markian. Their family, their home, and now…her hope? Would they have her hope, too?

Nikaia squeezed her eyes shut and clenched her jaw. She felt Markian’s eyes watching her as the battle raged inside. She could only hope she was strong enough to win it.

Will they have my hope too? The question came in her head again. Thoughts of despair, helplessness, and fear fought for her attention at every side. But, amidst the clamoring of the despair, a small answer was spoken in her spirit.

No. No, they will not.

Nikaia opened her eyes and looked again on the ever nearing darkness, a flare of hope lighting in her soul.

“No!” Nikaia voiced, strength mounting at the word. She looked to Markian. “They shall not have our hope!”

Markian’s eyes glowed with passion, love, and…pride. Taking his sister’s hand he gave it a squeeze. “No, dear one, never shall they have it!”

Together, Markian and Nikaia turned to watch the approaching darkness and the Order that followed it. They would endure.


 

I hope you all enjoyed, comment below and tell me what you think! Would you like to see story sprints from me? What was your favorite aspect of Endure?

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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

Blog Tour! Interview with Claire Banschbach

Hear ye, hear ye, my faithful followers! Today I am joining the LOVELY Miss Banschbach on her wonderful blog tour! I can’t wait! Let’s begin!

Claire M. Banschbach

About the Author:

Claire M. Banschbach is a native West Texan. She discovered a deep and abiding love for fantasy and science fiction at a young age, prompting her to begin exploring worlds armed only with an overactive imagination and a pen while obtaining degrees in Kinesiology from Texas A&M and Physical Therapy from Texas Tech University.

She talks to fictional characters more than she should while struggling to find time for all their stories. She currently resides in Arlington, TX where she works as a Pediatric Physical Therapist.

You can connect with her on Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog | Instagram


About the Books:

36239851The Rise of Aredor

Lost in a foreign land and separated from his family, Corin does his best to survive as a slave in the household of a Calorin lord. With newfound friends he fights for survival in ambushes and wars. For one act of bravery, he is awarded his freedom and returns to a home that has been invaded and ravaged by the Calorin armies. When Corin sets foot on Aredor’s shores, he has one goal in mind: find his family. He is driven into the forest, where he is reunited with childhood friends. From the shelter of the woods, they begin a spirited rebellion against Corin’s former cruel master, who now holds sway over Aredor. Follow Corin’s path in his quest to free his imprisoned brother, find a father who has vanished, and ultimately free his country in The Rise of Aredor.

*Note! The Rise of Aredor is on sale on Amazon today! $.99 for the Kindle ebook! It’s so worth it! 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

 

36239912

The Wildcat of Braeton

His term of service to Lord Rishdah now complete, Aiden returns to his home in Braeton. As he travels he hears rumors that trouble plagues Braeton. Clan Canich is being attacked from within. He arrives, determined to save his father, his brothers, and his Clan from the treachery of one man.

A year has passed since the Calorins were driven from Aredor and Corin is struggling to rebuild his country. Despite the peace, a fear haunts him that the Calorins aren’t far away. The Hawk Flight takes to the forest again to defend the borders against a possible attack from the neighboring country of Durna and its Calorin ally. 

As Aiden and Corin struggle to adapt to their new lives they know one thing for certain – war is coming to the North! 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 


 

And now, on to the interview! It is what we are here to see after all! 🙂 

Questions:

Of all the characters in Aredor, (And the surrounding countries of course! :P) which one are you most like?

My siblings say that I’m a lot like Corin, the main character, and I grant that there are some similarities, but I think I’m a bit more like Kara who is introduced at about the same age I was when I started writing the story.

 

What is your favorite book of all time? 

My favorite book is a historical fiction novel set in Ancient Egypt – Shadow Hawk by Andre Norton. It probably helped spurred my desire to give all main characters a cool animal, and inspiring the whole Hawk thing in Aredor. 

If you could choose one author, dead or alive, to meet, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Oh, man! Tough question! Since I want to do a story with King Arthur, I’d love to meet Stephen Lawhead who wrote an amazing series on King Arthur in Wales. So I’d love to pick his brain on how he went about his retelling.

 

What is your favorite fantasy cliche? 

Since this series deals with a lost prince and a runaway chieftain’s son, I’d have to say the cliché of characters running off and successfully hiding their lineage to build a new life.

 

If you could marry one of your characters, who would it be? 

Haha! I love Corin of course, but I’d probably go for Liam, a secondary character who I kind of fell in love with after writing a few short stories in the Aredor universe.

