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.”

 

 

 

                                                                                                           

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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.