 

I’ve gotta say, through both Rise of Aredor and The Wildcat of Braeton, I loved the cultures! So what cultural influences do you like to draw on to create unique cultures? 

For these books, I took bits and pieces from medieval Welsh and Middle Eastern cultures. I actually fall back on Welsh a lot, and I’m trying to make myself branch out. I have another series that I’m looking to draw bits from Native American culture for. I’m excited to dive into that, since it’s so unique.

 

Do you like to re-read your favorite books often? 

The whole book? Not often. Sometimes I’ll go back through and find my favorite passages or skim around, but I really only sit down and read the entire thing maybe every few years.


Who will enjoy your books? 

Anyone who likes a story full of action, adventure, and close knit friends!

 


 

Thank you all so much for joining Claire and I today! Be sure to check out these other great spotlights, reviews, and interviews below! And don’t forget! Best of all, there is a Rafflecopter giveaway! Be sure and enter to win! There are some great prizes!

 

Sept 28

Daley Downing – Series review

Rachael Ritchey – Series spotlight & Interview

Deborah O’Carroll – Series spotlight & Interview

Kelsey Bryant – Series spotlight

Shannon A. Hiner – Series review

Sept 29

CB Cook – Series spotlight

Liv K. Fisher – Series spotlight & Interview

Laura A. Grace – Video Reviews!

Emily Kopf – Review for The Rise of Aredor

Shannon A. Hiner – Interview

Sept 30

Hazel West – Interview

  1. Rawls – Guest Post – Anatomy of Writing

Gabriellyn Gidman – Interview

  1. Paige Burks – Series spotlight

Sarah Addison-Fox – Series review

Faith Blum – Spotlight for The Wildcat of Braeton

Book Review: Sea of Crystal, Sea of Glass

Sea of Crystal, Sea of GlassWhen faced with the impossible and the unthinkable, choose the impossible.

All that fifteen-year-old Einur Landman has left in the world are his flock of sheep and his beloved little sister. His entire life’s purpose is to keep Lody safe from the evil ruling class. But he never expected that it would be his own name that was drawn for the child sacrifice. Leaving Lody with his promise to return, Einur escapes into the wild where he meets a stranger with a plan to bring down the Illyrië. Forced to choose between the unthinkable – Lody’s probable death – and the seemingly impossible, Einur takes the latter.

In his quest from his mountain village, through countless dangers, to the sea itself, everything Einur believes will be tested. For Lody’s sake, can he make a final crucial choice and stand firm to the end?


 

Overall Impression

Benita is a self-professed lover of Fantasy, especially Tolkien. Something clear in SOCSOG to an occasional fault, more on this in Plot

While I know several people on Goodreads who thoroughly enjoyed this book, for me it was dry. I wasn’t compelled to finish it.

If you love anything fantasy I would recommend this book to you. If you are hesitant towards fantasy already, this is probably not for you. 

Appropriate for older-readers and some families. I would, however, advise discretion towards parents reading to their little children. This book includes child-sacrifice and some intense/scary scenes. 

 

Characters

To be honest, I wasn’t particularly attached to any of the characters in this book. In a lot of ways the character development was inconsistent and unrealistic. As well as to many extraneous characters being brought in.

Einur, to me, was rather annoying. His thought processes didn’t make sense and he had a rather cynical/snarky feeling to him overall. 

Lody was sweet, I liked her. In fact she was probably my favorite. 

 

 

Plot

As I said before, Benita is a lover of Tolkien-who isn’t, am I right? 🙂 But this could go too far: there was a feeling throughout the entire book that Benita was grasping to make it similar to the works of Tolkien, many names such as, Alarandil, that were obviously modeled after LoTR, and one part where there was a sentence* practically taken out of Fellowship of the Ring.

*”A fell voice-there is a fell voice on the wind. As though someone were cooking up a sorcery.”-Einur 

Here is what I would say about that…it’s not bad to model your books after books you love, the key part is to do it in moderation. When writers work so hard to make their books Tolkien-ish, or similar to the works of C.S. Lewis etc. they get in their own way. The only way you are going to be a truly successful and original author is if it is original! 

Another thing that was hard about this book was that it was hard to follow. The characters, plot, flow all of it! There was much that was never fully explained (All the stuff with Berwyn and Eldrast, like, what the heck was going on there?!?) and much that was very confusing. Not a good mix. I believe had Benita dropped some more unnecessary bunny trails and stayed within the essential parts of her story it would have been clearer.  

One thing I liked very much was the essential idea behind the plot. It was good, quite stereotypical fantasy, but who cares! I like all the cliché that can come along with fantasy! I think that in time, if Benita adjusts her approach to writing in some ways, she could be a very good storyteller! Part of it is just experience. 

To Benita I would say, keep working and persevering! Try not to write the best Tolkien-ish book you can and instead try to write the best book you can.

 

Also, may I just say, beautiful cover! 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: Characters take a fake god’s name in vain-didn’t really bother me. 

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: As there is child sacrifice in this there is going to be some creepy scenes. The Illyrie’s practices are creepy, there is a creepy guy who hypnotized a main character, several scenes where either they were dreams or real, not sure it was hard to tell. A big mist monster is fought. A very little bit of battle, not intense in the least. On the conservative side I would rate this 13+. 

Sex/Nudity: None

 


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

Book Review: The Silent Blade

30524121Dromiskin, Ireland. 925 A.D.

Eira has no greater desire than to see her life returned to what it once was—before her older brother Kevin’s sudden disappearance four years earlier. But the simple life she hoped for seems unattainable; on the contrary, her life is about to get all the more complicated.
When she suddenly finds herself and Willem, her twin brother, taken captive by someone who claims to be Kevin’s enemy, things go from bad to worse. It soon becomes clear that she and Willem are to become bait in a trap set for Kevin, and Eira knows she must try to warn him. But how, when she herself is a captive?
As mysteries of the past are unveiled, and loyalties are revealed, Eira realizes how precious her friends truly are. And when mortal danger threatens those nearest to her, will she be
able to trust God with the lives of her friends and family?


 

 

Overall Impression

This story, while in many ways a good concept, was not carried out well. The book didn’t really hold my attention, the characters were not easy to connect to, and to me personally I found many plot-holes. 

I would still say that many single-readers and perhaps even families would enjoy the story even though I didn’t. I know that among it’s target audience on Goodreads it has done very well. Averaging at 4.4 stars. 

 

Characters

Eira, to be honest, annoyed me. I feel like it is a trend right now to have that female character who is good with weapons, can’t cook for her life, and has a temper that gets her into trouble. This type of person is really frustrating to me and often feels clichéd and two-dimensional. I want to see more sweet AND capable female characters. 

Willem and Cassimir, though you didn’t get to see their emotions/thoughts deeply, were sweet guys. 

Technically there was nothing ‘wrong’ with Kevin. But I just couldn’t connect. He was borderline annoying to me, I am not sure why, he just was. This does not mean that he was a bad character, but he and I didn’t mesh. 

Henry and Merek, the two big baddies. Honestly, they just weren’t scary. They didn’t make sense. The reasons behind their actions felt to weak to me. The things they experienced were hard, but I didn’t feel like it was enough to merit the type people they became. 

 

Plot 

I felt the plot to this book was rather weak and undeveloped. The threads of the story weren’t held together well and I felt that we, as readers, were missing certain key bits of information. Sometimes we would get unnecessary information and others we wouldn’t get enough. This left if feeling inconsistent.

 A lot of conversations in this book didn’t make sense to me. Either they were hard to follow, or they were out-of-place. The conversations between bad guys and main characters were especially awkward. 

Also, after all that Eira’s sword-work is praised, the one time that she would have gotten a chance to use it in an influential situation she does horribly. It didn’t make sense. If she was so good she should have done better. 

The faith aspect wasn’t tied in well. There wasn’t a struggle in the middle of the book. There were a few mentions of God and then a bunch of verses in the end. I would have preferred for it to be interwoven through the story. 


Even though Jesseca has a lot of room to grow, I believe that she will grow to  become a much better author. Even if just for the understanding she had when she heard my thoughts on The Silent Blade, and the humility with which she received my critiques. 

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: Mild descriptions of wounds. Light violence. I would think fine for all children. A man hits a woman. Some light battle scenes. 

Sex/Nudity: None

 

I received this book in return for a review. I was in no way obliged to write a positive review, merely an honest one. 

 

 

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 

Book Review: Kate’s Choice

 A rediscovered Louisa May Alcott literary treasure is set to follow in the footsteps of The Quiet Little Woman. From Little Women to The Inheritance, Louisa May Alcott has charmed generations of fans for more than 150 years. Her unrivaled legacy includes this rediscovered gem that begins… “According to her father’s wish, Kate was to live for a while with the families of each of her four uncles before she decided with which she would make her home. All were anxious to have her, one because of her money, another because her great-grandfather had been a lord, a third hoped to secure her hand for the son of a close friend, while the fourth and best family loved her for herself alone.

 


 

Overall Impression

What a lovely story! This is the sweetest short story I have ever read! Truly, Louisa May Alcott was and still is one of the finest author’s in assistance. Her stories are beautifully crafted. This is a wonderful Christmas story sure to delight you and yours! 

 

Characters

Kate is such a sweet girl. She has a sense of duty, a spirit of kindness, and loving heart. She is a beautiful character who is easy to like and sympathize with. 

Grandmother as well as all the servants are delightful. 

Grandmother’s children, while not ‘bad’ people have forgotten the woman who raised them. Kate is just what they need. 

 

Plot

The story is charming. It holds the heart and love that Little Women did. The story, though short, is powerful.

My heart quickly warmed to this story. I love reading it around Christmastime.

It’s a great read for both families and single readers!

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: None

Sex/Nudity: None

Book Review Bundle: Advent Adventures

1256825In this widely popular, exciting story for the advent season, readers follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family. Though he faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters the wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to the Savior born in Bethlehem.


 

Overall Impression

This was the first advent book  I had ever read with my family. And I must say, it was quite a nice experience. These books are an engaging way to celebrate Christmastime.

I will say that the writing in this series isn’t excellent, some if it isn’t even very good, but the stories themselves? Ah-mazing! So just know ahead of time, the writing is a bit weak, but the stories are good enough to balance it out! 

This series is incredibly unique. Each shows the same few weeks/months from a different character’s POV. Thus, you find yourself witnessing the same events but learning different details, seeing the same characters, but from a different view. One thing I love is that at the end of each book you find yourself at the same place…the manger. 

This is a fun series I would recommend to both families and single readers. Even if you aren’t interested in reading the advent part of it the stories are still fun to read around Christmastime!

 

Characters

Jotham is a brat in the beginning. But aren’t we all at some point? He doesn’t, however, stay in this part of his arc long. He is a good character, not my favorite, but still good. 

Nathan is one of my favorite characters in this series. He is just awesome. His quick responses and clever disguises are quite fun.

Decha of Meggido. Ek! This guy is evil! He is a great baddie, easy to hate, and appropriately evil.

It is neat to see some of the prominent people in the Nativity story in this book. Namely, Zachariah, Elizabeth, and baby John. Not to mention Jotham’s relation to Joseph! 

 

Plot

The story starts off with Jotham’s disappointment at not being allowed to go to Jerusalem with his brothers. Soon after he finds himself separated from his family and captured to be sold as a slave! From there all sorts of adventures ensue! 

 




7641046 In hard-to-put-down chapters, this engaging story takes readers through Advent to Christmas as they follow young Bartholomew on his adventures. You will accompany this delightful boy from the time Roman soldiers destroy his village and disperse his family, through his enslavement to a tyrannical master, his escape with Nathan, and his stay at the community of Qumran, to this reunion with his family and the wonderful climax in Bethlehem. Along the way he makes a new friend, Jotham, whom many readers grew to love in “Jotham’s Journey”.Following each chapter is a spiritual reflection that gives readers an opportunity to respond personally to a spiritual truth embedded in the story. Ideal for individual reading or family devotions.


Overall Impression

I have read 3/4 of the Advent Adventures, (still need to read Ishtar’s Odessy) and out of all of them Bartholomew’s passage is my absolute favorite!

Both Jotham and Tabitha’s stories were more centered around personal problems. Their own struggles, false beliefs. Bartholomew’s passage felt more…I don’t know, religiously centered. (Not that I think the other’s didn’t have great messages, but this was more Christmas-y to me.) 

Characters

Bartholomew was also a far sweeter person than either Tabitha or Jotham. I loved him soo much! He was much easier to sympathize with. His story kept me reading for hours. He (along with Nathan) was my favorite character of all. I love Bartholomew’s quick thinking and action. 

Yet again, I loved Nathan. He so kind, and epic. Just love this character.

The head priest guy at Qumran (can’t remember his name!) was so frustrating! I really hate people like him in books! But, he served his purpose. 

Plot

Great story! These stories have a general theme of the main characters trying to reconnect with their parents. I was rooting for Bartholomew all the way! 

The plot wasn’t quite as fast paced as Jotham’s Journey, but I didn’t mind this. I love getting to see this side of the story, the pieces that weren’t shown in Jotham’s Journey or  Tabitha’s Travels. 

Engaging and fun! 




8528987Following in the footsteps of the immensely popular Jotham’s Journey and Bartholomew’s Passage, this captivating story will take families through Advent to Christmas as they share in Tabitha’s adventures. Curious, competent, and courageous Tabitha is the daughter of a shepherd who is taking his family on caravan to his birthplace. Along the way, she meets and becomes friends with Jotham and Bartholomew, watches as Romans take her father prisoner, spends time with Zechariah and Elizabeth, helps Mary and Joseph just before Christ’s birth, and ends her travels at the stable in Bethlehem. With day-by-day readings, reflections for family devotions, and advice for making Christmas a meaningful season of worship, Tabitha’s Travels continues the beloved tradition of celebrating Advent with your family.


Overall Impression

This was my least favorite of all the stories. It was also the weakest. I read once, may read again in a couple years, but nowhere near as good as the other two books. 

Characters

I really didn’t like Tabitha. She felt like a totally different character than the Tabitha in Jotham’s Journey. That Tabitha had felt feminine, sweet, and kindhearted. Tabitha in this book didn’t match that character in the least. 

She had this annoyance, jealously thing going about what boys got to do that she didn’t. Some of her feelings/beliefs didn’t even seem reasonable for this time. I am so tired of the tom-boy thing! A girl can be adventurous, smart, and capable without wishing she was a boy! Look, I get that there was a lot of stuff back then that wasn’t fair. I understand! But Tabitha was a downright feminist.

Nathan, from what I remember, was good in this book. (Surprise, surprise!)

I liked Zachariah and Elizabeth in this book. 

Plot

The plot in this one wasn’t as exciting as either of the other books. There was adventure and the plot was engaging enough I kept reading it. 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: This series has some violence. People have their fingers, tips of their noses, etc. cut off. (Not as bad as it sounds.) It shows the danger and evilness of the time. I would recommend parents looking through before reading to kids under 9. 

Sex/Nudity: None

While I did not enjoy “Tabitha’s Travels” much, I would still recommend this series. Fun plots, characters, and settings. Even if you don’t care to read “Tabitha’s Travels”, “Jotham’s Journey” and “Bartholomew’s Passage” are still winners! 

Book Review: Truth by Molly Evangeline

12121575Trapped in a village no one is allowed to leave, Makilien yearns for the answers to her questions about life and the world outside the village walls. Yet no one but her closest friend seems to understand or share her desire. Despite her family’s fears and warnings of the consequences, she is determined to find answers.

The unexpected arrival of a stranger, and the knowledge he possesses, drives Makilien to drastic action. Confronted with a world she knows nothing about, she must choose carefully who to trust as both good and evil lurk in all places. As a battle looms, one in which will be determined the fate of all, she must decide whether to believe in the One who is truth or fall prey to the lies of the enemy.


 

Overall Impression

Truth is one of my all-time favorite fantasy reads. It is, actually,the book that first inspired me towards writing. It was so different from anything I had ever read before. Entering the world of Dolennar was, and still is a treat.

Truth is exactly what I look for in Christian Fantasy. A good, magic free story, deep and lovable characters, and a wonderfully constructed world. This book’s theme is a mix of a coming-of-age story and an epic quest for truth. Truth is a fun read for single readers and families both.

Characters

The large cast of characters in Truth are done wonderfully.

Makilien, the main character, is a nice mix of femininity  and warrior. She does what needs to be done without becoming a callused shell of a female. She is sweet and vulnerable, but very skilled. Makilien is a great role model. She wants to do the right thing and tries hard to do it. She, though somewhat rebellious in the beginning of the book, is not the sarcastic, hard-as-nails female character we have come to expect nowadays.

The supporting characters in this book are done very nicely as well. Each one is different from the next. Sometimes large casts of characters can detract from a book’s story. Either they divert too much attention from the main characters, or the large number background makes it impossible to give each an individual personality. This is not the case in Truth. The background characters have definable personalities and add flavor to the story rather than detracting from the book.

The baddies in this book are pretty good.And although they can be a slight bit overdone, overall they are good story catalysts.

Plot

The plot of Truth is an epic journey. The story-line, overall, is unique and exciting.And though there are some clichés, I didn’t mind them.

The story enters upon Makilien at the end of her patience with her stagnant village. A stranger arrives in Reylaun, her village, and  a series of event transpires that causes Makilien to leave her village. After that she visits several countries and makes many new friends.

Truth is a fascinating story, with characters you love to root for.

Warnings: 

Language/Profanity: None.

Violence/Gore/Frightening Scenes: This book has some frightening creatures and scenes. Goblins and orc-like creatures called Shaikes. There is some torture, nothing horrible, but for younger readers it may not be advisable. This book has several skirmishes and battles in this book and thus there is the stuff you might expect from that. The descriptions of battle, war, and death are apt while still being tactful. A main character is stabbed and nearly dies. This book is probably best for children 10-12 (depending on the child and parents preferences) on up.

Sex/Nudity: None.